However much we'd all like to budget better and cut our expenditure the simple fact is that some people are better than others. So, what can you do to manage your expenses if you're not good at budgeting?
Install an app
Use your smartphone to help you manage your money if you're not great at it. Apps such as Money Dashboard and PocketGuard , for instance, allow you to do things such as setting a budget that works for you and give you suggestions for how to manage your money based on your spending habits.
They also often allow you to keep better track of your bills by seeing them all in one place and many will also send you alerts for upcoming payments so that you can avoid late fees.
Use cash rather than cards
Contactless payments make spending easier than ever – too easy, in fact. Counting out pounds and pennies in a shop or restaurant helps you to really take on board how much you're spending.
Check your bank balance regularly to make sure that you're spending what you've planned to spend and that you're not going overdrawn and incurring fees.
It's also easier to budget if, for example, you withdraw £50 and decide that this is going to last you for the next two days.
Give the envelope budget a try.
Get into vouchers
Retailers and other companies are fighting harder than ever to get us to spend money with them. One way of doing this is to offer vouchers and coupons. Pick up free instore magazines for money offer coupons. Joining company Facebook pages and checking brand websites for email newsletter sign-ups will also give you access to these offers of discounts.
Follow the 50/30/20 rule
According to this rule you should spend no more than 50% of your income on essentials such as accommodation, food, utilities and your minimum credit card payments.
Personal spending, in other words nights out with friends and family, holidays and clothes, should account for 30%.
Then, aim to devote 20% to your longer-term financial goals. These might be pension and other investments plus any debt repayment and putting money aside for a rainy day.
Change your shopping habits
If you're tempted to browse shopping websites during your lunch break or you can't help wandering into a shop on the way home, then do something else to distract yourself. Find another site to visit while you're eating your lunchtime sandwich or looking at your phone on the bus.
Just keep walking past that clothes shop that you seem to get sucked into and, when you go to buy food, take a shopping list and stick to it. Ignore the other things on the shelves.
Check your mood before you shop – people tend to spend more when they're either feeling miserable or when they're on a high. Also, before you buy something on an impulse, leave the shop and ask whether you really need it.
It might be a struggle at first but persevere and you'll break your bad shopping and savings habits. Doing things that avoid excessive spending will soon become second nature.