Tips on how to budget

Cut your cloth accordingly

It’s a famous saying that essentially means don’t spend more than you have. Don’t live a champagne lifestyle if your budget is lemonade, it’ll only end in trouble.. and possibly debt, it’s as simple as that.

Excel planning

If you’re struggling, create a spreadsheet with your ins and outs. This way you’ll be able to see clearly what you have left at the end of your expenses, and how much you have to play with. Need some help? Here’s our top budget planners.

Say no

If you only have £5 in your account and your friends ask you for a night out, it is okay to say no and that you can’t afford it, you don’t have to do everything.

Food waste

Don’t waste food, have a ‘clear up’ day at the end of the week where you use up left over ingredient… and just what’s left in your fridge. It’ll mean you don’t waste money on food. If haven’t already sussed it, supermarkets tend to have huge reduced sections towards the end of the day, try shopping at 9pm on a weekday or 3-4pm on a weekday and stock up on the good stuff that’s about to go out of date… and then freeze it (if possible) or eat it.

Bulk buy

Buy a train pass in bulk, or if you drive take your expected petrol allowance out in cash at the beginning of the month so that you don’t have to factor the payments in throughout the month

Think about it

If you see something you want to buy, a piece of clothing, a new pair of shoes for example, do the ‘think about it’ test – if you’re still thinking about it in a weeks time then buy it, if you’re not then you obviously didn’t want it enough in the first place.

Check regularly

To stay on top of finances, it’s a good idea to monitor frequently, if daily is too much then do it a few times a week… just so you know what’s going out so you can keep on top of it. Also if you check often you’ll know when to rein it in, and when you can have a blow out. Alternatively, download a budgeting app – here are a selection of our favs.