Now is the time start thinking about the year ahead; what kind of things do you wish to accomplish in the upcoming year and what things are you aware that you struggle with that you want to try and get sorted. I know for a fact, that snacking in between meals is going to be something I try and combat in 2015; I am trying hard already and have got so much better at this, but I want to irradiate it completely!
Me and my husband have already been thinking about our 2015 budget, looking at where we’ve got slightly astray in 2014 and what our goals are going to be for the year. We have some considerable savings goals for 2015, so we absolutely need to start the year off on the right foot. Having our budget sorted and monies divided right from the off will help us immensely in terms of being about to complete our goals. One of our goals, for example, is to save up and buy in cash a “new to us” car. I do not think we will be able to afford a new car in cash, but we do need a better car – ours is beginning to cost us quite a bit – but we want to buy in cash. Therefore, we’ll get a new car to us, but it won’t be new. This is going to be one of our big savings goals for the year, so we need to accommodate that in our budget.
So, here are some tips on how to stick to a budget in 2015:
1) Start a spending diary now. Get used to recording spends so you can see trends in spending and see where your money “leaks” are.
2) Plug up those unnecessary money “leaks” as quickly as you can. All those miscellaneous spends that add up to big amounts in your budget can be plugged shut.
3) Question everything. It is so easy at this time of year, especially with all of the festive items and then the sales, to end up buying things you don’t actually want or need. So question everything!
4) Go through all of your direct debits, and work out how much they add up to each month. For us this includes the mortgage payment, council tax, television licence, water rates, gas/electric and insurance. These all go out on the same day of the month, so I know exactly what should go out and when.
5) Set up a budget spreadsheet and use it. This will help you keep track of everything throughout the year. See this post here for an example of mine and some free templates!
6) Keep it (slightly) flexible. There are always going to be those unexpected expenses, so your budget needs to be slightly flexible. You may want to use your emergency fund to cover these expenses, but we have a bit of leeway in our budget to cover these.
7) Trim off any of the fat. Pay for a gym membership you never use? What about that weekly coffee on a Friday every week with pastry on the side? If you’re serious about budgeting and reaching your financial goals, then you need to trim the fat a little. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
8) Start planning your meals and writing a shopping list. We manage to keep our grocery shopping to around £35 a week through menu planning and lists.
9) Try and keep spend free during the week. In my monthly aims, I always pledge to try and get a certain number of No Spends Days per month. Not spending during the working week really helps this, and also helps me to stick to my budget!
10) Don’t be downhearted if you go over-budget, so long as it doesn’t become a regular thing. Sometimes we all don’t do as well as we should, and budgeting is hard, especially for the long term. It should become easier over time, but then we can’t see into the future. If things do go wrong, then think about why they have, and then move onto a new month. We’re all human after all!
So there you have it! Some helpful times to help you stick to a budget in the new year. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings us.
Do you agree? Do you have any more tips that I’ve missed out?