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Budgeting

It can be really hard to find time to manage your money, and the idea of drawing up a budget might seem daunting if you’re not done it before. But taking some time out to sit down and look at what you have, what you spend and what you owe can really pay off. Here are some budgeting tips to help you get started.

Why make a budget?

The best way to get control of your finances is to know exactly what’s going on. When we’re worried about money it can be so tempting to bury our heads in the sand and hope things get better, but this doesn’t really help. Taking a good look at what money is going in and what’s coming out can help us identify areas where we might be able to save money, and help head off any problems before they get too bad. 

But if all this seems too stressful and time consuming, the best thing to do is get help from the Money Talk Team. They’ll help you understand what you’re entitled to and the ways in which you might save money. As well as providing online advice on the Money Talk Team website, they can also be reached by phone on 0800 028 1456. Or you can visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for in person support.

Top tips for working out your budget

Next steps

If more money is coming in than going out, that’s great! Although it’s still worth having a look at our money saving pages to see where you can cut down on your expenses, and our support pages to check you’re getting everything you’re entitled to. 
If more money is going out than is coming in, try not to panic. There are things you may be able to do to make things better, and there’s lots of support available to help you do this. You don’t have to do it alone. 

The following pages all offer more help and advice on making the most of your money and getting everything you’re entitled to:

If you need help straightaway, you can get advice from the Money Talk Team. They’ll check whether you’re getting as much income as possible, and help find ways you could pay out less each month. It’s completely confidential, and won’t affect any financial support you’re already receiving.

Money in an emergency

No matter how well you plan your budget, you can still be surprised by an unexpected bill, if an appliance or your car breaks down, or you need to leave your home and move somewhere else, for example. In an emergency, you may be able to apply for a crisis grant from your local council. Or you may be able to apply for a budgeting loan or budgeting advance, although you will have to pay this back.

You could also consider getting a loan from a credit union or Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), who offer affordable loans on fair terms. You can find a credit union near you here. It’s also a good idea to get advice from the Money Talk Team.