There’s no point in creating a perfectly crafted budget for it to sit in your drawer gathering dust, never to be seen again!
You now need to use this to keep track of your spending. There’s different ways you can do this. If you’re particularly savvy then I believe there are some swanky smartphone apps to help you.
Here’s how I do mine with a little help from Excel…
Comedic title and pink header – well, you’ve got to try to make finances fun somehow – lame I know!!!!
Column 1 – Lis t of ‘Regular outgoings’ (e.g. mobile, train fare, savings, kitty)
Column 2 – Who I pay those ‘Regular outgoings’ to, so Boots for my contact lenses, 3 for my mobile etc…
Column 3 – How much I’ve budgeted that month for that particular ‘Regular outgoing’, so £11 for contact lenses etc…
Column 4 – How much I’ve spent on that ‘Regular outgoing’ – this is updated as money is spent on each item, so for example, the kitty category can sometimes be updated on a daily basis, while others tend to be monthly.
Column 5 – Where that money is – so which account its happily sitting in (although I’ve just noticed that my spreadsheet actually isn’t accurate – slap on the wrists for me!)
Column 6 – How much is left in that spend category. So for monthly ‘Regular outgoings’ this will be marked as £0.00 once that payment has been taken, until then it shows how much is sitting there waiting to be spent. For items which are paid less frequently this is to show the money which builds up in the account to sit there ready and waiting for the bill to arrive.
Last updated – so I can keep track of whether I included the latest splurge!
Notes – again so I can keep track of any payments which I’m waiting on, or any money which anybody owes me.
Apologies if it’s not totally clear, I had hoped to do an annotated version of the spreadsheet to make it easier to see, but technology is not getting along with me today…in fact if anyone could tell me where all of my iTunes songs have disappeared to I’d really appreciate it!
Also remember that your budget is a work in progress and will change frequently. I had to change mine this month as I got a pay rise (woo hoo!), but, my tax code has also gone mental (trust me, it wasn’t that much of a pay rise!) so I’ve actually picked up less than what I normally would! Basically just make sure you’re not spending more than you’re earning and that you’re saving anything you don’t need to spend – to quote those adorable meerkats, simples!
What works for you? xx