Now it’s March, are you on target for this years budget?
The most common New Years resolution for people is to try and spend less in the coming year, and budget themselves. We all know it’s easy to make them but sometimes a little hard to stick to. Winter doesn’t leave a lot of options for cheap social activities with the kids, and we all know that food shopping goes up in the colder months because we all want ‘Winter warmers’ for dinner. Before you know it, Christmas comes around and despite all of your best intentions, you haven’t actually saved or started your shopping early. So how are you for this years budget, and how will you ever know? Thankfully, there are plenty of budgeting tools that can help you manage and analyse your budget.
Money advice service – Free budget planner
The money advice service are a UK based website that give impartial advice on money. This works online on a desktop, and you can input information from any of your bills or bank statements. Once you have done this, the money advice will give you a summary. From this, you should be able to see where you are going wrong. Once you have analysed this, you should be able to get right back on track.
Mint budgeting app
If you prefer to do things on your phone, you can use the Mint budgeting app which works very similarly to the money advice service desktop tool. You can input all of your incomings and outgoings and have a little bit more of an idea on where you are.
Part of the budgeting process is saving where possible, so that you don’t get stung if you have a short month or an unnecessary expense. You can shop around for good savings accounts, but there are a few different types you need to be aware of.
Bank savings accounts
Most banks offer savings accounts with a set interest rate. These are usually in line with national interest rates. Many banks will give you perks for saving with them, but sometimes if you are an existing customer you can somewhat get left out. There are plenty of comparison websites that you can use to find the best deal for you, as it may now always be the one with your existing bank.
There are two different types of ISA, cash or stocks and shares. Both include tax benefits, and an ISA is basically a wrapper around your investment or savings. ISA’s are a bit more secure than just normal savings accounts, and a little bit harder to withdraw from, in case you feel tempted to put your hands in the cookie jar.
Make some money online
If you are budgeting fine, but you feel there just isn’t enough money to go around, you can explore ways to make some extra cash online. Gone are the days of completing millions of paid surveys just for a few pounds, and now you can earn money online that will actually make a difference.
Companies like CMC markets make online trading easy and accessible to the ‘everyman’. Gone are the days where you need to go through a stockbroker, and you can now just sign up and trade yourself. Once you get the hang of things, it can be easy to supplement your income with your profits.
eBay is the big player in the online selling market, but rising post prices have slowed it’s growth a little bit in the last few years. Although eBay still has the largest number of users available, there are still other sites that will let you sell online with a little bit less of a fee.
If not, take yourself down onto an actual boot sale to sell some stuff. It may be an early start, and you may have to pay for the pitch, but face to face selling is a lot more successful and a lot more hassle. They do say one mans trash is another mans treasure, and this is certainly the case for boot sales. You probably won’t believe the stuff that people want to actually buy from you.