Setting a budget and sticking to it can be quite a challenging task if you’ve never done it before, and it’s hard to know if you’re doing it right or not.
The good news is, there’s no real right or wrong way, just what works for you – the most important thing is to just get started.
However, there are definitely some things that will make it easier to set your budget and manage it so that you can stay in control of your finances and avoid getting into debt.
Here are our top tips for how to make a budget that you can stick to.
How to make a budget
Set up a spending tracker
Tracking your budget as you spend can be one of the most useful things that you can do when setting a budget.
Why is tracking so important? First of all, you’ll be able to see where your money is going (looking at you daily Starbucks). You’ll quickly be able to spot where you’re spending money on unnecessary things you don’t really need, but that all add up.
One of the biggest costs in most people’s budgets is food shopping, and although food is an essential cost, it’s also one where people don’t really pay much attention to what they’re buying and could therefore be saving a lot more.
Meal planning is not only a great way to save a lot of money on your weekly food shop, but it’s perfect for reducing food waste, and removes the temptation to buy a takeaway on those nights you just can’t be bothered, since you already have your meal planned, and preferable prepped for that night.
Use cash where possible or set spending caps on your cards
One of the most important things that you can start doing if you want to get better at budgeting is either using only cash or setting spending caps on your cards so that you don’t go over this limit.
With things like contactless payments and Apple Pay, it’s all too easy to tap a card or phone when paying for something and not really be aware of how much is going out until you check your account or get your credit card bill.
You can read our previous blog on how to use contactless payments wisely for some top tips to help you stay on top of your spending.
Estimate future costs and set money aside for them now
One of the most important things that you can do to help you make a budget and stick to it is to estimate how much money you’ll need in the future for certain purchases.
This can be anything from your annual car insurance to planning a wedding.
If you don’t get into this habit, you’re going to end up spending a ton of money that you don’t have in some of these areas, potentially getting yourself in debt.
If you’re looking for more help or advice on budgeting, you can read our free budgeting guide here.
Alternatively, if you find you are regularly going over your budget use our free online debt advice tool to get your finances back on track.