Your household budget and the money that goes in and out of your account can often be a sore subject for some. It can be the biggest gripe in a relationship. The biggest stress and can even be the cause of anxiety or even depression. Getting a grip on your budget and current financial situation can give you the freedom to breath, and can help you feel in more control. So how can you do it? These tips could help you to get on top of your budget and income.
Knowing what is going in and out
One of the first things that you might want to get to grips with is how much you have coming in, versus how much leaves your account. This can help you to become more aware of what your financial situation is. Make a note of it or use a spreadsheet on your computer. You could even itemise the amounts that leave your account and come in so that you know exactly how much is spent on different things.
Managing the outgoings you have control over
The next thing to think about would be to manage your outgoings. The bills that leave your account and the spending you have control over. Look at all of the bills that you have first of all and see what could be less. Things like switching energy providers or insurance can give you a better deal as often companies reserve their best rates and deals for new customers. This can also work when it comes to the time to sign a new rental agreement or remortgage, as you can perhaps negotiate a better deal.
You should also look at the costs you can control, such as how much you spend on food and entertainment. The food bill could be reduced simply by meal planning, and looking at ways to keep the costs down. Switching from brands to supermarket ranges, even switching the stores, these things can dramatically reduce your food shopping bill. Another thing to think about would be to use discount codes and vouchers to bring the cost of meals out or days out down. This can help you to still enjoy time off with the family at a smaller cost.
What to do when things get tight?
Sometimes it is inevitable that things can get tough. Money could be tight one month because of unforeseen circumstances. School trips, the car breaking down. They can all be big expenses that we just haven't planned for. This is where making those extra savings could be vital for getting you through the month until the next payday. If you can’t find the savings, then you could always consider asking family for help. It may even be that you need to think about addressing your finances and looking at home loans or consolidating debts to help you generate extra disposable income. There is more on that in the next point. If you find yourself needing to consider one of those options make sure you may repayments on time and keep the interest costs as low as possible. This avoids you creating further problems for yourself in the future.
Let’s talk about debts for a minute
As we have just mentioned in the previous point, debts can often be something that might need addressing. It can help to organise your debts if you find yourself in a situation where things are needed to be sorted. Such as multiple debts for credit cards, overdrafts etc. Consolidating debts into home loans, personal loans, or even just balance transferring to zero interest can make the biggest of differences. It gives you a plan, perhaps just the one payment and interest cost, and it can help to free up some income that could be used elsewhere. Debts can be something that you want to bury your head in the sand, but it can often be the big thing that once taken control of that gives us more of a handle on the day to day budget.
Earning extra income for the home
In some circumstances, you may have the opportunity to try and earn some extra income for your household. If you are a stay at home parent, or if find yourself having a little extra time during the evenings or weekends. Sometimes considering different options could help boost your disposable income. This might help towards savings for vacations or holidays, big expenses or gifts for birthdays and Christmas. People consider things like mystery shopping, being paid to fill out surveys or even starting a blog to generate income.
It can be a hard thing to stay true to, and it can also be something that can consume your spare time, but it can be hard to stop once you start to see the rewards for your time and your efforts. A quick and easy way to boost your income would be to start with your home. There will be plenty of unwanted things in your home that you could sell online on platforms like eBay. Generating sales and money for the things you no longer needs not only boosts your bank balance, but it can also help towards a tidier and clutter free home. There are plenty of options available that could suit any time scale you are willing to put into it, so you are bound to find something that suits.
Savings for the future
Finally, it may be time to start thinking about the future, and making savings for it. You could use the extra income as just your savings money, or it might be that you like the idea of having a regular amount leave you account each month to be saved. Further to that, you could also do small actions such as rounding off your account balance to an even number and transferring the difference to your savings each night. It might start of as just a little bit, but this can soon add up and it might just equate to the cost of a take out coffee each day.
Let’s hope this help you to keep on top of your budget and take back the control.