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The benefits of budgeting - and why you should be doing it

Published 17 July 2012 by

Budgeting isn't just for people who are short on cash - it's a good idea for anyone who wants to be in charge of their money and make it work for them.

You can apply budgeting to all kinds of aspects of your life. Why not start with sandwiches? According to the British Sandwich Association, the average 'on-the-go' sandwich costs £1.66. When you multiply that by the average number of working days in the year, 223, it means the average worker spends £370.18 on sandwiches every year - assuming they eat sandwiches every workday!

Does that sound a little excessive? If it does, try making sandwiches at home. You might be surprised how much cheaper it works out.

OK - that's only sandwiches, but saving a bit in every aspect of your finances can really add up. In other words, you can apply the same logic to other things you spend money on too. Once you start writing down everything that you spend your money on, you'll realise where your money goes and then you can start to work out ways to cut back.

Being willing to cut back on non-essentials can bring about all kinds of positive changes.

Being in charge of your money

If you look at your bank balance and realise you're losing money on fines or charges for late/non-payments, or bounced Direct Debits, then better budgeting might help you get back in control of the situation and avoid those fines altogether.

The Personal Account at thinkmoney could eliminate those unexpected fees, leaving you with one transparent fee per month*. More information about how our budgeting service works can be found here.

If you're in debt, it's really important that you have enough money for repayments - and budgeting carefully can help you to make sure you do.

Similarly, if you'd like to start saving for something special, but you've never got enough money at the end of the month, budgeting can help you to work savings into your regular 'expenses'.

Paying yourself

Sometimes people refer to saving as 'paying yourself' and they say you should do it before you pay for any non-essentials at all, to make sure you really do put money aside.

Budgeting helps you work out a realistic amount to save - and make sure the money you're putting into savings isn't needed for something even more important.

And 'paying yourself' with savings has a positive psychological effect too - it can actually help your wellbeing because savings give you something to plan and look forward to. Think about when you were a child saving your pocket money for a special purchase - or for the summer holidays - and how excited you would feel about it all. Saving as an adult can recreate that excitement as you plan for your future car, or home, or holiday in the sun!

It's important to set goals while saving - and a budget can help you do that. If you have a fair idea of what you can save every month, then you can probably work out how long it'll take you to save up for the things you want. And if you think it'll take too long to save up for them, you could use that as your motivation to find ways of raising your income and/or reducing your spending.

The future is not written in stone

Budgeting is about planning for your future and protecting yourself from financial hardship in the future - and that applies to someone on a low income or an above-average income.

Only you can really take control of your financial situation - even if you have an accountant, the responsibility for your financial health lies with you.

If you don't have an accountant, but you would like some help to avoid overspending, you might enjoy the budgeting service that's available from thinkmoney. We can help you to keep on track of your spending and pay your bills on time. For people who find budgeting on their own too time consuming, a service like this can really help.

Click the Apply button below to apply for a thinkmoney Personal Account that can help you stay out of the red - for good.

* There's a monthly management fee of £17.50 (or £24.50 for a joint account).