Parenting is, by and large, simpler when you both work at it together. The same can be said for budgeting – if one of you watches every penny but the other one likes to splurge, it can be frustrating for both of you and you might feel resentful.
So if you’re going to embark on a family budget, make sure you are both committed to it – you can offer each other moral support and it can save arguments later on.
Start as you mean to go on
Look at what you spend and be really honest. You can keep your receipts and use paper bank statements to fill in a table showing where every penny goes and help you to predict what you’ll spend in future. One great tip is to use your online bank statements because they can be copied and pasted into an Excel spreadsheet with all your other expenses.
When you’re planning ahead, think about seasonal changes to your budget. For example, in winter your energy bills are likely to be much more expensive and you’ll have Christmas to account for. Similarly, if you’re taking a holiday in the summer, you might prefer to pay for it in advance and save up some spending money. With birthdays – mark them all on a calendar and plan ahead to meet the expense.
Consider regular expenses
No doubt you’ll have regular monthly bills like the mortgage or rent and many people find it easier to stick to a monthly budget. If you have quarterly or annual bills too – like Council Tax, gas bills or water rates – you can convert them to monthly amounts by dividing them by 3 or 12. This is the amount you’d have to set aside per month to make sure you can afford them when they come up.
It’s easy to forget some of the smaller monthly expenses like subscriptions and regular spending but by using an app like Truebill Reviews you can see exactly how much money you are spending each month and this is the first step to getting a handle on your budgeting.
A jam jar bank account
There are ‘jam jar’ bank accounts out there for people who want a bit of help with budgeting for bills and expenses. If you’re worried about your credit rating and wondering ‘can I get a bank account alternative like that?’ you might be able to find one that doesn’t run a credit check. If you have a partner, it might be useful to open a joint account, if you haven’t already.
Save money on your car
Bi-annual car tax is more expensive than paying your car tax annually. The most expensive car tax (band M) on a car registered on or after 1 March 2001 is £253 for 6 months or £460 for 12 months, meaning you could save £46 over the year if you pay for 12 months in one go.
Similarly, it’s often cheaper to pay for your car insurance in one annual payment, rather than in monthly installments.
A lot of people don’t really like to talk about their money worries, but if you have someone you can confide in, like a partner, a relative, or friend, they can give you moral support with your budgeting and encourage you to stay on the right path. Good luck!