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Money saving

Are you leaking money? Part 1

Posted 03 October 2015

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Keeping a spending diary is a really simple way to track your spending, putting a successful budget in place and saving some money.

Want to know whether you’re leaking money? Which purchases are vital and which are just throwing money down the drain? Then you’ve definitely come to the right place. In this two part blog, we can help you find where your money trickles away with this simple personal accounting technique, which you can start using right now!

It’s a spending diary. Never heard of it, never mind – it really is as simple as it sounds. But first, let’s look at why a spending diary is a great idea. 

Writing things down can help

We know what you’re thinking – why do I have to write everything I spend down, I can remember it? Well, maybe you can, but do you remember everything? Did you remember to add that soup and chocolate bar you bought from the canteen at lunch, or the extra bus ticket you weren’t expecting that cost a £5? If you find that you can’t remember everything you’ve shelled out for – especially those smaller cash transactions – then you need a way of keeping track.  So that’s why we suggest you write things down.  

And, it not just us who think it’s a great idea, research suggests that  writing things down can really help  you achieve your goals. This is a pretty fascinating insight, and means that you have a really powerful tool to help you. It seems that, in general, just thinking or talking about something that you want to do may not be enough. In fact, there’s also research that shows that telling someone about what you want to achieve could actually harm your chances of doing it! So, keep the idea of your spending diary a secret for now, this way you have the best chances of success.

Once you start the diary, it allows you to see, in black and white, what you’re spending money on. This may seem silly, but you’d be surprised how few people actually know where their money is spent, like that £10 you blew on meal deals and coffees last week.

This is valuable information, as it’s the first step to finding out why you never seem to have enough to last you until the end of the week or month. At the very least, when you start writing down what you spend you’ll find yourself a lot more mentally engaged with the task of saving money.

It’ll give you control

Just the thought of having to write down the second pair of jeans you’ve purchased this month may be enough to make you think about putting them back on the rail. This alone may make you feel you have more control over whether you buy something or not.

Okay, digest that and come back tomorrow for part two.

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.