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finances? i need to learn to budget.

(15 Posts)
cheesesarnie Sat 10-Nov-12 16:54:29

i need to work out what's coming in and what's going out.

any ideas on the best way to do this?

this is the first time i've been on my own and had no one else to rely on. bit scary.

dipndunk Sat 10-Nov-12 17:05:31

do you have online banking? with mine i can change view to "all money out" and "all money in".. best way is to do or check your statements.. also if you have Excel, do a spreadsheet with all your outgoings to keep track...
It is scary at first, but can also be empowering smile

YourHandInMyHand Sat 10-Nov-12 17:12:42

Are you okay with a calculator?

I sat down with my online banking statement and wrote down what I had coming in. My benefits all come in on different dates, some are weekly, some fortnightly, some 4 weekly which made it more of a faff. I did sums for ....

Incomings: weekly amount and amount per calendar month.
Outgoings. I listed all my bills and regular outgoings, and again figured out a weekly and monthly amount.

Do you have any debt? If you do the debt free forum on MSE are very good at suggesting where you can save and what you should prioritise paying first (they can be rather harsh robust, but worth bracing yourself and posting as it does help).

I do online banking and I sit down once a week with a written spreadhseet and tick off when things have been paid in, write down spends , and total in account. It really helps me to keep track and motivates me to keep my balance looking healthy.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sat 10-Nov-12 17:26:16

You need two bank accounts, tis is the only way I have managed. Work out you monthly, weekly or fortnightly income and have essentials payed into one account for bills rent etc and either have non essentials paid into another or transferred once bills are paid and use the second to love on and never ever ever use any many from the bills account.

This is what I do, housing benefit, stdent finance, child benefit into one account this is bills and rent and debts.

Maintenance frommexp and tax credits into another account this is for shopping socialising and dds activities, cloths toiletries etc. I give myself a weekely budget and ensre I build up a little for Xmas and Christmas.

I havebproblemmdebts that I could not afford to pay each month so I have set up a debt management plan and pay a monthly amount to a charity debt service who distribute to my creditors.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sat 10-Nov-12 17:27:48

Xmas and birthdays even.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sat 10-Nov-12 17:28:39

Also supermarket shop online so you are not tempted to overspend in the super market

cheesesarnie Sat 10-Nov-12 17:39:11

ohh thankyou people.

nope don't do online banking. is it hard to set up?

fine with calculator.

debt- i have 2 catalogue accounts. both almost paid off i think.

TheEnthusiasticTroll- that makes sense.

avenueone Sat 10-Nov-12 22:01:29

I use the two bank accounts route. Good luck you can do it.

cheesesarnie Sat 10-Nov-12 22:07:16

thankyou smile

Athendof Sun 11-Nov-12 07:47:12

Do you have an iphone? If so, Money Journal Lite is a free app that you can use as you can set different ban accounts/credit cards in order to specify where the money used came from.
You can also set blocks of expenses (ie. food, children related, car, leisure and entertainment, etc) which I found very useful to identify where the money is excaping to inadvertedly and to realise that I'm not overspending at all in some others.

I think it is also incredibly useful if you are in the middle of a divorce process and need to provide evidence of your expenses for assessment of need, etc.

amarylisnightandday Sun 11-Nov-12 08:15:33

Oooh I will never forget doing this for the first time earlier this year. It was v daunting I was v scared I had no money.

You need to look whether your incomes are weekly or monthly or both and the same with outgoings. Then you need to find out all the monthly averages for utilities/phone/telly/rent etc. I think I had to first list all the bills I thought there were then find out the monthly amounts from various sources - you might have to ring the utilities if you don't have recent bills.

You need to be v honest with yourself about what you spend week by week and on what. For example I ended up working out how much I eat out each week ben just coffee and cake with the mums and included that in my budget to work out what I wax spending before I made judgements on what I should/shouldn't be spending.

At some point you will hopefully end up with a figure that's the difference between income and outgoings. Then you need to factor in yearly expenses like car servicing/mot.

This is quite a big job and might take you quite a while. I would wake up in the night and suddenly think 'doh! Virgin media £13 a month!'

If it all looks really scary at the end (mine did) then factor in that if you have recently separated then odds on some of your bills will reduce over the next few months simply because there is one less adult. For example food shot down for us and so did fuel as ex claimed the diesel guzzling tank and I got a small hatch back - that took £80 a month off my fuel bill grin.

I found the credit crunch threads in here extremely useful and supportive and they really helped me take control. I also found it easier to go a bit austerity mad for a couple of months post split (only shopping in aldi etc and keeping a tally of all my spending) until things settled down and I had a few months bills to analyse and rally work out what's going on.

Good luck grin

Athendof Sun 11-Nov-12 09:07:42

Anither thing that helps to simplify the process is to keep all bills and receipts in the same place, otherwise you end up spending to much time going around the house trying to find them, if there are bills you have to pay in cash or cheque put a note of it in your diary or calendar.

YourHandInMyHand Sun 11-Nov-12 09:50:28

Online banking very easy.

I also have more than one bank account. One general current account that everything goes in and out of, one savings account for upcoming events eg summer holiday/xmas, and I have one which has an amount in that I've saved up for a cheap run around car, which I do not touch.

The point about some bills going down is a good one. Me and DS live quite modestly, and I don't bother with sky, land line, lovefilm, that kind of stuff. Don't have a smartphone, flat screen tv, i-anything as hose kind of things aren't important to me like they were to ex. I now don't spend a fortune on alcohol or meat. I find it much easier now I'm not compromising and giving in to a "want, want, want" man child.

Everyone will have a different system, of what works but doing your first list of incomings and outgoings is a really useful starting point.

amarylisnightandday Sun 11-Nov-12 10:05:34

Yy to no alcohol! Such a big saving just there! Also we don't eat much meat either which wasn't a conscious budget choice it's just that dd not v keen and there's little point just for me.
I also have 2 bank accounts. The second one just has child benefit going in to it. I include it in the budget but try hard not to use it unless its an emergency then I have a fund separate for dd presents and clothes which I try to only use once a season.

Another thing I found v helpful was researching everything I might be entitled to. I shamelessly claim everything and in get more as a line parent. I wasn't entitled to hb or ctb but I was entitled to warm front and my loft insulation is being done shortly which will hopefully save me lots.
If you get ctc you also get a prescription exemption card I didn't even know about until it arrived grin

I also got obsessional about reward schemes. I have a toddler still in nappies and a nb (well v soon). In my opinion boots is one of the best reward schemes do when they do a baby event extra points thing I order nappies online in bulk and get them delivered (free over £40) - less hassle plus you save the petrol or whatever. That not might work for u but something else similar might knock ££ off somewhere else -you have to start thinking tactically about money saving and it becomes v empowering grin

cheesesarnie Sun 11-Nov-12 21:55:30

thankyou all.
were veggie here so no meat to buy and i don't drink much (happy to go without!).
car- we just brought a big car but think it'll have to go. i drive lots so petrol will be a big cost.

will look at the app!

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