Budgeting is something that seems to have a bad vibe around it, and over the years it hasn’t exactly gotten the best reputation. It’s often thought of as something designed to keep you from doing what you want and to tie you down to a way of spending.
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But at the end of the day, it’s simply making a plan for your money and it actually gives you more freedom rather than limiting it. It’s about knowing where your money goes to give your spending a purpose.
How budgeting helps
As we said above, budgeting’s about making a plan – especially if you’re setting money goals such as getting out of debt, saving or just trying to curb your spending.
By creating a budget and sticking to it, you could actually find that you have extra money that you weren’t aware of before. You’ll no longer have to feel guilty about certain spending – because it’s been accounted for!
Without further ado, let’s get to it. Here are our top budgeting tips to make your life a little easier.
1. Prioritise what’s important
The best kinds of budget start with the most important categories first. We suggest starting with ‘the four walls’: food, shelter and utilities, transportation and basic clothing.
Your savings should also come at the top of this list. Once you’ve accounted for all these things, it should then be easier to fill in everything else.
2. Create a cushion
Life is unpredictable, and things happen – so make sure you create a cushion for these situations by putting money aside specifically for it. That way should something ever pop up you’ve got it covered without having to dip into other parts of your budget.
It’s also an idea to keep a record of the things that cause you to use the cushion so you can move them into the regular budget if you need to.
3. Be open to change
It’s important to understand that your budget may not be the same each month. Things such as holidays, birthdays, school uniforms or yearly car maintenance such as your MOT etc. will need to be considered.
As such, make sure you account for these when they are due and adjust your budget accordingly. You could even put money aside for these things in the lead up, so you aren’t caught short when it comes around.
4. Don’t do it alone
If you’re married or live with a partner, make sure you make a joint or family budget to include everyone’s income and expenses are included. It’s important to be on the same page when it comes to money, and even more so to set your goals together.
This can help you plan for the future and become closer as a couple. Think of it as our money, not your money.
5. Don’t be afraid to cut it down
If you find that your budget isn’t working out, it might be time to cut back on some things. There’s no point in struggling your way through each month if there’s a possibility to free up some money in certain areas.
These don’t have to be permanent. If your struggles are temporary, then your cuts can be temporary too, and you can readjust it at a later date.
6. Say goodbye to your credit card
This one is for those who are really committed to budgeting or trying to get out of debt. Get rid of your credit cards!
If you stop using them, it means you can clear the balance and then be free from the minimum payments, interest rates and fees. You don’t need that stress in your life, so dump them like your teenage crush and stick to using your debit card.
7. Pay off your debt
If you have debt, paying it off should be at the top of your list. This is even more important if you’re struggling with debt.
Stop letting it rob you of your hard-earned money, pay it off as quickly as you can and give yourself that freedom. If you’re struggling to pay it back, there are options out there for you to do so in a way that’s affordable to you, you can find out more about them HERE.
8. Make it a routine
If you make budgeting part of your monthly routine, then it’ll become second nature to you. It’s can also be a great opportunity to set exact dates for your bills to essentially make a scheduled budget for the month. This is a great time to start meal planning to save money and reduce food waste too.
To add to this, it’s also an idea to set a day/date to do your food shop, whether this is weekly or monthly. That way, you can know what’s expected each month, you can avoid being caught short and make it a lot less stressful.
9. Don’t be hard on yourself
No one master’s budgeting in a day. It can take a few months to get the hang of it but don’t worry, you’ll get there. Do what works and what’s right for you/your family, don’t compare yourself to others as it will only cause you more stress.
If you’re unsure how to create a budget, there’s plenty of online tools out there to help you. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and once you get into the swing of it, it’ll become second nature.
Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful and would be really good if you start budgeting today and find your way to a better money mindset. Remember, budgeting isn’t about restricting your freedom, it is about giving it back to you.
Do you create a budget? Do you plan ahead? What do you think of these tips? Can you add more tips to this list?
*Disclosure: Paid Collaboration With Creditfix.
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