When it comes to household budgeting, we could probably all do with a helping hand. Whether its money saving tips around the house, planning for big events such as holidays or Christmas, or help with general saving, there's always something we could do better.
Here are some ideas to spring clean your personal finances. If you need more ideas, check out these household budgeting articles.
7 ways to clean up your household budgeting
1. Get organised
Some say 'a tidy desk is a tidy mind', so what about a 'tidy house is a tidy bank account'? The saying could ring true, couldn't it? One of the first ways to get a grip on your household budgeting is to simply get organised.
Most of us just shove our bills and bank statements in a drawer and forget about them until the next one arrives, but by being tidy and filing them away, it's likely you'll give them a bit more thought. Perhaps you could save yourself a few pounds by switching providers or paying your credit card bill on time so you avoid the interest payments.
Taking note of where your money is going is the first step to keeping it in your bank account. So perhaps, a tidy house is a tidy bank account after all?
2. Plan your budget
How to budget and stick to that budget it is essential with household budgeting. You've got to make that budget stretch to the end of the month; otherwise you'll end up in your expensive overdraft or borrowing from a trusted friend.
If you plan your budget and spread it carefully over the month, you'll be more prepared and able to make it last. Basically, don't splash the cash in the first week or so. Make it last the whole month by planning ahead.
You can plan budgeting money by sitting down at the start of each month and thinking about all the upcoming events and activities that are going to require money. Are there any birthdays coming up? What about nights out with friends? Or school trips?
Over time it will become second nature and much easier to stretch your budget to the end of the month.
3. Plan ahead for big events
Holiday and Christmas budgets are the two most expensive annual events and most families expect them both to happen. Most families end up paying for them just before the event or over one or two months at most. The outcome is usually the family has a great time and their overdraft or credit card feels the heat!
It's easy to deal with the implications of your overspend later and enjoy the moment now. But if you planned ahead for these events over the 'whole' year, then they'd be much more enjoyable as there'd be no nagging debt hanging over you!
By allowing for these events each month, you can build up a store of cash to pay for these two biggies upfront. Simply put aside some cash each month in a savings account set up specifically for this purpose. It'll make paying for these much easier in the long term.
4. Make saving part of your budget
If you start planning for a big event such as a birthday party, then in effect you're saving for something. If you can get yourself in this frame of mind, saving for large purchases becomes much easier. In fact, saving on the whole becomes much easier.
So when the washing machine or other essential household appliance is on its last legs and you really need a new one, that £250 is easy to come by as you've been saving little and often each month to cover costs such as these.
Getting started with saving isn't easy, but it's essential in today's world of costly credit. If you're doing a budget, try to put aside some money each month for 'unforeseen events' or 'household expenses'. Even just £10-20 would make a difference and is a great start (little acorns and all that).
5. Get savvy in the home
For your household budgeting to be the best it can, it makes sense to get savvy. Start thinking about how you can save around the home.
Switch power suppliers, get a water meter, start saving energy by switching things off and start budget cooking from scratch are just some simple, but big ways to save money.
6. Use a prepaid credit card
If you want to get control of your money limit what you can spend with a prepaid credit card. With no endless credit available, you can only spend the money you put on the card, so you keep control of your finances.
A prepaid credit card keeps your cash real. You've placed the money on it and so it's your money to spend. It's not that 'free' money the bank gave you that you pay back another day! A great way to keep a check on your spending.
7. Think about your food
We've all got lazy with our food and it's too easy to buy that premade lasagne for the family than make one ourselves- it also seems cheaper. In the long run it's often not cheaper to buy things premade.
Instead if you plan your meals on a weekly basis, shop carefully in the supermarkets and buy only what you need to cook inexpensive meals from scratch, you will save money. Not only will it taste better, but it will be better for you as well. See Budget Cooking and Food Budget for tips.
Get started with these tips on household budgeting and watch your finances get rosier.
Articles on budgeting in the home
Why you should get to grips with your household finance
Creating a household budget to suit your family
How to travel on a budget
Household cleaning tips to ease your budget
Christmas on a budget
Tips to make home budgeting easy
What your household budget should include
Why using a household budget planner will keep you on track
Tips for a wedding on a budget
A wedding budget - How to set your budget up