Many people receive their benefits every week. Yet with the introduction of Universal Credit, you may start getting your benefits every month instead. If you are finding it difficult to make your money last the whole month, budgeting can help.
Here are the three steps for making a budget. (You can do this using a pen and paper, but there are also some great online budget tools you can use, such as the budget calculator here)
Step 1 - Write down exactly how much money you get every week or month
Step 2 - List everything you spend each week or month, like:
- Important things: rent, council tax, TV licence and electricity, water or gas
- Everyday living: food, toiletries, petrol or bus fares
- Other bills: phone, broadband bills, loan repayments
- Less regular things: like haircuts, birthdays, school trips, or meals out
- Bills you pay less often: a bill you pay every quarter of the year still needs to come out of your weekly budget! Just multiply the amount by four, then divide it by 52 to work out the weekly amount you need to save.
Step 3 - Add all your spending up. See if the money coming in covers what is going out
Money left over? Spend it on luxuries or save – a little a week can soon add up.
A budget helps us all avoid debt.
Not enough money? It is time to cut your expenses. Here are some ideas which may help you to do this:
- Negotiate lower repayments with companies you owe money to
- Switch energy suppliers to get a better rate
- Look at ways to cut your everyday spending. We have lots of tips for cutting costs. Have a read of our articles on running a car, eating well, energy, water, Christmas, and borrowing money.
- Write down everything you spend as you spend it. Most banks have apps that lay out your outgoing expenses and help you keep track of everything
- Search online for help or advice. Websites have loads of ideas for reducing your outgoings like www.moneysavingexpert.com
If you have little or no disposable income and you are struggling to budget, ask for help. You are not alone and many of us need help from time to time.
You can get free advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Or, if you are a LiveWest resident, you can contact our Tenancy Sustainment Team for help.