Keeping track of your household spending can be tricky, particularly if you’ve only just moved into your own place or you’ve never had to manage your finances before.
Creating a budget can sound a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve got some handy pointers to help you keep on track:
1) Budget: putting together a budget for the first time is easy when you know how. So, to make it really simple for you, we’ve got a really easy guide on how to create a budget, which you can find here. To get started you just need to know how much money you’ve got coming in, and what you need to spend it on.
2) Prioritise: make sure you put money aside for the really important stuff first. Your rent or mortgage of course, but then allow for food, utilities, council tax, and essential travel such as commuting. It’s really important to make sure the essentials are covered before you even think of allocating money for other spending.
3) Review: figuring out how much you spend in any area is a learning curve, so don’t worry if you don’t get your budget right the first, second, or even the third month – take notes of where you went wrong, and learn from them the next month.
4) Keep receipts: when it comes to the end of the month, having all of your receipts in front of you will really help you to see what you’ve been spending your money on and where you can afford to cut back – you might be shocked just how much you spend on items like magazines or newspapers, so it’s worth taking stock.
5) Pay off: clear any loan or credit card repayments before you look at taking out any more credit. The more you have, the harder it might be to make the repayments.
6) Check: make the effort to check your credit score at least once a year through one of the three main agencies, Equifax, Experian or Callcredit – if there are mistakes, get them cleared up as quick as possible by contacting the relevant agency.
7) Save: if you struggle to save because you find it too easy to spend money as soon as it’s in your pocket, it might be a good idea to come up with something worth saving for. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes, or a family holiday – having a target can make it easier to kick the spending habit!
8) Wait: if you’re up late on Amazon and there’s a once-in-a-lifetime bargain on an Xbox One that you think you can’t live without, hold off from buying it right away and see how much you still want it the next day. More often than not, the excitement of treating yourself to it will have disappeared, meaning more money in your pocket!
9) Co-operate: get the family involved – it’s all well and good making a budget, but if your partner or kids aren’t keeping track of their spending and sticking to your plan, it’ll be much harder to keep in control of the family finances.
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Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender.