Setting up a Budget Ahead of 2024: Here’s How

Have you made a promise to yourself to be more frugal in 2024? If you’re keen to start as you mean to go on, perhaps now’s the time to put together a failsafe, money-saving plan. After all, more than 24 million UK adults (40% of the UK population) plan to use credit to pay for Christmas presents this year. That’s according to this article on The Guardian site, which states that 12 million of those will use credit cards, with 4.7 million turning to buy now pay later plans to spread the cost of the festive season.

In this article, we share some handy resources which offer advice on setting up a budget. It may be just what you need ahead of January, allowing you to step confidently into the new year with a solid plan to manage your finances. Read on…

Decide How You’ll Budget

You may prefer to use a good ‘old-fashioned’ pen and paper when it comes to mapping out your incomings or outgoings. If so, great - whatever works for you. If you do fancy tracking your expenditure in this way, the Lifehacker site offers some guidance.

Prefer a digital plan? Money Saving Expert provides a free budget planning spreadsheet, which the site states is ‘based on rock-solid budgeting theory’. Good news: for those who prefer to use a pen and paper, there’s a printable version of the budget planner you can fill in.

Be Honest and Realistic

So, you’ve got your budget planner in front of you – now for the hard part: it’s time to be honest about what you currently spend your money on. There’s absolutely no use setting up a budget if you’re going to miss a few things out here and there.

Gather bank statements, bills and receipts, says Martin Lewis in his budget planning guide, which includes detailed advice for filling it out and getting the most from it.

Be realistic, too. When is your MOT due, for instance? Or do you plan to put aside some money for some additional treats that won’t count as everyday expenses? Perhaps you want to budget for a holiday. If so, it’s worth overestimating what you plan to spend. That way, you won’t be caught short later down the line.

Get Serious About Saving

Now, once you’ve inputted all your incomings and outgoings into the spreadsheet or paper planner, it’s time to get serious about where you can make cutbacks.

Once you can better see the bigger picture of your monthly (or even weekly) expenditure, you can work out exactly where you could be overspending – and if you are spending more than you’d like, there are plenty of ways to cut back.

Think about things you can pay for in advance, rather than monthly. For example, there is usually a saving to be made if you pay for your car insurance upfront for the year. Not only will you save, but you will find it much easier to manage your monthly budget if you have fewer payments leaving your account.

Now for the extremely hard part: sticking to your budget. It may seem difficult in January and the following few months, but once summer rolls around and you’re almost debt-free (or you have the spare funds for a family holiday) you’ll be glad of it.

Consider, also, if you could make space in your home and save money, by selling unwanted clothing or other items on online selling or auction sites. You could also batch cook your week’s meals, saving energy and time spent cooking, freezing them for use later.

For more advice where money-saving is concerned, have a look around the Knowledge Hub here on our site. Delve into our article on ‘Why You Should Do a Money Makeover’, or view our piece on ‘Five Inventive Ways to Save Money’.

Plus, if you’re worried about overspending at Christmas, we’ve put together a guide on how to snag a few free – and cheap – gifts for those you love. Stay tuned on our site to read the guide in full.

Made a big savings goal for 2024 and want to open a savings account to ensure a healthier financial future for you and your family? View our savings products* and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Until next time…

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