Making budgeting simple

Whether you’re saving for something special or trying to put pennies aside for a rainy day the thought of budgeting can seem daunting, but it needn’t be complicated. Following these steps can help you make the most out of your income and work out where you’re spending money.

Catergorise your spending

The first steps to deciding how much you can afford to save is to get into the detail of your outgoings and you can do this in a few simple steps.

1. Write down the details of all the money going out of your account on a monthly basis.

Log all your outgoings, even that coffee and pastry on the way to work! An easy way to do this is by using a spreadsheet but pen and paper works just as well, whatever way you prefer get them all written down.

2. Sort your spending into categories.

Needs: Your rent or mortgage payments should fall under this category along with the utility bills, food shops, commuting or travel costs and childcare costs. Anything that is an essential spend should fall into this category.

Debts and savings: Any credit should fall into this category. Think store cards, car loans, credit cards or any existing regular savings contributions.

Wants: Life’s little luxuries will fall into this category so include things like takeaways, streaming subscriptions, gym memberships, and don’t forget that coffee we mentioned earlier!

Try colour coding your spend categories with different colours, so you can see at a glance where your money is being spent. 

3. Work out the difference 

Now you should have your spending split into three columns you can total the columns add them together and work out the remaining balance from your income and decide whether you can contribute more to your savings pot or assess if there are things you need to reduce or remove totally from your outgoings to help that pot grow quicker.

Play by the 'rules'

There is an easy-to-follow budgeting rule which is 50/30/20. Essentially it says to budget your wages effectively you should split your cash 50% on needs, 30% wants and 20% on debts or savings.

Everyone’s situation is different, and it won’t work for everyone, but you should aim to take care of your needs and debts/savings before moving onto your wants. Paying off more of your debt will help you gain control of your finances and may save you money in interest.  If you are struggling to manage debt charities such as Stepchange can provide guidance and practical support.

Account for everything

Having your more money in different accounts can help ring fence your money for the essentials and remove the temptation to dip into that money your meant to be saving. Having more than one current account or in a pot within your current accounts if your bank has that functionality can help you separate your essential spends from your everyday treats and expenses, so you can see exactly how much you have left. It’s a good idea to hold a separate savings account, and to set up a standing order on pay day, that way you won’t be tempted to spend the cash you’re supposed to be saving. Don’t forget if you can always send more to the account if you have a little left over in your everyday treats account.

Whatever it is that you are saving for here at The Nottingham we have a range of savings accounts to help you on your way. You can speak to your local branch to help find the right savings account for you.  


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