No matter how much money you have, it’s still really important to budget. Budgeting means you can stay on top of your spending, keep money aside for emergencies and maybe even start to save up money too. If money is tight (and let’s face it, money has been tight for most of us recently), then it’s more important than ever to have a budget and stick to it. These three budgeting tips will help you to get on top of your finances and start to take control of your money.
1. Know how much things cost
This might sound really obvious, but do you actually know how much you spend each month on even your basic bills? Many households couldn’t answer that question off the top of their heads. Knowing how much you need just to keep a roof over your head and food on the table should form the basis of your whole budget.
If you don’t know this information, then it’s time to work it out. Sit down and go through your bank statements and write down every single bill you pay out each month. Make sure you include quarterly or annual bills too, you can break the amount down into how much it would cost each month if you want to. You can either just keep a written record of this, or you can use an excel spreadsheet. It doesn’t matter how you do it, so long as you do it.
2. Make cutbacks where you can
If money is tight, then it’s time to make cutbacks. There are a few different things you can do here.
- Get rid of non-essentials. This might mean getting rid of a TV subscription or gym membership. If you don’t have enough money to cover it, then they need to go.
- Switch providers. When your insurance/broadband/gas and electricity contracts come to an end, you can usually save money by switching providers. You can use a comparison site such as uswitch.com to find a better deal.
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3. Meal plan
Meal planning is so underrated, it can save you an absolute fortune when it’s done regularly.
Before you start to plan your meals, it’s always a good idea to go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have in. Then, you can start to plan a few meals based on your existing supplies. Once you’ve done that, you can plan your other meals for the week. Write out a shopping list based on your meal plan and ONLY buy what you have on the list. I like to shop online as it helps to stop me from being tempted by offers I see in-store and it definitely saves me money.
Just following these three simple tips will get you started on the way to getting your budget under control. Once you can see what you’re spending, you can see where to make cutbacks to help you to save money.