Creative ways to budget

Tracking spending, budgeting and looking after your money is something we think we can help you with here at The Nottingham - we consider ourselves savings experts. Just check out our Savings Essential Guides for tips on how to save fast, how to save for a house deposit and even how to save specifically as a student! But, if tracking your spending and how much of your budget you've worked your way through in a month seems overwhelming and tricky, getting creative with your budgeting could help. 

We commissioned bullet journal influencer, Abby, to create some awesome templates and ideas to share with our saving members using the bullet journal technique created by Ryder Carroll. Bullet journals can be used for tracking almost anything. The organisational diary-style notebooks can be used as a calendar, a fitness tracker, a place for your many lists and much more. We spotted lots of spending trackers and budgeting help and wanted to share some savings ideas to help keep your finances in check in a more creative and visual way with these three ideas. 

1. Write down what you spend

A simple but a classic way to keep yourself in check with your spending. Write down literally everything you spend over a week or even a month and what you spent it on. You may need to extend this page and create your tracker over a two page spread if you think you might spend more than a few things but it's a great way to visually see how much you're spending and what you're spending on. 

Use the budget tracker at the end of the month to see what you spent on each area. For example, split your budget up into things like snacks, groceries, eating out, beauty products, books, clothes and shoes. Knowing this could help inform future budgets and you can base your next budget on what you actually want to spend. You could also add a line into your spending tracker for the next month to see how much of your monthly budget you have spent - this may help to kerb any impulse spending! 

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2. Track your 'No Spend' days

Another really great visual way to monitor your spending is to challenge yourself to a 'No Spend' day and see how many you can complete in a week or even in a month. Bullet journal pages usually cover a month so lots of the templates you will find will be over this time frame. Colour in the square if you spent no money on a certain day and watch the squares mount up over the month. If you did end up spending, remember to fill in your spending tracker from the first idea!

If you're challenged and motivated by the idea of 'No Spend' days then check out My No Spend Week. This is where we're challenging bloggers, content creators, our team members and the public to take on an entire week of not spending money on anything bar the ultimate essentials. Essentials count as grocery shopping, petrol and travel costs to get to work and utility bills. Read some of the My No Spend Week diaries and why not contact us to try your own? 

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3. Motivate yourself 

A simple savings tracker can really keep you motivated by simply colouring in each level of a savings goal when you hit it. Decide on your monthly savings goal, for example £100. Then, add in increments along the way such as £10 and colour in each level as you save and watch it grow throughout the month. 

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There we have three fairly simple and really creative ways to visualise your spending, saving and budgeting. If you love getting creative and seeing things written down that motivate you to keep going then a bullet journal spending tracker could be perfect for you. You don't need to have a special notebook to start a bullet journal, any old notebook will do. Grab your coloured pens and get budgeting! 

Follow us on Instagram and tag us in your spending trackers. 


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