What is a budget?
A budget is a plan for your money. It tells you how much money you have coming in, how much you need to allow for essential costs and how much you have left towards other things you need.
So what is the catch?
Doing a budget can feel like hard work at first - so take it step by step - you don't have to get it right first time. Just set yourself some time aside each week to look at your budget and think about what you are spending and what changes you can make.
- Before you start gather all the information you think will help - bank statements, bills and receipts.
- Don't forget about the small things - these can quickly add up - a spending diary can help or using the notes page on your phone.
- Don't forget about occasional costs - birthdays, emergency repairs, clothes, for example.
Here are two budgets to try out:
1. Starter Budget - this covers the main things that you spend money on. This is the best place to start if you have never done a budget before. Here's a guide to help you work out your monthly costs - Converting to monthly
2. Detailed Budget - this covers everything you need to think about. This will take time but once you have done it we guarantee you will feel much more in control of your money. Once you know your monthly amounts you may also want to check what you can spend each week. Use this guide - Converting to weekly
We recommend that you do a monthly budget first. This will help you plan ahead to pay your rent, mortgage, gas, electric and council tax for example.