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Aligning your budgeting, spending and saving

Keep an eye on the cents, and the dollars look after themselves – or so the old saying goes. While it’s easier said than done, keeping track of your spending could be the first step to a healthy financial future. Here are a few ways to get started.

Keep a spending diary

 

Some people may find it useful to keep a diary of all their spending, whether that’s in a notebook or using an app on their phone. Here are some examples:

 

  • Commit to a time frame, such as four weeks
  • Create categories for common expenses such as travel, lunch and entertainment
  • Write it down, no matter how small. It all adds up!
  • After four weeks, compare what you’ve spent in each category
  • Make a note of where you would like to spend less, keeping an eye out for spontaneous purchases you think you could probably do without in future.

Where could you cut back?

Perhaps you’re going out for dinner more than you’d like, or are using the car unnecessarily. You could also do a bit of research to see whether you could save money on your mobile phone or broadband plans.

It can be easy to buy an expensive new piece of clothing or gadget without thinking about it. Here’s something that might help. Work out your hourly wage, then compare it to the cost of what you’ve just bought.

Plan a budget

It can feel like a chore, but if you’re spending more than you’ve got coming in, it may be difficult to meet your savings goals.

 

Find out more about creating a budget.  

A budget calculator could assist by bringing structure and visibility to your spending.

Tips

  •  Be realistic about how much you can spend and save
  • Try to cut down in non-essential areas like entertainment or going out.
  • Revisit every 3 months. Is the budget working? Where else could you cut down?
  • Try to leave some room for small pleasures. Once the essentials are taken care of and you’ve topped up your rainy day fund, you can spend the rest guilt free.

Developing good savings habits

Just like budgeting, saving can be a really rewarding habit which gets you closer to your ambitions.

  • Start small – start by saving for something achievable and shorter term, such as a weekend away
  • Be specific – work out exactly what you want and why
  • Be realistic – set yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your targets
  • Share it – talk about your goal with a friend, partner and/or children to stay motivated
  • Reward yourself – celebrate each step along the way.

 

Find out more about saving plans.

Set up savings accounts

It can be too easy to spend money that’s just sitting in your everyday bank account. A savings account could give you a secure place to transfer your hard earned cash, and may reward you with interest to boot. You might even get paid bonus interest if you meet the terms and conditions of the savings account.