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: Use our Financial Health Check
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.
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!
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.
Tip #5: Ask your bank
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.