5 ways to get rid of budget concerns once and for all
Do you live pay-cheque to pay-cheque? Do you decide to be strict after payday to manage a budget, but find that the money is spent or allocated before you have the chance? With the UK's consumer debt in excess of £1.4 million, you're not alone.
But safety in numbers is no reason to be content with the situation. Getting a handle on your finances takes a little practice and discipline, but is certainly achievable. Here are five steps to help you stick to a budget:
View salary in percentages
This may be the easiest and biggest one to implement. Let's say your bills - including rent or mortgage and utilities - come to 50% of your salary, and your mobile phone, petrol, broadband, food and other subscriptions are 20%. That leaves you with about a third of your salary. You could then decide to put 15% straight into savings, and a standing order would do this automatically, and keep 15% for miscellaneous spending, with any left over at payday going into savings. Some bank accounts will automatically transfer money into your savings account at the end of the month if you ask them to, which allows you to build a savings fund without thinking about it.
Apps have made mobile life much simpler for many of us, and they exist for seemingly everything - including your money needs. There are plenty available, both free and paid, to help you manage your budget. From tracking withdrawals, deposits and transfers to business expenses and cloud synchronisation, they can remember repeat actions (like a salary or paying the Sky bill) and even display graphs to visualise how your money is being spent. Giving a small fortune to Domino's every month without realising it? Now you'll know.
Register for online banking
You don't need to send money via online transfer if you prefer the traditional methods, but being able to access your accounts online and on the go means you will always know how much money you have - which can be a huge boost to anyone trying to control their spending. Have you ever bought something, only to go overdrawn because you had forgotten about a payment that came out earlier that day? Online banking can make that a thing of the past, and help ensure your account is always in the black. No longer do you need to phone customer services or wait for a paper statement to find out how much money you have - it's all just a touch away.
If you have a set budget, such as £50 for your food shop or £80 for entertainment for the month, then cash can help you stick to this. Whereas a card does not show your balance nor tell you that you won't have enough left after the purchase, cash gives constant updates on your balance - if you take only the money you decide to spend and leave your card at home, you physically can't spend any more. This is perhaps the best method for someone starting to manage a budget, as it removes any chance of failing.
Streamline your outgoings
This won't help you manage your money better, but it will help you be wiser about what you spend and ensure you know where your money is going. Are you paying standing orders you didn't know still existed, or subscribed to a service you're not using anymore? Is your phone bill higher than it could be? Maybe you're paying high interest on a credit card and could reduce that expenditure by moving to an interest-free card instead. Wherever your money is going, it's important that you know about it and that you want it to happen. Any amount you save by streamlining will help you manage your budget, but even if you don't save anything, you'll be in a stronger position by knowing what you are spending and when.
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The details provided in this article are for general information only and are in no way deemed to be financial advice. All of the material is correct as of the publication date, but could be out-of-date by the time you read the article. For our latest information and news, please see our articles section: https://www.portafina.co.uk/whats-new
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