Top Tip #19 - Budget
If you get paid monthly, pay all the bills you can monthly. If you have some that are annually paid work out how much they actually cost you monthly and pay this into a separate account that has these Direct Debits coming out of it, or at the very least know exactly how much to keep in your account over the course of the year to meet these payments.
Once all your necessary outgoings are taken care of (mortgage, rent, gas, electric, insurances, car costs etc) what you have left will be your basic day to day living money. Make sure you have enough cash for fuel for the car and car parks or bus fares and take out any cash you know you have to spend over the course of the month on essential purchases, a new pair of shoes, a birthday present for someone etc. What is left from all this is your food budget for the month.
Now you could go mad and buy everything for the entire month in one big shopping spree, but only do this if you know you will make the food last for the entire month, or you can and this would be preferable for most people, split it into four equal amounts (five if it is a five week month) and shop once a week for the main things, leaving a little emergency amount in your wallet or purse for any daily top ups needed, fresh milk or bread etc. This has the added advantage in that foods that are left over at the end of the first week can be incorporated into the meal plan for the second week and so on. In fact with careful shopping by week four (or five) you could only need to buy a little bit of shopping if you have built a storecuboard or freezer full of leftovers.
If you do this you should not fall into the category mentioned at the top of this post of 'having too much month left at the end of your money'.
Budgeting is often learnt the hard way through necessity ... but once learnt you don't forget and it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life!!