I am very crap with money and very disorganised..how do u all keep track of your finances(33 Posts)
I have no savings, every time I save something always crops up and wipes them out. We don't have a budget just wing it . The rent is always paid though with dps wages and so is the car insurance and other dds, it's just we don't seem to get a grip with what's coming in and out. We do have a regular income, it's just paid weekly, some of it monthly and my wages are never the same though.
This is what I have thought of doing
going through my bank statements and writing dds down on the calender each month
drawing cash out each week
Any other tips?
I don't have a pc so I can't do spreadsheets. I don't even know how to use one anyway and I can't get to grips with ynab or other apps.
We arent struggling for money (yet) but we have had a proper crap month as I've had to buy a car, had loads of other upset which threw our money out a bit. mum lent me the money which we have to pay back and I want to get a grip on things now before I slide further into debt
forgot to say, I'm behind on my council tax and water too. I forgot them
Write down all your out goings & income in a date ordered list. In the next column keep a running total. This will give you your cash balance.
If you have bills to pay after pay day make sure this cash total never dips below the total of the bills.
I also keep a float for unexpected items - school trips, top up shops etc.
Jump onto the monthly frugle thread - there are loads of tips & support on there to reducing spending.
I had a diary with a ledger but at the back. A page per month so I wrote in my pay at the top, then each direct debit (try to get them all coming out in the first so it's all done in one hit), then each time I spent money I wrote it in, and the remaining balance in the next column. I try to split what's left after dd's come out into equal chunks for each week of the month, and stick to that so I don't end up skint two weeks after pay day.
I got my diaries from whs, and they are small enough to fit in a handbag. Now I just use my iPhone, but either way it's very helpful to keep it with you at all times to note down all your expenditures and keep a tight grip on your finances.
I use the software YNAB. It's revolutionary. It has a 34 day trial with seminars etc online to teach you. You can then purchase it for about £30. Well worth the money.
Life changing in this house.
I'm so sorry. I just saw you don't have a pc
I think in that case I'd be inclined to do the 'envelope' system as you say.
Do try and make up your council tax, or at least contact them and make a plan. I think it's the only bill you can go to prison for?
Some people like withdrawing cash and only using that. Personally I prefer to use a card for everything as once I break a tenner it vanishes and I find it really easy to fritter cash away on diet coke and lazy bus fares. Work out what suits you better. I have a small notebook that I write transactions in to help keep a running total of my bank balance. I write down monthly payments (plus transfer to savings account) on payday regardless of what day they leave my account - this helps me see how much is left and stops me going overdrawn. I withdraw £15 cash a week - out of this I give eldest two DC £3 pocket money and have £9 for DD2 and I. Other than that, all purchases are by card and written down in the notebook.
The only way to handle unplanned expenditure, whether variable or consistant income, is to have some savings set aside to deal with them. If you have a good income month, try to resist the temptation to spend the extra or use it all to pay off debts - keep some back for the next emergency.
I write everything down on paper..I have columns for everything (except dds/rent which is on a separate sheet with the dates on it) i list food/electric/gas/takeaways/petrol/parking/days out/clothes and miscellaneous which is for incidentals like medicine/haircuts etc.. After a few months its a lot easier to see what's being spent and where. Agree with quite about contacting council tax (urgently!) ..re water charges . maybe you could pay weekly until things are more settled? Is there any dd that you could change the date on so that it cones out if next months wages rather than this month to free upbsone cash for council tax? What I have started doing is when I get paid monthly i take out a small amount of cash (£20/30) and just try to ignore it. Hopefully to build up a small buffer for emergencies ..also when I do my shopping I buy at least £1 of saving stamps.. Its not much but will have at least £50+ by Xmas.
Get that council tax up to date ASAP. Honestly, that's the one not to fall behind on. After rent/mortgage.
To organise your money. Go over the last 3 months statements. Use the lowest amount you can earn.
Add up all your incomings over a month.
Then all your usual outgoings.
Then think about annual things, such as insurances.
Then haircuts and other fripperies.
Take out cash once a week. Try not to draw any more out.
Do a food inventory. Then menu plan (all meals, not just dinner) Then shop. If you can shop between aldi/lids and a main supermarket then all the better. Or else do an online shop so you're not tempted by extras in the shop.
Sounds silly, make sure your dp and any children of an understanding age are also on board or they may mess up your planning!
But seriously, your priority right now is your council tax.
I try and keep track on pen and paper but d/d and online shopping can come out different times and much later than you think.
I can't cope with looking everyday or week at online balance do when my bank statement arrives. I note down how much was spent on bills, food, clothes etc. usually it's much more in non-essentials than I think!
However I am trying to get things balanced out more and hoping when I know how much I am spending it will help me keep within set budgets. So I will still buy self treats but if I had naughty month, then can make self behave the flowing.
Akire The thing is, it doesn't matter exactly what day d/d or online shopping leaves your bank account, because once you've agreed to a direct debit or bought something online, that money is promised to someone else and doesn't really belong to you - it's just waiting to be collected. So on payday, log the next months direct debits straight away instead of waiting for the actual day they leave your account. And when you buy something online or in a shop with a debit card, write it in your logbook that day - that way you won't think you have more money to spend than you actually have. If you spend £15 in Tesco on your debit card then consider it gone now - you can't rely on having it for another 3 days.
Your current balance in an app or at an ATM is not your Real Balance - the current total in your logbook is, as that takes into account transactions you have made which haven't hit your bank yet.
I set up a standing order to an account linked to my current account, which is transferred monthly. I use this money to save for annual bills that aren't covered by monthly DDs (and remember, often it's more expensive paying monthly DDs than it is to pay in full - so that's one way to save a little). Therefore I have budgets in the account for household / car insurances, Christmas, holiday, emergencies etc.
oo thanks for all your replies.
I take your point about council tax. I will sort that out asap. I'm a couple of months behind so that's a priority. I've been as far as the bailiffs with council tax arrears and there's no way I'm letting it get that far again.
so. This is what I've done so far.
I've sat down with last month's bank statement and wrote down all the direct debit dates and what I've got coming in for the next couple of weeks. My wages are good for this week but will be poor next week as I've worked fewer hours. I've highlighted it too so I can see what's what.
I will do more tomorrow
dp gets his wages monthly, I get mine weekly, tax credits and cb also weekly but on different days, it really is a nightmare. dp wages pay our rent, also maintenance to his ex. The team isn't much left after this.
I do prefer cash, I know where it goes if I have cash in my hand, I'm just not disciplined enough to draw out a lump sum at the beginning of the week, it's always twenty here, thirty there and it's gone.
I like the idea of two bank accounts, I will look into that
I use an app called spending tracker. It's pretty good.
I have one current account which all income is paid into.
From this I have a monthly standing order paid into another current account to cover all bills.
I also have a monthly standing order (from the bill payment account) to a pay as you go mastercard for £300 and this is for groceries only.
So I know the bills are covered and the food money is there on the card so anything left in the 'income' bank account is spendable.
I'm on irregular income with a Dh paid monthly. I manage it by being really frugal. Not only in shopping but in how much we have the heating on or how much water I use.
I personally wouldn't pay water by dd. I looked into doing that here and they wanted £38 a month. Our six monthly bill is £120 so they effectively wanted double off me!. Bonkers. Instead we each put £10 a month away.
We pay the council over 12 months so although you get no break it's less to find each month. Eg it's £115 a month not £138 that way.
Check with you're electric provider that your on a cheap tariff and don't have any credit owing to you. They don't voluntarily pay you back credits.
Ring the council and water. You're not the first person to be behind and you won't be the last. Offer what you can.
When you set up bill paying accounts swap to a bank with an incentive to switch like first direct, Halifax, smile, that way you get £100ish in cash a few weeks later to throw at any debts.
If you have any credit cards to pay off swap the direct debit to a standing order at £5 over the minimum monthly payment, you'll pay it off much quicker and won't notice the £5 extra.
look at your direct debits and work out whether ryou actually need each one. I reckon you'll probable find one old one, you're still paying which you had no idea you were (old gym membership...I'm looking at you...)
stop all unnecessary DD's.
switch utility tariffs if you can, switch to a cheaper phone provider.
I keep track of my spending by having a bank app on my phone,so i can see where my money had gone.
Two bank accounts sound like a very good idea. You need to be setting aside not only enough for each month's known outgoings but also an amount towards irregular spends (the things that wipe you out), e.g.:
- car repairs
- TV licence
- boiler service or general household running costs
It's worth having a look at the YNAB method, you can do it on paper if you want to. But you really do need to be budgeting and not relying on bank account balances. Once you start looking at where your money is going you will find loads of ways to cut down or spend more effectively. If you pay your insurance monthly and it costs you extra to do so, for example, start putting aside an amount for next year so you have the money to pay it all up front when it falls due.
I'm just marking my place because some of these are excellent. I didn't know about the prepay cards.
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