On reveiwing my finances part way through this month, I've decided that from next month, I'm going to start a new comprehensive budgeting system, which accounts for all monthly expenditure.
Unlike a previous system I employed, where I just spent what I needed/wanted to and then allocated all expenditure to different categories. This time around, I'm allocating a budget in accordance with my income, to every conceivable spending category and then recording expenditure under each budget heading, as it occurs.
It's a bit of return to accounting for every penny, but with a different and more income based emphasis, which I haven't actually done for a long time, as I've always had the luxury of a virtually free overdraft that I could utilise. I don't, however want to rely on this anymore and hence this approach is hopefully going to minimise my use of the same.
My chosen expenditure categories are as follows:
LB - Clothes, shoes, trips, etc.
Home - Furniture, homewares, linen, etc.
Me - Clothes, books, shoes, etc.
Savings - A minimum of £100 per month
Regular Commitments i.e. gym membership, charity donations, bills, etc.
Misc - Everything else i.e. school dinners, birthday and other gift purchase, transport, parking charges, etc.
Although I've allocated a set budget to all of these headings, this doesn't mean that I have to spend the total amount allocated each month and any excess that I don't spend, will go towards savings, Christmas gift shopping or overspends in other areas.
It's a small tweak to what I was doing already, by simply expanding the categories to incorporate every conceivable expense, but one I'm ready to make to account for all of my spending and get it properly under control for once.
It's taken most of this year to get to a place where I'm finally putting aside money for savings and whittling the need/wish list down to virtually nothing, but I feel I've made progress and am ready to develop a more positive and practical approach to controlling my spending.
Having said this, I will probably have good months and not so good months, but at least now I'm ready to implement a proper system to facilitate living within my means and not using my overdraft or credit cards. It's pretty exciting for me, although it must seem blatantly obvious to many people.
I'll keep you posted with progress from the end of September onwards.