Many money worries can be overcome just by getting to grips with your finances. Knowing what you have coming in and what is going out will help you to understand where all your money is going. Remember knowledge is power!
Get organized and take your time
Set aside at least an hour before you begin planning a budget. Doing it in a rush is likely to mean you forget something or make mistakes. It’s a good idea to gather together all the paperwork you’ll need before getting started, so get together everything you have that relates to your income and outgoing, the list below will be a guide:
- a few months’ worth of bank statements
- your recent credit card/store card bills
- copies of your household bills
- Details of overdrafts or loan
- Details of any borrowing from friends/relations etc
- details of your savings
- information on any regular incomes you may have such as payslips, benefit information
Add up your income
Next, you need to calculate your income. Make a list of your regular earnings from employment, (after tax and National Insurance have been deducted), as well as any income you have from savings, or regular benefits. You do not need anything complicated just a simple pad and paper will do.
Work out how much you are spending
Now you need to work out how much you’re spending each month/week. Look at your bank statements, household bills and credit card bills to ensure you have a realistic idea of where your cash is going and avoid guessing wherever possible. The more accurate your figures are, the more useful your budget will be. Don’t forget things like MOT, and Insurances and TV Licence. Remember as these are usually Annual outgoings you will need to divide the figures by 12 and use that total for your monthly figures.
Once you’re sure you’ve included everything you need to add up both the outgoings and income. Subtract the monthly expenditure totals from the monthly income figures and you will be left with either a surpluses – or shortfall.
Even if you find you have more money coming in than going out, it’s still a good idea to draw up a budget plan. This will allow you to keep spending under control. Meanwhile, if you discover you’re spending more than you earn at the moment, making a budget is a crucial task that you shouldn’t put off. If you fail to address the situation, you could drift further into debt – and ultimately find yourself in a downward financial spiral that’s difficult to escape from.
Draw up a budget you can stick to
Whatever your financial goals, now is the time to draw up a plan that will help you achieve them.
Small changes, every day, could make a big difference to your budget over the long-term. Changes such as switching your current account, credit card or energy provider could also help to balance your budget without the need for cutbacks. Provided you stick to it, a budget will help you to keep on top of your outgoings, and make sure you don’t spend more than you have coming in each week or month. It does not matter if you have lots or very few outgoings, making a weekly or monthly budget will make sure you are always on top of for finances.
If you are worried about money or you think you need more help you can pop into Yellow Door Drop-in or a similar local Youth Support Services, they will not judge you or criticise. Never think you are alone there is always someone willing to help. www.cyp-yellowdoor.org.uk