Money budgeting, planning and saving

12 Jan 2020

I've never been horrendous with money, but I couldn't help feeling a little bit daunted by reaching my 30's with absolutely no savings. The only thing that was slightly reassuring was knowing there are so many people my age, younger and older, who are in the same position. It's simply not as easy unless you are in a fortunate position, to have all the 'perfect life' boxes ticked.

A photo of two budget books for a blog post on how to budget, save and plan with your money
It did spur me on to try and manage my money better though, and since our family grew with the arrival of Hadley, that has become even more important to me. I have been much more careful with money; budgeting, planning, and trying to put aside money for the future, as well as any special occasions we have coming up. I feel much more confident when it comes to managing money and feel far less dread thinking about the future. Whilst I am certainly no financial advisor, I thought it might be handy to share the little things I have been doing, which may help others who want to change the way they look after their money if they are in a position to.

Write down all your incomings and outgoings
I've been using the Busy B budget books for around 5 years now and find they help make managing my money much, much easier than if I simply relied on checking my bank. There are tons of budget books available on the market though, and even a plain notepad and pen will do the job. I use mine to write down the direct debits I have going out each month, the amount and what date they have been paid, when I expect income to be paid, as well as any spending outside of the usual monthly household bills and direct debits. Having everything written down like this ensures I stay within my budget; I know x amount of money is to cover the cost of 'living', and it gives me a realistic idea of what money I have 'free' to do with outside of those responsibilities. 

Use Internet banking
I find my Internet banking app invaluable for keeping on top of my spending because it allows me to check my balance 24/7. Checking my app often stops me doing any unnecessary impulse buying, too, as if I find myself tempted by something, I can check my app to see whether or not it's really a good idea to be spending money. Often, it stops me impulse buying and I feel better for it, knowing I've not indulged where I'd have maybe regretted it later.

Make a list of all the things you'd like to save for
There are three things on my list of things I'd like to save towards this year; tattoos, a family holiday in 2021/2022, and Christmas later this year. As well as this, I have a Help to Buy ISA. Of course, throughout the year other things will crop up that I will want to save towards, but these are my main saving goals.

Have realistic goals in mind
Whilst it's good to have goals in mind, you have to be realistic about what you can afford in a way that won't leave you short each month, but will also leave you room to do other things and enjoy yourself. Squirrelling away all your money might work for some, but it'd make our lives pretty boring if I was to do that, and didn't allow any money outside of saving, for days out with the girls or to simply indulge and treat myself. I have a standing order for my ISA, then put aside set amounts towards saving for new tattoos, the holiday, and Christmas. They're not huge amounts, but they are realistic, both towards what I can actually afford and how much I really need to have saved in 12 months to achieve those things.

Money can be an incredibly stressful part of life and for me, being as organised as I can about my finances helps to remove some of that stress. Whilst I appreciate I am in a privileged position to even manage what I do, I do wish I had started being more responsible with money at a younger age. Whilst none of the things I do are exactly rocket science, hopefully it will help others who want to be a little more responsible with their money, but aren't sure where to start. 

Want to join in the conversation and share your saving tips and goals with me? You can tweet me @TattooedTealady, check out my Facebook page Tattooed Tealady, or reach me on Instagram @TattooedTealady.