Having a budget that takes into account your incomings and outgoings and ensures that you have enough money for your monthly priorities is key to enjoying life without the stress that finances can create.
The trick to sticking to a healthy budget is to make sure you avoid ‘budget saboteurs’, which can be anything that threatens your budget in some way. These little devils can wreak havoc on your finances if you let them.
Here’s what to look out for.
Stay on top of subscriptions
Subscriptions come in many forms and can include newspapers, magazines, gyms, online games, and free trials, to name just a few examples.
Most magazines and newspapers are available to read online for free. Paying for a subscription can often be a waste of money – especially as most busy parents end up creating a pile of magazines and papers, which we never get round to reading! Don’t add cancelling your subscription to the to-do list – save yourself money and unsubscribe straight away.
Online games and free trials can also be easily forgotten and cost you money. You may have signed up to try these out – or you may have been drawn in by a free trial offer – but be wary that these are constant leaks to your budget.
Also take a look at any weekly or monthly deliveries you may have set up. Do you still really want or need them?
Direct debits are an open door for companies to take money from your account.
Once you have ceased to use a service, cancel the direct debit. Check your bank statements regularly to identify any outgoings that are no longer relevant – such as appliance cover for an appliance that is no longer owned – and cancel them.
Friends and family are those who should be the most supportive of your budget, but they are often those who are the worst budget saboteurs!
Family outings, birthdays, nights out and takeaways can all be expensive and while you can allow for them up to a point, it can start to get difficult when you get multiple social requests thrown at you.
By being transparent and open about the fact that you are on a budget you can combat these budget saboteurs by feeling able to say no. Being on a budget is not something to be ashamed of, in fact these days frugal is very much the ‘in’ thing.
Remember, you don’t always have to say no. Here’s some inspiration on how to enjoy a social life without spending the bucks.
Fraud / identity theft
It is very easy for unscrupulous people to take advance of your finances, but you can take steps to protect yourself – and your money.
- Social networking: Most people have at least one social network profile that they update regularly, some have several. Be careful what details you list on your personal profile. Information from social networking sites can be used to work out passwords, access accounts and enable identity theft. Be aware of the information you share online and don’t share dates of birth, phone numbers, post codes, passwords or any details that might leave you vulnerable.
- Online security: Use complicated passwords which are unrelated to your personal life and change them periodically. Be aware that if you’re using a public computer others can access your accounts if you don’t log out properly and delete histories. Being hacked or having someone else access your financial details is the worst type of budget saboteur and is often the hardest to remedy.
Budget saboteurs can undo the hard work that goes into organising finances. Safeguard your budget by being aware of what threatens it.