Despite recent reports that the economy is beginning something of a recovery, monthly budgeting is still an essential for many people. It’s a key skill to learn for anyone who wants to be able to manage their finances successfully, whether that’s balancing incomings and outgoings or creating enough room in your monthly expenses to be order to be able to invest and save. If you’re looking to hone your budgeting skills then here are a few tips on how to do it.
Monthly Budgeting Tips
- Get to grips with the basics. The most important element of budgeting is understanding how much you have coming in and how much you have going out. So if you’re starting from the beginning then this is the first step to take. List your incomings and outgoings on a monthly basis and then compare the two. If you have a large shortfall between what’s coming in and what’s going out then it might be time to start making some changes. You can make your money go further by keeping control of it rather than simply hoping for the best.
- Don’t leave it all to the end of the month. Most of us have a large number of payments to deal with every month, from the rent or mortgage payments through to council tax, energy bills and mobile phone bills. Make a note of when all your payments are due to come out to make sure that you don’t miss them, and if you have direct debits or standing orders set up for awkward dates remember that you can easily change these so that they work better with the dates that money is incoming to your account. If you know you have large payments due at the end of every month then set aside a little each week to cover the due amount rather than putting all that stress on your finances in one go.
- Can you make any savings? Cutting expenses from your monthly outgoings can be crucial to taking the pressure off and making your budgeting work better. This is particularly important if you have added up your incomings and outgoings and found that there’s a bit of a gap. Typical areas where you might want to look at savings include reducing your food budget, switching energy providers to take advantage of recent falls in energy prices and cutting out all those ‘treats’ that we don’t really need, such as extra clothes shopping, eating out and excessive booze consumption.
4. Have a plan. One of the best ways to do your monthly budgeting exercise is to continuously monitor your finances and the easiest way to do that is with a plan. You might want to consider a spreadsheet that you can use to record all your monthly financial activity and to look ahead to what your estimated incomings and outgoings will be over the next couple of months. Knowledge is power, as they say, and once you have a thorough knowledge of what you spend your money on you’ll find it easier to make it last.