Calculate your household budget with these tips and tools and save money
Here are some tips to help you manage your household budget and save money. We also point you to useful budgeting calculators and apps.
In recent years, most families have cut back on luxury items to help have better control of their monthly household budget, save money and prioritise the essentials. It can be difficult to keep track of outgoings, so it’s worth taking some time to learn how to budget. You can do this with a pen and paper and a calculator while there are some useful online budget calculators and apps to download to your phone.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has an online Budget Planner. You simply fill in your details for each section and it will calculate the results. Check it out here.
MABS, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, also has a web-based Budget Tool that people can use to make a personalised weekly or monthly budget plan.
Tips to help you better manage your spending and save money
•When shopping, consider buying supermarket own-branded products such as biscuits, cereals, juice and milk. They will cost less because you are not paying for attractive packaging or advertising.
•Grow your own herbs. If you like to cook and use herbs regularly the cost of buying them can add up. Invest in a basil plant, for instance, and keep it in a window, watering regularly. Fennel, parsley, chives, dill and lavender all grow well in Ireland’s temperate climate.
•Buy meat at your local butchers to avail of special offers.
•Purchase items in bulk when they are on special offer – ie toilet tissues, laundry detergent, pasta.
•Sign up to your supermarket’s loyalty scheme.
•Don’t shop when you are hungry! You will end up buying unnecessary items.
Handy budgeting apps
Get in the habit of using your phone to streamline your household budget using a mobile app. We have selected three of the best:
Money Lover – Money Manager
This is a personal finance app that allows you set a budget planner based on your spending habits. It schedules bills that are due and also features an Expense Tracker. Available for free on Google Play and the App Store.
Ideal for home budget planning, Goodbudget is an expense tracker and money manager. It works on the premise of ‘virtual’ envelope budgeting to help people control their spending. An additional feature is that you can sync the app with another person. This is useful for sharing and delegating household budgets. Goodbudget is available for free from the App Store and Google Play.
The Mint app has been around since 2007 and works by connecting to your financial data. Using the same security as banks, the app allows you to make a budget. It also helps you set financial goals and collates all of your financial information in one place. Mint is free and is available from Google Play and the App Store.
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