Creating a budget and sticking to it can be overwhelming initially and for a lot of people “living on a budget” instils fear. Immediately you’ll start picturing yourself having to cut back on the essentials, and living in an almost Victorian-esque fashion. But that is simply not the case. Setting a budget and living within your means can be well worth it at the end of the day. The vast majority of people and families, at some point in their lives, will want to save up money for something – whether that’s a crucial home repair or a luxury holiday – and one of the best ways to do so is budgeting in your day-to-day life. But where do you start, how do you keep the focus and most importantly, how do you stay on track? We hope that these tips will help you set a budget and keep you motivated to ultimately save a lot of cash.
Do Your Research
As with any lifestyle change, doing your research is one of the best bets you have of having a real go at it. No matter what is going on in your life, do some research and find out whether you could things cheaper than you currently are. For example, if you were to sell your property and wanted to save money, why not look into using a we buy any home company? A lot of the time they’ll value your house for free, and buy it in cash in as little as seven days. This process is not only a lot quicker, but also a lot cheaper than going through the traditional rigmarole with high street estate agents, as you cut out estate agent fees and all that comes with them. Of course, that’s an example, but if you can save on something so big, just imagine what else you can save on when it comes down to it.
Food shopping can be expensive business, and so another good one to look at, is where you go about doing your grocery shopping. A lot of people stick to one supermarket, but if you were to shop around you’d be surprised at just how much you can eventually save. At different points, different supermarkets are likely to have a variety of deals on, and if you look at which ones are doing them on a weekly basis, you could find yourself saving a lot. Likewise, it’s always worth checking online and in the newspaper for supermarket coupons and discounts, every little helps!
Make Your Budget, and Stick to it
Formulating a budget is a lot easier than you think it would be. Remember that everybody’s financial situations and styles of living are completely different, so your budget is likely to be entirely unique to you. That being said, you will however have to take the time to assess your money matters. A good method is as follows:
- Make a sort of spreadsheet, or whatever it is you find easy to create and follow. Begin by figuring out how much money is coming into the household on a monthly basis in total.
- Next, figure out your outgoings – and be honest with yourself. Sure, write down the essentials like the food shopping, and the bills, but also note down any other ways you find yourself spending money.
- Then look at what you have left over at the end of the month. After doing this go back to your spreadsheet, list, or however you’ve chosen to note it down, and figure out where you’re spending, perhaps slightly unnecessarily, and look at where you can cut back and save. By doing it this way, it’s not as daunting because you don’t instantly feel like you have to live off the bare minimum, it’s all just about cutting back and saving where you can.
- And of course, STICK to the budget! If something about it isn’t working, then of course alter it accordingly, but absolutely make the effort to stick to the budget itself. If you don’t, then you’ll not only be wasting your time, but your savings won’t add up as quickly as you’d like either. Be realistic in planning, and this shouldn’t be an issue.
Pay Off any Debts
Last of all, but certainly not least, make sure you pay off any debts that you owe. Whether it be on a loan, credit card, or the odd couple of hundred you’ve lent off your mum to help you out, pay it back.
Having debts hanging over your head can make saving feel impossible, but if you pay them back, then immediately you’ll feel as if you have more of a chance of saving. It really doesn’t matter how minimal the amount you’re paying back is, it’s the doing it that’s the important thing. If it makes you feel better, work this into your budget.