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Help with sticking to a budget

(15 Posts)
Sherlock35 Wed 30-Nov-16 13:30:15


Am hoping this is the right place to post. I need your tips and advice on sticking to a budget. I seem to knack the necessary willpower and whilst I have made it all work on paper, I can't stop myself spending money that I ought not to.

I've got a very limited income at the moment so really can't afford to keep buying myself things to cheer myself up. I am trying to have things set up in different accounts but I end up transferring money so I can spend it and then get stuck when it comes to bills.

Is trying cash only worth a go? Leaving cards at home? Having different purses? Am willing to give anything a go at this point. Please help



OP’s posts: |
tribpot Wed 30-Nov-16 13:42:58

I think it's a different mindset more than different ways of storing the money.

One of the great things about the method and software called YNAB is that you put all of your money into budget categories at the start of each month (one of the principles is that you have to 'give every dollar a job', i.e. you can't just have a pot of cash called 'spare dosh', you would assign it to Christmas or car repairs or birthdays or house emergencies if you didn't have a known purpose for it in that month).

You then adjust as the month goes along, so if you overspend in groceries, you can take the money from house emergencies or clothing or whatever. But when you're doing that, you're having to make a conscious choice between two, named things. Rather than just spending money and worrying about where it will come from later.

In your case you're choosing between treats and bills. That should be a no brainer. Can you move more of your bills closer to pay day to ensure the money is actually gone before you try to spend it on something else?

I'm guessing you're not keeping a log of everything you spend, whether in a spreadsheet or a budgeting app. But I think this discipline would help you see what you're spending money on and hopefully make you think twice before splurging.

Are you using credit cards for any of this? If you are, I would pay the cards off as soon as you use them - you can pay a card off every day if you want to. So as to avoid creating a false impression of how much money you actually have left.

I would maybe also set yourself a target - if you can avoid overspending in a particular category for a number of weeks or months, you can have a treat (using money you've already set aside of course!)

UrethaFranklin Wed 30-Nov-16 14:41:07

As mentioned above, I use YNAB, its great.

Basically though all my bills go out via direct debit on payday, so I don't have change to spend the money! Same with money for Christmas/clothes etc. Then I allocate an amount for food and petrol, anything left over gets divided by however many weeks in that month and I take that amount out every friday to spend on myself. Works for me.

Sherlock35 Wed 30-Nov-16 14:57:39

I'm unemployed for a bit as I am a carer for my son and couldn't fit working hours in around school times any more. So I get my income from benefits and it arrives at odd intervals. At the moment, I am using standing orders to move money into separate accounts but then end up just spending it on bags and things. I've tried YNAB before but never really stuck with it so I can give it another go

OP’s posts: |
tribpot Wed 30-Nov-16 16:35:24

Moving the money around is just a distraction really - you still need to have the discipline not to spend money you don't have. So I'd work on that, rather than trying to solve it through a banking set up.

Maybe what would help is some accountability, like a support group Mumsnet has for lots of things, exercise, diet, drinking and whatnot? We can use this thread as a budgeting support group if you like, so that you can track progress in a more open way (doesn't need to be actual numbers as that's a bit too open, isn't it?!).

The timing is ideal with tomorrow being 1 December, as YNAB runs on a calendar month basis regardless of when your money gets paid in. Be warned, however - the latest version of YNAB works on a subscription basis, so although you can still have a free trial, it is then an ongoing financial commitment. It's still possible to Download YNAB 4 - again, there's a free trial before you buy, but it's a one-off payment rather than an ongoing thing.

FinallyHere Wed 30-Nov-16 16:48:00

Try writing a list of all the things you would like to buy, in great detail (size, colour, model etc). Then be too busy to do anything about it. Pick up the list a month or so later, rearrange/update it to suit your current preferences. Keep doing this.

Discover a few years, you can do perfectly well without it, so add other things to the list.

If helps i you are essentially happy with your life. If you are not, with out what you really want, rather than high what is missing with consumables. Enjoy!

80sWaistcoat Wed 30-Nov-16 16:55:14

It is a mindset. Have a look on - there's some really good advice on how to stop spending, budget and to scare you into not going into debt our scare you out of debt.

The mantra is

Do I need it?
Can I afford it?
Have you checked prices elsewhere?

If any of the answers are no - don't buy it.

Sherlock35 Wed 30-Nov-16 17:37:47

This is all really helpful, thank you! The mindset is exactly the thing I have the problem with...

OP’s posts: |
ememem84 Wed 30-Nov-16 17:41:39

Pop on over to the frugaleers threads on here. We're very friendly. And supportive. All different experiences and situations. But we can help x

SillySongsWithLarry Thu 01-Dec-16 01:33:18

I live cash only. I withdraw a weeks worth of cash and leave it in a tin at home, except for a £10 float which is in my purse at the start of the week. If I plan ahead to spend money I will take it out the tin and spend it on the purpose it was taken out for. Otherwise I don't have the money on me so can't spend it. I have saved a surprising amount since living like this and wont go back.

ivykaty44 Sat 03-Dec-16 16:48:42

Cash only is really easy

I set out a budget for the year, set out 52 weeks then I know how much money I have to spend.

I take the cash out on a Friday and it has to last 7 days, petrol and supermarket shop done, ( if I spend to much on food this leaves me shirt,) a food plan for the week and shop, sticking to meal plan do I don't over spend.

Then what is left is divided by 6 for the remaining days.

Obviously I can carry over money

Debits cards etc go into freezer they do not stay in purse.

It works

Keep all receipts to see where you are spending money and tot up at the end of the week.

Having cash is easy to see when you are running short....

JoMummy2boys Sun 22-Jan-17 00:02:01

Thank god ive found this thread just what I need!

monkeywithacowface Sun 22-Jan-17 19:27:48

Posters are right about the mindset and just staying out of the shops generally helps! I do find that using cash does make you a bit more mindful about spending. What helps me is keeping a little notebook and I write down every spend I make each day, even if it's just a pound. Then I tot it up each week and challenge myself to spend less the next week. Writing down every spend make me more accountable rather than my usual "I've no idea where it all goes"
I knew I spent a lot on food/household shopping but that's been a shocker and need to work on that big time!
I've also been decluttering and selling stuff, seeing all these things I've sent money on been sold for pennies or going to the charity shop is a bit of a wake up call to how much money gets wasted.

AndreaKaren123 Tue 24-Jan-17 13:54:15

Really helpful reading. Thank you

SleepingBooty Tue 24-Jan-17 14:04:04

I agree with all the above.
1. Log your spending, every penny.
2. Spend on only essentials. Food, bills, fuel.
3. Create a wishlist of all the items you want. Use pinterest or a notebook. (The wanting is more exciting than the owning).
4. Keep saving every extra penny, once you've reached a goal eg. An emergency funder or £1k or whatever, treat yourself to something on your wishlist. You'll likely find you want very little from the list.

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