If we are honest with ourselves, nobody is a huge fan of money talk. It can often be a sore subject, especially if every penny counts and you need to be strict with spending.
Often the family budget and finances are delegated to one person. It is up to them to finalise the incomings and outgoings, to ensure there’s enough money for all that is committed for that month. Not to mention those emergencies that crop up when funds are needed. While it isn’t a pleasant task, you can do things to handle the family budget like a pro. There are ways you can save money, make extra money, make it go further, and enable it to be less of a chore and more of a thing that manages itself. Sounds like an almost unachievable dream, right? However, making your money and family budget work for you is possible. And if you’re dreaming of a holiday abroad or a new car, those things can come true, too.
Here are some of the life hacks you could try to help you handle the family budget like a pro.
Get organised with the outgoings
The first thing to do is know precisely what you have leaving your account each month. Take a pen and paper, and write it all down, or, if you prefer, use a spreadsheet on your computer. Most bills that are on direct debit will cost the same each month. The next thing to do is work out your average spend on fuel, food, and other activities, such as childcare and extra-curricular activities, such as swimming. Having a total for your monthly spending will help you identify disposable income for savings or emergency funds.
Set up savings pots for different things
A great little hack is to set up regular savings pots for different things. You could have savings separated for birthdays, Christmas, holidays, or emergency funds. Adding to this each month with what you have left can help you build the savings up each month. This allows you never to feel like you are struggling for money when those times, planned or otherwise, arise. At the end of each day or week, some people like to skim off the pence from their bank accounts. For example, if you have £234.56 in your account, move the 56p into your savings.
Use strategies to help save money
Saving money each month should be a high priority, so why not try different strategies to help you do this? You could use cashback sites when you shop online or find discount codes and vouchers online to reduce the amount payable at checkout.
Meal planning and writing lists for food shopping will enable you to save money, avoiding throwing random items into your trolley when you’re at the supermarket that may end up being wasted or surplus to requirement. Try to spend a day once a month doing a batch cook, freezing meals ahead of time. This will allow you to make the most of any offers on groceries. It is also a useful thing to do with leftovers, as long as they weren’t frozen to begin with.
There are even smartphone applications that will allow you to earn points or rewards for scanning shopping receipts or using the apps to make purchases you may already be making, all helping you to budget more effectively.
Shop around for deals
Loyalty often isn’t rewarded these days with things like your energy bills or insurance policies. So, when the time comes to renew them, make sure you shop around. Comparison sites are great for this and can help you save a fair bit each month. However, it is always worth ringing or doing an online chat with your existing supplier in case they can price match any quotes you have received.
Use your online banking apps
Finally, make sure you use the online banking applications to help you stay on track with your available balance. This is also a good tool for you to transfer funds to your savings pots and keep track of your spending each day.
Let’s hope that this advice helps you handle the family budget like a pro.