When it comes to managing your finances, having a budget is imperative. But how do you create a budget that you’re actually able to stick to? Here, I explain.
How Does A Budget Work?
People often say that “you need to set a budget”. But what does a budget look in practice? For starters, you need to think of your budget is a financial plan.
The length of time you set it for will depend on you. You’re able to choose if you want to budget for the week, month, or year. But the principle is always the same; you’ll decide what you have to spend (and where you want to spend i, before you actually do. It means that the purchases you make are mindful and controlled. Click here to find out more about how a budget could work for you.
Being Realistic Is Key
Setting a budget isn’t about majorly restricting yourself, or banning yourself from spending any money at all. Instead, you’re deciding where your cash is going to go. You’re working out how much you have to spend and where it needs to be spent.
If you want your budget to work, then you need to be realistic. There’s no point allocating a tiny amount to socialising (for example), if you know that you’re set to go out for dinner and drinks three times within your budget period.
You also need to allow yourself funds to buy new clothes and other luxuries. If you can afford it and you’ve budgeted for it, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it either!
Remember Annual Expenses
It’s almost impossible to stick to a budget if you don’t factor in annual expenses. You will have to MOT your car (for example) and pay for your car insurance. You will also probably want to factor a summer holiday into you budget.
Have a good think about the things you pay annually when coming up with your budget. Because if you fail to factor these things in, sticking to your budget will be very difficult.
Costs Do Go Up
Remember, costs go up and things don’t stay the same price forever. According to the Office for National Statistics, inflation has risen by 3% over the past 12 months. That means that everything is around 3% more expensive than it was a year ago. To account for this, we need to increase our budgets each and every year.
If you don’t take time to look at how much things are from time to time, then you will find sticking to a budget hard. So we sure to check in and to look at prices, so you can increase your budgeted amounts as and when you need to.
Pay Into An Emergency Pot
Sometimes things go wrong. So if your boiler breaks, or your washing machine needs fixing (for example), then you’ll need a way of paying for it. To ensure that an unexpected cost such as this doesn’t break your budget, pay into an emergency pot each month. If you have some emergency cash sat there, you’ll be able to access those funds when things go wrong.
Anybody Can Budget
Remember, if you don’t think that budgeting is something you can do yourself, then Citizens Advice can help. Money and finances can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re struggling to make it to the end of the month with the money you have. So make sure you ask for help if you need it.
Note: this is a paid collaboration.