Did you start the year strong, setting realistic goals, despite the pandemic? Perhaps the long, cold winter combined with another national lockdown affected you mentally, physically or financially. Maybe you started the year focusing on getting fitter, healthier and aiming to watch the pennies, but it’s been so hard to stay on track in the midst of the storm of challenges the world is currently facing.
Wherever you’re at, it’s a good idea to take time to review your finances. Checking in with where you’re at financially can help to relieve stress and gives you the chance to get help sooner, if needed, rather than putting it off.
What are you saving for?
Before you start putting together your budget, it’s important to consider your main goals for the year ahead. This may include saving towards a big purchase, or for an event like a holiday (when we can all start travelling again). Then, break down how to achieve that goal.
Although you can start saving by setting aside a specific amount each month, there are other ways to save money, such as shopping around for better deals on services like insurance when it’s up for renewal. It could be as simple as increasing how much you’re able to save by being cannier when shopping. Just ask yourself the question: what can I reduce, what can I cut out and what can I save?
Remember to also check through your standing orders and Direct Debits and see if there’s anything else you can cut out, such as a subscription you no longer use.
With your main goal considered, you can then plan how to get there by creating a budget using an online tool such as Money Saving Expert’s budget planner.
To stay on track, it’s important to make reviewing your budget a part of your regular routine.
If it goes a bit awry one month, that’s okay! Identify what went wrong and approach the following month as a fresh start. A budget is never set in stone but is meant to be a tool that you use regularly and review as your circumstances change.
Spending a little time regularly taking stock of your budget is time well spent and will help you move ever closer to your long-term goals.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity which, through local churches, delivers debt counselling, money management, job clubs, life skills groups, and support for people breaking habitual dependencies.