Budgeting Guide for 2013

02 January 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR! How did you enjoy the festive season?

The start of the New Year will be challenging for some and with pockets being squeezed it’s important to watch your spending.

Towards the end of last year all UK customers received a variety of unwanted news. In October it was announced that the ‘big six’ energy providers were to increase prices from 6-11%. The cost of energy has now surpassed inflation, leaving customers to deal with higher bills in low temperatures. A Which? survey suggested that 78% of UK consumers were worried about the costs of energy and many are unsure about what energy options are available. Not long after the announcement of increased energy costs, in November it was announced that train fares are to rise by 6% from 2013. Despite this not being a major surprise given the costs of travel has increased annually for the past 10 years, the financial strain is still as raw.

With rising costs and little movement in wages, it is important to monitor your incomings and outgoings. Creating and sticking to a budget can be difficult but with a little discipline and understanding it can be quite simple and rewarding.

Don’t put it off this year. Get back on track with your budget. If you haven’t created a budget but have a rough idea of what your weekly budget is, it’s time to come up with a method that allows you to monitor your outgoings. Try following some of the tips below:

Try budgeting annually rather than monthly: Not all monthly expenditures are the same. By creating an annual budget you can analyse the irregular expenses made in the odd months, which makes it easier to plan for them in the future. Annual expenses include the likes of insurance, medical care, road tax, travel and energy bills.

Be honest with your spending: Think carefully about lifestyle expenses such as coffee, lunch, dining out, gym membership etc. All these costs are taken from your budget. Some things are habitual and are part of your daily routine, for example buying a coffee and newspaper or buying a sandwich, drink and snack. Surprisingly we find ourselves spending on things over the course of a month for example that we can’t even account for! Small purchases such as these make a substantial impact on your budget. A useful tool is the Demotivator by MoneySuperMarket.com, just enter the non-essential product and its cost, and the tool calculates how much you spend per day, week, month and year.

Clean your account: According to The Telegraph four in 10 don’t keep track of direct debits, so you may find that you are paying for things you no longer need. Over time you may have signed up for things for example; magazines, charities, services and membership accounts – these charges are still being made. Because you may not have noticed physically paying the money out for these activities you don’t realise how much you can save.

Stay Motivated: The hardest thing about maintaining a budget is keeping the momentum. The best thing to do is set time aside weekly to review your expenses. As times go by, you may find that you have a rough idea of your average spending as you get into the habit of keeping a budget. It may be helpful to find someone to review your budget with. Finding a trusting budget buddy to advise you on your budgeting journey can help, quite similar to having a work out partner they can keep you motivated and keep you on track.

Take advantage of what Pockit has to offer. At Pockit we have a whole host of money saving offers that are available. Not only can you manage your funds better with a prepaid card, Pay Monthly cardholders have access to exclusive in-store cashback deals at some of the leading retailers in the UK such as M&S, Halfords, Toys R Us UK, New Look and many more.

There are no quick fixes to clear debt, but there are easy tools that can be put in place to help you save and manage money better. Once you get into the habit of it, it will become second nature. Get your Pockit card now to take this first step to managing your money better in 2013.

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