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How-to Guides » Set a budget and stick to it

Learn how to successfully squeeze your budget.

Get organised

How-to Guide Tips 3 tips on this task  | 

Gather together all your paperwork
If you've been sensible, all of your paperwork will be neatly filed away in alphabetical/chronological order. But we’re betting it’s not. In fact, we’re betting your paperwork is lying in a disorganised pile somewhere.

Unfortunately, the first step of budgeting is to get all of this together - that includes all of your bank statements, credit card statements, pay cheques, utility bills etc. It's hardly the most exciting of tasks, but you'll feel a great sense of relief once it's done!

Set up a spending diary
It can be very easy to lose track of what we're spending where. So to help you understand your spending habits, it's worth setting up a spending diary - in other words, a list of what you spend where.

You can do this using the free MoneyTrack tool at lovemoney.com. If you register your accounts, every time you make a purchase – no matter which bank account or credit card you use – the tool will record it for you, and then allow you to categorise all your transactions so you know exactly what you're spending your money on every month.

Alternatively, every time you take out your wallet to make a purchase, make a record of it. Don't leave anything out, no matter how small - you'll be surprised how the little things add up! It's worth doing this for an entire month to help you get a detailed picture.

Personally, we think using our MoneyTrack tool is a lot simpler, which is why we developed it – why not take a look and see for yourself?

Make a claim
If you’re on a shoestring budget, don’t be too proud to claim what you’re entitled to.

The Turn2Us website can help you track down the relevant benefits and Tax Credits.

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Tips on this task (3)

  • Mike10613
    Love rating 626
    Mike10613 said

    They have plastic files in Poundland, buy some of these for you paperwork and mark them. Gas, electricity, housing, council tax, telephone, etc and you can file them in a cupboard, drawer or even a cardboard box. Then you can find letters and bills pertaining to anything quickly and easily. Always keep receipts and enetr them into your accounts book as soon as you get home and then file them. I just did an order to Amazon, the confirmation email was filed in a security folder in Outlook and the amount entered into an account book. you can do accounts on computer, but it's easier to open a book than start a computer program. I use a page a month. You simply record money in and money out; the former should exceed the latter! 

    Report on 02 January 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 love
  • phegg2003
    Love rating 0
    phegg2003 said

    ......Or if you do want to use a software program to calculate your income/expenses then you can easily download the program Easy cash manager which I have found really simple and effective over the last couple of years. It calculates everything for you too!

    Report on 03 January 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 love
  • Tanni
    Love rating 92
    Tanni said

    Stick to a budget, all depends how realistic you are at budgeting!

    Report on 05 August 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 love

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