I'm seeking advice on budgeting.
Historically, I've been crap at managing money. Things have improved in recent years. My main tool is Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert budget planner.
It's simply a spreadsheet, into which you feed your income and outgoings. You can supply each line item as either a daily, monthly or annual income or expense. The sheet works out both a monthly and an annual total for each and the difference (be it positive or negative).
The monthly summary is a useful benchmark against which you can compare your monthly bank statements, but it's not sufficient. Consider a one-off annual expense, such as a holiday payment. On the budget planner, the expense will be divided up into monthly chunks and deducted from your monthly income. However, the expense won't be on your bank statements, unless you've made a special arrangement to pay out a monthly sum to another account, such as savings account, for every annual expense. Therefore you can't just compare the planner's monthly summary against your bank statement summary and hope the two match. I really need to see what my monthly outgoings should total to, rather than what all my outgoings are, presented monthly, in order to meaningfully compare the two.
How should I handle this? Should I do as I suggested there and total up my annual one-offs, divide by twelve and make a monthly payment for that sum to a savings account? I'd still want to be able to quickly look at my main statement and judge the overall figure as either 'good' or 'bad'. Perhaps I should feed my various statements into one place, perhaps a finance tool, in which case, which one? How do you manage your finances?