It’s been a crazy year. Actually, a crazy couple of years! 🙁
We’re into December and I’ve realised it’s the first time I’ve done a blog since the summer.
I have a New Year’s resolution and that’s to keep in touch more regularly in 2022 and beyond.
So let’s talk about Budgeting. It’s the time of year people think about money (or their lack of it) because they probably spend a lot due to Christmas and all the festivities and celebrations surrounding it.
It may be worse this year as people on the whole didn’t really have much of a Christmas last year as we weren’t allowed to mingle and socialise outside our immediate households. January is often the time of year people think about cutting back: whether it be spending or eating and drinking. Quite often, one leads to the other!
In any case, January is a great time of year to get on top of your finances. To review your current expenditure and see where you can make changes.
A time for “budgeting”.
What is the dictionary definition of budget? I’ve looked it up: “to allow or provide a particular amount of money in a budget”.
Your income is the money you get IN.
Outgoings relate to the money you SPEND.
Budgeting is aiming to ensure that your outgoings are equal to or less than, your income.
When it comes to your outgoings, you have “essential” and “non-essential” expenditure.
Essential expenditure may include:
- Council Tax
- Travel to Work
Non-essential expenditure is usually money spent on extras such as clothing, coffee, meals out, takeaways.
Knowing exactly what your expenditure is can help you to effectively budget.
Something as simple as a spreadsheet will work. Include your “take home pay” (what you get paid after your tax and national insurance contributions have been paid). Make a list of your essential bills.
The difficulty comes when we have essential expenditure which is not fixed. For example, we’ll pay more money in the winter for heating our property than we will in the summer. So when it comes to managing your budget, go for “worst case scenario” and add the winter utility costs onto the spreadsheet.
What’s left? If there are any areas of non-essential expenditure you can cut down (for example, food shopping costs? eating out costs? How much is your daily or weekly coffee on the run?) then we can aim to do that. Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have enough money in savings to be able to cover your essential outgoings for a few months, in the event of an unexpected reduction in income?
Spending more than you earn on a regular basis is “living beyond your means”. Although, for most of us this may happen occasionally, if it is regularly the case, you will be making up the deficit either by going into debt (adding to credit card balances, for example) or reducing your savings.
We’ve recently heard in the news that inflation is at at a 10 year high. And the Bank of England increased Base Rate by 0.15% on 16th December to 0.25%. This means that the spending power of your savings is likely to be reduced as the prices of goods increase. And credit (mortgages, loans and credit cards) are likely to become more expensive as interest rates rise.
Think what we’ve learned from the Covid-19 pandemic: how many people were in a financial turmoil because of losing 20% of their monthly income? If you’d like any help with creating a budget planner, particularly if you’re thinking about buying a property at any time in the future, please get in touch and we’d be very happy to help you.
In the meantime, have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year,
Heide & Poppy x
Telephone: 01525 309300
Mobile: 07903 302895