Do you always have some month left over at the end of your money?
(I’ve loved that phrase ever since I saw it on a fridge magnet in Blackpool a few years ago)
If, like lots of us, your money seems to run out before the end of the month but you know that you should still have some money left according to your monthly budget, then you need to figure out where your money is actually going.
For me, it used to be things like my weekly treat at Costa when I did my food shopping and the odd magazine here and there that I never thought much of. When I was trying to figure out why I didn’t have as much money left over at the end of the month, I worked out that my Costa was costing about £20 a month and magazines were costing about £10 a month – both things that I didn’t include in my budget as they were just ‘little things’ that I never really noticed that I was paying for but added up over the course of the month.
There’s so many other things like this that quickly add up – what about the drink you buy at the gym or at the Petrol station when you fill up, the odd book that you buy for your Kindle or even the occasional money you spend on FIFA points for your Xbox (Mr Frugal, I’m looking at you here). Don’t forget the monthly takeaway treat or the lunch you buy at work at least once a week because you’ve forgotten to take your lunch to work. Even that quick drink on a Friday after work needs to be added in if it’s a regular thing.
I could go on but I think you get my point and I bet lots of you have at least one thing that you buy as a habit that you don’t include in your budget. Treating yourself isn’t an issue at all (as long as you have the money) but if it’s a regular thing that you don’t include in your budget then you’re budget is never going to be accurate.
Just because it’s not a bill or a monthly Direct Debit doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include it in your monthly budget – if it’s a likelihood that you’re going to spend the money, write it down and include it in your budget. That’s the ONLY way to make sure that your monthly budget is accurate and the amount of money it shows that you have left over is actually what you have left over!
If it helps, then you should spend at least a week writing down everything you buy – EVERYTHING!
You can write down everything you spend in a notebook or on the back of an envelope or you could use my financial planner which comes with a spending log for every month of the year. 😉
However you choose to write it down, you should be able to see where your money is going a little clearer than if you just sit down and try and remember what you’ve bought. Seeing it in black and white and adding it over the month should really help you realise where your money’s going!
I read a great post over on Lotty Earns the other day that proves this exact fact! Charlotte worked out how much her addiction to Diet Coke had cost her over her lifetime and the amount shocked her into giving it up. This is a pretty extreme example but definitely one that made me think, as I sit with a 24 pack of Pepsi Max in my fridge.
I’ve got another idea to share next week about how you can stay on track with your budgeting so do keep your eyes open.
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