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How to budget your money

Does your money run out before next month's paycheck?

If you've answered 'yes MagicFreebiesUK, you're darn right!' then it's time to start thinking about budgeting! Do you spend more money than you earn? If so then you need to consider learning how to budget your money - and have we got the guide for you!

Overspending is a downwards spiral - if you end up spending more money than you earn then you will end up borrowing. Any further income you do earn will go towards paying off debts - you'll end up being in debt for a very long time, which is not a good thing. Check out our tips below to help you get back on track.
by Colleen B

  1. Make A Budget

    A budget is simply a money plan. With this money plan you can organise and control your financial resources and set personal targets. Overall it will help you understand more about your in-goings and outgoings. You'll never have to guess where your money has gone again!

    There's no time like the present to start a budget - the sooner the start, the sooner you will be able to start saving money. Simply use the Guardian Budget Planner to find out where your money is going each month and where you can make savings.

    Try and think about every single thing you earn, spend and save and remember be honest! It will help you to realise where you need to cut down and you will have a greater idea of your personal finances.

  2. Downsize Your Credit Cards

    If your wallet or purse is bursting at the seams then maybe you've got too many credit cards! If you have too many credit cards it makes it easy to lose track of all the different bills at the end of each month and you could find yourself falling behind on your payments.

    Why not limit yourself to two? One for general spending and another locked away in your safe-deposit box. This extra card than then be used for emergencies, for example if your credit card got stolen.

  3. Keep Track Of Your Monthly Outgoings

    Now that you've discovered where your money is being spent using the Guardian Budget Planner, it's time to keep track and on top of your spending. The best way to do this is to buy a notebook and keep a Spending Diary.

    A Spending Diary will enable you to see where you end up spending your money and will increase your awareness of what goes out of your account. This way you can review your purchases and start learning how to manage your money.

    Don't forget - Write down every little thing - there's no point keeping a spending diary if you don't include everything you spend your money on. Keep receipts - if you've gone out for a big day shopping then make sure you keep the receipts. This will help you make sure you know where they are in case you ever have to return an item too!

    At the end of the first week evaluate your spending - is all your money being spent on coffee? Time to start making your own at home!

    Continue to evaluate your spending - at the end of the year you will find yourself better at managing money and knowing exactly where and what you spend it on!

  4. Outline your goals

    Once you find out where you're spending money - it's time to treat yourself! No, that doesn't mean you can rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe... it means that you can start thinking about the future and get excited.

    Do you have any big holidays or weddings to look forward to in the future? Or maybe you're thinking about getting a new car? Now is the time you want to start figuring out what you want to do with the money you are going to save in the long and short term.

    Don't forget to give yourself a suitable time period in which to save up your target amount. Repeat the goal to yourself and write it down in your Spending Diary - for example, "I want to be able to buy a car in two years from now.

  5. Keep Organised

    This may be an obvious one, but it's very necessary! Why not keep a draw specifically for all your bills, receipts and more? Separate them into folders and you will be able to keep on top of everything.

    You could also keep track again of your finances using the computer - if you have a spreadsheet program such as Excel there are plenty of templates for budgets to help you keep organised. Don't forget that this is only a good idea on your personal computer or laptop!

  6. Consider Using Cash Instead Of Your Credit card

    Using cash instead of credit will help you to keep track of how much you have been spending. You won't be forced to pay late fees if you pay everything by cash!

    A great idea to help you save money is to take out a certain amount at the beginning of each week. This will help you, especially if you choose to leave your credit card at home!

  7. Food Glorious Food

    If you find yourself spending a large amount of money on food - don't worry, it can be easy to cut down the cost. Remember, don't forget to check out our Restaurant Vouchers page where you can find some great deals on eating out when you feel you need a treat! You can also check out our Save Money On Food page.

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