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Making a budget

How to manage your budget

Money management is essential whether you’re in debt or just juggling your household costs. These are our top money management tips, to help you stay in control of your finances.

Make a budget

Making a budget is the first step to managing your money. It clearly shows you your income and what you need to spend money on each month.

Budget for one-off expenses

Some expenses only happen occasionally, like Christmas and holidays. Work out how much you spend over the year on these then divide that amount by 12. You can put this money away each month until the expense or bill is due.

Save money

You should consider saving some money every month as this will help you budget for any emergencies, or will help you plan for a secure financial future. Even if you only save a small amount each month you’ll find that it quickly adds up.

Monitor your bank account

Make sure you’re checking your bank account regularly. By doing this you’ll be able to check that there’s enough money to cover your direct debits or bills. Check your direct debits If you pay things by direct debit make sure you know what you’re paying for. Check you aren’t still paying for any services you don’t use any more.

Use cash

Using cash will help you control your spending. If you’re going shopping or having a day out, take the amount you can afford to spend with you in cash and leave your debit card at home. This way you won’t blow your budget as you can only spend what you’ve got.

Talk to your bank

One of the most important things to do when you’re in debt is to make sure your money is safe. We always recommend that if you have a debt with the same bank that your current account is with, talk to your bank sooner, rather than later.

Explain that you’re in financial difficulty and find out how they may be able to help you.  If they’re unable to help, we recommend setting up a new basic bank account with a provider you don’t owe any money to. 

Cut back on your spending

You don’t need to make big changes to your lifestyle to save money. Cutting back on the little things you buy can make a big difference. For example, if you spend £2.00 on a coffee every week day this adds up to £520 every year.

Shop around

Use our free utility switcher to save money on your utilities. If you’re looking to buy something, decide if it’s something you actually need. Shop around at stores and online to find the best deals.

Deal with your debts

If you have debts and you’re struggling to pay them try using our online Debt Remedy tool, or call our Helpline on 0800 138 1111 (free from all landlines and mobiles). We will give you free, impartial debt advice that’s tailored to your situation. We’ll be able to help you find the best way to manage your debts.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2019