Working out how to budget has not been a mentality I’ve been thinking with for the past few years. I love the idea of having money, and hate being broke but there is just one problem – I’m so used to living payslip to payslip. In fact, the idea of needing to budget for a real reason, such as not actually having a monthly wage coming in, is utterly terrifying. So how do you actually budget when you’re used to spending?!
1. Write down the total of what you’re actually dealing with and have coming in for the month.
2. Then make a note of regular bills and direct debits, as well as the date they come out, so you know how much you’ll have left over to “play” with.
Personally I have mine set to come out during the first week of the month because it’s around the same time I’d also be paid, that way everything is settled and I don’t have to worry about something bouncing or incurring charges.if I do over spend later in the month.
I was doing this for the last couple of months of my old job and managed to put aside an extra £900, but since I’ve been unemployed there are a few extra things I’ve been doing to help me keep on top of my finances…
Cutting direct debits
Realistically at my age, and still living at home, I don’t even know why I have so many monthly outgoings outside of my money towards the mortgage. I’ve recently had a look at my bank statements and cut down my useless but expensive direct debits. For some unknown reason I had over £300 of direct debits set up, which is insane, and have instantly cut that down to £70 for the essentials – my phone bill, Netflix and my Adobe package.
Clear your overdrafts
Easier said than done I know (I’ve had multiple), but the easiest way to do it, is by reducing by £50-100 every month as money comes in. Personally I bit the bullet and reduced it by £500 and felt the pinch but it was totally worth it, because now it’s cleared and all the money in my account is actually mine.
Avoiding those “SALE!” emails
By nature I’m quite an impulsive person – shopping, piercings, spontaneous fringe cutting – but my impulsive shopping was the worst! If you’ve totally got your shopping habits under control then there’s no harm in looking at the offers, but the temptation those sale emails bring is real. Now I delete them as soon as they hit my inbox.
Food and clothing budget
Now just because I delete store emails as they come doesn’t mean I deprive myself of shopping altogether, to me that would be like trying to cut out all the food I love – it would end in over indulgence, and being broke.
I already chip in £50 towards the food shopping at home, and could probably work out a way to factor in a monthly going out / shopping budget, but instead I’m selling things that I’ve never used on eBay and doing weekly carboot sales to build up that fund. Not only is my room becoming clutter-free but everything is going to someone who wants it!
Ditch the contactless card!
I’ve found that I’m much better at managing my money when it’s actually tangible cash that I’m dealing with, but having a contactless card, whilst convenient, would mean I thought I still have money left in my account only to see my balance drop by £200 in less than a week. Those little touches add up.
I’ve never been one for ‘about me’ pages so let's keep it short and sweet: I'm 25 (so I guess you could assume I'm going through a quarter-life crisis), London-based, love food, oh, and partial to a rum-based drink... or just the rum tbh.