Do you know exactly how much money is left every month after paying the bills? And do you have your own methods to create an overview of your finances? If you answered ‘no’ to these questions, a budget coach can come in handy. This ensures that you gain insight into your finances and that your debts do not become too large. Do you want to know if a budget coach is something for you? In this article, you can read everything you want to know.
What is a budget coach?
Suppose you are short of money every month. At your own discretion, you don’t spend crazy amounts and you don’t make so many impulse purchases. Yet you feel that you could do much better. For example, you used to have more money left than now, but you don’t know exactly how that is possible.
If you are now in danger of getting (high) debts, a budget coach can help you budget and get your finances on track. You then sit down together to look at your current situation. By making overviews of your income and expenses, you can see much better where you can save. In this way, a budget coach helps to have more money left at the end of the month. For example, you can pay off debts, or maybe even save.
Difference debt counselor and budget coach
Some people think that a budget coach is the same as a debt counselor. Yet there is a big difference. Where with a budget coach you always have the free choice to leave certain things or not, that is not the case with a debt counselor. A debt counselor is often assigned to you, after which you go through a strict program.
It is recommended not to wait until it is too late. The debt counseling process is no fun. For example, you are not allowed to determine anything about your own expenses for 3 years.
You will be watched very closely, and you can even get an administrator who gives you pocket money from your own income. The budget coach comes to the fore in the stage that takes place before you start debt counseling. In this way, together with you, they ensure that there is still a chance to get your finances in order.
What can a budget coach help with?
The duties of a budget coach are very broad. A budget coach helps you with everything related to your finances. In short, it’s about your income and your expenses. The process that you go through with a budget coach often has the following components:
1. The intake interview
If you approach a budget coach yourself, or if you are assigned a budget coach from social work, you will first receive an intake interview. This conversation often takes place over the phone. In that conversation, the budget coach tries to find out what problems you are dealing with. Do you want to pay off your debts faster, do you have no overview of your finances, or do you have another question from you?
Based on this, the budget coach will ask you some things. For example, you should already put your entire administration in a folder, so that you can look at it together during the first meeting. Due to the intake interview, the first appointment with the budget coach is a lot more efficient because you can start immediately.
2. The first date
A few days after the intake interview, the budget coach will visit you. You go through all your administration together. Receipts of groceries, rent, energy, the car, and so on. By finding out what your income and expenses are at that moment, the budget coach creates an overview. This way you can see exactly how much money you have left per month, or how much money you lack per month. Then you look at the goal of the coaching. Is it purely about creating insight? Then the budget coach will draw up a schedule with you in which you can write down the income and expenses very clearly.
- budgeting; everything you need to know
Do you want to have more money to spend, for example, to deal with debts? In that case, the budget coach helps you look at possible savings. Perhaps you can save extra on groceries, for example by buying fewer premium brands. Or the coach sees that saving on your fixed costs is not a bad idea at all. The coach also gives some tips that can help you save money. You can read some of those tips later in the article.
After the first appointment with the budget coach, you know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goal. You may reach that goal in 3 weeks, but the process can also take several months or even years. Because the budget coach is trained to give advice for specific situations, you will always receive a tailor-made plan.
3. Follow-up appointments
Depending on the set goal, you will speak to the budget coach a few more times. Such an appointment can be every week, but also monthly. During these appointments, you will look at the progress together. Are you on the right track together, or do you still need to work on the plan to become successful? By asking you a few questions and looking at your administration, the coach can see whether you are doing the right thing.
Top 5 tips from a budget coach
1. Get your administration in order
A healthy financial situation starts with a healthy administration. By saving all receipts and viewing your bank statements, you can keep everything in order. If you do this every month, you will quickly see when you are spending more than average. This prevents you from creating situations that do not match your income.
2. Save on your energy bill
Saving money is not easy. Yet there is one simple option up for grabs; save on gas, water, and light. Because there is a lot of money to be saved by using electricity economically. For example, replace a broken lamp with a (slightly more expensive) LED lamp, which saves a lot of energy. For example, you can also easily save on showering. Showering one minute shorter every day, for example, already yields a few tens on an annual basis.
3. Only use cash when shopping
Do you use your debit card for all your purchases? Don’t, say the budget coaches. By not spending physical money, you have much less insight into your expenses. For example, put 50 euros in your wallet every week. Do you only have 10 euros left after 3 days while you normally use it for a week? Then you have spent a little too much somewhere. So just leave your debit card at home!
4. Avoid impulse purchases
Shopping on a rainy afternoon is fun. And although you intend not to buy anything, you often come home with something you ‘need’. It’s like shopping when you’re hungry. They are things not to do if you want to save money.
5. Compare prices online
Are you going to make a purchase of more than 10 or 20 euros? Then always check the internet to see if even cheaper prices are available. You are sometimes inclined to make a purchase immediately, but it may be that you pay much too much. Not every store has the same prices, so you can easily save a few euros this way.
What does a budget coach cost?
Unfortunately, in order to save money, you have to spend money first. A budget coach is often not free, except for the intake interview. The prices you pay vary a lot. It depends on the help you need. If someone comes to sort out important administration every two weeks, you may already be helped for 50 euros a month.
Does a long-term plan have to be made, does the budget coach have to take over the payment for you and are there other wishes? Then a process of several months can easily cost 600 euros. Don’t be scared of that. You do not always have to pay this (full) amount. Always check whether you can use the following options:
- Reimbursement from your employer
- Reimbursement via the PGB (personal budget)
- Coverage from your health insurance
- Payment by the UWV
- Compensation via a creditor who does not want to send a bailiff
Where can you find a budget coach?
Budget coaches are everywhere. In each province you have several choices of good coaches. Sometimes you can also request a budget coach through social work, if you are already known there.
If that is not the case, you can search on Google for ‘budget coach + your place of residence’. You’ll probably get a few results to choose from. When choosing the budget coach, you can take the following into account:
- How far does the budget coach have to travel, and are those costs included?
- What exactly does the budget coach cost me?
- What does this budget coach specialize in?
- In what ways am I supported?
- Are there good reviews or experiences to read about this coach?
- Does this budget coach have a Kiwa certification?
Do you want to put your financial affairs in order or would you like to build up less debt? A budget coach can give you a push in the right direction. This sometimes requires an investment in the form of money. Nevertheless, a good budget coach can ensure that you have paid off that investment after 6 months or a year. And because you can continue to use the tips and information forever in the future, you always earn money from a budget coach.