If you want to know how to budget when you are paid weekly, you have come to the right place. We have all been there, (in fact some of us still are there) bouncing between being over cautious and eating nothing but bread and jam or, throwing caution to the wind and splashing out on a take away just to find out that you have bounced a payment and your phone has been cut off… again.
Weekly pay cheques make it extremely difficult to keep track of what you can spend when you have to hold enough back for your rent and bills at the end of the month. It also makes saving for Christmas presents and holidays abroad seemingly impossible.
With a little bit or preparation, a calculator, a pen, a note pad and access to the internet you could be a budgeting pro in just 10 easy steps.
Step 1 : Create a list
The first place to start is to get all of your information in to one easy to reach place. Create a list by writing down all of your fixed monthly or weekly bills and their amounts. Don’t forget to write down any debt repayment plans that you already have in place.
Step 2: Control fluctuations
Watch out for any bills that have changeable amounts such as utilities. Once you have identified them call the companies and see if you can switch these on to direct debit payments to spread the cost. This way you are contributing towards the bill before it has even been issued and you will never miss a payment and incur a late charge.
Step 3: Get an overview
Use a paper or online calendar to see an overview of your month and the payments that you need to make on what days as they currently stand.
Step 4 : Work with your providers
Try work out how you can have your bills come out on different days throughout the month. Think about your rent, mortgage, utilities, telephone, internet etc. If they are all due for payment in the same week then it can mean one really lean week of eating beans on toast. Call the companies and ask them to move your payment dates throughout the month so they are spread out evenly. For example: Your rent or mortgage payment in week 1, your phone and internet in week 2, council tax in week 3 and utilities in week 4.
Step 5: Important costs
Write down how much you need to spend each week on travel to work, fuel, bus, train. This is money you must account for as a priority because you can only earn money if you can get to work.
Step 6: Plan for other eventualities
It is important to plan for other costs that crop up outside of your monthly or weekly bills. Set a small amount aside each week as a kitty against each of these categories that are relevant to you. Even if you can only afford to save £1 per week against each you have made a start and it will soon mount up.
- Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries
- School uniforms, equipment
- School trips
- Car MOT, tyres, repairs
- Home repairs
- Treats, meals or days out.
- Vet bills
Step 7: Calculate your weekly take home pay
Work out your weekly income in advance for the next 4 weeks based on your shifts and any overtime you have agreed to work. You can use the salary calculator tool to help you work out your weekly income and take home pay.
Step 8 : What do you have left over?
Now that you have an overview of the bills due to be paid, the money you will be spending on travel, setting aside for emergencies and other expenses you will have a good idea of how much is going to be spent each week.
Take this figure away from the weekly income you calculated in step 7 and see what you have left over.
Step 9: Allocate the rest
You know that you have allowed for some eventualities in step 6 so whatever is left should be allocated to purchasing food and toiletries. If you find that you have more money left than you need for food, then you have a couple of options:
- If you have any debt that is not already on a repayment plan, then use the left over money to start paying one debt off at a time as a priority.
- If you don’t have any debt to repay you can increase the amounts you allocated to the kitty’s in step 6.
Step 10: Do your homework
There are many online resources to help you create a budget, take control of your finances, get debt under control or just talk to someone if you are feeling overwhelmed by financial burdens. Pop over and check out the most useful links below:
- The Money Advice Service has an excellent budget planner on their site to help you take control of your finances.
- Money Saving Expert provide lots of useful information on creating a budget, saving money, cutting costs on their site. Be sure to take a look at their free downloadable spreadsheet for creating a budget.
- Step Change are a debt advice charity who are there to help you with your financial problems, settling up repayment plan, working on your behalf and selecting the right debt management plan for your circumstances. They are an excellent resource if things have got a little out of control. You can get free, expert debt advice online or over the phone.
- If you use your bank card to pay for things online or in shops, then seriously consider using a round up app. These apps round each of your payments up to the nearest £ and places the difference into a savings fund. Many of them offer bonus payments and incentives such as adding an additional 10% to the difference fund. Some of the services are free such as www.withplum.com and others charge a monthly free, some will offer options to invest your pot of savings and others will pay you benefits. Check with your own bank to see if they offer the service and if not, be sure to shop around before you settle on one provider.
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