We all lead busy lives. So, finding the time to budget and manage our money effectively is tricky. It is a task that tends to gradually get pushed down the list of priorities. In part because it takes so long to sign in to each account, get the figures and pull together all of your receipts so that you can update your budgeting spreadsheets. Fortunately, as you will see, there is no longer any need to do things in that long-winded fashion. There are some great tools that can make it really easy for you to gain control of your money matters and keep things straight without spending hours every month doing so.
If you are not currently budgeting I would suggest that you use the budget calculator from Creditfix as your starting point. It is very simple to use. Within about 10 minutes you will be able to see how much you have available after tax. As well as how much you are paying for things like services, food and clothes during an average month. Once you can see this, you will be able to start to drill down a bit further and try to reduce your biggest outgoings.
If you see that your outgoings are currently higher than your income, you may want to start a side business or take a 2nd job. This excellent article tells you about 101 small businesses you could potentially run while still working full-time.
In fact, even if you are covering your bills you may also want to do this. Particularly if you are not yet able to regularly put aside money to save for your future. Earning a little more will help you to build up a nest egg. So, that if you suddenly have a big bill to pay you will not have to take out a loan to cover it.
The biggest change you can make is keeping track of where your money is going as you are spending it. Apps like Money Dashboard enable you to pull everything together in one place. Your credit cards, bank accounts and savings.
If you pull cash, you can also track exactly where that is spent. It is a good idea to get into the habit of updating the app every single day. Once a day, say in the morning or evening, go in and see which direct debits have been paid. Most of them will automatically be flagged with what they are for. But, some items won’t be. In which case, you should update the system with the necessary details. So, you know where that cash went. If you buy something online or in a shop put those details into the app as well. That way you won’t forget what you have spent the money on.
Keeping things up to date in this way makes it possible to see at an early stage if you are in danger of running out of money. It also makes it less likely that you will overspend.