Managing your money and budgeting
Budgeting helps you to know if you are doing well financially or not so that you can make decisions about how you spend your money, how to avoid or get out of debt, or help you to build up savings.
You work out how much money you have coming in and going out, so you don’t spend more than you have.
How do you stay in control of budget?
- Work out how much is going out by listing all of the things that you have to pay for each week or month and how much they cost. Consider occasional items such as birthdays and things you pay for once a year such as car insurance. Add the amounts to give you a total.
- Take away the amount of money going out from the amount of money coming in and this will tell you how much money you have left.
- Keep a track of your spending in a way that suits you e.g. making a note of when payments are due, regularly checking your balance or setting up a Direct Debit to pay regular bills.
- Make sure you pay priority debts first such as rent or mortgage, gas, electricity and your council tax. Priority debts are those that have serious consequences if they are not paid.
- Review your budget regularly particularly if your circumstances change e.g. your bills increase or your wages are reduced.
- Shop around when you are buying goods and services to get the best price and offers, try using internet comparison sites such as: Money Saving Expert, Compare the Market, Energy Helpline or USwitch to reduce your grocery bill.
- Try not to buy things on credit.
- If you have money left over put a little aside to build up some savings. This will help you to be prepared for emergencies such as replacing expensive household items or reducing your debts or saving for retirement.
- Use less and reuse, such as reusing carrier bags, reuse water bottles and fill from the tap rather than buy bottled drinks, clean packaging such as foil, plastics bottles, old newspaper or boxes to be used for arts and crafts projects for children.
What if you don’t have much money left over?
If you don’t have much money left over after you have paid everything you owe you should look to reduce your spending by:
- Cutting back on items that you can do without
- Lowering the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on your credit card or loans by looking for a better deal elsewhere
- Speaking to your current supplier to see if they have any special rates for customers that are in difficulty
What else can you do if you are struggling?
If you are working, check that you are paying the right amount of tax. If you have been given the wrong tax code your wages will be affected.
If you are on a low income, have dependent children or a sick or disabled child you may be entitled to receive certain benefits to help top up the money you have coming in.
To find out if you are eligible for benefit
Do not ignore the problem
Talk to one of the many organisations that can provide you with advice and support e.g. Citizens Advice or National Debtline. Or talk to one of our Tenancy Support Officers - please contact us.