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How I Budget And Save + Easy Budgeting Tips that Work

How I Budget And Save + Easy Budgeting Tips that Work

I've been getting a lot of questions on how I budget as a single parent, so I thought I would share my tips with you all today. They could be helpful whether you're living off one income, a student or even if you're just wanting to learn how to budget your finances better. First of all I just want to say it's not about how much money you make, it's about how much money you save by spending less so here are my budgeting tips for how to save money money and spend less money.

Have a specific goal in mind

Have a goal for why you're saving money, whether it be for a new car, a dream holiday or a house. I think its always good to have a specific goal in mind to keep yourself motivated and focused. Write it down everywhere you can so you can see it when you wake up in the morning, when you're at your desk or when you go and get a drink out of the fridge. For example, if you're saving up £10,000 or saving for a dream holiday you could write £10,000 on a piece of paper or print off a picture of your holiday destination.

Work out your budget 

Once you have your goal in mind you then need to work out what your budget is. Write down your monthly income and all of your monthly outgoings. I bought a Busy B budget book which I've found extremely helpful rather than just jotting it all down in the notes section on my phone. I now have a dedicated place to keep track of everything. I also use the Busy B meal planner to help keep my expenses down. Once you sit down and look at your budget you'll soon see how much all of those little expenses soon add up and where you can eliminate some spending to work out a realistic budget and see how much you can be putting away in savings.

Keep track of what you're spending

Whether it be in a notebook or on a spreadsheet, keep track of all of your outgoings including shopping, eating out, online purchases. Even if it's only a £1 here or there, write it all down to get an accurate account of what you're actually spending. More often than not people don't realise how much they're actually spending when in reality they're spending far more than they can afford.

Auto save

I calculate all of my monthly expenses and the amount I have left I automatically transfer into my savings account. Think of it as you're paying yourself, that way you don't think you have extra money to spend and are less likely to eat into your savings each month.

Stop impulse buying 

If I've added something to an online basket or see something when I'm out shopping I'll make myself wait 24 hours before buying it. That way I can think if I really still want it and if not then I'll remove it from my basket. This has really helped me stop impulse buying at everyone opportunity I get.

Look for discounts or voucher codes

This is something I never did until the past year or so, I would always just buy something at it's full retail price. However these days if there is something that I really want to buy online I will look for a discount code for money off or free delivery. For example if I'm looking for a discount for Currys I will type in "Currys discount code 2016" on google.

Use cashback sites 

I will also always go through a cashback site when making a purchase and look for the best cashback offers. I find Quidco the easiest to navigate but do also check out Topcashback and Kidstart as sometimes they have better cashback rates.

Avoid temptation 

This is something I've learnt to do recently, I would always pop to the shops for a browse to waste time whilst the eldest was at nursery or do some window shopping online which would always result in me spending £100s on rubbish I didn't actually need. Instead I avoid going to the shops unless I actually need something specific.

Learn to say no 

You may have friends or family who ask you to go out for lunch or go away for the weekend, learn to say no and don't give in to temptation. If you have understanding friends and family then they will respect your decision and support you.

If you want something then save for it

Instead of putting something on Paypal credit or a store card I will now save up for it. I have been quite bad in the past for putting things on credit and thinking I'll pay it back at a later date not thinking about how much interest I'll actually be paying back on it. If there's something you really want to buy, whether it be a new sofa, car or a Dyson hoover, instead of putting it on your Argos card or credit card save up for it and then you won't get caught out with the interest added on top and you'll feel more in control of your hard earned money.

Leave cash or cards at home 

This can be hard to adjust to, especially if like me and you don't leave home with some sort of cash on you such as a card or your purse but to avoid the temptation to spend I will now leave my card and cash at home. I do like to have some money on me incase of emergencies so I will leave £5 in the car or in my purse just incase but that means I can't impulse buy where I would usually do so.

I've also read some interesting books which are worth reading over the past year including The Money Diet by Martin Lewis and The Minimalist Budget which have defintiely helped me to learn how to budget and motivate me to save so I'd definitely recommend getting hold of them up if you can.

Hope this helps some of you out, let me know in the comments! How do you budget, if you already do? I'll be sharing some of my budgeting spreadsheets and printables over the next few months so let me know if you'd like to see anything in particular.

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15 comments

  1. This is just what I needed to read. Hubby and I are saving for a house deposit and not being very successful with putting money into savings. We always seem to have something or other to buy or pay for (needing to replace our car windscreen twice in a year hasn't helped).

    Azaria- Being Mrs Lynch

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  2. Great tips I'm so bad at saving and all money always gets spent. I need to be much more conscious this year whilst on mat leave. I like the idea of writing spends down. Although it'll tell me I spend way to much in Starbucks! 😏

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  3. Very helpful tips! I always make sure I have my bills paid but after they're paid I am a bugger for spending what I have left over, I really should learn to save! x

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  4. I certainly needed this, our money has been cut and now we need to work out a new budget x

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  5. Great advice I'm sure these fab tips will come in very handy.

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  6. Great tips Kerry, I should take a leaf out of your book and say no. I'm useless when it comes to saving, doesn't help that we live in a building site at the moment and need everything doing. I'll definitely take some of your points on board though. It's about time I got my head out of the clouds.

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  7. You are SO good at all this!!! I've always been rubbish at saving. I do *quite* well then decide I NEED that pair of shoes or I can't do without some gorgeous new cushions for the house!! Such great tips :) Thanks for sharing x

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  8. You give such good advice! Saving is something I've been trying to be good at lately as me and my boyfriend are saving a deposit for a house! It's so so easy to be tempted to buy things I don't need but since I sold my car earlier this year and really focused on saving, it's got so much easier! X

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  9. Such great advice, really looking forward to reading all your other posts. I'm awful at saving it's my main goal over the next couple of years. I've just recently started using cashback sites and need to start tracking my spending! xx

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  10. We have worked really hard on budgeting over the last 6 months and it has made such a difference to our lives. I'm still a sod for the occasional impulse splurge though I must admit.

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  11. Such brilliant advice! I'm really interested in reading more of your posts, we're currently trying to save more for and i'm already feeling encouraged reading your posts!

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  12. Impulse buying is were I always fail at budgeting. I find it so hard to resist. Great post Kerry and saved for future reference 😊

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  13. Such great advice. My first time visiting here! Amazing site. and amazing tips too. Will look forward to your next post. I am not a great saver, more like a great spender! x

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  14. The goal setting part is what I tend to forget and lose track of budgeting lol

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  15. Great tips Kerry, I'm following this new blog of yours with interest as I could always do with saving more than I do x

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