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How to budget your money
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Make a list of your outgoings


 - Make a list of your outgoings
The first way to get ahead with budgeting is to work out the basics.

Where do you spend your money?

It might sound like a fairly simple question to answer, but these exercises can help build up the full picture:

1. List your fixed monthly outgoings and add them up.

This is stuff you can't change like rent, council tax, travelcard, petrol, season ticket, gas and electricity bills, monthly line rental on your phone, TV and broadband package, insurance, minimum credit card and loan repayments. Also include your fixed yearly outgoings divided by 12 - water bill, TV license, etc.

2.  List your monthly incomes.

Your net salary plus anything you're getting from other sources like freelancing or a second job. 

3. Get the total monthly spending allowance.
Minus your outgoings from your income and what you're left with is your monthly spending allowance...

4. Minus all the semi-fixed spends.
Unfortunately there's a few more "semi-fixed" factors to work in. These are life's true essentials like food and phone, that you actually must have rather than new shoes and fancy meal-type "must-haves."

How much does your average phone bill tot up to? How much do you need for lunch? What about food shopping? 

Don't forget to check how much interest you're paying on your credit card and overdraft. This could be as little as £5 a month but it all adds up! Put the average totals onto your monthly fixed outgoings.

Be strict when working these out. There's no point in estimating at around £20 a month if your phone bill is usually nearer the £40 mark. Look back through the last six bills, add them together and divide by six. That's your average spend.

Remember when working out monthly expenditure from what you spend per week (like for lunches for example) it's not as simple as just x4 - some months are 5 weeks long! Take your weekly total, x52 (number of weeks in the year) then divide by 12.

5. Take away the semi-fixed spends from the total.
Once you've removed the semi-fixed spending from your total monthly spending allowance you've got your true play money. You can do what you want with this... if you're anything like us it's about £5...

It's a wake up call - time to reduce those fixed and semi-fixed spends so that you have more play money to spend or save each month!! 

Fortunately there are easy ways for you to claw back some of your spending...


Women in Focus Editor
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