This is a sponsored post.
Juggling family responsibilities and holding down a job often means sidestepping or shortcutting some basic tasks. It can feel like there are more jobs to do than hours to do them in, and keeping a careful watch on household expenses is often the first casualty in a busy lifestyle.
Having a simple bookkeeping system, though, doesn’t have to take forever or take time away from playing with the kids and spending quality time with your partner. For most things, you can jot down figures on the fly, which takes no more than a second or two.
Here’s how to keep things really quick and easy:
Put Together a Simple System
If your household finances are based on one or two regular earnings balanced against everyday bills, you don’t need anything complicated. You don’t even need a computer.
● A simple notebook will do the job. Draw two columns, one for income and one for expenses. In income, itemise the amounts coming in and from where. In the expenses column, keep a running total of all you spend money on. You can make a new page every month, and list your direct debits or other regular monthly payments at the top, then add on each day where money goes. Include it all, from bus fares to coffee with friends or treats for the kids. Add up the total expenses at the end of the month to see if you’re earning more than you’re spending. If you’re spending more, try and find a way to cut back next month.
● If you like working with a computer and know Excel, open a new workbook and do the same exercise. The advantage here is that you can tell Excel to add up the figures for you.
Whichever bookkeeping system you choose, carry the total for one month over to the next month, then carry on as before. If you overspend one month, you’ll have a negative figure and know you need to claw some back from somewhere.
Keep Track of Daily Expenses
Even small amounts of expense can mount up over a month. If you go out for coffee every workday at lunchtime, for instance, you’re probably spending well over £40 every month just on your coffee breaks.
As an everyday expense, you probably won’t notice it. But when it’s written down in black and white, that £40 plus will really stand out.
When you’re paying small amounts in cash, it can help you keep track of them if you carry a small notebook. Just scribble down what you’re buying and for how much. It only takes a second.
Keep hold of your receipts by putting them in a folder every day. When you’re adding up your expenses, check each one off against the corresponding receipt, then file the receipts away for safekeeping. This is more important if you’re keeping business records, but is also handy for checking household and personal accounts.
Don’t be Scared of Professional Help
Household expenses are often not as straightforward or simple as described above. Income can be more complicated, for instance, if you have business interests, income from shares or dividends, or if you work part-time from home or run a business on the side and need to file a tax return.
Unless you’re sure you can keep accurate records and properly claim all your allowances, it pays to have some professional help:
● A bookkeeper can help you set up a professional system and will work with you part or full-time to keep your accounts up to date. They will also make sure your books are ready for an accountant.
● An accountant will dig out the information needed for your tax return, and file it for you. They can also offer business advice if they see an area where money isn’t working as hard as it could.
However simple or complicated your household accounts are, it’s empowering to be in control of your finances and know what your money is doing. You can course correct and avoid approaching debt if you can budget effectively, and you can also plan better for expensive events, like family holidays.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Judy from Braant Accounting. For more information please see my disclaimer