It’s not often you find a book that literally transforms your life. I can hand on heart recommend this one – “Living large – how to live well – even on a little” by the gloriously named J Raymond Albrektson. Mine is a battered, chewed looking 2nd hand copy and as it was published in 2000, it’s only on Amazon as a cheap bargain option. Get a copy!!!!
It’s an old fashioned comforting sort of read which covers savings, giving to God, thrift, planning and credit: what transformed my life was the simple teaching on how to budget. I’ve tried various ways – “fag packet economics” or “how on earth am I going to afford what I have committed myself to? “trying to be super holy and tithe” – which stripped my cash flow and left me resentful until someone explained % of income left over to me – painful. And this way. Which is to have separate “envelopes” – real or virtual or spreadsheet whatever, in which cash or budget is deposited each pay packet. And that’s it. Not rocket science you would think. I am aware sensible people use their phones…..
In the four years I used this scheme, I have bought a decent 2nd hand car, stayed in credit, saved towards the target 3 months safety net of salary (desperately hard to do) Oh and had fun! I’m having to replan as I start a new job at the bottom of the salary heap and I need to make things work out and find enough cash for joy.
I find a budget gives me permission to spend. To buy clothes, to give exuberantly – but only within the framework of a totalled costed amount. To buy books and coffee and the occasional cinema ticket. When books above the alloted amount come out the food budget, it sharpens the mind’s resolve a little (ok not a lot)
Another fantastic tool has been the “Money advice service” budget spreadsheet.
https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner. This smart bit of kit allows a non financial expert like me to put in the figures, and have the results per week/month/year, with pie charts and play around with the amounts until they balance or surplus. I know most people are aware of this, but somehow along the way I never quite got the hang of it. (after all, it’s taken me a long time to grasp fractions)
And I certainly needed the tools. Control is a beautiful, fun, stewardly thing. Especially with beer and chocolate thrown in the mix sometimes.