This post was provided by thinkbanking.
Keeping our finances in check isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be. Especially in tough times like these, making sure we keep on top of how we spend our cash is important – which means finding a way that works for you.
Successful budgeting is a tried-and-tested method of managing your money well and making sure all your financial commitments are taken care of.
Here are some top tips for making your monthly budget a success.
Keep track of your spending
There’s no point in keeping a budget that only works on paper – but getting it all down on paper is a good place to start (or a spreadsheet, if you’re more computer-minded).
Making a list of all the things you spend your income on every month should give you a much better idea of exactly where your money’s going.
Of course, you’ll have essential costs to take into account from month to month: such as your rent/mortgage, utilities, fuel costs and food bills. However, you may realise that you’re spending too much on your cell phone bill, or on things you and your kids basically don’t need – and making a budget can give you an idea of how to move your money around so you can cover the cost of the important things, and cut back on the non-essential extras.
There are certain bank accounts that could help you to budget, by separating your money into different accounts, e.g. one for your utility bills and other essentials – and another that’s just for your ‘spending money’. This could reassure you that you’re never spending beyond your means.
Keeping a close eye on your statements – and using internet banking to get regular updates on the shape of your balance – could also help you to stay in control of your finances as a whole.
Stay within your spending limit
Once all your essential costs have been accounted for, whatever you have left is your ‘spending money’. As long as you spend within your means, you shouldn’t have to turn to credit cards or other forms of debt just to get by.
There are some ‘traps’ you could easily fall into when it comes to over-spending – but there are often straightforward ways of avoiding them. If you’re going shopping and worried that you may spend too much on your debit card, why not take out only the cash you can realistically afford to spend – and leave your card at home?
If you feel you might give in to temptation, you could try telling your friends about your plans – you could even help each other to stay within budget, by organising nights in rather than going out, and renting a movie rather than going for an expensive trip to the cinema.
A successful budget won’t just help you financially in the short term – it could help you achieve your financial goals in the future too. If you feel reluctant to cut back on certain things, think about the money you’ll be saving, which you could put towards a vacation, a deposit for a new apartment, or the cost of redecorating – it’s up to you.