Do you struggle to budget properly? – want to know the secrets of how to save without missing out? You’re in the right place!
Clever budgeting is all about learning to live with what you have, and still have some fun!
You will find lots of inspiration and ideas within the 10 tips I have listed here, and I hope they help you to become even more savvy with your pennies!
How come some people never seem to have to worry about money – No matter how much they earn?
WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
How can we make our money go further, make it count better in our lives, and not have to worry so much about it?
- Most of could do with help with budgeting if we’re honest.
- It’s all too easy to spend what you have and then worry about emergencies etc… as and when they come up.
- So many of us live from one pay day to the next, hating the last few days of the month as we have run out of money.
- What about having enough for treats and rainy days?
We all struggle at times with budgeting – money tends not be considered until we’ve run out. But there is another way…
Have you ever taken time to work out where your money actually goes each month, and what could you have saved and made better use of ?
I want to go through 10 ways to help with your budgeting that have helped me over the years – and those tips are just coming, but first I wanted to share something with you…
A little bit of budgeting inspiration…
A few years ago I read a great book – a real eye opener in terms of budgeting. It was called “How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day** by Kath Kelly.
I really recommend this book if you are struggling with working out how to make more of your money, as it puts everything into perspective, and shows some very imaginative ways of really living on £365 for the year. there are a few good tips to get from it as well – it’s quite light hearted but worth a read!
It’s quite amazing really how little we can live on if we really need to – and if we really think about what we spend every time we get our purse/wallet out.
Now, this is an extreme method of working out what you really want/need to spend money on in life – but it does get you thinking about how much you probably waste each day.
Budgeting Tip #1 – Know your budget!
It sounds so easy, but for many of us we have no idea of what our incomings and outgoings are each month.
If you don’t have a firm grip on these figures, then how do you know what’s left to spend on the other stuff?
To really understand your budget, start by writing EVERYTHING down that you regularly have to spend each month: –
- Mortage / Rent
- TV license
Then write down all your incoming monies.
Take away the total outgoings from the total incomings and then you will know what’s left and therefore what you can spend on other things – however little.
We all have different incomings and outgoings, and however much or little you have, you can still make the most of every penny and make it count.
TIP – Remember too that people who have more money coming in more often than not have much larger houses with much larger outgoings as a result – so you may be better off than you you think!
The trick is to not worry about what you haven’t got, but simply make the most of every penny that you do have.
If you know what you have to spend each month, then you can work out what you can really afford, and cut down accordingly. But you have to know first – knowledge as they say, is power!
Budgeting Tip #2 – Prepare for the worst
Along with your fixed costs, you need to budget for emergencies.
What if your car broke down and needed some work doing, what if you were out of work for a while, what if your child needed extra money suddenly for a school trip etc…..???
If you budget what you can each month into a savings account – and keep this as a fixed direct debit into another account – then you will go someway to protecting yourself against the unknown.
Make savings part of your fixed outgoings as they are just as important as a mortgage or childcare and should be treated as such – I wrote about having more than 1 bank account a while back which shows how this can be done really easily.
Emergencies do happen – and you have to work out the best way to minimise their effect – as the last thing you want to be worrying about when the worst happens, is money.
Always better to be safe than sorry….
Budgeting Tip #3 – Be realistic – what’s a luxury and what’s a necessity?
When you create your budget, be realistic with yourself over what your fixed costs really are.
Don’t add into your budget things like eating out, expensive toiletries, clothes etc…. unless you can afford to.
So often people assume that they have to budget for things like this, and then wonder why they end up in the red at the end of every month.
It’s about being clever with your money, spending as little as you can on the necessities, and minimising the luxuries so you get the balance right.
Often it’s the little things that make all the difference, and cutting down on these really can add up to big savings – for instance, do you do any of the following regularly?:-
- Find yourself throwing out food past its sell by date
- Not using up all the bottles of shampoo/toothpaste etc… because you prefer to open a new one
- Little extra spends that aren’t really important – a coffee on the way home, a magazine that you only read a little of, etc….
- Eating out / takeaway – when you have food in the fridge and time to cook
- General treats!
- I could go on……..
Why not try cutting back for a while, or simply using more of what’s in your cupboards for a while and see what a difference there is on your bank balance.
Budgeting Tip #4 – Christmas happens every year…..
Another big budgeting issue for some can be the big spending parts of the year – Christmas is a prime example.
Do you always find yourself struggling in January, and paying back credit cards well into the new year?
It’s time to take a different tack.
Christmas is NOT an emergency – it happens every year – as do birthdays and holidays.
We know that we need to spend at these times, and therefore they should be budgeted for throughout the year.
Ideally we would all put something aside each month so we have enough to pay for these items as and when they occur – but realistically this isn’t always possible as there’s simply not enough in the pot.
We can also find that we get swept away with the event itself, and end up spending far more than we can afford, and that’s when the trouble starts.
IT’S TIME TO BE REALISTIC
Why not create an affordable spending budget up front so you don’t go overboard?.
My family now spends £15 on each person/couple for Christmas – still enough to buy something lovely, but it keeps Christmas much easier to manage. Others I have talked to only buy for children in the family, which again works well. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford, as it will be worse to have debts – Christmas is only a day after all (and if you can’t afford anything, why not gift help to others – a voucher for doing something for them would be a very welcome present I’m sure, and won’t cost you a penny, just some time).
Another way I save for Christmas and other events is to keep any points/vouchers that I accumulate over the year and use them for presents as well (We all have to spend on food every week, so why not use a store points system to accumulate points and then spend those points on the big shops of the year).
I also buy presents for people when I see them on sale throughout the year – keeping them for that persons birthday or Christmas – that way you get a bargain and the recipient gets something they love – everyone’s a winner!
Thinking about the big events of the year well in advance can really have a big impact on your budget, and you will be a lot more prepared in the long run.
Budgeting Tip #5 – Use cash not card
If you struggle to keep your spending under control, then I find that using cash rather than a card really helps to make you more aware of your spending.
At the start of each week take out enough cash to cover your budget for that week – and only use this money.
That way you will see very clearly how quickly you spend it, and you will become much more aware of your spending as a result.
Budgeting Tip #6 – Be prepared
It’s all too easy to walk out of the door each morning without any preparation for the day ahead, making spending much more likely.
What I mean is that we then have to buy everything for the day. Mid morning coffee, lunch, snacks, misc. items that we have left at home etc…. – it all adds up – and quickly!
If you can leave the house a little more prepared then you can still have these things, but for a much better cost. Here are some quick and easy ways to save money each day:-
- Take a flask of coffee with you to drink when you get to work, or on the way
- Make a packed lunch – use leftovers from last night to reheat, make a salad or a sandwich, take soup in a flask – all easy and quick, and will save you loads (a sandwich shop can charge around £10 for a drink and a sandwich – £50 a week – whereas you can make a more healthy one from home for a fraction of this cost)
- Take a large bottle of water with you each day to drink throughout the day. If its summer, why not freeze overnight so its lovely and cool when you want a drink!
- As part of your supermarket shop, add in multipacks of crisps, cereal bars, a large bag of nuts that you can split up into smaller bags etc…. as snacks to take with you each day. The cost saving here as opposed to buying individually when out and about is shocking! – and you are still enjoying the same things.
- Just make sure you have everything you need for your day with you when you leave the house. I have got to the gym only to have forgotten my towel, and am then charged £2.50 for using one of theirs – wasted money I’m sure you’ll agree.
- Make sure you do everything you can in each place you visit in the day to save money on petrol – why take 2 trips in the week to the same place if you can avoid it?
Budgeting Tip #7 – Save your pennies
Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves….
We’ve all heard this before, but have you ever actually saved your pennies and seen how quick they can add up to substantial amounts?
We have a penny jar at home, where we put any coins we have that are weighing down pockets, making our purses bulge etc… – or any coins found under the sofa etc…
When it’s full I count it up and bank it into our savings account – and its usually around £30-£40! from basically loose change.
Do this a few times a year and your savings will thank you for it!
As the famous store says – every penny really does count!
Budgeting Tip #8 – Are you spending unnecessarily?
So, you’ve got a grip of your outgoings, and know what you need to earn each month to keep on top of them, but going an extra step may just help you even more.
You may well be able to reduce your outgoings by shopping around a little – look at all the bills you pay and see if you can get them for less elsewhere.
Often we are spending more than we need to because we haven’t looked into other providers for a while.
You may be surprised at savings that are out there. Check out www.moneysavingexpert.com for details of how to find savings for most things!
Budgeting Tip #9 – Research your shopping
Search online when you want to buy something – see if you can find it cheaper anywhere. I often find that an online store has better deals than going to a store in person – and there are always promotional codes to be found (simply type in the shop you are using, along with the words “promotional code” and you will find any deals that are currently out there – really handy for a quick saving!)
Can you use a cash back website such as quidco, or get points if you spend on a certain card? If you are going to buy a product anyway, you may as well get a benefit from it!
Budgeting Tip #10 – Treat yourself
As with diets, you won’t stick to a budget if it’s all negative on a day to day basis – you need to feel that you get a treat every so often – and it’s the same for budgeting.
To be able to stick to a budget for the long term, you need to be able to treat yourself every now and then.
Make sure you have some money somewhere for a treat, whether it be a weekly small treat like a magazine or a beauty product, or a large treat like a holiday – if you consciously treat yourself every now and then, budgeting will be a breeze!
The nice side to budgeting also means that you will be more aware of your spending, and hopefully end up with more money at the end of the month for treats or savings – what could be better than that!
So – you have now got more of a sense of what your budget should be, and what you have left each month.
Sticking to what you can afford, minimising your outgoings and maximising your incomings can really transform the way you think about money.
Whether you have lots or just a little to play with, it’s about maximising what you have, while ensuring the emergencies and special events are also catered for in advance.
I hope that these tips help, and look forward to hearing about ways that you save money too!
P.S. If you want even more tips (80 in fact!) on ways to save money to help your budget go further, then click HERE.