If you're on a low income or struggling to keep on top of your monthly bills, we’ve put together some budgeting top tips and advice to help you get back on track.
If you have debt problems you'll also need to spend some time working out how you can start paying these debts off and put arrangements in place with your loan providers.
Browse the drop down information below to find out more.
Working out your budget
To start with you’ll need to work out how much money you've got coming into your household and how much you need to spend. This will form the basic framework of your budget. Once you've worked out your budget, you'll be able to see how much you've got left over to pay off any debts you might have.
Listing your income
The first thing you need to do to work out your budget is add up all the income (money coming in) for your household. It’s always best to be honest and make sure that your amounts are realistic.
Your list might include:
- Wages or salaries for you and your partner
- Any benefits, including child benefit and tax credits
- Maintenance from an ex-partner for you or your children
- Private or work pension payments
- Contributions from other family members who live with you
- Any other regular income received
Adding up your outgoings
The next thing you need to write is a detailed list of all your expenses. Again, it’s always good to be honest and make sure you’ve not missed anything, the small things all add up!
This list might include:
- Housekeeping – don’t forget to include items such as food, toiletries, school dinners and meals at work, cleaning materials, sweets, children's pocket money, pet food, and cigarettes if you smoke
- Housing costs – this should include your mortgage or rent, buildings/content insurance, service charges and any insurance cover
- Council tax
- Gas, electricity and water charges
- Telephone charges
- Travel expenses – include both public transport and the cost of running a car such as road tax, insurance, and maintenance
- Childcare costs
- TV licence and any TV rental costs
- Any other essential expenses, such as medical and dental costs
- Money you should set aside for unexpected events – this includes saving for things like the replacement of essential household goods when they break down
Once you’ve finished your expenses list have a think about whether you can make any cutbacks to help boost your funds.
The affordability calculator can help you to work out your budget based on the amount of money you have coming into your household. If the calculator leaves you with a minus number, or you’re struggling with debt, speak to our Money Advice team.