Living on a budget

We have put together the information below so that you:

  • Understand more about what is essential spending and how to plan a budget
  • Are more confident in planning your own finances, how to save money, and where to go for advice.
  • Have a better idea for ways to save money


  • Who needs a budget? – Everyone needs a budget
  • Why do you need a budget? – So you know exactly how much you have to spend on bills and leisure

A budget is a way to help you organise your spending and tells you what money you have coming in (income) and going out (expenditure).

A budget can help to prevent you from getting into debt.

A budget can help you put money aside for things you want.


Planning a budget

When you’re planning a budget you will need to know two key pieces of information

Income – what money do you have coming in?

Expenditure – what money do you have going out?


Identifying Different Types of Income

Some income is regular for example: wages from employment or benefit payments

Some income is not always steady or available for example: income from self-employment, car boot sale, or one off payments


5 Ways to save a pound:

1) Shop around, don’t buy stuff on impulse

2) Write a list of what you need before you go to the shop or supermarket

3) Go to the supermarket after 6pm as that is when you can find good deals

4) When buying clothes visit a charity shop first

5) Shop around for gas and electric, switching is a good way to cut your bills



To plan an effective budget, you must be able to balance needs and wants and be able to prioritise within the constraints of your resources

To be able to do this you must be able to understand what you are spending and what the consequences are if you stop paying for something, you can then identify essential expenditure


Tips for living on a budget

Shop around – when your utilities/insurance etc. are up for renewal use a comparison site to find the best deal that most suit you

Make a weekly meal planner before you do your shopping

Plan a weekly budget

Make extra and freeze to use on another day

Supermarkets use various strategies to make you buy more. For example supermarkets’ layout is arranged in a way that ‘invite’ you to buy more than you need. Read more here



To get best deal on utilities:

  • Use comparison websites to search for best deals
  • You will get a discount if you are able to pay by direct debit
  • You usually get a better deal if you get both gas and electricity from the same supplier
  • Fixed tariffs could be higher but if prices rise your tariff will stay the same

Supermarket sales tricks

How supermarkets make you buy more than you really need
Find out more

Useful links

Where to get advice and more info
Find out more
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