You can’t expect to cut costs or find money-saving opportunities without having a thorough understanding of how much you’re spending and what you’re spending your money on, and it’s not enough to just keep track of your bank statements. You need to be organised, and this comes by adopting a systematic approach to managing your finances, which is why we’ve created a (completely free) monthly budget planner which you can download and run on your computer.
The problems I’ve seen with most budgets is that they don’t take into account one-off spends that occur frequently throughout the year, or the categories are so broad that it’s easy to miss the little things (and they do add up!). Without a budget planner that take these into account you will be left with an unrealistic view of your finances. I’ve seen this most when people are preparing for bankruptcy, an IVA or a debt management plan. You need to be able to work out your surplus income so that you can see what you can afford to pay back to creditors, and more often than not people soon realise that there were many expenses they hadn’t accounted for when they find themselves (still) struggling to maintain payments.
By using our budget planner you can identify if you’re spending more than you earn, and if you can really afford what you spend your money on!
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Using the Budget Planner
It’s going to take a small investment of your time to get all of the necessary figures in there, and providing you do this you will be able to see the bigger (financial) picture. It may not sound like much, but to have a visual record of your income and expenditure provides you with the opportunity to pinpoint exactly where you’re spending your money, which in turn helps you determine where you can cut costs and save money.
The budget planner has all of the formulas hard-coded, so you don’t need to do any arithmetic. Just grab your bank statements, payslips, utility bills, food shopping receipts, credit card records and clear your schedule for an hour.
It’s very easy to use, just complete the expenditure section, then income, and then click to view results. If you’re spending more than you earn you can then go back to the expenditure section and fill in the ‘desired’ column. The ‘desired’ column reflects what you would like to spend on particular things. By doing so you can see where you’re overspending and work through it until you have successfully balanced your finances.
What to do next
Once you’ve sorted out your budget have a look through our Save Money section. We have a range of money-saving and cost-cutting articles which can help you optimise your spending habits. We also (will have) an eBay and Amazon discounts finder on the website very soon. These tools are being developed right now and provide a way for you to buy items at a significantly lower price than usual.
Subscribe to our mailing list for updates on when these tools are released, as well as for updates on the Budget Planner, general money saving advice, and discount shopping coupons.