How to budget for the year ahead

The monthly financesTo get 2017 off to a bright new start and set yourself some achievable financial goals, we asked some of our favourite finance and budgeting bloggers to tell us their best tips for how to budget for the year ahead.

Francesca from the super From Pennies To Pounds blog said: “Make sure you allow yourself some wriggle room in your budget for some fun things as this will make you much more likely to stick to your budget.” 

Nicola of The Frugal Cottage told us: Be honest with what you spend; if you know where your money is going then you can make steps to change it if you need to.” 

Emma from EmmaDrew.Info told us: “After you’ve created your budget, if you find that you are still in a deficit no matter how much you cut back, look at ways you can boost your income. You can do anything from decluttering and selling on eBay, to online surveys or mystery shopping. What about asking for a pay rise, or taking on a part-time job? There are plenty of ways to give your bank balance that much-needed boost.” 

Jennie from the Disease Called Debt blog said: “Keeping an eye on your credit history and rating regularly is vital.  You don’t always know what life will throw at you in the future and when you’ll need finance.  

“Credit rating changes aren’t instant,” – she adds – “by the time you realise you have accidently cancelled that old sofa finance direct debit from a previous address and you’ve missed the last 3 payments, it’s too late.  Be smart, keep on top of your credit rating so it’s there for you when you need it.”

Experian Experts have got five simple tips if you’re thinking of getting your finances under control next year.

1. Budget with attitude
Spending some time balancing out your income against your outgoings can be beneficial in the long run, and can also make you feel like you’re in control. If you’ve taken on a challenge to save for a holiday, only buy the shopping you need, or make your credit payments on time, then the start of the year is a great time to set achievable targets with clear landmarks ahead.

2.  Plan your regular outgoings
Think about how you deal with essential buys such as food and fuel and hidden extras, which can build up quickly. Factor in how much you think you’ll need each month. And keeping up to date with when your credit bills are due can help you avoid the risk of missing payments.

3. Remember the annual essentials
There are some regular, unavoidable larger outgoings that can creep up on us unawares – like home/car insurance, MOT, TV licence to name just a few. It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got enough held by to be able to cope with these obligations when it’s time to pay for them.

4. Think about what you can do without
Gym membership you hardly ever use. Those satellite TV channels you never watch. That extended warranty you didn’t really need to buy. It can all add up! A budget calculator may help you work out if you could live without it.

5. Keep your finances in good shape for the big buys
Planning on buying a car? A new kitchen? Taking a summer cruise? It’s worth keeping your Experian Credit Report in good shape so that you can have the best chance of the credit deals you want.  Make sure your credit report is up to date and that the information on it is accurate. And checking your Experian Credit Score before you apply for new credit can give you a good indication of how lenders may view you.

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