Looking after a family is difficult enough at the best of times. Throw the stress of dealing with finances into the mix, and it can seem practically impossible to keep everything under control. From personal loans to everyday expenses like food and energy, there’s a lot of different monthly costs to think about. Fortunately, having the right budget in place can help you to feel more in control of your money – no matter how much, or how little you have.
If you’ve been worrying about keeping on top of your finances lately, then the following tips for better budgeting will give you an easy way to jump back into the driver’s seat.
The easiest way to get more control over your budget, is to pay closer attention to where you’re using your money. If you know where you’re more likely to “overspend” you can put solutions in place to protect yourself against your triggers. Sometimes, simply watching your bank statements online will be more than enough to keep you on track.
However, if you need a little extra help with watching your spending, don’t’ be afraid to take a look at some of the apps available for today’s digital-savvy spenders. Mint.com, for instance, offers a great tool for budgeting that you can use to categorise all of your regular income and expenses. That way, you can see if you’re spending more in one area than you’d like.
Budgets are tricky at times – particularly if you’re a beginner. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set a budget that you can be comfortable with. Take your knowledge that you’ve gained from tracking your spending habits and use it to make a budget that you can stick by. Remember to give yourself enough room to pay for everything from your rent or mortgage, to your entertainment and food shopping.
While you’re budgeting, think about your goals for the long and short-term. While it’s important to plan how you’re going to spend month-to-month, you might also want to consider what you’d like to be saving up for in the long-term. For instance, maybe you want to move to a new home, or pay for an amazing family holiday.
Being the only person responsible for enforcing a budget is a really tough job and something that can end up making you resent the other people in your family. It’s not fun being the person who always has to say “no” to things. With that in mind, make sure that everyone in your family is just as committed to making this budget work as you are. If you all share the same goals, it’ll probably be a lot easier to stay on track.
Getting other members of your family involved in your budget also means that you can bring some out-of-the-box thinking into the mix. Other people might have ideas on how to increase your savings potential that you hadn’t thought of yourself.
One great way to make sure that you really get the most out of your budget is to set some time aside each week where you can focus on getting everything paid and taking care of repayments. For some people, it’s easier to have bills all go out on the same day each week – right after payday, so that they’re not tempted to overspend.
While you’re picking days for your expenses to be dealt with, don’t forget to find some days that you can spend once each month to evaluate your budget. As you continue to change your spending habits, you’ll begin to learn things about your needs and spending that may mean that you need to adapt your budget a little.
Finally, if even after some hardcore budgeting, you’re still finding it difficult to track down all the cash you need for your bills, savings and anything else, then consider looking for some other ways that you can make a little extra cash. For instance, maybe you could start learning how to sell things online, like furniture that you’ve made at home, or items that you dropsell with another vendor.
You can also try renting things out, like your car parking space, or an extra room that you’re not using in your house. With the age of the internet, it’s easier to make money than ever before.