Stop Living Month to Month | NatWest

Stop living month to month

Have you run out of cash by the time payday rolls around? By tracking your spending, a bit of planning and cutting costs, you could avoid struggling each month.  Here are some tips to help you budget beyond payday:

Track your spending

An easy way to watch what you’re spending on is by keeping a spending diary for a month or more. While it may seem like a chore, you’ll really be able to see where your money is going.  This will help you see any patterns in your spending and if you’re guilty of payday treats.

Set a budget

This way you can really see how much you have coming in each month against what you’re spending on. Try using our simple online budgeting tool to help you work out your monthly budget.  Don’t forget to include things like car maintenance and birthday presents, which are more irregular than monthly bills. Make sure you budget to cover your ‘needs’ like rent and paying back any outstanding debts, before your ‘wants’.

Automatic payments

Use direct debits or standing orders to pay your bills and housing costs. This way you know the important things in your budget are taken care of. Make a list of the dates these come out of your bank account and if possible ask the company for them to be changed to come out just after payday. If you can't change the date, set yourself a reminder so that you can make sure you've got enough to cover it.

Consider jam jars

Some people find the jam jar approach is a good way to stay on top of your spending. Also known as the envelope method, this is when you spilt your cash up into different pots of money for each expense. Whether you do this with actual jars or use different bank accounts is up to you. When you need to pay for something you take the cash out of the allocated jar and it’s easy to see how much is left.

Save for irregular expenses

Think about all the things you need to pay for that aren’t weekly or even monthly expenses. Like insurance, car expenses, birthday presents or even Christmas day. List them out and start saving for them each month. Then when you need to pay for something unexpectedly, like a car breakdown, you’ll be able to pay for it without breaking your budget or relying on credit or a loan.

Plan ahead

Are you dreaming of a family holiday? Like to own your own home? A comfortable retirement? Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things with your monthly budget, and you’re starting to find it easier to make it through the month, you could start savings towards your future goals. Have a little leftover each month? Create a savings goal and look to the future.

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