Do you want to learn how to cut your budget? And get out of debt?
Having a budget is an essential part of everyone’s basic financial planning. Yet it is often one of the hardest things to set up and keep on track with it.
I am probably somewhat of an expert in making budgeting mistakes but despite this we are on track to retire early. If I can learn how to save money each month by creating a budget then I am convinced you can.
But what is a budget? A budget in it’s simplest terms is a plan of what money you have coming in and what you expect to spend throughout the month. What money is coming in and what is intended to go out.
The problem most of us have is what we intend to spend and what we actually spend can be very different. Especially when we don’t track our spending. And haven’t been taught how to draw up a budget nor cut the budget to suit the income you have.
Money saving sayings
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Living within your means
- every penny counts
- look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves
- every dollar a prisoner
But exactly what do they mean to you and I? For me, they represent being able to control my monthly expenses, cut my budget according to my income and have enough money to be comfortable.
But how do we achieve this? Personal finance isn’t taught in schools and we are left to pick up our knowledge from those around us and the media.
The media is full of adverts and suggestions to spend more money than we earn, to take out yet another credit card. Where can you turn to, to get trusted advice to help you cut your budget?
I thought money bloggers would be a great place to start. After all, most of them have been in your shoes. They’ve had debt, they’ve learned the hard way that money doesn’t grow on trees and come out the other side.
They’ve paid off their debt and know from their readers what can work and perhaps what doesn’t.
The thing is, when you are looking to cut your budget it’s not so much about following someone’s advice that worked for them. It’s about knowing what makes you tick.
What are your strengths? What budget hack will work for you to help you bring your monthly expenses under control?
If I were to tell you that doing X is the number one best way to cut your budget, and it doesn’t work for you, you may never try another budgeting tip again.
So below I have given you all the tips I have collected. I know you will find the perfect way to help you budget from among this list.
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Cut your budget with these expert tips
Apps to help you cut your budget
I love to save a small amount of money each week, using Cleo, to budget spending money for our holidays. I barely notice it leaving my bank. Katy from katykicker
There is so much great technology out there to help with budgeting now. I love Money Dashboard as it categorizes your historic spending for you by reading your bank statements and credit card bills.
Once you know what you spend money on today, you have a good starting point for your budget going forward.
You can plug your budget in to Money Dashboard and it will compare with your actual spending. It’s great to be able to visualize how much of your grocery budget you’ve spent for example through its charts. Emma from The Money Whisperer
I have been pretty poor in the past with saving money, so I too have turned to technology to help out. I’ve been using Plum and I’ve already saved a few hundred this year without noticing! Pete from householdmoneysaving
If you have tried and failed with spreadsheets, don’t give-up! Instead switch to one of the new apps that does almost all the categorising, recording and adding up for you! Sara from debt camel
Check your list of direct debits. Cancel any you don’t need or use any more, and look for better deals on the rest.
Switching to cheaper options for gas, electricity, phone, broadband, insurance, breakdown cover and so on can save a ton of money. Without affecting your lifestyle in the least! Make it even easier using a website like Bean. Faith from muchmorewithless
It’s basic I guess, but I prefer a good old fashioned spreadsheet to track my income and outgoings and plan my spending and saving each month. Jane from shoestringcottage
I use a good old fashioned pen and paper. It helps me to stay out of debt and save money like a bandit! Leon from makesaveinvestmoney
Best budgeting tip for me was to have two current accounts, one for direct debits and one for spending. Leave enough in the bills account cover the DDs for the month. Then you only really have to actively budget what’s left. Pete from meaningfulmoney
We have 3 documents for budgeting. The first two are pretty typical but the third is really important. It’s a spreadsheet looking 10-15 years ahead with one line per year.
It plans the big changes and big discretionary spend like cars, holidays, mortgage repayments, kids at uni, etc. moneyengineer
I think there are so many ways to budget out there. I think my tip is that one size doesn’t fit all. If using cash in envelopes helps someone to get through the month. Or paying for a monthly budgeting tool like YNAB is better for someone, then so be it.
The most important thing is to pick a way and stick with it for at least 6 months, then if it’s really not helping, try something else! Nikki from thefemalemoneydoctor
Change how you shop
Don’t cut back so much to the point it makes you miserable, because this makes you more likely to splurge out on something you can’t afford.
If possible, try and factor in enough to cover the occasional treat. You’ll feel better about the savings you are making and be more likely to stick within budget. missmanypennies
Plan your meals for the week and then just buy those ingredients plus the necessities via an online shop. This allows you to avoid distractions by not going into the shop multiple times a week, reduce food waste and most importantly spend less! Sam from moneynest
My best tip would be to save money where you can to help you stick to your budget without feeling like you are missing out.
Simple tricks like cutting dishwasher tablets in half and halving the amount of washing powder you use can make budgeting so much easier! Michelle from timeandpence
Don’t buy what you don’t need. But don’t keep to this rule strictly! If you do then at some point you will buckle and go too far the other way!
Allow yourself the treat occasionally and accept that a goal will be longer to reach. Or set a goal where you do allow yourself treats which can vary week by week.
Never a borrower or lender be. Both get you into trouble! Helen from thecomplainingcow
I find that food shopping is one of our biggest expenses and I try to save money on that area week in week out. Melissa from melsmoneysavingandbargains
Do your budget differently
This year I’ve been enjoying taking part in a challenge to save £1,000 over the course of the year, by putting aside small amounts each week. It’s a great way to budget for a big expenditure (perhaps like Christmas or a holiday). Corinna from inspiringlifedesign
My budgeting tip is to “Pay Yourself First”. Include that in your budget as the priority then build the rest of your budget around it. It’s a great habit live by.
How you “pay yourself first” will vary. Might be towards an emergency fund or savings account, or maybe mortgage overpayment etc. Adam from moneysavvydaddy
Quit your gym membership. The great outdoors is the perfect gym in the summer! Take an evening stroll, enjoy a weekend bike ride, go for a morning run and get that summer body without the expense. Emma from beemoneysavvy
The point of budgeting is to save money. Shifting your mindset by seeing your savings as a compulsory monthly expense has helped me to increase my savings rate to over 50%.
When your pay comes through, save a portion of your income from the get-go, rather than waiting until the end of the month to collect whatever’s left. Simple but very effective. Laura from prettyminted
It doesn’t matter how you budget…..it just matters that you do! Take control of your money, by working out how much you are bringing in and how much you are spending each month is the best thing you can do to help you to save money, and have money to spend on the things you love. Eileen from yourmoneysorted
My tip would be get the whole family involved. It’s so much easier if you’re all on the same page and everyone understands what’s happening. Cass from frugalfamily
How I manage my monthly expenses
I’ve used many of the tips above to cut my budget, indeed still do. My favourites which I still use today are:
- Pay yourself first
- Use a spreadsheet
- Save money on my grocery shopping
- Switching my utility bills to cheaper options
Thanks to all the money bloggers for sharing their best tips. I am sure you’ll be able to find the right tip which will help you cut your budget and start saving the money you want to save.