How can I make my monthly budget easier to manage?

20 December2011
Budgeting - create a budget

We're in the middle of one of the most costly times of the year. With Christmas quickly approaching, not only do we have our usual monthly outgoings to keep on top of - rent/mortgage, food, transport costs, etc. - but we also have to budget for all the extra costs associated with the festive season: gifts, decorations and food & drink, to name just a few.

With this in mind, managing your money to make sure all your outgoings are safely covered is really important. Taking some time to look at your monthly budget, and taking steps to make it easier to manage, could make the difference between keeping your finances in order and losing control.

Here are a few ideas for making your monthly budget easier to manage - helping you rest assured that all your financial commitments are safely taken care of.

Work out all your essential outgoings

Work out how much you spend on things such as food, utilities, transport and anything else you regularly spend money on and need from month to month. As long as you can afford these essential outgoings, you should be quite well protected from financial problems.

If you're repaying secured debts, such as your mortgage, these should also be a priority. Non-payment of secured debts could have severe consequences, so it's important they're always considered first.

Reduce your monthly spending

Consider taking some pressure off your budget by reining in your monthly spending. After all, the fewer outgoings you have, the more money you'll have available in your budget to cope with unexpected costs. There are several ways you could cut back on your monthly spending: have a couple more quiet weekends in every month; use coupons to knock some money off your food bills; and/or have a few 'car-free' days every month to cut back on petrol costs.

If you're repaying unsecured debts, taking out a debt consolidation loan could help you to reduce your monthly outgoings if you agree to repay the loan over a longer period of time - as you'll be making more (but smaller) monthly payments towards your debt. Although it could be more expensive overall due to interest, a debt consolidation loan could make it easier to manage your budget on a monthly basis - as long as you can commit to regular payments.

Keep track of your finances

There are all kinds of ways you could make your finances easier to keep on top of. If you're concerned about missing any of your regular payments, such as your rent or bills, you may find setting up standing orders or Direct Debits makes life that bit easier. Registering for phone and/or online banking could also be a great way of keeping an eye on your account balance, as well as making payments and transferring money between accounts.

You may find taking a more traditional approach - such as making a list of all your expenses - gives you a better grasp of your finances. Whatever method works for you, stick to it!

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Tags: budget, budgeting, Christmas, debt, debt consolidation, debt consolidation loan, plan, expenses, unsecured debt, secured debt, manage, managing finances, manage debt

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