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.
Taking the time to manage your money better by budgeting can really pay off. It can help you prioritise bills and know what is the most important to pay first, for example your accommodation and enabling you to keep a roof over your head, making sure you have enough money for food and keeping warm.
It can also help you save. You could use the extra savings to pay off debts or plan your next holiday. The first step to take control of your finances is to do a budget.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has an online budget planner. This link gives you advice on what information you will need before you start. This budget tool will take around 30 minutes to complete.
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.
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.
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