Most of us could improve on our budgeting skills, and the new year is the perfect time to look to do that. That being said, budgeting is far from easy and can take years to implement. Oftentimes, being in a tricky financial position is what pushes most people to learn to budget effectively, but it doesn’t have to be as extreme as that.
There are a number of small changes you can make to get better at budgeting, so if creating spreadsheets isn’t your thing, or if you just need a little bit of help to better manage your finances, keep reading as we share three of our top budgeting tips.
Shop around for utilities
Our first piece of advice is where you could possibly see the biggest difference to your finances. Utility bills likely take up a lot of your monthly budget, and as time goes on, they tend to rise. If your salary isn’t increasing at the same rate as gas, electricity, cable, and water bills, the best thing you can do to regain control is to shop around.
Take advantage of price comparison websites and use them to find the cheapest rates for energy suppliers. Switching every year or two is a great way to keep costs low – most companies prioritize offering discounts to new customers over existing ones, so being loyal isn’t likely to be something you’re rewarded for in terms of pricing.
By changing suppliers regularly, you can make big savings and avoid yearly price increases, making it easier for you to budget with what you have rather than having to cut things out immediately.
Consider your subscriptions
It seems like almost everything is on a subscription these days. You likely pay a monthly fee for streaming services (Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video etc.), as well as music like Spotify or Apple Music. On top of this, you may have other subscriptions to things like cosmetic or grooming boxes, pet supplies, coffee or alcohol deliveries, news outlets, literature services, charity sponsorships, or even décor things like plants or artwork.
It might seem like just $10 here and there, but it all adds up. In fact, you likely spend far more on subscriptions than you realize. With this in mind, taking the time to sit down and assess your open subscriptions is an easy way to free up more of your budget. You can work through which ones you use and get your money’s worth for, and you can filter out the ones you don’t really use and could live without.
Remember to treat yourself
One of the biggest mistakes people make when determining a budget is forgetting to reserve money for them to treat themselves. Everyone gets hyper fixated on saving, and whilst it’s important to save money where possible, it’s also important to reserve a little bit of cash for you to spend on yourself. You work hard for your money so it’s important you have something to show for it beyond a savings account bank balance.
Whether you choose to spend money on a takeaway, a night out, clothes, perfume, or even a pamper session, keeping enough money to spend on yourself is vital for keeping your morale up and ensuring you’re able to look after yourself without feeling guilty for it.
Budgeting is different for everyone because no two people’s expenses and incomes are the same. That being said, these three tips can be used by almost everyone to get better control of their finances and head into the new year with better financial habits than they previously had.