Budgeting is hard. That’s why my New Years Resolution for 2018 is to finally take control of my finances. There is nothing like a brand new year to start fresh and make big changes!
Don’t get me wrong I’m not a huge spender but I could definitely budget more money to pay off debts. To help, I’ve started to use my financial planner to track daily spending and so far it’s been going well! Here’s how you can use your planner to keep on top of your spending too!
The planner featured in this post is available to buy from the Etsy shop and is available in over 20 colours: financial planner.
SET FINANCIAL GOALS
If you want to change your finances then you’ll need to set financial goals. Setting goals will help you to see how you’re progressing and give you something to aim for. Be specific. Having a goal to ‘save money’ is vague and almost impossible to achieve. How much money do you want to save? What are you saving for? When do you want to achieve the goal?
One good example is to ‘save 10% down-payment for a house by December 2018’.
KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY IS BEING SPENT
Tracking your expenses is super important if you want to learn how to manage your finances better. Get into the habit of adding every receipt to your expense tracker daily. Start by writing down every expense that you can think of and group them into categories – utilities, medical, personal, food, etc. Try not to make your categories too specific. The aim is to give you an overview of where the majority of your money is being spent according to the categories that you have chosen.
Using an expense tracker will hold you accountable for what you spent and will hopefully encourage you to slow down your spending so that you can reach your financial goal.
TRACK YOUR BILLS
How can you track your expenses if you don’t know when monthly bills are leaving your account? By tracking your regular payments you’re less likely to receive late payment fees and bad credit.
Gather your bills and write them down in a bill tracker insert. This includes mortgage payments, utility bills, transportation etc. Once the bill leaves your account cross it off your tracker in the relevant month.
If you can’t remember all of your bills then you could go through your bank statement from the previous month and write down your regular payments. Include the date of payment so you know when the money is expected to leave your account.
FOCUS ON YOUR DEBTS AND SAVINGS
Most people budget because they either want to pay off debts or save money. That’s why tracking your debts and savings should be a main focus in your financial planner. These inserts can be used alongside your financial goals to track your progress. For example, if you’d like to pay off a credit card then you can write down your reduced balance each month and watch your debt shrink away – a bitter experience turned pleasant!
Let’s face it. Budgeting is boring. Turn it to a positive experience by challenging yourself each month. I challenged myself to do the 30 Day No Spending Challenge in November and I actually surprised myself with how much I saved from a short-term challenge.
Here are some other ideas of how you can challenge yourself each month to save money:
- Skip the restaurants and say no to fast food
- Pack your lunch everyday for a month
- Opt for dates in the house rather than going out
- Spend no money on fizzy drinks/alcohol