Even as wages only finally start to overtake the rate of inflation, the need to constantly be on top of your spending and budget is paramount. Ensuring yourself against shock bills, making sure your spending doesn’t put your finances into the red, and giving yourself and your family enough money to have a wonderful Christmas holiday period; with a keen budgetary eye, all of these things can occur, and without the looming threat of a lack of money hanging over your head, you’ll feel happier too! With this in mind, here are some of our top tips on how best to budget.
The first and most important thing you should do when budgeting is to both work out how much money you have available for the month and how much of that money is going to be spent on bills, direct debits and other immovable commitments. This may seem like a really obvious first step, but without a concrete idea of you have left over after these essential outgoings, you’ll never be able to safely budget!
Nights out, entertainment and such should be trimmed down, with any excessive jaunts confined to when you’ve got more cash to play around with. Instead of going on a black tie, glitz-filled night out to a casino, get a mobile app from gamingclub.com and play at home on your phone; these kind of sites even allow you to budget your money on-site, setting deposit limits and ensuring you don’t blow it all on red! Instead of going to that expensive multiplex, think about going to a cheaper, independent cinema. Enjoy three course meals? Try out a cheaper, smaller establishment with less of an expensive reputation. Work out how much these activities cost and before you leave the front door make sure to factor them into your budget!
Food shopping is nowadays one of the largest outgoings that families face, especially if there are a lot of chairs around the dinner table! Here, a change of shopping habits is needed, but there’s no need to despair- this doesn’t mean you’ll have to buy inedible cut price foods. Swap your shop to one of the up and coming discounters such as Aldi or Lidl (28p for a bag of carrots!); trust us when we say you’ll be surprised at the quality of off-brand products; and always keep an eye on the discounted and reduced sections in more upmarket supermarkets. Discounted meat is an absolute godsend when you’re budgeting, and works (and tastes) great if you cook it the same night. Treating mealtimes as a more laissez faire, less rigidly planned experience will do wonders for your bank balance!