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whats the best way to budget?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I'm not skint, but nor am i minted, and unfortunatly, i have to make my next lot of money go a lot further, just incase i get ill again, and can't get back on benefits over summer, or if i'm out of work all summer, which is a possibility seeing as i'm likely to only get stewarding work unless i take on some retail work- which i struggle with.

i've got to pay for the following:

Food
Travel
Tv licence
Toiletries and laundry
Mobile phone bill
stationary and such
Books and equipment for uni
CDs for uni research purposes
Clothes- essential things rather than pretty bits

I also want to have the following:

money to go out
2 hair cuts a semester
money for a nice thing once a month
something to go into my savings
contents insurance

i'm trying to work out whats the best way to work it out and stick to it. I took out the cash i needed for each week, and didn't use my card. but I don't like walking around with cash because i've had my bag stolen and its easier to replace cards than it is cash.

whats the best method of doing it. also whats the average spend on each of these per week (minding that i live in london, and everything is more expencive here!)

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've been trying to budget for the same reason, and it is hard :( I have found that for food, although its a bit of pain, going to a few different supermarkets and seeing what is on offer can be really cost effective, obviously cooking as much as poss. Travel walk as much as poss, phone bill work out how much you actually use, i worked out i could cut £10 off my bill because i was overcompensating!For laundry hand washing can be a godsend. When I lived abroad and had no washing machine I went to the launderette about once a month and hand washed everything else! Sorry I'm sure lots of these things seem blatently obvious - I myself have found doing these has made a difference though, I can get through days of spending nothing by walking everywhere and cooking at home!
    I would just try and make a really realistic budget, good luck!!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you have internet banking and get a monthly wage or set pay per month, work out how much per month/week out of your money you would need to put aside for each of the above and open a separate savings account for them all, then transfer the amount you want to save for each item when you get paid and then transfer it back into your main account to withdraw when you know you need it. Using cash is best because its easy to see how much you have left and keeping all your money seperate means you can see how much you actually have for each item.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I get paid normally on the 27th of every month. I contacted the bank and they rearranged all my direct debits to come out 2/3 days laters. Out of the money that's left I put at least £150 in my savings. I'm normally left with about £450-500 spending money.
    That was what worked for me, I found that if I shifted all my money out of my current account I couldn't spend it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    problem is that i don't get a monthly wage, i get paid in a lump sum 3 times a year...

    i don't have many direct debits to rearrange, and my current account is where all my money is, and i i can't put in my savings as its a isa savings account and i'd got over my tax free limit.

    I'm not even too sure how much money i should be spending on things....

    i'm just not good at organising things!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I do mine on an Excel, which keeps a running total of credits and debits.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    and i i can't put in my savings as its a isa savings account and i'd got over my tax free limit.
    !


    I just set up a low interest savings account when I ran out of ISA allowance.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe pay TV licence first as that'll be a set amount and one less thing to worry about. Laundry should be fairly easy to budget quite accurately e.g. 1-2 washes per week approx and a set amount? Stationary could be bought in bulk cheaply straight off, as could toiletries. Books and CDs - find out what you're definitely gonna need as soon as poss and have a shop around online or student book sales, see what's available in libraries and try to get the essentials as cheaply as possible (maybe sell some old books/CDs you don't need if you can). The price of insurance and a couple of haircuts should be fairly easy to estimate accurately. Phone, travel and food are possibly a bit more variable but I'm guessing there will be certain journeys you need to make everyday and people you'll need to call, so get those accounted for first and allow yourself a bit extra. Food is fairly easy to budget for if you're going to be mostly cooking from scratch, again get your essential things that'll keep in bulk asap (eg, rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes) then you'll have less to plan for on a daily/weekly basis.

    As has been mentioned, Excel can be a good way of keeping track of these things. Maybe do an initial budget with the expenses you have the most accurate amounts for? Try not to overdo the budgetting tho, cos it can be easy to panic you're not going to have enough money when often you're just overcompensating! Just get a rough figure of how much you'll have left for the variable expenses and keep that amount in the back of your mind when you're planning socialising/clothes shopping/money aside for savings.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    open another savings or bank account you don't just have to have an isa - i have 3 saving accounts and 2 bank accounts to manage my money.

    I would work out how much money your going to need out of your lump sum for your direct debits plus a bit extra as a contingency - then reorganise your direct debits to come out of that so you dont' need to worry about it.

    Then work out what you need on a weekly/ monthly basis for everything else - rough guides below:

    Food - Aprox £20 a week
    Travel - if you have to get public transport regularly then get a student oyster with a monthly ticket on it which will save you more money.

    Tv licence - I have no idea £10 a month?

    Toiletries and laundry - £25 a month - if your spending more then see waht you can cut back on and also persuade friends to buy expensive stuff in duty free when they are traveling.

    Mobile phone bill - see what yours has averaged over the last 6 months and switch providers if necessary.

    stationary and such - £5 per month its only paper and pens buy bulk from WHSmith or look in the pound shop or even supermarkets.

    Books and equipment for uni - borrow as much as you can. Save money on photocopying by reading and making notes there and then in the library and copying out quotes - you will remember more of them that way and save lots of money.

    CDs for uni research purposes - see if you can borrow these from your local library or from other people as much as possible also go to jumble sales and car boot sales you will find lots of random things there.

    Clothes- essential things rather than pretty bits - i'd budet £100 per season.

    I also want to have the following:

    money to go out - £30 per week?

    2 hair cuts a semester - go to vidal sassoon and get it cut for free.

    money for a nice thing once a month - i'm not sure what this is.... Maybe just treat yourself with a cake fron konditor and cook.

    something to go into my savings - £5 per week?

    contents insurance - Shop around for a good deal.

    Do it in excel buy all your shopping at the beginning of the week on a card and then take the rest of the going out money out in cash - so for example i used to budget £50 a week for food and going out and toiletries stationary etc. If I spent say £20 in the shop on food and toiletries then i'd only have £30 for going out that week and so on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It might be cheaper to download CDs? Legally, of course.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    the CDs i need i can't seem to get a lot of them off itunes...its actually suprising how many limitations it actually has when you push it.

    the money for nice things once a month is the sort of if i'm feeling a bit down and i need a pick me up, in the form of a dvd or cheap manicure or a something....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I am terrible at budgeting. My idea of budgeting was to never look at my balance and to keep spending until cards got refused.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The best way to budget is just to sit down and do it really.

    Whether you stick to your budget is up to you, but I don't think there's any special magic to it. Get a piece of normal writing paper, and write two columns, expenditure and income, and just write down everything you can think of, and whether they are monthly, weekly, or whatever.

    Then plug them into excel, standardise them into monthly / weekly and voila.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    the problem is, that i'm not bad with money at all, i'm just not so good at making it stretch longer than its really meant and cover all the things i really need.

    I'm probably trying to do the impossible here, but i have to buy a keyboard, speakers, and an interface this term. i want to keep it under £250, but i'm pretty sure it won't.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/Budget-planning
    The website can also help you get discounts and money back.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Calvin wrote: »
    I am terrible at budgeting. My idea of budgeting was to never look at my balance and to keep spending until cards got refused.

    LOL Same here mate! I'm awful at doing that! Its asks you if you wanna see your balance, and I'm like...nahh...don't really wanna know...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Calvin wrote: »
    I am terrible at budgeting. My idea of budgeting was to never look at my balance and to keep spending until cards got refused.

    same and its got me into a right mess...it should all be paid off within 2 years though if things go to plan.

    i will NEVER get myself into such a silly situation again. ive really learnt my lesson :crying:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ok, i've had a look back through some bank statements to look at what i normally spend...unfortunatly i could only find the one from around my birthday, which means a few extras went out, but i think its reasonably normal otherwise, and i'm taking my expenditure from that.

    I'm trying to see if i can make any savings, like by getting weekly tickets and such, but it looks like i'm only spending about £20 a month on my oyster...which doesn't even cover a weekly 1-5 travelcard...

    Music seems to be a big expenditure..i'm just not so sure, even with using Itunes, how i can get around that one...

    And food last term was around £30, but we were having lots stolen as well...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well I am totally skint at the moment (too skint to set up a standing order for rent :crying: ), but have learnt to budget the hard way.

    I normally take out £20 to last me the week... That's £10 for buses and another £10 just in case I need something (i.e. a newspaper, or an apple ect).

    I spend £8-12 per week on food mainly because I live off vegetables and have spices and pulses at home.

    But yeah, for me I find the best way is to draw out only the cash you absolutely need and leave the rest be.
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