Budget plan at 40+ (please stifle your yawns for 5 minutes…)

Budget plan at 40+ may sound boring and, yes it is. It’s almost like hard work, but like most kinds of hard work, it is truly rewarding, I mean literally. Pen, paper, calculator, memories of maths at school…STOP. Put all that aside and let’s make this worth your while. Let’s see if we can save you some money. This is the best way to highlight any unnecessary splurges that eat into your overdraft every month.

OK Class, are we ready? Let us begin.The instructions are simple:

First start with an income and expenditure report, a list of all the money that comes in, and next to it a list of all the money that goes out. It starts off easy with the big spends but gets a bit tiresome towards the end once you start counting cups of coffee from the coffee shop and bars of chocolate from the filling stations, but you do want to be thorough.

Now that you’ve done that, you can clearly see the necessities, utilities etc, but can you make any savings there? It is possible, you may not be on the best tariffs so have a look online at comparison sites such as uswitch.com, confused.com or gocompare.com to help. Switching providers could save you a good deal of cash. I won’t mention figures, you’ll have to do that as your homework assignment.

Then you want to look at your borrowings and the interest being charged on them. If, at the end of this exercise, you can make a saving on your budget, put some of that towards paying off the high-interest borrowings such as credit cards etc.

Budget plan at 40+ is about regaining control of your spending.

Next, let’s look at club memberships, gyms etc. do you really use them? A lot of people sign up in January and have stopped going by mid-March, you can guess why, but don’t bother to cancel the membership…just in case, they decide to go again, summer is always just around the corner.

How about those coffees and pastries? weekly, daily even? You can usually buy a jar of coffee for the cost of a cup on the high street, can you really tell yourself that the coffee shop cup is 50 times better? Yes, approximately 50 cups from a 100g jar of coffee, and you regularly spend the cost of a jar on one cup. (Are you scratching your head as much as I am?). I don’t need to mention the pastries now, the coffee speaks for itself. If you stop going in for those coffees so often, the pastries will take care of themselves.

I get the whole atmosphere thing, but buy a thermos and pack some lunch. Let’s do some maths, £2.00 per (small) cup, 1 cup per day, 5 times a week, 48 weeks in the year…(counts on fingers…) sounds like £480 right there. Add some pastries and that’s a holiday in the sun, or not as the case may be.

While we’re on the high street, we’re spending too much. The equivalent prices online represent huge savings. (We’ve eliminated the coffee, so no jokes about that being delivered in the post). Before you make any of your purchases, unless they’re impulse buys, (and we’ll get into that shortly), get the online prices first and with almost everything available within a day or two, decide whether it’s worth it to wait. And on the subject of impulse buys, go into the shop, try it out or wear it or whatever, put it down, go home, sleep on it. If you still decide that you MUST HAVE IT, get it cheaper online.

And on the subject of impulse buys, go into the shop, try it out or wear it or whatever, put it down, go home, sleep on it. If you still decide that you MUST HAVE IT, get it cheaper online.

Don’t copy, or attempt to copy those people around you, who appear to have money to splash about. Chances are that they’re copying you for exactly the same reasons. I won’t even go into what those coffees cost if they were being bought on a credit card….

How much can you save so far? Look good? I’m guessing it’s not a figure to be sniffed at.

Are we there yet? No, but you have the right ideas now and can finish the exercise without my help.

Budget plan at 40+ means keep a track of all your expenses, all your spending, and all your savings. Think about how prepared you will be for Christmases, birthdays, emergencies etc.

Have your say.