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We all know that when it comes to looking after our finances, one of the best things to do is budget. The trouble with budgeting, apart from the fact that sometimes it can be no fun, is that it isn’t always easy to get the hang of.
So if you’re feeling like a bit of a dummy when it comes to making sure that you keep track of your finances we have put together our helpful budgeting for dummies guide. Full of useful tips that are going to help you to get to grips with your cash flow; read and you will attain budgeting superhero status!
When thinking about a budget, it can be tempting to delve down into the finer details. Not only is this boring, believe us, but it is also a real waste of your time. Rather than working out how many cups of tea you drink in one day, and how much that costs, break things down. You can make it really simple by taking your wages and then removing monthly bills and expenses. The rest is what you have to divide into food, clothes and social money, too!
If you keep telling yourself that you cannot afford any treats, then you are going to end up having a massive, unbudgeted splurge that will see you dive back into the red. This means that whilst it may feel a bit naughty to splurge, there is no shame in working out a treat every now and then. Figure out a sensible time when you can splash out or a special date to work towards and look forward to, or it could even be a regularly monthly treat such as meal out in your local bistro. So have a little savings pot in your budget for feel good factor. This could be something as small as £10 per month, which if spent every 6 months could be a nice pair of shoes or an item of clothing.
Being in debt isn’t the nicest feeling in the world. Particularly if you are finding that the interest rate means that you don’t have much of an impact on the grand total when you make a payment. Time to stop spending on those credit cards – cut them up if need be or at least remove from your purse or wallet so you can’t easily succumb to credit temptation. Take a step back from them and instead focus on paying them off. Always pay more than the monthly minimum as this will help reduce the amount owed quicker, and make sure this the first thing that you pay out each month. Not only will you see the amount go down, but once you are debt free, with all cards and loans paid off, you will also have more money each month to save or play around with.
A budget is set, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t re-evaluate every now and then. In fact, you should regularly – say, every 3-6 months, as certain bills or rent might increase or your wages may go up, or you get a new higher paid job. This means that you can take a look at your budget and perhaps make some adjustments. Give yourself a larger splurge pot, or up your savings amount each month.
Things change, and your budget may need to move to accommodate but the same rules about living within set means apply. Remember to always be realistic and create a budget that works for you and with you to achieve your finance goals.
Budgeting might not be fun, but for the majority of people it is necessary. If you approach budgeting with a positive mindset then it will make things that little bit easier. It is also a good idea to remind yourself that it won’t be forever!