This free detailed budget planner will help you take control of your finances and reach your savings targets
The phrase ‘knowledge is power’ is never more applicable than when applied to your household budget. Knowing and understanding your household budget and cashflow is at the heart of all sound financial planning. Use Savvy’s free household budget planner to help you map out an accurate budget today.
At the top of the finance planner is the first section where you detail your and your partner’s income. You can change the frequency of income by clicking the green arrow and choosing the most appropriate frequency ranging from annual, all the way down to weekly. For example, it allows you to accurately record investment income which may be paid quarterly.
Next, when you’ve recorded all your income from all sources in the monthly budget planner, go down the page to the next six sections, which record your outgoings. These are:
Click on the large ‘plus’ button to bring up a list of expenses you may need to record, changing the frequency of those payments as before. Once you’ve recorded all your expenses, go back to the top of the calculator page and click on the ‘view summary’ page to see your results, which are summarised weekly, fortnightly, monthly and annually. Click the green print button to print off a copy of your household budget. Keep returning to this online budget planner regularly so you keep your household budget up to date.
Of course, it’s best to use accurate figures in the money planner so that your budget is a true reflection of your household’s finances. However, for some expenses such as groceries and food, it’s not always possible to use an exact figure, as the amount you spend on food and groceries will change from week to week.
In this case, the best thing to do is to use your bank statements to work out an average figure for that item of expenditure. For example, if you do your household food shopping once a week, write down how much you’ve spent at the supermarket each week of the month. Add up these four amounts, and then divide the result by four to give you your average spend on food per week. Alternatively, list all your food spending for six months, add up the total and then divide this total by six to get your average monthly food bill.
You’ll need to have access to your bank statements from your everyday or transaction account to fill in as much detail as possible in the finance planner. These should show you what income you’ve received, plus how much you regularly pay on your rent or mortgage.
Utility bills will also be helpful so you can average out how much you spend on gas, electricity, phone and internet charges.
Your credit or debit card statements will also help you get accurate figures about your spending on home and living expenses, and statements from your savings accounts will help you figure out how much you earn from interest payments and any other investments you may have.
There’s no point in trying to calculate your savings until you have a clear idea of where your money is going each month. This is why using a household budget planner is so important, as it will help you get a clear view of your main expenses and where your money is going. Take the time to complete the monthly budget planner carefully and thoroughly, as it’s the first important step on your savings journey.
Once you have a clear idea of where your money is going, think if there are any expenses you don’t need. Unsubscribe or cancel subscriptions you haven’t used recently or don’t really need. For example, if you haven’t been going to the gym for the past three months, don’t continue paying for a subscription you’re not using. If you haven’t played an online game or accessed a paid TV service, don’t renew your subscription or cancel it if it’s not getting the airtime to justify your outlay.
Next, look at all your insurances and other financial products. Have you compared insurance providers and credit cards recently? Have you looked at your car insurance, house and contents insurance and private health insurance and checked that you’re getting the best deals available? Is there possibly another credit card that you could switch to which has lower monthly or no fees? Even if you only save $20 or $30 a month on each of these items, all those small amounts can add up to big savings.
You should think carefully about whether you really need to spend money on all of your ‘I want’ items in your budget. Think about what your dream is and what you’re saving for – maybe a house deposit, a holiday, or a new car – and think about how badly you want to achieve your goal, compared to buying an extra cup of coffee or a new pair of jeans. If you make those difficult spending decisions at the time you work out your budget, saving up to achieve your dream becomes much easier further down the line.
As well as reducing unnecessary spending, to increase your savings it’s also important to make sure the money you’ve worked hard to save up earns you as much interest as possible. Compare high-interest savings accounts and choose one which offers you the highest interest rate possible with the lowest fees so you can watch your savings grow even faster.