It's a good idea to be organised when handling your personal finances - home budgeting and personal budgeting are very important if you wish to avoid debt. Unfortunately, we don't all have a lot of spare time to sort out our finances and I think the answer could be to purchase some personal finance software.
Which Personal Finance Software?
There is a huge range of personal finance software to choose from. These software packages range from simple programs where you record income and expenditure to the more sophisticated which allow you to import bank statements, look after your investments, set up budgets ( both for household and personal) and schedule payments.
Even if your needs are very straightforward at the moment, it is probably better to buy software with the additional features as they will probably be very useful in the future. Some of the best packages will actually collate all your information and give you the basis for your self assessment return - cuts out all the panic as the deadline for your assessment approaches.
Before making your choice, look at several different packages and read the reviews or check out some consumer advice sites. Personal finance software is fairly cheap and suppliers can give you support and answer your questions.
Sorting Out Your Personal Finances:
Once you've installed your new software it's time to get on top of your personal finances. Start off by setting your household budget - be realistic, it's no good conveniently forgetting some essential expense. The budget is a tool to help you plan your finances, present and future.
Don't forget to include quarterly and annual bills - these should be spread over three and twelve months respectively. Allocate a contingency for unexpected emergencies - this can be put in a savings account along with the annual bill funds until required. Next set a personal budget - getting money from the cash machine in dribs and drabs makes it very easy to lose track of what you are spending.
List your personal expenses and add an amount for sundries - after all you can't plan for everything. I think the best way to stick to your personal budget is to draw the weekly total out in cash and when it's gone its gone - wait till next week! Now it's time to import the statements from your online bank and organise and manage your money. Enter all your actual expenses and income and compare with your budget - you will see at a glance if you are going off track.
You can calculate loan repayments and enter future bills - using the personal finance software, you are in control, no more charges for going overdrawn by mistake - you move money in good time when it's needed. Once you have set everything up correctly, it will take you only ten minutes or so every couple of days to keep your finances in order.