When you’re trying to plan your budget, there are lots of things to consider. It’s not just the monthly incoming and outgoings that you need to think about, but there are also one off events during the year such as birthdays and Christmas to think about. This is why so many people fail when it comes to budgeting. Thankfully, there are some really handy financial tools that can help out when you’re working out your monthly budget.
1. Budget planners
One of the very first things you should do if you’re trying to sort out your finances is to know your budget. This has to include all of the money you have coming in and all of the money you have going out. It sounds really simple, but when you start to think about money for one off events, then it can get a little overwhelming.
There are free budget planners available to help you to work all of this out and they are a great personal finance tool to use.
Spreadsheets are a fantastic way to track your outgoings each month and they are actually really simple to set up. I use a simple layout to keep track of all of our monthly bills. Then, as the direct debits go out of our bank account, I can mark the amount that’s been paid and can then see how much more money I need to have in the bank to make sure all of our bills are covered. If you’re not great with spreadsheets, then a simple pen, paper and calculator can work just as well.
3. Credit reporting tools
Keeping track of your credit report every so often is a good way to keep an eye on how well you’re managing your money. Your credit report will show all of your financial accounts along with any missed/late payments and any credit applications you’ve made. Whilst you’re credit score is something that you alone can see, it does give you a good idea as to whether you’re likely to be accepted for any future applications for a loan, credit card or mortgage. So, if you’re planning on buying a house in the near future, then it’s a really good idea to keep a check on this.
You can also see how many financial accounts you have and the more you have the more difficult it can be to take control of your finances. Take a look here for possible ways to minimise the number of credit accounts you have.
4. Online Banking
Online banking is an incredible way to stay in control of your finances and keep a regular check on your budget. Online banking apps can be accessed quickly and easily wherever you are, and they’re usually bang up to date with transactions. This means that you can know exactly how your finances stand at any time.
5. Online savings pots
For one off events such as Christmas and birthdays, you can set up individual savings “pots”. Many banks offer this and you can usually set up a target amount you’d like to save and a deadline date to hit that target. This shows you how much you need to put away into your savings pot in order to reach your target – it’s a great way to take control of your money and make sure you have enough put aside when it’s time to spend.
Whatever the reason for you taking control of your budget, these five tools will make it so much easier to manage your money.