Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Budget." Not Bust; Need to Start Keeping a Better Check on Your Spending? VICKY SHAW Gets Expert Advice Looking into Piece of Budget."'. Is It Looking for New of Could Your of Your Editor

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Budget." Not Bust; Need to Start Keeping a Better Check on Your Spending? VICKY SHAW Gets Expert Advice Looking into Piece of Budget."'. Is It Looking for New of Could Your of Your Editor

Article excerpt

Byline: VICKY SHAW

WHEN people are looking to get their finances into shape, the first piece of advice they're often given is: 'Make a budget'. Sounds simple enough - but is it really? With many people looking for a fresh financial start for the new year, getting this crucial piece of money management wrong could see them fall at the first hurdle.

So, how can you transform your budgeting skills to get on top of your finances for 2018? Here, Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MONEYSAVINGEXPERT.com, shares some expert insights and top tips...

WHY IS MAKING A BUDGET SO IMPORTANT? STEVE says budgets answer fundamental questions. "'Do I spend more than I earn?', is probably a question that everyone should be able to answer," he says, adding that there's an element of being honest with yourself - and it can be an almost "emotional process" to sit down and properly go through your spending. "Once you've got a really accurate budget," says Steve, "you can do something about it if you do have financial problems."

WHAT IF DOING A BUDGET JUST SOUNDS TOO COMPLICATED? EVEN if it's not perfect, doing some kind of budget is important and better than not having one at all. "While you should do the most accurate budget you can, if that puts you off and you're daunted, try and do some kind of budget."

SO HOW CAN I GET STARTED? BREAK spending into chunks. So, rather than just putting 'travel', include petrol, motor insurance and maintenance, for example. That way, you'll get a more realistic picture of exactly where your money is going. This also makes it easier to do a final 'sense check' to make sure each section looks accurate.

HOW CAN I WORK OUT HOW MUCH I SPEND? RATHER than guessing, physical evidence, like receipts and bank statements, will show the difference between what you think you're spending and what you're actually forking out.

Steve says: "If you do that over a couple of months, you will get a feel for what you're actually spending. …

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