Budgeting is vital to achieving financial stability, and it starts with developing a good attitude towards saving. However, once you start out, it's easy to fall into the trap of only budgeting month-to-month, and not reaping the benefits that would come with budgeting long-term. Doing so is more rewarding as it takes account of irregular spending patterns, and allows you to plan in a way that more accurately represents your lifestyle.
Factor in Unexpected Spending
One reason budgeting can be difficult is that life is unpredictable. You may set up a £100 monthly spending limit for car costs, and then be hit with a £300 repair bill. You might have a string of birthday dinners that you're obliged to attend. Anything can happen, and if you haven't factored the costs in, the whole system will be thrown off course for the rest of the month, which can be frustrating and discouraging.
TIP: If you set aside a portion of your budget towards unexpected costs, that will prevent being blindsided. And if you don't need to dip into it, that's extra savings!
Every Month is Different
Some months will have added costs - such as December due to Christmas and New Year - so remember that spending patterns will be different month-to-month. Life events such as starting a different job, or moving home will also affect some months more than others.Keeping track of your spending over a longer period of time will help you predict and manage your budget needs.
Notice Overall Trends
By looking at your expenses over a six-month period, you will be able to notice spending trends, giving you a clearer idea of what six months of your life looks like, financially speaking. For instance, you may notice that in some months, you're more inclined to dine out. This could be due to a large number of birthdays or a rise in free evenings.
If that's the case, make sure you account for it in your overall savings by cutting back on spending in the couple of months leading up to this busier month. This way, you can treat yourself without having to worry about it not fitting into your financial plan. The 'bigger picture' you get from noticing these different spending trends will enable you to budget more effectively and accurately.
How Money Dashboard Can Help
makes it possible to view a budget history of up to six months, and highlights instances of spending over the limit. This makes it possible for you to see at a glance how much you have spent, and if you've gone over or under.
Additionally, all your transactions are sorted via a tagging system that allows you to view your outgoings in categories. In this way, you can see which areas you may be overspending in, which will help you set up an appropriate budget.