We aim to make our website as accessible as possible. However if you use a screen reader and require debt advice you may find it easier to phone us instead. Our phone number is 0 8 0 0 1 3 8 1 1 1 1. Freephone (including all mobiles).
StepChange Debt Charity logo

Free advice on problem debt
based on what's best for you

0800 138 1111 Freephone (including all mobiles)

Making a budget

How to fill in an income & expenditure form

If you’re struggling to pay a debt, have tried to extend your credit but were rejected, or have tried to negotiate a payment with a creditor or your bank, you may have been told to produce a financial statement or complete an income and expenditure form.

A creditor usually asks you to fill in one of these forms so they have a better understanding of your situation. They also want to ensure that all of your living expenses are accounted for when considering a lower debt repayment or other ways to help you.

Filling in an income and expenditure form is similar to filling in a budget in the following ways:

  • You usually need to fill in your income, expenses and debts
  • You need to be as accurate as possible to give a true reflection of your situation
  • Some expenses will be more of a priority than others

Do you need help with your debts?

Free online debt advice in 20 mins

Get help with Debt Remedy

Or call our expert debt advisors

0800 138 1111

8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm Saturday. Freephone inc. mobiles.

What do I need to include in my income and expenditure form?

Before you list all of the things you need to account for, you need to know which ones are more important than others and why. Let’s take a look at the sections you’re likely to find in a typical income and expenditure form.  

Your income

This section is where you would list down any money you receive on a regular basis. This includes:

  • Income from employment or self employment
  • Working / Child Tax Credit
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Any pension payments you receive
  • Rent or board you receive
  • Any other money you receive on a regular basis, such as housekeeping from your partner or dependants

It’s important that you include all types of income that you’re receiving. Doing so means that the creditor you’re dealing with can have an accurate picture of your situation.

Your priority bills

Your household bills are your most important expenses and must be accounted for on your income and expenditure form. Missing payments on priority expenses can have severe consequences. For example, if you don’t pay or make several late payments on your mortgage you could eventually face repossession proceedings from your mortgage provider.

Priority bills include:

  • Rent, mortgage or secured loan payment
  • Council Tax (or Rates if you live in Northern Ireland)
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Water (except for Scotland or Northern Ireland residents, as water is included in Council Tax or Rates)
  • Other fuel, such as oil or coal
  • TV licence
  • Service Charge or Ground Rent
  • Hire purchases or logbook loans, typically for a car
  • County Court judgments (decrees if you live in Scotland or Judgments in Northern Ireland)
  • Magistrates court fines (for example TV licence fines or criminal fines)
  • Child maintenance
  • Arrears on any of the bills listed above
Your other spending

These expenses are still quite important but not necessarily to the same degree as your household bills.

For example, if you cancel your satellite TV subscription you may need to pay a bill for breaking the contract. However, the satellite TV company wouldn’t be able to impose the same consequences as, say, your mortgage provider if you failed to pay your mortgage on time. The amount left to pay would be classed as a non-priority debt, which we’ll explore later.

Other spending includes:

  • Car insurance, tax, or breakdown cover
  • Satellite and cable television
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Life insurance or pension
  • Telephone and internet
  • Public transport
  • Repairs and maintenance costs (such as heating cover or boiler insurance)
  • Medical or accident insurance
  • Household appliances that you’re renting
  • Educational fees
  • Church or charity donations
  • Union or professional fees
  • Laundry or dry cleaning costs
  • Smoking costs
  • Loans from family or friends
Other living costs

These are costs you usually spend money on from day to day. There are guidelines in place to ensure that you have a minimum amount set aside each month to cover these. A good way to establish your typical spend on living costs is to work out an average based on figures from recent shopping receipts or bank statements.

Living costs include:

  • Food costs for you and your family
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdressing
  • Dentists and opticians
  • Sundries and emergencies
  • Medicines or prescriptions
  • Sports, hobbies and entertainment
  • Newspapers or magazines
  • School activities and pocket money
  • Savings
  • Petrol and parking costs

Be aware that if you’re spending an excessive amount on non-essential living costs, your creditor may ask that you make some reductions in what you spend. However, with costs such as food, toiletries, clothing and footwear, you’re entitled to a minimum amount no matter what.

Your non-priority debts

Finally, you will need to list down the debts you currently owe along with the payment you’re offering to pay towards them. The amount you offer your creditors is based on how much surplus income is left after you’ve covered your priority household bills, other expenses, and living costs.

The following items are considered non-priority debts:

  • Unsecured loans
  • Credit cards
  • Overdrafts
  • Store cards
  • Payday loans
  • Catalogue repayments
  • Doorstep loans, such as Provident
  • Cancelled contracts (such as gym memberships, mobiles phones and satellite TV)
  • Arrears from gas or electric providers you’re no longer with
  • Arrears from rental properties where you no longer live

Non-priority debts will become priority debts if the creditor is successfully granted a County Court judgment (CCJ) against you by the court. This is known as a decree if you live in Scotland or a money judgment if you live in Northern Ireland. Should this happen, you’re still in a position to negotiate a payment that’s realistic for you. 

Income and expenditure form budget template

We have an income and expenditure budget template that you may find useful when you're thinking about what to include in your expenses.

Or, if you'd prefer, you can download the same budget template as an Excel file.

Your offer of payment

There may be a section on an income and expenditure form asking you to suggest an offer of payment on this debt based on the figures you’ve provided.

Take the time to go through the figures you’ve listed and work out what you can realistically offer. Even if you’re concerned that the offer you’re making is too small, write it down anyway. The important thing is that your offer is reasonable when what you have coming in and going out is taken into account.

I’ve looked at the figures and think I need debt advice – can you help?

Sometimes it takes having a really close look at your budget to realise you may benefit from free debt advice. This is something we can certainly provide.


Our online advice tool Debt Remedy can help you put together a budget and look at available debt solutions in around 20 minutes. Alternatively, our advisors can help you explore debt solutions that may be right for you over the telephone. 

Who are we?

  • UK's leading debt charity
  • Over 20 years' experience
  • Free, impartial advice & managed debt solutions

How we help