Are you the type of person who can account for every penny or the sort who doesn’t have a clue where their money goes every month?
Due to my job I’m often asked: ’What’s your number one money-saving tip of all time?’
It as though they’re expecting some magical unknown method to half the price of their grocery shopping.
What I tell them is far simpler. Set yourself a personal budget and stick to it.
I imagine many people have tried this at some point, and most have failed miserably. It’s normally for two reasons.
- 1. They’re not motivated enough to save. The secret to overcoming this hurdle is to have a medium to long-term reward planned such as a family holiday, a season ticket for your favourite sports team or a deposit on a house. Or anything that’s more tempting than the short-term thrill of a new item of clothing or your daily takeaway cappuccino.
- 2. They have no way of tracking their finances. Many people can’t create a household budget they can stick to, because they have no idea where their money is going. That’s where personal finance software comes in.
Personal finance software
Personal finance software aims to make it simple to see where your money is being spent, and therefore identify the best areas to cut back.
From there, it should be easy to create a realistic household budget that will leave you with enough money for that big-ticket purchase in a few months’ time.
We run the UK’s most commonly used personal finance software through our intensive lab tests every year, so you can see which packages make budgeting a breeze. You can also identify which ones make this number-crunching seem more stressful than finding cash to pay the bills so you can stay clear of them.
Both of this year’s Best Buys are brilliantly clever programs that should help you save cash without breaking a sweat. I’ve been using the smartphone version of one of them ever since helping out with the testing process last year.
How do you budget?
The main thing I’ve learned since helping organise our personal finance software tests is that everyone has their own unique way of budgeting.
We’ve heard from some members who utilise online banking statements, while others like to keep hold of old receipts.
How do you manage your household budget? How effective is it? Do you think personal finance software could help you save money?