Short Cuts to Easy Financial Budgeting with Budget Planner
Check your bank or building society statements against your cheque book stubs for any banking mistakes — they sometimes overcharge you. Any credit card bills should also be checked against receipts and filed away if you want to keep them.
Monthly bill payments
See if any of your regular bills can be paid monthly, but make sure you check first that there is no penalty. Insurance companies, for example, charge more for monthly payments as it is a form of borrowing. You’re better off putting the money in a savings account and paying yearly.
Remember that, and telephone bills are paid in arrears. If you go over to monthly payments, you effectively lose three months free credit.
Keep a monthly file into which you place all bills, cash machine receipts, shop receipts and credit and debit card counterfoils accumulated during the month. Fill in your cheque stubs, and make a note of anything big you buy with cash. When you finally come to sort them all out at the end of the month, you will find that you have an accurate record of where your money has gone to.
Interest-paying savings accounts
Think about opening a new interest-paying bank or building society account to help save for irregular bills. This may be better than going over to monthly payments or opening a special bank budget account, which can be expensive to run and encourage you to go into debt.
Use your credit cards wisely. Choose one without an annual fee and don’t use the credit, which is normally expensive. Clear the account at the end of each month. If you clear your account regularly and buy something immediately after your statement is sent to you, you may get up to 56 days in which to pay for it free of interest.
Do not buy small items on credit if you can possibly avoid it. It may be tempting at the time, but you will probably end up paying a third as much again in interest. It’s better to save up first in an interest-paying account.