Although budgeting can be useful for many of us to do, it can feel like it is hard work. Many of us may not even start because it seems too hard, but there are ways that you can make it much easier for yourself.
Remind yourself why
It is really important to make sure that you stay motivated. It can be difficult to always stick to a budget, particularly if it is a tight one and you have to go without things as a result of it. Therefore you need to keep focussed on why you are doing it. It may be that you are trying to pay off debt, save up for a holiday or some other reason.
Write down your goal and why it will really benefit you in the future – such as ‘reducing spending to leave £200 a month to pay off credit card so I can be debt free’. Stick the note somewhere that you look every day such as on a mirror in your bathroom or on your desk. Then make sure that you do read it and imagine how good you will feel when you achieve that goal.
Keep written records
When you need to keep to a spending budget then it is really important to keep a written record of everything that you are spending. It is possible to use apps or spreadsheets to do this, but you may prefer to write it out by hand. It can just be a very simple record, but it is important to have one. Just note down everything you are spending and add up the total. You should know what your set budget is and this will allow you to make sure that you do not go over your budget. If you know that you have bills going out at certain times of the month then make sure that you allow enough money to cover the cost of these.
Work together as a household
If you are part of a family or house share then it is a good idea to all work together. You may have you own incomes and budgets or you may have a shared income and budget but either way you can help each other. If everyone is aware of the budget then they will understand that they will not be able to get you to pay for expensive things. They should put less pressure on you to spend out money, as they will know that this is not something that you want to do at the moment.
Plan shopping expeditions in advance
If you are goings hopping, for any reason then it is wise to plan in advance. Write a shopping list and make sure that you stick to it. Going in shops will be the most difficult thing that you do so you will have to be very strict on yourself. It can be wise to go online before shopping and compare prices so that you know that you are not paying more than necessary. It can take time, but all of the savings that you can make will add up and you will find that it can make a significant difference over the course of a month.
It can be difficult to go into shops and avoid buying things that you do not need. It can be tempting, particularly if you see something that you regularly buy or that you really like or is a great bargain. This is when you need to really work on making sure that you do not spend more than you can afford to. It is wise not to go into shops unless you need something and possibly even to avoid walking past if you think that the temptation will be that bad. You will know yourself how likely you will be to walk in and buy something.
Have several accounts
When you are trying to make sure that you do not overspend then it can be useful to have several bank accounts. If you move money out of your current account, then it will be more difficult to spend it. Therefore having a savings account with the same bank can be very useful and you can move money into that. If it is an instant access account, then you will be able to move money in and out as you wish.
Sometimes it can be good to treat yourself to something small. Perhaps at the end of the month, if you have stuck well to your budget, then have a small treat. This could be something which you have to buy, but you may be able to think of something which is free to treat yourself with such as a relaxing bath with candles, a long walk or something similar.