Nobody likes to hear the dreaded ‘B’ word, but budgeting can be the key to actually enjoying the money you have rather than constantly feeling like you don’t have any.
It’s easy to do once you form the habit. Making your cabin crew
pay packet last longer can be very rewarding, and for many of us reigning in the spending in the run up to Christmas is simply a must-do. So here are some helpful hints on how to budget better.
1. Focus on savings:
Whether you’re saving up for a new car; a holiday, or that must have handbag, once you’ve created your budget you need to work out how much you can save every month – even if it’s just a tenner. The best way of making sure that you do save a little money every month is to open a savings account which you only have limited access to (for example five withdrawals per annum) and then set up a standing order from your current account so the day you get paid, your savings will transfer automatically into your other account.
2. Put away your credit and debit cards:
At the beginning of every week, take an amount of cash out of your bank account that you’ve budgeted for non-essential purchases such as a night out with friends or a new pair of shoes. This will really help you stick to your budget as when you’re down to your last five pound note you will know that you can’t afford to go shopping.
3. Share the responsibility:
If you live with a partner or housemates, make sure you’re not the only one concerned about budgeting. If everyone in your household takes part, you will all find you have more spare cash and the bills will be easy to take care of. Spend some time discussing household costs with flatmates, to make sure you’re not the one buying all the cleaning products and bathroom essentials every month.
4. Credit Card debts:
All of us have been there at one point or another – we can’t quite afford something we ‘need’ so we borrow it on a credit card. Although the minimum payments on your credit card every month might feel manageable, you will end up paying back so much more in the long run. Try and pay the absolute maximum you can afford each month, so you don’t get stung by interest rates. Also, cut up the physical card so you can’t spend on it while you’re trying to pay back your debts.
5. Track your receipts
Admittedly this is the most boring part of budgeting, as writing down your expenditure can take forever! But if you follow step two by using cash instead of your card where possible then your online banking statements won’t be much help to you. Buy yourself a nice notebook and each week just jot down what you’ve spent and where, and add it up. You’ll soon realise how much cash actually passes through your hands.
6. And finally; be flexible!
Life isn’t going to cost you the same amount week in, week out. You might have a surprise social event; or your car breaks down, or maybe your best friend needs to be treated to lunch. Whatever happens you need to be able to pay for it. The best way of doing this is to have a bit of money put aside every week that hasn’t been budgeted elsewhere. That means if something unexpected happens you’ll be able to pay for it, and if it doesn’t, well that’s a little extra cash for you!
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Article written by Alison Clements