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Pay your bills on time, every time, and you'll avoid all kinds of money problems that can make life a lot more stressful as well as more expensive. That's easier said than done, of course, but good money management starts with an effective budget.

We commissioned some research* to find out how many people are budgeting these days, and how they're doing it. We turned up some interesting results…

Attitudes to budgeting

We found that:

  • 47% try to keep to a budget, which works out to 24 million people nationwide
  • 36% are highly organised about their budgeting - so around 18 million people
  • 11% know they're not very good at keeping to a budget - 5.5 million people
  • 6% say they don't tend to budget - 3 million people

In other words, around a third of the population feel they're highly organised when it comes to budgeting. The rest (including many millions who do their best every month) often find it just doesn't work out.

When money's tight, budgeting counts

We all know the economy's not doing well. Prices are rising and salaries aren't keeping pace. So making the money stretch is more important than ever.

  • 11% of respondents said they had nothing at all to spend or save once they'd covered all their regular bills every month
  • 12% said they had some cash 'to spare' - but less than £50
  • On average, our interviewees had £263.74 to spare every month
  • Just 4% said they had over £1,000.

So what's the best way to budget?

The main thing is to make sure the bills are covered, so you're not spending the cash you need to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, etc.

Millions of people already understand how important this is. 31% said they use a separate account for their bill money, while 31% use just one account but split the funds up mentally, so they know how much they mustn't spend on other things.

So around 16 million people are using two separate accounts to do their budgeting.

Could we help?

If you're a thinkmoney customer, of course, you'll know there's a way to do it with just one account without running the risk you'll forget something essential.

That's because the thinkmoney Current Account is two accounts in one. The money for all your regular bills stays in one account until it's needed, so you can't accidentally spend it. And it's easy to see what you can spend: everything in your Card account.

You don't even need to transfer money between accounts, since our Money Managers do it all for you, making sure the bills are paid on time and that the money you're spending on other things really is spending money.

With a management fee of £14.50 per month (£21.25 for joint accounts), it comes with a promise of no unexpected charges for things like rejected payments or making 'too many' transactions.

To get the full benefits of our built-in budgeting service, you just need to:

  • Keep us informed if your regular bills change, and
  • Make sure there's enough money going in in the first place!

* An online survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ and 525 adults aged 18+ living in the North West of England, between March 1st and 5th 2013, carried out by Opinium Research. Results weighted to nationally representative criteria. Extrapolations to the national level are based on 2010 ONS population projections for 2013.

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