9 Steps To Work Your Gambling Budget
If you gamble online or offline from time to time, it’s vital that you work out your gambling budget. That helps you to have a framework to gamble more safely, knowing that you’ll never overspend.
1. Figure out what a gambling budget is
A gambling budget is quite simply the absolute maximum that you should ever spend on gambling. This should be money that’s freely available to you in your bank account. You shouldn’t ever go into debt in order to fund gambling. That’s also why we’d strongly advise against funding any gambling on credit card.
In short, it’s the most you are willing to spend in a particular time frame (say a week, month or year) on gambling. If you lose it all, it shouldn’t financially affect your day-to-day life.
Of course, we don’t think you should try to spend every last cent of your gambling budget. This is all about creating an upper limit and staying within it.
2. Work out how much you currently spend on gambling
If you don’t already know how much you spend in a week, month or year on online gambling, it’s time to figure that out.
If you use online casinos, that’s relatively easy. Simply go to your account activity and take a look at your deposits, withdrawals and your balance. The key metric here is for sure your deposits. Because as we know nothing is guaranteed in gambling.
Then also take a long hard look at your offline gambling activity. It’s a little easier if you tend to use your debit card or ewallet. You can just simply take a look at your transaction history online. But if you bet using predominantly cash, hunt out your receipts and old betting slips to work out how much you spend.
If you don’t already keep those, we suggest you start so you can keep track of that all important spending.
3. Add up your income
Now it’s time to figure out if what you spend matches what you can afford. Add up everything that is paid into your account. When you look at the figure paid in, in many cases that reflects your net income after tax. If you only get paid a salary and nothing else, then that’s easy.
But don’t forget to add any other money. For example, social welfare benefits, pension payments, rental income, etc.
If it isn’t done at source, take a percentage away to reflect your tax payments and any other deductions.
4. Calculate your essential expenses
Of course, your gambling budget has to start with making sure betting doesn’t interfere with your quality of life. How much do you spend on your accommodation, energy, transport and groceries? Add up all your bills, rent, mortgage, fuel and supermarket spends.
And don’t forget any loan repayments, school fees, creche costs and medical bills.
5. Add up all life’s nice extras
Life isn’t just about scraping by. We all need to treat ourselves once in a while, whether that’s to a coffee or a trip to the cinema or to a new video game.
So add up your discretionary spending too. Combing through online bank accounts is a great tool for doing this. Then add everything together.
6. Stick to a savings goal
Another key thing we should all do is have a savings goal. So whether it’s big or small, put something aside every month. Then you can have an extra nest egg to spend on a holiday or have a safety net if something goes wrong.
7. Do the maths to find out your gambling budget
Add up your essential expenses, extras and savings over a month. Then deduct that figure from your monthly income. You’re now left with the figure that you can spend on gambling without it affecting your life financially.
If it seems a little bloated, perhaps migrate a portion of it to your savings. Or if it seems a little small, just stick with it for the time being. It’s better to have a smaller gambling budget and have your financial freedom, trust us.
8. Implement a gambling budget deposit limit
Depending on your online casino, there could be a tool for setting a deposit limit. As soon as you know what your gambling budget is, you should set your deposit limit so you never go over your budget.
9. Come up with a withdrawal aim
When you’ve got your gambling budget in place, you should think of a withdrawal strategy. By that, we mean the amount your balance reaches before you withdraw.
So, for example, if you deposit £50 to your online casino account every month, you might decide to withdraw your cash if your balance tips over £100.
It’s all too easy to keep your winnings in your account and just use them to place bigger and bigger bets. But sooner or later, you may lose it all.
It’s much smarter to withdraw and enjoy that cash IRL instead.
Get help for a gambling problem
If your gambling budget is out of control or you’ve gone into debt from gambling, you need to get help to stop. Be Gamble Aware is a UK based responsible gambling organisation, with online resources as well as a helpline on 0808 9020 133.
If you’re outside of the UK, there’s help available to you too. Find your local responsible gambling organisation here.