Budgeting is something that everyone aims to do but unfortunately not all of us are good at sticking to it. This year, me and my boyfriend have decided to buy a house (it’s bloody exciting!!) so we reviewed our finances and booked an appointment to speak to a financial adviser. We’ve both become pretty good at managing our finances to save as much money as possible while still allowing ourselves to have a good time. So, I wanted to share our tips with you in case you’d like to do something similar. I’ve broken it up into simple steps to make it easier to understand but if you’d like more information/ have any questions about any of this please let me know!
Write down how much your total income is each month. Write down how much your essential expenses are (eg. rent, bills, food, transport). Deduct this amount from your total income.
From how much you have left, decide how much you want to save each month (eg. if you’ve got £500 left you could reasonably save £300).
What’s left after that is your budget for entertainment, socialising and treating yourself. I would recommend allowing a little bit more than you think you’ll need, just in case you need to spend more money than expected.
If you have any money left at the end of the month, either put this into your savings, put it into a ‘rainy day’* savings or reward yourself for staying under budget for the month.
* Rainy day savings is there for when you need money unexpectedly like when your laptop breaks or you need to get some work done on your car. Having this spare money in place will prevent you from dipping into your savings and putting you behind schedule with your budget.
Keep your savings somewhere where you won’t be tempted to spend it. I used to keep mine in a bank account but when I started to run out of money at the end of the month, I’d ‘borrow’ a little bit from my savings which is never a good idea! I currently keep mine in a safe but will soon be opening a first time buyer’s ISA account. This will be completely up to you to decide what will work best for you.
Ways to save a little bit of extra money:
Swap your expensive little habits for cheaper ones and save the difference. For example, if you buy a coffee every morning then invest in a travel mug (these can be as cheap as £2) and start making your own coffee to take on the go with you. Put away the exact amount you normally spend on your coffee each day into your savings so you won’t even notice it’s gone.
Use cash instead of a debit card. This makes you more aware of what you’re spending so you’ll think about your purchases more carefully and will end up spending less.
Be smarter with your food shopping. I’m sure I’m not the only person guilty of buying my lunch out when I’ve got perfectly good food I could’ve used at home! I now make a much bigger effort to spend as little on food as possible by thinking about what I buy from supermarkets to make it last as long as possible. Meal prepping is great way to do this because it also saves the issue of running out of time in the mornings.
Obviously I’m no expert on money but I’m really happy with how well I’m doing at the moment and I know first hand how frustrating it can be when you’re trying really hard to save but getting nowhere with it so I wanted to share my advice with you. Please share any other tips you have in the comments below as well to help us all out!