The summer holidays is an expensive time for parents. (Let’s be honest, aren’t all times expensive for parents?!) Going away on holiday is expensive, even if you stay in the UK. There’s always added treats and meals out in addition to the cost of the accommodation. And if you don’t go on holiday and decide to just do a few days out? They’re flipping expensive too! Unless all of your days out are walks in the forest with a picnic, which is of course a very good day out, but kids might not want to do it every time.
We’d all like to not worry about money, but most of us do worry about it at least some of the time. And sadly there are plenty of people who have to worry about it all the time. Whatever your situation, the only way to make sure you’re properly prepared for whatever life throws at you is by budgeting.
Needless to say, the number one rule to financial success is always spend less than you earn. It’s not rocket science. But unfortunately, you can’t do that if you don’t actually know how much you’re spending in the first place! Here are a few ideas to help you get more out of your money, not just this summer, but all year round.
Get back to basics
Begin budgeting by looking at the basics – figure out how much you earn every month, and how much you spend. Consider the difference between the money you have to spend, on things like your mortgage and bills, and the money you
can avoid spending, on things like entertainment.
Dividing your cash up into the must-haves and the things you want will help you understand where you need to cut down. Be aware of your own spending flaws, and keep an eye out for any areas where you struggle to stick to your budget.
Don’t cut out all of the fun
Although it’s important to account for every pound and know exactly where it’s going, cutting out all of the fun will make you miserable and more likely to slip up. So whether it’s days out, the cinema or a takeaway, just aim to cut down rather than cut it out completely. So if you have a takeaway every week, aim for one every fortnight instead.
Don’t pay too much for your bills
It’s very easy to think that your bills are set in stone. But it’s not difficult to shop around and find a cheaper provider, potentially saving yourself several hundred pounds a year, when you add together gas, electricity and broadband. And if you’re look ing for a loan, make sure that you compare the options available to you
in advance so that you’re sure you’re getting the lowest interest rates.
Have a separate savings account
You might not think you can afford to save, but by budgeting more carefully, you should be able to put a bit away for a rainy day – whether that is for a new car, a future house project or a holiday. When you’re a compulsive spender, it’s easy to spend all of the money you see in your current account, but if you put it away in a savings account, it’s out of sight and hopefully out of mind. It’s also harder to get hold of when you’re tempted by a new pair of shoes!
Seeing the savings build up over time, especially with interest, and knowing you can put it towards your long-term plans is far more satisfying than a pair of shoes.
Give yourself a cushion
Budgeting more carefully means that you give yourself a cushion for when the unexpected happens. We all know how costly car repair bills are – and most of us would struggle to live without a car for long. And what about a washing machine breakdown? It’s good to know that you can sort these problems out without going into debt.
Do you budget? Do you have any other tips?
This is a collaborative post.