To build the best budget possible, there are a few things which will really make it a lot easier.
Yesterday we wrote about the freedom a budget can bring. Having a decent knowledge of where your money goes can make all the difference when you’re trying to save or spend.
But to really get the most from your budget, to really understand where your money goes, the more detail you have the better. You can guess how much you spend, but there’s a really good chance you’ll miss something or get it wrong.
So, in the second of our budgeting week blogs, we share three things which will make your budgeting easier.
Our money expert Andy Webb takes you through the things you need to start a budget
1. Your bank statements
The first of the three tools to help is your bank statement. If you spend on credit cards too, grab those bills as well.
If you can find three or four months’ worth, you’ll have an itemised list of most of your spending. This is a great way to start building an accurate picture of where your money goes each day.
2. A spending diary
To bring it up a level, and to really interrogate what you spend money on, you could make a spending diary.
Whether it’s on a notepad or using your phone, writing down everything you spend for a day, week or even month, can accurately show where you’re spending cash or other payments missing from your bank statements.
In particular, it’ll highlight what’s called unconscious spending. These are often low-cost things like cups of coffee, chocolate bars and snacks that you buy so frequently you don’t even realise how much they add up to over time.
3. The Money Advice Service Budget planner tool
You can use a spreadsheet, or just a piece of paper, to build your budget, but the best tool is an online calculator such as the one here on the Money Advice Service website.
It shows you what to include so you don’t miss anything, saving you time. And it also does all the maths for you, great if aren’t keen on or confident with numbers.
In tomorrow’s blog we’ll take you through how the Money Advice Service budget planner works.