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Your ultimate guide to Back to Basics Budgeting in 8 steps

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

Staring at a blank page or a blank spreadsheet, or even a pre printed budget planner can leave you feeling lost.

Life has changed so much these past few years hasn't it?

And this year our hard earned money is not buying us as much as it did 18 months ago.

There's not as much wriggle room.

And why oh why are all spreadsheets designed in either such a dull & masculine way, or all pink & glittery?

I like gorgeous things, a simple life, lovely food, a few glasses of wine, time with friends & loved ones, walking in the countryside where we live, candles & beautiful interiors & of course homemade cake!

I want to organise my money in a way that looks good, as if Lydia Millen had designed it herself (love her style check her out on insta & Youtube)

I've always hated maths but found a great passion for budgeting, mostly out of necessity I might add. Financial literacy should have been taught in schools as this life skill is far more important than Pythagoras's theory and an applied maths that most teenagers would get.

Anyway... let's get crackalackin!

There is never a one size fits all approach to budgeting, there are various styles & ways of doing it but I always like to think about who you are & what is important to you in your current life season, rather than suggesting you squish yourself into a theory.

One of the reasons why if you have budgeted before & you loathed it, was that it didn't suit your lifestyle. Probably lack of flexibility or too detailed categorising.

There are elements beyond the maths that are far more important so these 8 tips to getting started include some life skills, behavioural shifts as well as some practical actions.

See it here in under 2 minutes... feel free to take screenshots to save the info for later and please subscribe to my channel.

There will be lots more videos to come this year, I had a lot of technical learning to do last year 😁

From the 8 which is your favourite?

Which will you try, or are you going to go for all steps this week?

So here is what you've learned with a bit more food for thought:

  1. Go through your last 6 months of bank statements to discover & unearth what's been going on with your money. You might like to grab a calculator, a notebook and see where you are overspending & where you could make some reductions. Does anything look odd to you, any old subscriptions you thought you'd cancelled long ago? If you've not done this for a long time there may be a few tasks to add to your To Do List this week. Don't worry, this is a one time deal - you'll now be much more on the ball going forward.

  2. Tracking your food intake every day is essential when you're on a fitness & health journey. Tracking what you spend is so powerful because it will shine a bright light on what you're doing - it's too easy using apple pay & debit cards - paying with cash is rare these days & when I used to use cash for everything, I definitely saw my purse emptying each week! It was a great visual reminder & made me question if I really needed or wanted something.

  3. Back to food again (I should definitely take note of this one) portion control is really key to giving you balance. Overspending or even Oversaving & not having enough fun can tip your balance unfavourably. What do you overspend on? What can you cut down on so that you have more to add to the underloved area?

  4. Unintentional Spending is too easy, with lots of offers & temptations everywhere you go. Look after your pennies... & the pounds really do take care of themselves, our grandparents were right!

  5. This is my absolute favourite hence the name Budgeting & Planning! When you get a new diary, you fill in all the things you know about. Birthdays, weekends away, courses you're taking etc. Planning your money in advance gives you optimum visibility so that you have forewarning of upcoming expenses. This enables you to feel in control which is one of the biggest negative feelings I hear about. It's like you're becoming your own home bookkeeper which I think just sits perfectly next to chef, chauffeur, counsellor, teacher, cleaner...

  6. I know, I know, saving up is super old fashioned when you can get what you want, today and on monthly installments for almost anything. We don't need to wait, we don't have to wait, so why wait? Delayed gratification is missing in our lives, something to look forward to & a sense of achievement. Living with debt is no fun & whilst I've done exactly this over my life through some necessity, it's left me feeling I was never one step ahead. And if something went wrong, which it did, the credit card had to come out again so it's an ever decreasing circle. Not great for my mental wellbeing that's for sure. It's downright bloody depressing & frightening don't you think? Having said that, if it's something really helpful then factor it in. Take for example lovely skin care; Elemis & Liz Earle are my go to's. I always buy them on QVC on their specials with instalments. I factor it in. And we're talking iro £20 a month not 100's.

  7. I spoke on my weekly lives in my facebook group last week about decluttering and I've another blog about it. The cleansing sensation, the lightness I feel afterwards is so gorgeous. It's the same for finances. Having renewal dates all set up in advance so you can get the best deals in advance, clearing out old crap you no longer want to keep paying for, challenging the value of things is incredibly therapeutic. Lastly

  8. Another favourite of mine, creating your own budget filtering system for the things you want to spend your money on is easier than you think. There is no guilt involved. You take your essentials away from your income giving you £x You take your debt repayments, your savings & investment contributions away from that £x leaving you with £x THEN what's left over is yours - simples! Just remember to look around the corner, re-read N° 5 again. You might need to put some of this away for a few months time when you're going to want a bigger pot to play with. Going away on holiday? Want some new holiday clothes? Then don't blow your spending budget in the months leading up, put some by so you can have a few lovely new bits to take with you. Planning is the foundation of budgeting. If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere, but where?

So if the thought of making your own or going shopping for a special new budget planner is on your mind, take a look at these, lovingly handmade by me.

More to follow throughout 2023 so if you have a request for something, please leave it for me in the comments.

Are you feeling more empowered to try budgeting now you have a fresh back to basics approach?

Love from

Lucy x

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