When you are drawing up and maintaining your budget, it is worth keeping a file of financial documents that will help you to analyse your spending and identify potential savings. The most useful documents will record your income and expenditure.
The most important document will probably be your Bank statements. If you have a bank account, or several accounts, you will be able to view online, or receive by post, a monthly statement .This will list all the transactions during the past month, money received in and paid out, how much you have left in your account or how much you are overdrawn. Make sure you check your statements carefully. Banking fraud and identity theft are a serious problem now, so you should check for, and report, any unrecognised activity on your account.
Other financial records you are likely to use are listed below. Check all bills to make sure they are correct, and that you are using the best available option for your circumstances.
Quick Facts: Personal Budgeting – financial records
Bank Statement –this is your key financial record. If you use Internet banking, you can log in to your account any time and see and print records of your transactions.
Utility Bills – You should receive a bill for any services or utilities, for example phone, gas, electricity, digital television, They will show the amount you owe for the month or quarter.
Credit card statements You should receive a monthly statement listing all the purchases you have made with the card, and the total you owe. They also show the minimum amount that you have to pay, and by when, to avoid charges.
Payslips will show what you have earned in the past week or month, and what has been taken out (e.g. Income Tax, Pension Contributions). ‘Gross’ pay is the total earned and ‘Net’ pay is the total you receive, after the deductions have been made.
Shopping receipts show what you have spent and on which date. It may be helpful to keep these, to check against your statements. If you want to return an item, you usually need to show your receipt.
ATM receipts Whenever you use an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) you can print a receipt showing the money you have taken out. You can often also get a ‘mini-statement’ with basic details of recent transactions.
Cheques are documents issued by a bank or building society that, once filled in, instruct them to pay money to someone on your behalf. You complete the name, date and amount, and then sign the cheque. Complete the cheque books stub so you can keep a record of expenditure.