Mind your budget as we head into the festive season

As seen in Woopi News December 2023

With raising household expenses one thing on a lot of people’s minds at the moment is their budget. I regularly hear people talking about the cost of living; raising rent prices, mortgage interest rates, the price of groceries, fuel, electricity, insurance, and more.

By now many of you would have started your Christmas shopping, or might even have a family holiday booked for the summer season, but how many of you have reviewed your household budget lately? I know that sounds boring or maybe even overwhelming but there are small changes you can make that can make a big difference to the bank balance in the long run and save a bit of bill shock too if you can be honest with yourself about your financial position.

Accountants rave about spreadsheets, but I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so why not try using a budget planner? Many banks have free budget tools on their websites. I personally find the NAB budget Planner helpful as it allows you to add all sources of income and expenses and breaks the results down into Weekly, fortnightly, Monthly, and Annual amounts and then you can adjust the figures to see where you can save money and it’s printable so you can keep the results to refer to and revise regularly. Its important though to refer to your bank statements and bills as a budget is a waste of time if it isn’t accurate, you need to take the time to add up your spending history and be honest with yourself (and your spouse!) .

When it comes to bills, there’s nothing better than getting a bill that says you are in credit. Consider prepaying bills or paying them more regularly. Divide your regular bills into weekly or fortnightly amounts, then add a bit extra so that you will eventually catch up and be in front not behind. Consider having separate accounts for different classes of expenses and splitting your income into these accounts to better manage your spending.

Whether your family and friends like to admit it or not, people are feeling the pinch so remember if times are tough, it is ok to ask for help.

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