Now I know, I know talking about money tends to be frowned upon. However, having a monthly budget is a trademark of adulthood. Yet sticking to your arranged budget is more difficult than many would think. You can have an unexpected expense or overspend and have to rework your budget to accommodate it. With practice, you will soon be able to master your monthly budget like a pro. Here are 10 pro tricks to staying within your monthly budget.
1. Know Your Income
Spend a good amount of time working out how much money you will receive that month. If you have been working overtime or working seasonally, you will need to to work out how much money you will gain. If you have had an unexpected illness that month, take a small percentage off of your normal wage to accommodate this. That way you aren’t overestimating your income.
2. Set Up Direct Debits
By setting up direct debits, you ensure that your bills will be paid first. Which will allow you to avoid fines if they aren’t paid. By choosing a date following your payday, you will ensure you can pay your bills on time. This will stop you from worrying and improve your credit rating.
Treat saving as an obligation every month. By saving a small amount of your paycheck each month you will have a fund, if anything unexpected happens. By saving each month you will show discipline and determination.
4. Have a Shopping List
When you are going to the shops to get food for the week, make sure to be organised. By writing a list and checking your cupboards before you go, you avoid purchasing unnecessary items. This allows you to keep a close eye on your finances and allows you to keep your money longer.
5. Occasional Treats
You shouldn’t live your life avoiding things you want. When creating your monthly budget, allow a small pot for treating yourself. If you don’t allow this, then you will begin to resent budgeting and blow all your cash in a single retail session. By doing this, you will feel worse about your finances and have to live frugally the following month to counteract this spending spree.
6. Set Goals
Even if it’s a simple financial goal like paying off your credit card or saving to get on the property ladder, you are more likely to reach your goals if you define what you want. Everyone wants to do things, but if you don’t plan for your own goals then you’ll never reach them.
Children are often given pocket money and told when it’s gone it’s gone. Why not use this trick for your own monthly budget? By giving yourself a small amount – say £15- for treats during the week you discipline yourself. If you spend too much on a lunch out mid-week then you’ll have to cope with packed lunches until the following week.
8. Don’t Spend More Than You Have
I know its tempting to use your credit card to purchase that coat you are dreaming about but don’t. Debt is a slippery slope and with high-interest rates, it can be impossible to escape. Therefore, save up some money for your coat then buy it. You’ll appreciate the purchase so much more when you’ve worked for it.
9. Ditch the Expensive Coffee
It’s easy to stop by a café every morning and buy a coffee on your morning commute. But at 3 pounds plus for a coffee every day, it soon adds up. Instead, make a coffee at home and put it into a thermos for your commute. This is an easy way to cut down on spending and save a small amount at the time.
10. Talk yourself out of purchases
My gran used to tell me, ‘whenever you want something, stand and look at it for a good five minutes’. It’s probably the best advice she could have given me. Five minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time but its often enough to decide whether you really need the item. It has allowed me to avoid impulse buys and spending my cash on things ill never use.