Hands up if you don’t have a budget?! Or if you do – when was the last time you checked it? I’ve previously written about some budget tips HERE. I personally know a lot of people who still don’t use a budget. Yes, I know it’s a hassle & definitely not the most enjoyable task – especially if (like me!) you experience anxiety around money issues – but I can’t stress how beneficial it is. After the initial discomfort (perhaps!) of seeing exactly what is in your bank account & what you have been spending your hard-earned money on, there is a real sense of empowerment that comes with getting on top of your spending habits. Trust me! It also brings a real clarity to what exactly you are spending your money on. The “occasional” takeaway coffee or lunch with friends may not seem like a big deal, but seeing the total amount you may have spent on it in black & white in front of you, can often be a shock! I know I find it hard to keep track of my spending especially as it’s so easy these days just to tap your contactless debit card! It’s almost too easy to spend money. Be The Budget (a great financial resource) writes about the importance of budgeting HERE.
There are loads of free budget templates that you can download online if you’re not confident on spreadsheets yourself. Not to mention the many financial budget apps that are available (I’ve never found one of these that I’m happy with though!). Or of course, you can use good old fashioned paper & pen – that tends to be my favourite method – I have a dedicated budget journal, although I’m trying to progress to a digital format!
However, once you have set your budget & are happy that your spending falls into a manageable amount compared to your income, it’s not just enough to leave it as it stands for months on end. You may be self-employed and your income may be variable (like me!) – in this case it is harder to budget but all the more important! You may also be on a commission-based salary which varies month to month. Expenses are also variable – at the moment the cost of car fuel & heating fuel is set to sky rocket (unfortunately) so this all needs to be taken into account & your budget adjusted accordingly. Not to mention any other household / food expenses which may increase or personal / family expenses. Keep on top of these changes & alter your budget when needed, otherwise you may find yourself falling into a deficit each month. I’d recommend reviewing your budget every 3 months unless there have been significant changes as mentioned above.
I’ve been in that situation many times – where there is just not enough money left over at the end of the month & you wonder why?! It’s a clear sign that your budget needs some attention & updating! It’s easy to get carried away with spending but I’ve found that especially when money & finances are tight anyway, there really is not much wiggle room before things start to slide.
If you are in the situation where your outgoings exceed your income I’d highly recommend taking to a financial professional who will be able to give you advice & may be able to help. There are lots of options available these days, including debt consolidation. You can find more information about this HERE. Make sure to do your research & choose a reputable company, no matter what route you do down.
Let me know your thoughts & experiences with budgeting?