For years, budgeting has been one task which always seemed like a bit of a chore to me – silly thoughts, I know. I guess it could be my sheer dislike of maths which perhaps deterred me from watching my money and rather my fondness of shopping which somehow fuelled my spending habits.
But over the past few months, the reality of how important keeping a budget is has really dawned on me. So with this in mind, I have set myself a challenge to keep to a budget. Some days it goes well, other days I somehow ‘forget’ it exists.
However last month, I really did surprise myself. I found a method which seems to work for me and I was amazed at the outcome. Work colleagues encouraged me to use a spreadsheet, I downloaded various budgeting apps and my Mum even bought me a special budgeting book. But none of these methods seemed to really help me – granted, I am sure I wasn’t using them how they were meant to be.
The thing that worked and is still working, was writing everything down. Yes, it seems like an extra effort and it is quite an old-school method. But when I sit down for five minutes, after battling through various codes and secret questions to access my online banking (feeling like a Special Agent) and once I’ve finally fought my way through goodness knows how many receipts, I feel not only organised but happy.
Perhaps this is a turning of age type thing. Maybe as I’m approaching the grand age of 24 I have finally realised how much things cost and how much I can save. Somehow the supermarkets price match deals and 2-4-1 offers are looking more attractive – yes, I’m turning into my Mum sooner than I thought. I only dread to think how much money I wasted over the years on so many unnecessary items – and how much I could have saved.
But you know, I guess we all have to learn at some point. Now I am by no means saying I have mastered the art of budgeting – but I feel like I am making progress. We all have to start somewhere and if you are like me, desperately searching for ways to save then I thought I would share my top three budgeting tips.
Top 3 Budgeting Tips
Write all your spends down
Grab yourself a notebook – divide it up into day sections, add a general monthly outgoings page which includes your key expenditures (rent, bills etc.) and a weekly overview of your spends.
At the end of each day, gather your receipts and simply write down all that you have spent; then at the end of the week, total this up. You will soon see how much you are spending per week and where savings could be made. Plus, it will help you to plan your budget better for each month.
Do a weekly food shop
Yes the pain of going once a week and carrying heavy bags is perhaps one of the ultimate chores, but by doing one shop a week you will be amazed at how much you can save. Of course if you need to pop in for the odd item – do so, but after popping into a supermarket everyday for seven days a week to grab a handful of items, it is so easy to spend large amounts on very little things and it soon all adds up.
Make a list, budget yourself to a set amount and shop around for offers. Perhaps even do your weekly food shop online where you can keep an eye on the total amount. You will not only save a good amount of money, but also time as you can by-pass the shops on your way home and simply make a short trip to your cupboards where it will feel like a goldmine of food – you’ve got to love that, right?!
Look at the forthcoming months and see if there is an event or occasion which you need to save up for. It could be something like a car or deposit, perhaps a holiday or a special outfit – by planning ahead it will not only help you to work out a budget but inspire and encourage you to put a little aside each week.
Getting organised could also mean planning your weekly shop and meals which would help you to stick to your budget in the long-run. Once you’re in this habit, you will soon notice how much you will save and by keeping to this, there may even be more left over for you to enjoy!
So there you have it – three easy budgeting tips which are working for me. I found lots of useful advice online which has encouraged me to get organised and budget better, so definitely do a little research and find a method which will help you.
As I am getting older, the importance for budgeting has become greater – I only wish I had taken my Mum’s advice sooner! Let me know if you have any top budgeting tips or methods which you have found helpful!