Let’s face it, life is hard anyway without worrying about your household bills and how you’re going to budget for a child’s new pair of school shoes! I have been writing a monthly household budget for me and my family for the past few years and over that time, I have learnt a lot about household budgeting as a family as well as what we really spend our money on each month!
Don’t get me wrong, these next few tips take a bit of time to set up but it’s absolutely worth it! It’s taken me a couple of years to get this organised properly so don’t worry if it takes you a little while to get into the swing of it! Whether you are completely new to budgeting or you have a handle on things already, you will definitely find these tips valuable in simplifying your finances!
Have a master list of bills
So, let’s get started. The first thing you need to do is write down all of your bills! This may seem like a laborious task but writing down all of the things you absolutely have to pay out each month is a great place to start. I have all our bills and outgoings written in an Excel spreadsheet that I can do our monthly budget from each month. This ‘master’ copy is only changed when I need to add, take away or change the amount of a bill. Make sure your budget has a totals column so you can see how much is coming out. I have made it easy for you and created an exact copy of mine for you to download to get your going. This may help you to write down all of your bills accurately but if you need to, go through your last few months bank statements to double check you’re not missing anything.
Be realistic with amounts
The next thing is to be realistic with how much things actually cost you. There’s no point in budgeting £50 for a weekly shop if you also do a top-up shop of £20 during the week! Budget the whole £70 instead and then you’re not leaving yourself short at the end of the month! This may be scary but believe me, if you can see any bumps in the road coming, it will be easier to deal with than trying to find money at the time!
So how do you actually stick to your budget once you have done all the hard work? Simply Saving has some great tips!
Create a monthly list
From my ‘master list’ I sit down just before Mario gets paid each month and I list all bills and outgoings for that specific month. This changes monthly due to things like birthdays, anniversaries, school uniform, etc being only certain months. I just have a Word doc with them all listed in the date they are paid order. This also helps to plan out my month, so I don’t have any unexpected outgoings. I have a copy for you to download to make this easier.
Separate your money
Once you have your bills all listed and your organised for the month ahead, one of the easiest ways to make sure your money goes to the right place is to have pots in your account or different bank accounts for different things. This is easier if your bank has a ‘pots’ system. I use Monzo so can create unlimited pots for different things such as bill money, play money, direct debits, shopping, Mia’s pocket money. You can also do this with different bank accounts for different things. As soon as you get paid, separate the money out straight away so there’s no chance to spend on things not in budget! Another great thing to do is to have any savings you want to make listed as a ‘bill’ and get that separated as well. This means you’re more likely to save and not see it as money to spend.
Each week, go through and tick off the bills that have been paid, have a running total so you can make sure you have enough left in your bank account. This is really useful to know where you are overspending so you can deal with it before it becomes a problem later in the month. You can find a copy of mine on the 2nd sheet of the ‘master list’. It’s just a really basic way of managing money on a weekly basis.
This all may sound like a lot of work but honestly once you have set up your ‘master’ list and then got a monthly list that you can edit each month, it literally takes me 10 minutes at the start of each month to do my budget for the coming month. It’s so easy and simple to do. I hope you have got some useful ideas from this and remember you can download my FREE ‘master list’ and ‘monthly list’ to get you started!
If you’re looking for ways to save money on a tight budget, Stapo’s Thrifty Life Hacks have you covered!
Do you have any other great budgeting tips?