When money’s a bit tight sometimes things seem to be get worse instead of getting better.
It’s easy to struggle on hoping that things will improve on their own, however taking positive steps like putting a budget together and sticking to it can be easier than you think.
Check out our budget plan tips to help get you off on the right foot:
Gather Your Information
You don’t guess your size when you go to buy shoes or clothes so why guess when budgeting? Get the facts together - payslips, the bills you owe and look at your outgoings. It will take a few minutes to do but without having that information, the budget just won’t fit!
Make Sure That you Have ALL the Information
Do your figures include outgoings that don’t come up every week or month – Things like school uniforms and shoes and annual bills like TV licence, car insurance and tax? Do you know how often you can expect these kind of expenditures? Try to include all predictable costs.
Keep it simple
There are loads of simple budget plan calculators easily available on-line. The Government’s Money Advice Service budget planner can be found at moneyadviceservice.
Don’t count on future bonuses, overtime or pay rises unless you know they will definitely come. Look at your payslip and take into account your real take-home pay, not what you hope it will be! Also, take care not to over-count the costs as this might make things look worse than they really are. Accuracy is key.
What Costs Can you Legitimately Cut?
Shop around. Try to reduce the big bills like car and home insurance – there are loads of websites that can help you to get really good deals. Look too at the smaller, more regular costs. Gym memberships that you pay for but don’t really use, shops’ own brands that are just as good as the big names or treats that you can manage without? Check out the deals that you can get on your gas and electricity. Every pound you can save helps.
Can you Get More Income?
Maybe there are benefits that you are entitled to but not claiming.
You can get free benefits and budgeting help from:
National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 (www.nationaldebtline.co.uk) StepChange Debt Charity on 0800 138 1111 (www.stepchange.org) Citizens Advice on 08444 111 444 (www.citizensadvice.org.uk)
Allocate Your Money
Once you’ve got your budget, try to put money aside to make sure that the regular bills will be covered. You might find it best to open an account for bills or keep your money in separate jars so you know where it is.
Keep Your Budget Under Review
Set yourself a reasonable period of how often you will look at your budget and see how it’s going. Ever month or three months would be a good starting point. If the figures don’t add up – don’t leave it. Check it out and see what’s going wrong.
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Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk