How to budget your lifestyle when you need to pinch the pennies

With the cost of running your home costing almost half of your income, it is now more important than ever to save where you can.  Budgeting can be a daunting thought, but often the most difficult step is getting started.  Follow our budgeting guide and learn our top tips on how to save.

Record your expenses

In order to budget successfully, you need to know exactly what you are spending.  This needs to be everything from your new washing machine, right down to every coffee and parking ticket.  This way you can go through the list after a couple of weeks and see exactly where you can save money.  Categorise your spending into things that can and can’t be avoided, before deciding what your priorities are.

Change your habits

Once you have categorised your spending, decide what sacrifices you are willing to make and take a look at the seemingly avoidable costs and find ways to cut them down.  Bills for example, are unavoidable in our modern age, however, there are ways to cut down your bills by changing your habits.  Making sure to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, or only filling the kettle with as much water as you need, are a few simple ways to save money.  Once you’ve mastered these, begin to focus on other area you can save larger amounts of money.  For example, take showers instead of baths, share lifts to work to spilt the cost of petrol and book train tickets well in advance.

Get everyone involved

You will only be able to successfully save money if the whole family is on board.  Outlining ways each family member can save will ease your burden and ensure everyone is making sacrifices to help.  Assigning chores to make sure everyone is doing their bit is one easy way to save.  For example, ask everyone to help out with cleaning or walking the dog will reduce the need to pay for a cleaner or dog walker.  Thinking of activities you can do as a family without breaking the bank will ensure you are still spending quality time together and having fun without breaking the bank.

Choose something to save for

Simply stopping all your fun activities will save you money but it is not going to make you happy.  Set a goal and save for something specific so you have something to look forward, such as a short, cheap break away or a day out.  You could also set more long term goals such as saving up for your child’s education, for payments on a house or for your retirement.  Setting a goal ensures you see results from your hard work.

Speak to an expert

We understand that something budgeting is easier said than done and it can feel like you are making sacrifices but not seeing results.  To make saving simple, use a financial planning service such as the one offered by Partridge Muir & Warren.  They offer the service as either a singular process or as part of an ongoing review, to help saving become a natural part of your life.