Your Personal Budget
If you want this to be the year you get more control over your finances, read on.
1. Work out your expenses
Use paper if you like, but spreadsheets are handy for dragging things around until you’re happy. You can create different tabs/pages and calculate your regular earnings and outgoings, including all your utility bills, car insurance, loan repayments and mortgage or rent – including when they end. The spreadsheet can be programmed to add and subtract for you, so you can work out exactly how much you have left after the essentials are paid for.
Downside: It’s time to face reality
Upside: You can plan a budget
2. Draw up a simple budget
To help you work out when you’re going to need to put money away, you can also use the spreadsheet to create a calendar and ‘pencil in’ irregular expenses, These might include house improvements, holidays, school uniforms and trips, birthday treats and so on. If you’re going to need to borrow money this year for a particular reason, you can factor this in too.
Downside: Time investment for creation and tweaking
Upside: You can plan better use of your money
3. Commit to saving
There are a couple of simple hacks to help you put money away each month, without giving it a second thought. Work this into your spreadsheet too.
a. Set up a regular automatic payment into a savings account
b. Save pocket change or small notes in an old whisky bottle
Saving just £5 a week equates to £260 saved per year; £10 a week £520; £15 a week £780. Many of us don’t have an emergency fund to help cope with unexpected expenses, which adds to stress and worry.
Downside: Temptation to raid the savings fund
Upside: Give yourself more of a financial buffer
For more tips to make your money go further through the year, read our blog 12 ways to have more money in 2015.