Five Possible Solutions for Tackling Crippling Debt – Part Four: Debt Relief Orders

Debt Relief Orders - A bump sign on a road

Debt Relief Orders - Five Possible Solutions for Tackling Crippling Debt: Part Four - Bunchy the Budgeteer (Hand in the victory sign)

This series covers five possible solutions for tackling crippling debt.

Part one looked at Debt Management Plans, part two explored Administration Orders, and part three covered Individual Voluntary Arrangements.

In this post, I’ll explain Debt Relief Orders.

I’ll explain what they are and for whom they’re suitable. You’ll find out what you’d need to do to apply for one, and what having one may mean for you.

For a brief explanation of Debt Relief Orders, watch this video from debt charity Stepchange.

What Is a Debt Relief Order?

Debt Relief Orders (or DROs) may be suitable for people with total debts of under £20,000, with little chance of repaying them.

Although a Debt Relief Order is another form of insolvency and is legally binding, you won’t need to go to court.

Once granted, a Debt Relief Order freezes your debt for 12 months (known as the moratorium period). During that time, your creditors (people you owe money to) cannot take any further action against you. They can still add interest and charges. They shouldn’t contact you during those 12 months either.

Once the 12 months are over, if your finances aren’t improved, the debts included in the DRO get written off, cancelling them.

To be eligible for a Debt Relief Order, you must have little to no assets and little surplus income left over after covering your basic living costs.

There are other criteria to meet to apply for a Debt Relief Order.

Debt Relief Orders - Box files on shelves
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Full Criteria for Applying for a Debt Relief Order

To get considered for a Debt Relief Order, you must:

  • Not have debt above £20,000.
  • Be left with less than £50 a month left over after covering basic living costs.
  • Not own a property.
  • Have lived (or run a business) in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland in the last three years.

For people living in Scotland, look at the Minimal Asset Process (or MAP), which has different criteria and fees. You can read more on MAPs here.

  • Not have been involved in any other insolvency proceedings or applied for a DRO within the past six years.
    If any of your creditors have asked a court to make you bankrupt, you can ask the creditor if you could instead apply for a DRO.
  • Own less than £1000 worth of assets. Besides this £1000, you can also own one motor vehicle, as long as it’s not worth more than £1000. If the vehicle has been adapted for any disability of yours, then the cost of the vehicle doesn’t matter.

Assets that get counted towards the limit of £1000 include:

Jewellery (though not wedding rings).
Computers
Property/land.
Antiques
Savings and shares
Money owed to you (unless you’re unable to get it back from whoever owes you).

The worth of these assets is what you’d expect to get if you sold them, not the cost of what you paid for them.

Debt Relief Orders - Flat lay view of pink laptop computer
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Assets that aren’t counted towards the limit of £1000 include:

Furniture
Bedding
Clothes
Items required for your job or business and essential household appliances you couldn’t manage without (e.g. a cooker).

A debt adviser will tell you which assets are or aren’t included.

Which Debts Can I Include in a Debt Relief Order?

Debts You Can Include in a Debt Relief Order:

  • Credit card debts
  • Store card debt
  • Catalogue debt
  • Loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Rent arrears
  • Buy now – pay later agreements
  • Business debt
  • Council tax arrears
  • Benefit overpayments (unless caused by dishonest behaviour)
  • Money owed to HM Revenue & Customs (e.g. National Insurance Contributions or Income Tax)
  • Utility bill arrears
  • Phone bill arrears
Debt Relief Orders - credit card
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

Which Debts Can’t I Include in a Debt Relief Order?

Debts You Can’t Include In a Debt Relief Order:

  • Magistrate court costs
  • Student Loans
  • Child maintenance and child support payment arrears
  • Social fund loans
  • Confiscation orders
  • Compensation for injury or death
  • Television licence arrears

A debt adviser will tell you which debts are or aren’t included.

How Do I Get a Debt Relief Order?

Only an authorised debt-management adviser can organise a Debt Relief Order for you.

Only the Insolvency Service can grant Debt Relief Orders.

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Does It Cost to Set up a Debt Relief Order?

To get a Debt Relief Order you must pay a fee of £90. You may be able to get help from a charity to cover the cost.

Are Joint Debts Included in a Debt Relief Order?

On your application, you must include the full amount of any debts you share with another person. This will count towards the limit. Once your Debt Relief Order ends, your responsibility for the debt gets cancelled. The other person will still be responsible for the debt.

Can My Debt Relief Order Get Cancelled?

Your Debt Relief Order could get cancelled if your finances improve and you have more than £50 a month after covering basic living costs. There are several other reasons for having your DRO revoked, which you can find here.

Debt Relief Orders - Cartoon figure stood behind a large red x

Other Considerations Before Applying for a Debt Relief Order

There are restrictions you must adhere to while under the Debt Relief Order.

These restrictions mean you can’t:

  • get credit for more than £500 without telling the lender you have a DRO
  • act as the director of a company

For a full explanation of restrictions, look at this page by Citizens Advice.

During your Debt Relief Order, you still must pay your rent, bills and any debts not included in the DRO.

Your Debt Relief Order gets added to the Individual Insolvency Register. It’s removed three months after the DRO ends.

Your Debt Relief Order will stay on your credit record for six years. You may find it difficult to get credit during this time.

Citizens Advice have more information on DROs.

I hope this post was helpful for you. Is a Debt Relief Order something you’d consider? Have you ever been under a Debt Relief Order? What’s been your experience?
 
In the final part of this series, I’ll be covering bankruptcy.
Debt Relief Orders - Road sign with the word bankruptcy on it

Remember, the information on my blog isn’t financial advice.

You should consult a dedicated professional when making important financial decisions.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with money worries, please seek help from any of the following organisations:

Debt Advice Resources:

The Money Charity
National Debtline
Citizens Advice
StepChange

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

Five Possible Solutions for Tackling Crippling Debt – Part Three – Individual Voluntary Agreements

Handshake. Five Possible Solutions for Tackling Crippling Debt - Part Three - IVAs

This series covers five possible solutions for tackling crippling debt. Part one looked at Debt Management Plans. while part two explored Administration OrdersIn this post, I’ll explain Individual Voluntary Agreements.

I’ll explain what they are and for whom they’re suitable. You’ll find out what you’d need to do to apply for one, and what having one may mean for you.

If you want a quick video explanation of Individual Voluntary Arrangements, watch this video by StepChange.

What Is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement?

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a form of insolvency. Due to this, it’s essential to get advice from an impartial professional beforehand. You can find resources at the end of the article.

An IVA is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors (those you owe money to). You agree to make a complete or partial repayment of your debts via regular, affordable payments to a qualified Insolvency Practitioner (IP).

You pay 60 or 72 payments over five or six years. The IP divides the money among your creditors.

During this time, your debts get frozen. As long as you stick to the agreement, your creditors can’t contact you or take further action against you.

At your final payment, any outstanding debt gets cancelled. You’ll receive a ‘certificate of completion’.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements are only available to residents of England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

IVAs aren’t available in Scotland, but Scottish residents can consider Protected Trust Deeds. Although a similar alternative to an Individual Voluntary Agreement,  a Protected Trust Deed has its own pros and cons; and different fees. You can read more about Protected Trust Deeds here.

Question mark in lights - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Arrangements
Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash.

How Do I Get an Individual Voluntary Arrangement?

An IVA can only get set up by an Insolvency Practitioner. You must prove to them that you have a regular and ongoing income and give them financial details such as your debts, your creditors, and any assets you have.

Your Insolvency Practitioner sees what debt payments you can afford to make and will help you compile a proposal. They then give the proposal to your creditors.

Two men at business meeting - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Arrangements
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What Happens Next?

The Insolvency Practitioner will contact your creditors with your proposal.

Your creditors may ask you to alter the proposal before they’ll make an agreement with you. If this happens, the meeting adjourns for 14 days, giving you time to decide. If you agree to the changes, the IVA will start on the date of the next meeting of creditors.

You can’t force your creditors to agree to the IVA. However, if the creditors that hold 75% of your debt agree with the plan, the IVA will go ahead. The IVA will apply to each included creditor even if they didn’t agree to the proposal.

Open diary - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements
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Which Debts Can I Include in an IVA?

  • Catalogue debts
  • Council tax arrears
  • Credit card debts
  • Debts owed to family and friends
  • Gas and electricity arrears
  • Money owed to HM Revenue & Customs such as Income tax and National Insurance arrears
  • Overdrafts
  • Payday loans
  • Personal loans
  • Store card debts
  • Tax credit or benefit overpayments
  • Water bill arrears
  • Any other outstanding bill, such as legal bills and veterinary bills
University graduate - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements
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Which Debts Can’t I Include in an IVA?

  • Child maintenance or Child Support arrears
  • Court fines
  • Hire purchase agreements
  • Mortgages and secured loan arrears

Although you are allowed to include mortgage (and rent) arrears (and other secured loans against your property), your creditors must agree to it and they often won’t.

  • Rent arrears
  • Social fund loans
  • Some types of car finance
  • Student loans
  • TV Licence arrears
Man and woman holding hands - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements
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Can I Set up a Joint IVA?

An IVA is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, so can only be in one person’s name.

Things to Consider About Joint Debts:

  • Your individual IVA can include joint debts (debts that include both yours and another’s name).
  • Any joint debt included in your IVA will still need the other person to continue to make regular payments. If you have some of the debt written off, the other person must pay any outstanding debt.
  • Although a joint IVA isn’t possible, an Interlocking IVA might be suitable for you and any person you with whom you share debts.
  • An interlocking IVA involves you both having an IVA set up at the same time, with any joint debts listed in your individual proposals.
  • Between you, you make regular joint payments. When your IVAs have ended, any joint debts get cancelled.

To read more about interlocking Individual Voluntary Agreements, click here.

Hand holding bank card - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements
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Does It Cost to Set up an Individual Voluntary Arrangement?

No matter who you set up your IVA with, you will need to cover fees. How much these are and when they’re payable depends on who you use.

These Fees Are:

  • a nominee fee, for setting up the IVA.
  • a supervisor fee, to cover the on-going administration costs of the IVA.
  • disbursement fees, which cover expenses paid to third parties during your IVA. These cover such things as the cost of insurance to protect money paid to your IVA and for the registration of your IVA with the Insolvency Service.

Depending on who sets up your IVA, you may not have to pay any fees in advance, but instead, have them deducted from your monthly debt payments.

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Can I Cancel an Individual Voluntary Arrangement?

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement is legally binding. Once made, neither you nor your creditors can cancel the agreement. Get professional advice to check that an IVA is right for you.

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What Happens If I Don’t Keep up with My IVA Payments?

If you don’t keep to your repayment schedule:

  • your Insolvency Practitioner may cancel the IVA and make you bankrupt.
  • your creditors might backdate any frozen interest on your debts.

If you find yourself in altered circumstances that make it difficult to make your repayments, you can ask your creditors to review the terms you’d agreed to in the original proposal.

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What Are Lump Sum IVAs?

Lump sum Individual Voluntary Arrangements may be a choice for those who have a lump sum of money to pay towards their debt. This may be money from:

  • a friend
  • an employer
  • a relative
  • the sale of a property
  • an insurance claim
  • a redundancy settlement

An available lump sum of money might enable you to agree to a much shorter IVA. (A typical lump sum IVA lasts for six months, but this depends on individual situations).

You may either be able to pay one ‘full and final’ settlement amount or part lump sum with several payments thereafter.

The lump sum IVA carries the same risks and benefits as a regular payment IVA.

Two front doors on a British terrace - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements
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Will I Have to Sell My Home?

As long as you keep up mortgage payments and any other loans secured on the property, you won’t be forced to sell your home. However, if there’s any equity in the property, you may be requested to re-mortgage six months before your IVA is due to finish. If re-mortgaging isn’t possible, you’ll get asked to make a further 12 payments.

Monies received from a third party may be used to make a lump sum payment equal to the value of any equity in the property.

Re-mortgaging may mean a higher interest rate.

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Will I Have to Sell My Vehicle?

As long as your vehicle make and model is a reasonable price, you should be able to keep any car or motorcycle, etc, when setting up an IVA.

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Will an IVA Affect my Job?

Although unlikely, it’s possible that having an IVA could affect your job. It’s more likely for those in senior roles, such as:

  • Company directors.
  • People in certain professions, such as accountants.

If this concerns you, it’s best to check with any professional membership body, HR department or union.

Other Considerations Before Applying for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement

  • Your IVA gets recorded on the public Individual Insolvency Register. It’s removed three months after the IVA ends.
  • Your IVA will show on your credit file for six years after the date the IVA begins.

While your IVA remains in either of these two places, getting credit may be difficult.

  • Throughout the duration of your IVA, you’ll undergo yearly reviews. If your finances improve, you may get asked to increase your monthly payment.
  • At your last payment, any remaining debt included in the IVA gets cancelled.
  • Only the debts included in your IVA will get written off at the end of the agreement. You must repay any other debts you have.

For more information on IVAs, check out this webpage by Citizens Advice and this handy PDF by StepChange.

 

Please remember that the information on my blog doesn’t constitute advice. Important financial decisions should follow a consultation with a dedicated professional.

Public Telephone - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements
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If you find yourself overwhelmed with money worries, please seek help from any of the following organisations:

Debt Advice Resources:

The Money Charity

National Debtline

The Money Advice Service

Citizens Advice

StepChange

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part One: Debt Management Plans

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt - Part One

We’d all prefer to live without debt, but for most Brits, it is not the reality. When debt repayments become difficult to make that’s when disaster can strike. In this series, I will explore five possible solutions to crippling debt, beginning with Debt Management Plans. 

According to their latest research, Comparethemarket.com says:

‘The average person with debt is in the red by over £8,000 (excluding mortgage repayments)..’

Today, debt is widespread. Years ago, people were very ashamed of having debt. Now it’s unusual not to carry any (non-mortgage) debt.

The effect of having challenging finances and spiralling debt can be profound. If you find yourself overwhelmed, please seek help from any of the organisations listed at the end of this article. They are there to help you.

Not all options in this series will suit your circumstances. Please seek professional advice.

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt - Part One
Photo: Ben Rosett on Unsplash

Part One in This Series Looks at One Possible Solution to Crippling Debt – Debt Management Plans

A Debt Management Plan (or DMP) is an agreement made between you and your creditors to repay your debts.

You pay the organisation one monthly payment who then apportion it among your creditors.

The debt-management organisation calculates what you must pay. They base this on what you can afford.

Once a DMP is in place, most debt management organisations will continue to communicate with your creditors so you need not do it. This may be a great relief to you if hearing from creditors is causing you stress.

A Debt Management Plan may be useful to you if what you can afford to pay each month is less than what you’re paying now.

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part One
Photo: Michal Jarmoluk

DMPs Aren’t Suitable for Every Debt

A Debt Management Plan can only include ‘non-priority’ (less urgent) and unsecured debts, e.g.:

  • Credit card debt
  • Overdrafts
  • Home catalogue debts

It cannot include ‘non-priority’ (more urgent) debts, e.g.:

  • Mortgage arrears
  • Council tax arrears
  • Energy bills.

So you need a separate plan to tackle any ‘priority’ debts before setting up a DMP.

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt - Part One

Are Debt Management Plans Free to Arrange?

You can pay a company a fee to set up and manage a Debt Management Plan for you. Sometimes, they’ll take part of your payment as a handling fee each time they pay your creditors. There are money advice organisations and charities that will take care of this for free. By talking to an experienced debt adviser, you can also get help to see if you’re entitled to any benefits or allowances. If you pay a company to manage your DMP, please make sure they are Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated.

You will give the debt management organisation information about:

  • what you owe and to whom,
  • your income,
  • any assets, etc.

They will then contact your creditors and see if they’ll agree to the repayment plan. Even if they agree, unless it’s stipulated in the agreement, your creditors could demand full payment of the debt at any point.

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt - Part One

If You Have Joint Debts

When you have a joint debt with somebody, you can include that debt in the Debt Management Plan. If you’re both having trouble repaying your debt, then you could consider setting up a joint DMP. Couples each with individual debts can include these too.

If you don’t keep up your DMP payments, the plan may be cancelled. Therefore, it’s important that you understand what you will be committing to paying.

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt - Part One
Photo: picjumbo.com from Pexels

Other Things to Consider Before Setting up a Debt Management Plan

  • Your creditors don’t have to agree to a DMP, (though many often do).
  • As you’ll be paying a lower amount each month, the total debt will take longer to repay.
  • Your creditors may decide not to freeze the interest or charges on your debt. This means it’ll take longer to clear.
  • The Debt Management Plan will show on your credit record. This might mean getting future credit more difficult.
  • DMPs aren’t binding, so you can stop it at any point.

If you’d like a video explanation of Debt Management Plans, this short video by debt charity StepChange explains.

Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt - Part One
Photo: Negative Space on Pexels

Debt Advice Resources:

The Money Charity

The Money Advice Service

Citizens Advice

StepChange

I’d be very interested in how many people know of Debt Management Plans. Had you heard of them before this? Is it something you would consider? Ever used a DMP yourself? Was it helpful? If you’re not comfortable leaving a public response, then you can send me a private message here.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a message, or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

The Difference between ‘Saving’ and SAVING – How We Lie to Ourselves

The Difference Between Saving and SAVING

Ok, so what IS the difference between ‘saving‘ and SAVING?

At first, you might think, ‘What the hell? There isn’t a difference!’, but there really is.

There’s a lot of ways that we can ‘save’ (definition No 1) money, and by that, I mean saving money on purchases.

For example:

  • Using coupons and vouchers.

  • Buying things on sale instead of full price.

  • Lowering your thermostat.

  • Going to cheaper petrol stations.

All those sorts of things.

So, the aim is that you’re either saving on what you would have paid, or you’re abstaining completely.

For example:

Previously, you might’ve gone out every Saturday and bought new clothes. Now, however, you’ve decided to only buy clothes as and when you need to replace things.

So that’s the first definition of ‘saving’ money. It’s really just spending less.

The second definition is SAVING money (definition No 2). What I mean by that is actually putting money into your bank and leaving it there for an extended period of time. This could also mean investing it.

The distinction is important because, oftentimes, we lie to ourselves. We feel good because we’ve:

 
  • Bought a ‘two for one’ offer in the supermarket.

  • We’ve cycled instead of driven to work all week.

We’ve all ‘saved’ on things in this way and we’ll say to ourselves, ‘I’ve saved money!

While that’s great, and I’m not knocking it (I loves me a bargain!), we also need to ask ourselves:

‘Have I actually done something with the money that I would’ve spent?’
‘Have I spent my ‘savings’ elsewhere, instead?’

So, for example, let’s take the coffee drinker, who spends, let’s say, £5 every day on coffee.

She’s gone through Monday to Friday and she’s not spent any money on coffee. By the end of the working week, she usually would’ve spent £25. On Saturday, she thinks, ‘I’ve been so good this week, I haven’t bought any coffee! I’m going to treat myself to a takeaway pizza tonight.’

That’s great (no judgement made), but all she’s done is exchanged one purchase for another. She’s not actually saved any money. If, however, she said to herself, ‘Great! I’ve saved £25 this week on not buying coffee! I’m going to put that £25 in an interest-earning savings account.’ Then that gal has actually SAVED money.

The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Tom Sodoge on Unsplash

I know it sounds so obvious to point out, but in daily life, our buying behaviour isn’t always so apparent to us.

So, there is an important distinction. The first way of saving is, (the way I distinguish it), ‘money-saving‘. To recap, to me, that means:

  • Getting deals/bargains.

  • Paying less for goods or services than usual.

  • Getting something for free, whereas before I might’ve had to pay for it (like finding a free book to download).

To me, these are all money-saving tactics, but SAVING is the actual physical act of adding money to a bank account.

It’s a simple thing, but it can often trip people up, so that’s why I felt it was important to talk about today.

It’s all very well being frugal, but if you’re not actually doing something with that saved money, whether it’s:

Moving some money from your current account into a savings account,

or

Putting money you normally would’ve frittered away on sweets or chocolate into a jar,

then you’re not actually benefiting yourself at all.

It’s important, on a psychological level, to make that clear in your head. Being aware of these small behaviours will give you your best chance of succeeding at saving in 2018.

The Difference between 'Saving' and SAVING - How W
Photo: Aris sfakianakis on Unsplash.

What I’d like to know from you guys is:

Have you ever found yourself thinking that you’re doing well at cutting back on spending, or finding deals in the supermarket, etc, only to think:

‘Well hang on a minute, I haven’t actually got any more money!’

or

‘I’m still struggling at the end of the month!’

If so, I hope this post helps to bring this savings issue to the forefront of your mind. What I want for you is that each time you make a ‘saving’, that you think:

‘Right, I saved that on my shopping, I’m actually going to physically move that money over into SAVINGS.

Although I haven’t used them, there are apps that will ’round up’ your purchases to the nearest pound. The spare change is then sent to savings or investments. Do you use them? Do you think they’d help you to save money? Let me know!

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me an email or all three! I will always try to help you.


Lisa aka ‘Bunchy’

Our December Budget – How Did We Do? – Christmas Edition

Hands holding smartphone by laptop - Five Possible Solutions to Crippling Debt – Part Three - Individual Voluntary Agreements

Christmas is over for another year but now is actually a good time to touch on Christmas budgets.

It feels like ages since I’ve written a proper blog post. Like many people, I took advantage of the Christmas period by spending quality time with family and relaxing.

I have lots of blog posts in my head for 2018 but first wanted to share how our monthly budget went. This is for your entertainment, encouragement, (or to compare with – and be glad that you’re doing better!).

For anyone who celebrates any of the winter festivals (be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, etc,) you no doubt encountered costs that fell outside your typical monthly budget. We’re no different, How we all manage those additional costs will vary, however.

For new readers, you’ll see that I use percentages, rather than monetary amounts. This is both to respect my husband’s wish to keep our income private  (it’s a low income) and to give a better comparison, per category, for whatever size budget you’re working with.

Christmas Budgets
Image by Bunchy The Budgeteer

Here’s How It Went for Us

Mr.B’s wages were on the lower than usual side, due to him having some sick days in December.

December’s Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of December’s net/after-tax income) :

  • Mortgage: 23%
  • Council tax: 6.3%
  • Gas and electricity: 3.4%
  • Water: 2.4%
  • Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs) 8.8%
  • Internet and landline: 1%
  • Life assurance: 1.3 %
  • Mobile phone bills: 0.5 %
  • My dental insurance: 0.6%
  • Mortgage overpayment: 0%
  • Pensions: 0.3% (In November 2017 Mr.B was been enrolled in his workplace pension. The amount taken from his wages is the compulsory minimum required. The percentage we’ll be adding when actively investing in our pension funds will be higher).
  • Holiday savings: (‘vacation’) 0%
  • Emergency fund savings: 31%
  • Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, makeup, and gifts for each other on special occasions): 8.1%.
  • Petrol: 1.3%
  • Miscellaneous/unexpected buffer: In relation to December’s income, our total miscellaneous spend was 0.8%.
  • Sinking funds: (the linked article explains these): 12.5% allocated to our short-term savings.
  • 7.5% of our total December income was then spent from the sinking funds on the following:
    1. Some Christmas and January birthday gifts.
    2. A new hot-water bottle and cover!
Our December Budget – How Did We Do? – Christmas Edition
Image by Bunchy The Budgeteer

Now, I have to say that the percentage we spend on Christmas gifts is much lower than your average family. That’s due to:

 

  1. As a couple, we don’t celebrate Xmas, yet have felt obliged by our family to get involved, even on a small scale.
  2. The gifts we buy for each other come from our individual ‘allowances’, so that doesn’t show up in the figures.
  3. My mother-in-law puts together the most amazing hamper for us each year. While it’s not food for ‘proper’ meals, it’s packed with ‘naughty’ food and plenty of booze!
  4. I’d predict that we spend less than half on gifts for people than what the average person spends. We only buy for parents/step-parents, my grandmother, and our 10 nephews and nieces.

December 2018 will be different. We’ve decided that December 2017 was the last year that we celebrate Christmas at all. We haven’t yet told all the family. My mother-in-law has insisted that she still wants to give us a hamper because it brings her joy. I’m not going to rob her of that. We aren’t doing it for monetary reasons. The money we would allocate to the people we buy gifts for will go towards their birthday instead. This means we’ll be spending the same amount on each person, but yearly rather than twice yearly.

How was December for you? How do you divide up your budget? Do you need to make a budget? Did you spend more than you’d intended? If so, why? I’d love to know how everyone else did.


You may also be interested in reading: ‘How to Save Money on Christmas 2017‘, ‘A Peek into Our Monthly Budget‘, which is the template we use each month, ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?‘, and ‘Money – Where On Earth Should I Begin?


I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.


Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Our November 2017 Budget – How Did We Do?

Our November 2017 Budget - How Did We Do?

It’s a little late, but I said I’d show you how our November budget went and how we did, so here it is!

November was an unusual month. We’ve been looking after a neighbourhood cat whose owners were unable to pay his vet bills. The poor cat had been wanting to spend a lot of time at ours. With me being a qualified Veterinary Nurse, I was quick to see that something was wrong with him. Three vet visits, medications, sedation, and blood tests revealed that he was F.I.V positive. and he had to be euthanised at the beginning of December. It broke our hearts, but we don’t begrudge paying the bills.

We can’t afford to have an animal of our own full-time. Our income will reduce in April unless I can make a success of a home business I am working on. It’s important to us to have our animals insured and to have the best food and veterinary care. With this in mind, we’re not yet able to fit this into our monthly budget. Others may think we were mad to use our Emergency Fund savings on an animal that wasn’t even ours. There wasn’t a moment of hesitation for us though and we knew that it wasn’t going to be an ongoing cost. it highlights what I’ve said before, that personal finance is personal.

 3.1% of our November income was extra income from selling some stuff from around the house. One of the items sold included our secondhand PlayStation. We’d bought the PlayStation by selling our secondhand Wii. We’d bought the Wii from selling other household items. You get the picture of how we usually manage to buy ourselves ‘new’ things!

Our November income was also bumped up 9.9% above the usual amount by receiving an ‘extra’ government payment. This was because one of the two months of the year when, due to receiving my payments fortnightly, I receive three instead of the usual two payments per month.

Our November 2017 Budget - How Did We Do?
Image Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

 

November’s Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of November’s total income) :

 

  • Mortgage: 20.3%

  • Council tax: 5.5%

  • Gas and electricity: 3%

  • Water: 2.1%

  • Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs.) 10%

This was more than we usually spend on groceries. We had some money left over from October’s grocery budget and spent that. If we’d have been frugal and used the usual amount, we could’ve put the extra amount to our Emergency Fund savings. Yet, we’re human and it was a tough month. I was ill with a cold (which I’m still fighting and now Mr.B has gone down with it). So we were lazy and treated ourselves to a couple of takeaways. We also threw some of the cat products we had to buy into our grocery bill, rather than take more from our Emergency Fund.

 

  • Internet and landline: 0.9%

  • Life assurance: 1.2%

  • Mobile phone bills: 0.5%

I went over on my mobile phone bill and so covered the overage with my personal allowance.

 

  • My dental insurance: 0.5%

  • Mortgage overpayment: 0%

  • Pensions: 0.9%

Mr.B has now been enrolled in his workplace pension. This is the compulsory amount that came out of his wages. The percentage we’ll be adding when actively invest in our pension funds will be higher.

 

  • Sinking funds (the linked article explains these): 11% allocated to our short-term savings.

5.8% of our total November income was then spent from the Sinking Funds on the following:

  • Our six-monthly dental check-up. I will get back half of what we spent, as I have dental insurance.
  • Some winter car items and we got a punctured repair on one of our car tyres.
  • A couple of Christmas and birthday gifts.
  • Some new and second-hand items for the office and kitchen.
  • Holiday savings: (‘vacation’ to U.S. readers) 0%

  • Emergency fund savings: 34%

  • Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, and makeup): 7.1%

  • Petrol: 1.1%

  • Miscellaneous buffer: In relation to November’s income, our total miscellaneous spend was 4.5%.

4.5% is almost seven times the amount we usually allocate for unplanned expenses! This was due to caring for the cat. We added to the miscellaneous category from our Emergency Fund as the expenses arose.

 So there it is! Not a typical month by any means, but we managed. We were still able to put a decent amount towards our Emergency Fund. This was mostly due to November’s income being higher than average, thank goodness!

How was November for you? How do you allocate your budget? Do you need to make a budget? I’d love to know.

You may also be interested in reading: ‘A Peek into Our Monthly Budget, which is the template we use each month, ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?,  and ‘Money – Where On Earth Should I Begin?

 

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

 Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

What Are Sinking Funds and Why Do I Need Them?

Have You Ever What Are Sinking Funds and Why Do I Need Them?

Have you ever heard of ‘Sinking Funds‘? If not, then you may be wondering what they are. Your next question may be whether you need them.

Sinking funds are savings for expenses you expect to encounter, but don’t know when. They may also cover infrequent events that don’t occur each pay period, such as Easter.

When setting up your Sinking Funds, you have various choices:

  • You may decide to use separate bank accounts for each sinking fund.
  • You may keep the money in jars at home. This isn’t the safest idea for anything other than small sums of money.
  • You may want to lump all your savings together in one place. We do this and keep track of what money belongs to what fund/purpose on a spreadsheet, but a notebook would do.

What you decide to save for will vary from what we or any other person saves for. Certain things will be the same, for example, if you also buy gifts for people at Christmas. You may have children’s costs to consider, whereas we don’t. The key is to think of all the irregular costs that catch you out and destroy your regular monthly budget. Try to include those things.

Fun Fact (from Wikipedia):

‘The sinking fund was first used in Great Britain in the 18th century to reduce national debt. While used by Robert Walpole in 1716 and effectively in the 1720s and early 1730s, it originated in the commercial tax syndicates of the Italian peninsula of the 14th century, where its function was to retire redeemable public debt of those cities.’

Our Sinking Funds have saved our skin and our budget many a time! Here’s what we put money by for each month:

  • Home insurance premium (buying it yearly works out cheaper than monthly premiums).
  • Car tax (buying it yearly works out cheaper than paying for it more frequently).
  • Car insurance premium (buying it yearly works out cheaper than monthly premiums).
  • Breakdown cover.
  • M.O.T. & servicing.
  • Sight tests every two years.
  • Boiler service.
  • Six-monthly dental checks.
  • Prescriptions.
  • Unexpected dental bills.
  • Car repairs, parts & tyres.
  • Gifts (birthdays and Christmas gifts for family. We buy for each other out of our personal allowances).
  • House renovations and items.
Do you save regular amounts of money each week or month for costs that you know will come up? What do you save for? I’d love to hear.
 

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

A Peek into Our Monthly Budget

A Peek into Our Monthly Budget

Last month I wrote a post called ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?‘. It covered advice on the ideal allocation of income within a budget, as percentages. E.g. How much of your income to spend on housing, etc.

I thought you guys might find it interesting to see how we divide our money month to month.

Due to having budgeted for so long, I pretty much know how much money we need to put into each category every month. Due to this, we have an ‘ideal’monthly budget template that we begin with and this is what I’m going to share further on.

This month (or even last month!) hasn’t been ideal, as we’ve had a TON of unplanned and emergency expenses. If you’re human, you’ll know what I mean. You may start with good intentions and then BAM! It all goes Pete Tong (that’s ‘wrong’ for those not familiar with Cockney rhyming slang). I’ll be sharing our expensive October and November with you at the end of the month.

Our Income

Mr.B is not on board with me sharing our exact numbers. To show you how we divide our income, I’ll have to use percentages.

There are many conflicting pieces of data about what the average income is. We’re a two-person household. Yet, our income is lower than the median average 2017 individual UK salary. I’m not basing that on the ridiculous sources where the mean average gets used. Mean averages take into account a few earners receiving huge salaries. Most people will never have those incomes.

Our income consists of Mr.B’s wage, my very small government help (due to medical conditions). We also receive a small amount of money from somebody paying us back for a loan, plus a £3 a month reward from our bank. At times we may get extra money if we sell something we no longer want, but otherwise, that’s it.

NB: Twice a year I receive three government payments instead of the usual two payments per month. This is due to receiving my government help on a fortnightly basis. If you get paid every two weeks, this will happen to you too.

Our Outgoings and Our Monthly Budget Categories – (shown in percentages of monthly income) :

  • Mortgage: 23.1% 

  • Council Tax: 6.3%

  • Gas and electricity: 3.4%

  • Water: 2.4%

  • Groceries: (Includes food, toiletries, and household needs.) 8.2%

  • Internet and landline: 0.8%

  • Life assurance: 1.3%

  • Mobile phone bills: 0.5%

  • My dental insurance: 0.6%

  • Mortgage overpayment: 0%

  • Pensions: 0%

  • Sinking funds (the linked article explains these): 12.5%

  • Holiday savings:  (‘vacation’ to U.S. readers0%

  • Emergency fund savings: 30.8%

  • Personal spending money (has to cover clothing, haircuts, and make-up): 8%

  • Petrol: 1.3%

  • Miscellaneous buffer: 0.8%

Some of the above categories need some deeper explanation, but I’ll go into that in future posts.

Your own allocations will likely be very different to ours. That’s because it’s likely that you’re in a different financial situation.

Remember that things are always changing for most of us. For example, I have plans to begin a home business providing online services. If I can manage this with my health limitations, then our income will increase. Yay!

But, next Spring, our income is going to reduce. Also, we’ll have (all being well) completed our Emergency Fund and begun investing. This is why, though a budget template is useful, all our circumstances can and will change.

Where is your money going every month? Take a moment to find out and ask yourself if you’re happy with what you discover. Are you meeting your financial goals? Do you need to set some goals?

I love hearing from you and want to grow a community. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message, or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup

bunchythebudgeteer_easycarrotorangeandgingersoup_dreamstime.com

* Photo courtesy of  dreamstime.com (As soon as I next make my next batch, I’ll snap a picture and add one of my own).

Another Autumnal day calls for the last of the fail-safe and easy soup recipes we use. This time it’s with carrot, orange, coriander, and ginger. The recipe name may sound as if the cooking will be a large production. It isn’t. Especially if you use cheats, as I often do!

It’s also yet another soup that can be suitable for vegans and those with gluten intolerance. Ensure the stocks used are suitable for you and you’re good to go.

I like to make a large batch of this on the hob, as it’s quick to make. By making much more than needed for one dinner, we can freeze portions and use on lazy days. Batch cooking like this saves not only your energy and time but your energy bills too!

I’d been making this soup for a few years before meeting my (now) husband. Trying to convince him that orange works well in this recipe wasn’t easy. He thought I was ‘mental’ to include it, but he changed his tune after trying the soup for the first time. Now it’s one of his favourites.

My inspiration for the recipe was from Riverford Organic Farmers (the people who I’ve ordered veg boxes from). I tweaked it a little, as you may also want to.

Finally, I can’t let you go without sharing these fun facts (well I enjoyed them, but then I’m a bit of a nerd) taken straight from Wikipedia:

The provitamin A beta-carotene from carrots does not actually help people to see in the dark unless they suffer from a deficiency of vitamin A. This myth was propaganda used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War to explain why their pilots had improved success during night air battles but were actually used to disguise advances in radar technology and the use of red lights on instrument panels. Nevertheless, the consumption of carrots was advocated in Britain at the time as part of a Dig for Victory campaign. A radio programme called The Kitchen Front encouraged people to grow, store and use carrots in various novel ways, including making carrot jam and Woolton pie, named after the Lord Woolton, the Minister for Food. The British public during WWII generally believed that eating carrots would help them see better at night and in 1942 there was a 100,000 ton surplus of carrots from the extra production.’

Enough chatter. You want the recipe

Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup

(serves four)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) *Optional.
  • 900g of carrots (chopped)
  • 1 tsp of fresh ginger (grated) *We store our root ginger in the freezer and take it out to use when needed. In a pinch, or to save time, you could also use ginger powder.
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • Juice of 2-3 oranges (and zest, if you wish) *To save time, use 150ml of orange juice instead.
  • 1 litre of veg stock
  • A few coriander leaves (chopped) *You can use chopped parsley leaves if preferred. To make the recipe more frugal and easier, use dried versions of the herbs instead.

To Serve (Optional):

Plain yoghurt or creme fraiche (use dairy-free or gluten-free if necessary).
Salt & pepper to taste.

Method:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the chopped onion.
2. Cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
3. Add the garlic (if using) and cook for another minute or two.
4. Add the carrots, ginger (and zest, if using), stir to mix and add the hot stock.
5. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (or until the carrots are softening).
6. Blend up the soup mixture in a blender or with a hand mixer, until smooth.
7. Return the mixture to the pan, add the orange juice and reheat on a low setting.
8. Add salt and pepper if desired and a blob of yogurt if using.

We like to eat this for dinner with either crusty bread, french baguette or with sandwiches. Nom, nom, nom.

Let me know if you try it, or if you tweak it, and how it turned out!

Here is the inspiration for the Easy Carrot, Orange, Coriander and Ginger Soup. You may also want to have a look at Mr.B’s (the hubster) Vegan-Friendly Frugal Tomato Soup, my Frugal And Healthy Spicy Lentil Soup  and my Chunky Autumnal Vegetable Stew Slow Cooker Recipe.

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is growing each day. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’

Things You Need to Know Before Making Your First Budget

thingsyouneedtoknowbeforemakingyourfirstbudget

If you’ve identified that you need a budget, great! We all need a budget, whether we’re on low OR high incomes. To not tell our money what to do each month puts us at a financial disadvantage. Before you start, though, there are some things you need to know before making your first budget:

What Are You Currently Spending Your Money On?

You can’t set a realistic goal of spending £200 on groceries if, for the last six months, you’ve spent £400 per month.

For each of your budget categories, find out what you have been spending. If possible, look back over the past three months. Next, track your spending, for each area (groceries, eating out, clothes shopping, etc) for a month.

Write everything down as soon as possible and keep receipts.

Then, when you make your first budget, decide on a new amount for each category that is closer to what you want to spend. You can always adjust the amount for future months.

Do You Have Money Left at the End of Each Pay Period?

If you do, consider giving this surplus amount a purpose. This could be debt-repayment, savings, or whatever goal is most important to you at the moment.

You Don’t Need to Be Good at Maths to Have a Successful Working Budget

I’m not at all gifted at maths. Not even close (I even still count on my fingers!). All you need is a bit of organisation, a desire to feel better about your finances, a calculator and you’re all set.

Making a Budget Doesn’t Have to Involve Making a Fancy Spreadsheet

I do use a spreadsheet, but for ages, I used a pen and paper. I find it easier since using a spreadsheet that I designed for myself, but pen and paper budgeting is fine.

If you wanted to, you could use a money management app or software. There are loads around, but YNAB is very popular. They also have great video tutorials on YouTube. I signed up for the free trial and must admit, I found it a bit confusing, but I didn’t put enough time into it. You might be one of the many who love it.

Another great place to get started is ‘The Money Advice Service‘ Budget Planner.

Experiment with your budget and see what works best for you.

You Need a Budget If You Want to Improve Your Financial Situation

You’re reading this post because you want to improve your financial management.

If you have debts that you want to pay off, then budgeting will achieve this faster.

If you want to save optimal amounts of money each month, then you need a budget.

If you want to see how fast you can retire or pay off your mortgage, then you need a budget to help you to reach your goals.

If you want your partner to be able to stay at home with the children, then you need a budget to work out how to do this.

How Much Money Do You Owe, Who Do You Owe It to, and When Must It Be Re-Paid?

For most people with debts, especially those with a large debt-load, this can be the hardest thing of all. Everyone can understand not wanting to face up to such a stressful thing. The truth is, though, that unless you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you can’t improve things.

Get all your letters, statements and bank accounts opened up and add up what you owe and who to. Add the dates that these debts need to be repaid.

A Budget Doesn’t Mean That You Can’t Have Any More Fun

Budgets have a negative connotation of being ultra-constrictive. They can feel this way if your basic outgoings are almost as much as your income, even after making major cuts.

Can you meet your obligations and still put decent amounts to savings and/or debt? If so, then recreational spending is a good idea! It’ll stop you from feeling constricted and help you stay on track to reach the goals you’ve set yourself.

How Often Do You Get Paid or Receive Other Money?

If for example, you only receive income from one source every month then this is simple. Yet, if you receive income from more than one source, then they may come at different times.

If you receive a payment every two weeks, you’ll have months where you get three payments instead of two. Looking at exactly when you get paid is important to be able to budget well.

What Are Your Money Goals?

Knowing your ‘why‘ is crucial to sticking to your budget. It’s the difference between following your plan for a few months or staying the course.

You already know that you want to start budgeting your money, but why do you want to? If you don’t already have a strong reason, then ask yourself what will budgeting help you achieve? Return to that thought whenever you’re feeling like you don’t want to continue with your plan.

What Are You Willing to Do to Make Your Income and Outgoings Balance?

After making a budget and some time has passed you may discover:

  • That your outgoings exceed your income.
  • That there’s very little money left to enjoy each month

If this happens, then you may have to make further cuts to your spending, find ways to increase your, or both. It’s wise to bear this in mind before discovering that your budget doesn’t balance.

What Events Are Coming up That Will Cost You Money and How Will You Prepare?

As well as your monthly expenses, there will be random expenses that crop up. This could be an unexpected work trip or an M.O.T. It’ll vary each month, so think about how you’ll budget for this. Will you have a miscellaneous category in your monthly budget? What about for things like Christmas? Will you set aside a set amount each month so that by December you have enough to cover everything?

What Style of a Budget Will You Use?

Read my post: ‘Are You Within The Recommended Guidelines For Your Monthly Expenses?‘ and then decide how you’d like to design your budget.

You might want to split up your budget into ratios, such as:

A 10/20/70 budget:

  • 10% of your money to savings.
  • 20% towards extra debt-repayment (over and above what you’re obliged to pay each month).
  • 70% to cover everything else.

Or a 20/30/50 split:

  • 20% of your income goes to savings and/or debt.
  • 30% is for non-essential spending.
  • You keep your vital living expenses under 50%.

You may want to do something completely different.

Whatever you decide, be aware that as you build your budget, you may have to alter your plans. If, say, you have high outgoings compared to income, you may not be able to do what you’d first hoped to do with your money. This is ok. This discovery shows you that you need to think about how you’ll improve your situation. You can make things work.

The First Three Months Will Be a Learning Curve

I’ve heard this so often and it’s true!

An unexpected bill arrives and it’s at this point that you need to make an important decision. Many people will think ”Well, I’ve blown the budget, so I may as well start fresh next month. Now, where’s the nearest coffee shop?” Or, ”I’m terrible with money, there’s no point, and I’m giving up.”

What you could consider, instead, is that budgeting is a skill, like any other and so needs practise.

Life doesn’t care about your spreadsheet or bank account and it’s up to you to be creative. Is it possible to reduce your other spending this month, to cover the unexpected expense? Can you say no to the expense? How will you alter your budget going forward so that you’re as prepared as you can be for these such events?

Finally, return to your ‘why‘. It’s the reason that you’re doing this.

You’ll Sometimes Get Tired of Budgeting

If I, a budgeting nerd can sometimes get fed up with the budget that my husband and I made, then anyone can.

If you can add some ‘fun money‘ into your budget (even if it’s a chocolate bar each week!), then that will help.

Are you facing a long road of debt-repayment? If so, consider budgeting some ‘celebratory‘ money for when you pay off a certain amount. Then get back to it.

Again, remember your ‘why‘. It will sustain you.

If You Have a Partner, Then He or She Needs to Be on Board

This is so important.

If YOU want to live frugally and commit to paying off large amounts of debt, your partner can’t max out the credit card!

It’s fine if one of you takes charge of actually paying the bills and keeping track of paperwork. But you both need to talk about what you want for your immediate and long-term financial future. What sacrifices are you willing to make? Where do you want to spend your ‘disposable’ income each month?

I’ll let you in on how it works in our house. I update the spreadsheet, keep watch over the bank account and ensure that bills are being paid. This is because managing money has become a skill of mine and I (for the most part) enjoy it. Yet Mr.B finds all that stressful, boring and confusing. As boring and nerdy as it sounds, we have a budget meeting every month. Mr.B has an equal say in whatever financial events come up throughout the month.

What surprises us is, when we have our budget meetings, we end up talking about many other things. Money influences so many areas in life, such as where we want to go on holiday or who to buy Christmas presents for. It opens up communications about many things. In fact, I can say that it’s improved our communication in general. I’ve heard this so many times from other couples who budget together too.

If you don’t have a significant other, then you won’t have to concern yourself with the above. That said, you also don’t have somebody to keep you on track. So consider having some sort of accountability partner for support and encouragement.

It’s Worth Doing

I’ve always had a conservative attitude towards spending. I’ve always lived within my means. Yet it wasn’t until I made a budget and identified my financial goals that I saw noticeable results.

Since having a plan to follow, I’ve achieved such a lot. This is despite a low income and three years of being unemployable. I don’t say this to blow my own trumpet, but to encourage you that you can make a positive difference in your life. This comes when you tell your money what to do.

How Much Is Your Income, Actually?

You might be on a £25,000 salary, but what do you actually take home each month? After tax, National Insurance, and pension, what remains? Do you receive any government benefits? If so, how much? Add it all up to see exactly what you’re working with.

Practical Next Steps

  1. Decide if you’re going to have a weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly or calendar-monthly budget.
  2. Track your expenses for a month.
  3. Try to find out your expenses for the past three months.
  4. Work out how much money you owe, who you owe it to and when it must get paid.
  5. Write down what your weekly/monthly income is and what dates you receive it.
  6. Write down your reasons for needing a budget and what your next financial goal is (review often and when you achieve each goal).
  7. Look at your calendar and write down all the bills, (plus birthdays, etc.) that are going to occur in your budget cycle.
  8. Decide which budget style you want to try. You can always switch to a different style if the one you try isn’t a good fit for you.
  9. If you have a partner, set a time for a budget meeting to work through all the steps above. (If you’re flying solo, find an accountability partner).

All this may seem a lot to do, but if you want to succeed, then you need strong foundations. Once you’ve completed the groundwork, congratulate yourself for your effort. Now go and build your first budget!

I love hearing from you and want to grow this community that is gradually getting bigger. Don’t be shy! Comment, contribute to the Facebook page, send me a private message or all three! I will always try to help you.

Lisa a.k.a ‘Bunchy’