Creating your own DIY gaming budget calculator is a really smart thing to do.
Some sites have online tools where you can work out a rough gaming budget. But in our experience, they’re not quite comprehensive enough.
If you want to work out your spending limit when you’re gambling online, you need to include absolutely everything you can think of. Because you don’t want to leave yourself short in any other area of your life.
And we hope it goes without saying, but the key to a healthy DIY gambling budget is that you never spend money you don’t have on gambling. That means no credit cards, no loans and no gambling debts.
DIY gaming budget calculator
Step one: Work out how much you currently spend
Add up everything you currently spend on gambling, both online and offline. On online gaming sites, you can take a look at your account activity to find out how much you deposit and spend in a week or month. Offline, take a look at your betting slips, receipts and transaction history of your online banking. Be thorough and be honest.
Step two: Add up all sources of income
From wages to rental income to pensions, add up all the money you have coming into your bank account every week or month.
Step three: Exclude taxes
Depending on your source of income or your jurisdiction, taxes might not be taken out at source. If that’s the case, estimate how much taxes you’ll owe at the end of the tax year. Then take this figure away from your total income.
Step four: Add up your vital expenses
This is one of the most important steps in your DIY gaming budget calculator. Add up all the essential expenses you need in order to survive. This could include:
- Grocery bills
- Energy bills
- Transportation costs
- Education fees
- Phone and internet costs
Step five: Add up all discretionary spends
Now this isn’t about the money you need to spend, this is the money you want to spend. What you might spend it on will differ from person to person, but it could include:
- Cinema trips
- Weekend breaks
- Sports club membership
- Gym membership
- Nights out
Step six: consider savings
Expert financial advice says that everyone should have between three and six months of living expenses in a savings account just in case they need it. For example, you might unexpectedly lose your job or find yourself unable to work.
Do you have that amount of money saved? If the answer is yes, then also ask yourself if you need some money for a big future expense. For example, could you do with a car in a few years time? Do you want to treat yourself to a big vacation?
Come up with a savings plan and put away a regular amount every month to cover it
Step seven: put your DIY gaming budget calculator into action
Add up your expenses (vital and discretionary) and your savings. Take that figure away from your income (excluding tax). And you’re left with the maximum amount you could possibly spend on your gambling budget. If it’s still a little high, consider shaving some money off your gaming budget and putting it into your pension or savings.
Getting help for a gambling problem
If you or a family member has or is at risk of developing a gambling problem, you need to get help as soon as possible.
You should self-exclude from online gambling sites and approach a gambling help organization for additional supports. The National Council on Problem Gambling is based in the United States and has lots of online supports, as well as a phone line at 1800 522 4700.
There are also dozens of international organizations, so you should be able to find one near you.
Here are some of our other responsible gambling posts you might be interested in: