With the new year aproaching it's a great time to start thinking about your household budget and ways you could better organise your finances in 2015 - with a new baby on the way, this is certainly something I myself have been doing.
I admit that I am not the most thrifty of people, I never count the pennies and I happily hand over my debit card whenever I see something I like the look of in a store - I have very little willpower when it comes to spending.
But I'm sensible in other ways - I regularly use comparison sites to check where I could be saving money on bills, I keep an eye on offers when it comes to grocery shopping and I make sure I keep a detailed document showing our outgoings each month to ensure that every cost is covered.
Here are a few tips if you're hoping to focus more on household budgeting in 2015:
1) The first step for me is to look at your bank statements over the past few months - get an idea of how much money is coming in and how much is going out, and where exactly it's going to. This can immediately highlight some problem areas that you can aim to improve upon.
In particular, pay attention to unnecessary payments going out - this is where you need to focus on having more restraint.
If you find yourself spending a lot on impulse purchases during the weekly shop for instance, perhaps its time to consider switching to online shopping to reduce the temptation.
If you spend a lot on snacks at work, start making an effort to take your own with you....and so on.
2) Next look at the largest payments you make regularly each month - your standing orders/bills. Use comparison sites to see if there's anywhere you could be saving money by switching supplier, if you've been a customer for a while it may be worth calling the company and questioning the tariff you're on - sometimes they can offer certain reductions to long standing customers.
3)Be sure to check your government entitlements. There are certain benefits and reduction schemes you may not even be aware that you are entitled to, and every little helps. It's not just standard benefits that can save you money either - when I worked for a water company there were schemes in place to save people with certain skin conditions money but they HAD to ask to be put on to the scheme first and we were not allowed to inform them of the scheme unless they asked - know your entitlements and ask the right questions!
4) Look for ways to save money by saving energy and reducing your water consumption - using a water saving calculator can make a real difference to this!
5) Forecast the years expenses ahead and budget for them - make a list of all birthdays, factor in Christmas gifts and more expensive gas/electric prices in winter and budget for them throughout the year.
6) Use online budget and cutback calculators to check where you can save money
I hope these little tips can help, and fingers crossed for a more frugal 2015 for us all!
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