Your Financial Plan (and how to improve it)
Monthly planning and your budget
Giving yourself a financial health-check each month is a great way of making sure you’re on top of your finances. If you can carve out three hours in your calendar on the last weekend of every month just to run through the numbers, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to stay in control of your finances.
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At first, a budget seems complicated, but in its simplest form, a budget is all about:
- How much you’re earning
- How much you’re spending
The difference between your earning and spending is where you want to put all your effort. If you’re spending more than you earn (even just a little), this can lead to real pain down the line, so keeping an eye on your outgoings - what you’re spending your money on and where you’re spending it - is valuable knowledge.
With a solid budget and a few hours a month, you’ll be able to work out exactly how much you’re spending on rent, petrol, food, energy bills, insurance, mobile phone bills and socializing. You’ll also be able to easily spot what you’re spending too much on, so you can better plan savings in the month ahead. Once you’ve set up your budget sheet, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
How can I create a budget?
The first thing you’ll want to do is set up a simple spreadsheet (if you don’t have Excel, you can use Google Sheets for free). There are plenty of handy budget templates for Excel and Google sheets that are free to use. In your newly-created spreadsheet, you’ll want to enter all of the things you’re spending and earning. The benefit of entering income and outgoings into a spreadsheet is that the spreadsheet will do all the calculations for you – and the numbers don’t lie.
Our financial experts put together this helpful video on putting together a budget:
It’s important to make sure you’re covering everything – insurance, bills, taxes, groceries, rent or mortgage, take-aways and dining out (this can be too easy to forget), petrol and car costs, travel, pet care, clothing, childcare expenses. All the pennies add up, and you’ll be able to quickly see where you can shave spending.
Don’t forget to check your emails for any trial subscriptions you may have signed up to – we found that some people sign up for a free SkyTV or Amazon Prime subscription and completely forgot to cancel before the six months were over, getting stung in the process. For more useful financial planning advice from our experts, take a look at our money guidance section.
How we’re different
At 118 118 Money, we don’t leave you high and dry. We want to make sure you’re fully aware of our offering and we want you to know exactly what’s going on. We offer simple, transparent, online loans that put you in control of your finances. You know upfront what our interest rates are and there are no hidden fees. Not only that, but you also choose how long you need to repay your loan (we offer up to three years).
We put our faith in you as we know you’re more than your credit score, and we’re not going to let a low credit rating define you. While it may feel as though other lenders blacklist anyone with a poor credit history, we spend time understanding your financial situation, looking beyond the numbers. We aim to give you a decision in 60 minutes and, if approved, the cash should get to your account within 24 hours.
Remember: picking a good lender is really important. Find a lender you can trust, and make sure you can pick up the phone or get in touch with them if you need to. You can talk to our advisors 24/7 with any questions or queries you may have or take a look at our money guidance section. If you’re looking for a loan, why not give our loan calculator a go to see how much you can save?