A couple of months ago I started to get this unnerving feeling that I was losing all sense of our finances. I knew we had enough in the bank to pay the bills, but in reality I had no idea what was going in and out of our accounts and when, and I definitely didn’t know when I was next going to pay into our savings account. Girl, that next holiday ain’t gonna pay for itself!
So this savvy little millennial did an audit of the last 12 months and eesh those chocolate runs needed to stop. Here are my top tips to budget your month.
- Create a budget
I set myself up with a monthly budget for the next 12 months, based on our spend from the previous 12 months. I included the dates of when all of our bills come out of our account, and I split our monthly spend into four areas; leisure, cars, food, household bills. I go a little bit further with the leisure spend and break it down by day, we have a daily budget that I allow to roll over and usually gets spent at the weekends.
- Use cash
I never used to carry any cash, and would put everything on my debit card. When I decided to start budgeting I thought it might make it feel a bit more like real money if I actually took the cash out at the start of each month. So that’s what I do for leisure and food shopping, and I chuck any small change into a savings jar.
- Transfer into a savings account
Since we got married, Ross and I have a joint account for everything that is joint, leisure, fuel, bills, and food shopping. We each have our own separate accounts for anything personal…I don’t think husbands needs to know how many dangly pairs of earrings you’ve bought that month. At the start of each month, after payday, I transfer anything that was left from last month into our savings account, from both our joint and my personal account. Some months it might be £20, but other months it might be £100, each little penny will get me closer to that *holiday/new dress/spa day*.
- Take a packed lunch
Your girl got herself a little Quinoa Chip obsession this summer…if you haven’t already you NEED to try the Eat Real Quinoa Chips. But anyway, at 85p a pack and with the novelty of contactless payment, I was like yep load me up. Then I did my little audit jobby and realise I had spent a small fortune on said Quinoa Chips. My point is, buying lunch every day adds up, and I can buy a whole loaf of bread for half the price of my beloved Quinoa Chips.
- Love the things you buy
Don’t get me wrong, as much as I am trying hard to budget, I still need to get my shopping fix every so often. For me, that usually means some sort of house plant or a pair of shoes, but it used to mean coming home with half of Primark’s stock. I used to buy so much disposable fashion. I look at things in my wardrobe, or hanging on my walls 4 years ago and I’m like ‘eh?’. So now, I try really hard to only buy things I absolutely love, better quality items on a less frequent basis, that I know have a timeless quality that I’ll still love in years to come. Just making my money go further…
If you want to download the spreadsheet I created for our budget, based on a 2 income household, it’s here – Budget planner download