Unfortunately for me, I was born without the budgeting gene. I watched with envy as my canny brothers crammed their money boxes to the brim to buy their favourite football jersey or video game. But putting savings aside doesn't have to be agonising (or boring)
Now, as I get older, I have realised there are new and original ways to let those pennies turn into pounds (or euro)
And I discovered it by accident.
It was on my year abroad in Australia.
My friends and I were living hand to mouth (as you do on these gap years) and constantly running out of money to pay our rent so we came up with the envelope system. It is so easy it is embarrassing. And it really works.
So, we all know that physically watching your hard earned cash is a huge amount easier than looking at numbers on a screen or handing over your bank card.
So the envelope trick is based on this very hands-on, visual system.
Every month I would withdraw ALL my salary and divvy it up into different envelopes marked 'rent', 'petrol', 'groceries' and 'travel'. It would mean I could comfortably know how much physically I could allow myself to spend each month. It was life-changing.
Once you run out of money - that's it.
It focuses the mind, big time. In fact, my other friends in Sydney used to laugh at me (until they had to ask me for a loan)
Obviously, if you have direct debits you do have to leave your cash in the bank, but even if you apply this principle to some categories of your life like you will see it making a big difference every month.
Just make sure you find a good hiding place!