Isn’t it time you made a budget?

When it comes to managing my finances I’m no Martin Money saver but after getting in a bit of financial stickiness I pulled in my belt, organized my finances and  I was able to not only get Debt free but purchase my own property.
I wish I could say after that it was happy ever after but unfortunately, this is not a fairy tale. After living with my parents two years in I am still getting to grips with my extra outgoings but this is where a budget comes in handy because it makes you see what you are spending and what you have left over.
It may seem difficult and to figure out simple ways to save money and how to use your savings to pursue your financial goals but it doesn’t have to be.

 Here are a few money-saving to help you develop a realistic savings plan.

Know what you owe
I always tell my friends that hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. Simple! Unfortunately, you need to know how much debt you currently owe.

That’s everything:
Credit cards
Car payments
Student loan

A lot of people don’t want to know what they are spending or how much debt they are in and I’ve heard every excuse under the sun to put off finding out
“I’m going to pay off a few debts then I will find out”
“I will check when I have some more money”
“I’m scared”
Being scared of the unknown is normal and facing up to your financial messiness is painful but I promise you won’t die. Remember once you know exactly how much you owe you can then take steps to start paying off the debt.

Record your expenses
The next step to saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses—that means every coffee, magazine, and snack you buy. It’s worth investing in a small note book to record your expenses store any receipts. I would say if you did this for a month (Perhaps from pay day to payday) you should have enough info to accurately document your spending.
 Once you have this info, sit down with a pen, paper your note book and your bank statement, organize your spending into categories, such as petrol, shopping, and mortgage or rent, and total each amount. If you bank online, you may be able to save time by filtering your statements to easily break down your spending.

Make a budget
Once you have documented your monthly expenditure, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget.
Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and avoid overspending.
In addition to your monthly expenses, make sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car road tax.
There are many different budgeting techniques and apps to you use and I’m sure if you do you research you will find one that suits you.

I personally like to use an excel spread sheet in which had a record of all my outgoings and incomings as well as my outstanding debts and things I am saving for so that all of my finances are in one place which I update monthly. You can down load a copy of my budget HERE

Plan on saving money
Now that you’ve made a budget, create a savings category within it (There is already one in my downloadable budget). Try to put away 10–15 percent of your income as savings or whatever you can afford, If your expenses are so high that you can’t save that much, it might be time to cut back. To do so, identify non-essentials that you can spend less on, such as entertainment and eating dining out. I Next week I will blog about tips and ideas for saving money every day as well as cutting back on your fixed monthly expenses.
Tip: Think of savings as a regular expense, similar to groceries, is a great way to reinforce good savings habits.

Choose something to save for
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—anything from a deposit for a house to a Holiday, work out how long it will take you to save for it, and then add to the budget voila!
Here are some examples of short- and long-term goals:

Emergency fund

New sofa
Car deposit
Designer hand bag (I really want a Louis Vuitton  Neverfull tote bag)
Home improvements

Deposit for a home
New car

When I was saving for my flat I was like a financial beast every penny was accounted for and I was actively looking for ways to top up my savings such as doing eBay and boot sales. Once e I reached my goal I lost a lot of my discipline and got sloppy with my spending so I have found having saving goals not only keep me financially focused but gives me something to look forward to.

Work out  your saving priorities
After your expenses and income, your goals are likely to have the biggest impact on how you save money. Prioritizing goals will give you a clear idea of where to start saving. For example, if you know you’re going to need to replace your car soon, you could assign more of your saving budget towards that.

Separate your finances
I am literally the queen of accounts!

I have a high-interest account for my long term savings
A current account for short term savings and emergency’s
A current account for my bills and direct debits
A current account for my daily spending
That’s four different accounts lol

For me, I find that it makes it easier to stick to my budget and limits impulse buys
Make saving automatic
Standing orders and Direct debits are an honest to god send. I try to make sure that all of my payments and savings leave my current account on the  1st  of the month so after that, I know exactly how much I have left to spend for the rest of the month. Most banks have internet banking or even better apps so you can keep an eye on your transactions regularly.  Standing orders are great are a great way to save money since you don’t have to think about it and it generally reduces the temptation to spend the money instead.

Keep an eye on your finances
Check your budget and savings at least every month ideally once a week, it is important to keep it updated with any miscellaneous spending.  Not only will this help you stick to your personal savings plan but it will also help you identify and fix problems quickly and even find ways to save money.

Cheeky change tip
I like to buy those large tin money boxes that you have to open with a can opener (You can get them from pound shops) and every evening when I get home I empty any spare change from my bag or pockets into it. Once its full up change up the money and treat myself to something nice guilt free  

I hope you found these tips helpful.
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How do you currently manage your income and savings?

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