Planning your budget
We have produced a budget planner which could help you plan your finances. The sheet provides a simple template to calculate your income and expenditure on either a weekly or monthly basis. It's important to plan your finances carefully to make sure you can keep on top of your rent payments and other regular bills.
The sheets are available in a version to print out, which you can fill in and add up by hand, or an interactive version, which you can fill in on the computer – the interactive version will automatically calculate your total income and expenditure. Both are available to download at the bottom of this page. Please note that you must use Adobe Acrobat Reader to use the interactive version.
How to fill in the budget planner
Before you start, you will need to gather together details of all your income and expenses. Use the handy lists below to help you find the information and documents which you will need.
- Tax Credit notifications
- Bank statements
- Benefit notifications
- Details of any other income you receive
- Rent statements
- Council Tax statements
- Utilitiy bills
- Mobile telephone bills
- TV licence financial agreements
- Day-to-day living expenses
- Children's expenses
Then simply work through the form writing down how much money comes in (income) and how much goes out (expenditure). You can choose to either do it for each week, every four weeks, or each month (see the box on the right for how to convert between monthly and weekly payments).
If the amount of money left over is above zero then you have a surplus (more money coming in than money going out). You could use this money to meet either short or long-term savings goals by putting it aside in a savings account.
If the amount of money left over is less than zero then you have a deficit (more money going out than coming in). If you discover that you have a deficit you should contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or if you receive welfare benefits, you can contact a personal budget coach at your local Department for Work and Pensions.
If you are in debt, there are a number of charities and services which you can contact for support, including: