Every time I hear the word ‘budget’ , I think of the Chancellor standing outside 10 Downing Street with that red suitcase and holding it aloft for the tens of paparazzi there waiting to snap a quick photo.
Yes, budgeting. It’s not easy. Whatever income you have coming in, it’s all about prioritising, especially if you don’t live in your own place. Whether you’re employed, unemployed or self employed, having a budget is so important.
It’s always better to be in a position to be able to budget. I’ve been to that place a long time ago where I literally had nothing. I’ve never been one to ask for money, back then I said that if I didn’t have it, I didn’t have it. I wouldn’t splurge on random shit I didn’t need. Purely because I couldn’t have that luxury.
When it comes to payday, the temptation to spend some of your hard earned money on that Topshop jacket or Adidas trainers is unreal. If you’ve got the money, then why not spend it, right? Hmm, think carefully. Will you regret that impulse buy near the end of the month, that point when you stare at your bank account with squinted eyes and hope the numbers will change? At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you manage your money.
In the last 18 months or so, I’ve become a lot better and more financially aware with my money. I don’t spend like bat shit crazy on the latest trends anymore. I’d rather spend my money on making memories than buying the latest Zara jacket everyone seems to be buying.
Now, I don’t want to sound like a boring old fart saying “You need to save my dear” or “You need to open a savings account in a building society” (something my Dad made me do when I was SIX YEARS OLD) one memory that still haunts me to this day? My Dad practically frogmarching me to the building society to make me put my birthday money into my savings account. I left there almost crying. No new Polly Pocket set to add to my ever-growing collection.
Ok, back to the present day, here’s my budgeting tips and advice that may help if you’re worried about your finances –
1) KEEP TRACK OF YOUR MONTHLY FINANCES
This is something I do religiously. I have a book which I write down my monthly finances. As my wages differ each month as I don’t work the same amount of hours each week, I write down my wages down one side of the page. The other side of the page I write down my outgoings. It definitely assists me in keeping track of my money. One thing I like to do is to do a ‘half way through the month’ check and see how much money I have spent and how much I have left. Usually I end up having to be extra careful by this point.
2) LIST YOUR MONTHLY DIRECT DEBITS / BILLS
Every person’s finances are different. Some have more bills than others. Some have more direct debits than others. I know my direct debits and bills that go out each month like the back of my hand. I can even tell what day of the month it gets taken out of my bank account. Also be careful of the ones that get paid annually rather than monthly. It could come as a nasty surprise when you check your bank balance and you can’t figure out why £30.85 has disappeared. Write down somewhere when annual amounts are meant to go out. Add up all direct debits and bills then you will know how much you will have spare for the upcoming month.
3) CHECK YOUR BANK BALANCE WEEKLY
I like to do this to keep my mind at ease. A few years ago, somebody stole my card details and did a Supermarket Sweep type shop in Morrisons in Essex on numerous occasions. Thankfully, I got all of my money back but the heart attack I almost had when I had realised what had happened was REAL. I’ll never forget being in absolute bits on the phone to my bank when it happened. Thankfully the incident hasn’t reoccurred. Checking my bank balance weekly means I can see all of my outgoings and incomings.
4) KEEP RECEIPTS
Obviously if you’re self employed, you DEFO need to be doing this. But even though I work part time, I still keep the receipts from my visits to the petrol pump or when I visit Boots to buy some shampoo. I keep them until I know that the money has gone out of my bank account. I don’t know how I got into this habit, it’s just something I do. But it’s a great way to keep track of your weekly spending.
5) SAVE SAVE SAVE!
I don’t care if you only £1.09 in your account at the end of the month, it’s still something! Ok, maybe it would be better to put in a bit more than that. I have actually grown to love saving my money. Even though I had that nightmare visit to the building society when I was six, maybe Dad did teach me a valuable lesson that day. I have two savings accounts, one for general savings and my Help To Buy ISA. I split whatever money I have left at the end of the month into each account and it’s surprising how much it’s gone up in the last year or so! When saving, think of the house you want to put a deposit on, those pair of trainers you’ve been dying for or that holiday you want in the Summer. It’ll be worth it my loves.
6) TREAT YOURSELF!
If you know you are going to be ok money wise, do treat yourself to a little summin. Obviously don’t go on a massive splurge and land yourself in debt, but order a cheeky ASOS order once in a while. A treat once in a while never hurt anyone.
7) STICK TO IT!
Please, on my begging knees (ouch, I just lent on a small stone on the carpet) please stick to your budget! You’ve invested so much time and effort into your budget, don’t bloody blow it. This doesn’t mean I don’t want you to limit your lifestyle or having fun with your friends, but just don’t regret that splurge you made in River Island.
What are your tips/advice on budgeting?