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Money and budgeting tips

It can be really hard to find the time to manage your money, and if it’s a stressful subject, it can be tempting to ignore it. But taking some time out to sit down and look at what you have, what you spend and what you owe can really pay off. It could help you stay on top of your bills and save £1,000s each year. Here are some money and budgeting tips to help you get started.

Top budgeting tips

Tip #1: Talk to the Money Talk Team

The Citizens Advice Network in Scotland can offer you a free chat with the Money Talk Team, which will help you understand what you’re entitled to and the ways in which you might save money. On average, people save £2,700. Call today and find out if you're one of the 1.5 million Scots missing out on money you're entitled to! It's free and totally confidential: 0800 085 7145

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Tip #2: Work out how much you spend

To get started, you’ll need to work out how much you spend on:

  • Household bills
  • Living costs like food, clothes for the kids (and yourself)
  • Financial products (insurance etc)
  • Family and friends (presents etc)
  • Travel (car costs, public transport)
  • Leisure (holidays, sports, restaurants)

Gather as much information as you can about your income and spending (bills, bank statements etc). You can set up a budget using a spreadsheet or just write it all down on paper. You’ll be able to see easily how much is coming in every month and how much is being spent. If there’s more going out than coming in, you’ll be able to start looking at where you might be able to save some money.

There are also some great free budgeting apps available and your bank or building society might have an online budgeting tool that takes information directly from your transactions.

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Tip #3: Get the whole family involved

Could you get everyone in your family involved with sticking to a budget? Try sitting down together and make a plan that you can all keep to. Work out how much you have to spend and agree what you can each have to spend on yourselves. This is a great way to teach your kids the value of money, and that it definitely doesn’t grow on trees!

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Tip #4: Take cash out

Rather than using your debit card every time you buy something, taking out cash can help to keep track of how much you’re spending. It also makes it easier to see how much you have left and when you’re running out – so you don’t go over your limit. It also feels a bit more ‘real’ than using cards all the time and is more likely to make you stop before buying something, and think about whether it’s something you really need/can afford.

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Tip #5: Ask your bank

You can also talk to your bank and find out how they can help with any payments you’re struggling with, or other ways they can help to make your money easier to manage.

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Tip #6: Shopping lists and meal planning

For lots of families, food shopping is one of the biggest costs of the week. Planning meals and taking a list with you when you do the weekly shop, can help you save money, as you’re only buying what you need, rather than what looks good. Lots of supermarkets' online shopping sites also let you save your shopping list, so it’s quick and easy to do the shop every week.

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Tip #7: Shop second-hand

Charity shops and second-hand stores are great places to shop for clothes and toys. Not only will you save money, you’ll also be doing your bit for good causes and the environment. Why not turn bargain hunting into treasure hunting? Challenge your wee one to find a toy or gift that fits your budget in a charity shop and see what they come up with! Find out more on our shop second-hand page.

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More money saving tips

For more money saving tips, check out these suggestions from the Money Talk Team.

Looking for a budgeting tool?

Citizens Advice Scotland have a great budgeting tool which you can use online here.