This section of the website is focused on managing money, it covers:
•Why managing your money is really important
•How to write a budget
•Advice on sticking to a budget
•Any help, which is available if you are struggling with money
Get started below.
Managing our money is really important. If we don’t manage our money well we might not have enough to pay all our bills and be able to do the things we want, like go out and socialize with friends for example.
Managing our money is the best way to make sure we have enough money to pay for everything we need to and be able to do the fun things that we all want to do.
Without having some kind of plan to manage our money it can mean that we are never really in control of our money, we are just surviving from week to week and it can make getting into debt much more likely.
In this section we are going to look at some things that you can do to make managing our money easier, we are going to think about:
Budgets – A budget is a plan for how you are going to spend your money, it can be very helpful and ensure that all your bills are paid and means you know how much other money you have available for other things, like socialising.
Priorities Checklist – This can be a good way to think about the order of how you should plan to spend your money, some things are more important than others and should always be paid first.
Savings Plan – Trying to put some money away, even if it’s a small amount, is a very good idea and a key part of managing your money successfully.
First, we are going to think about budgets and setting one up.
Here we are going to think about budgets and setting one up. It doesn’t need to be complex but it does need to include everything you are spending money on or plan to, being honest (with yourself) is key to making a budget work.
We are going to think about budgets on this page but there are some really good links online that we will also discuss, these can make writing a budget even easier.
So what is a budget?
Put simply, a budget just lists how much money you have coming in (your wages or benefits for example) and everything you have going out (bills and food for example). It is useful, as it can make sure you don’t spend too much on something and can help avoid debt.
Setting up a budget
First we need to record how much money we have coming in, this is your income, and so you need to list:
Any wages you have
Any benefits you receive
Any other income you might have like a grant you receive
Now we need to think about everything we have to spend money on, this is your expenditure, so you need to list:
Every bill you have to pay
Any repayments you have, if you have a loan or owe money on benefits
How much you spend on food
How much you spend on going out and socializing
If you smoke, how much you spend on this
Any other expenditure you have
As we said before you should try and be very honest about how much you spend on these things, this will really help you develop an accurate and helpful budget.
Now let's look at some of the tools which are available to help write a budget.
Writing a budget
Below are some links and ideas about things you can use to manage your money as effectively as possible. Some are links to trusted websites and some are apps you can download on your smartphone if you have one.
If you don’t have either of these or access is difficult you can download a budget template from this page as well, this can be helpful if you would like to complete a budget with someone who supports you.
Online Budget Planner
The money advice service has a useful budget planner template on their website, it does the work for you, you just have to enter the information related to your money. You can access it here - https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner
Lots of budget apps exist but one of the simplest which is free to use, is called:
Money Manager: Budget Planner (available on Apple and Android)
You may wish to try a few and find one which you like the best.
Download a template
You can also download a budget planner template, just click the link below:
Budgeting is one part of managing your money, now let's look at what you should prioritise.
Having priorities when it comes to your money is really important. Some things have to be paid first otherwise there can be serious consequences.
We have put together this table below. This is a simple way of thinking about your bills in terms of how important things are. You really need to make sure that the most important things are paid first. We’ll learn more about this on the next few pages.
This should help you think about how to organise the things you have to pay, they are listed in order of importance, so 1 is the most important.
1. Household Bills
Electric / Gas
Insurance (e.g. contents insurance for your home)
TV Licence (you need one by law even if you only watch Netflix/Prime)
Loans / Credit Cards (If you have them)
Without paying these you may lose your place to live, get in debt to the people who provide the service or face legal consequences for not paying them.
Make sure you have these set up as Direct Debits with your bank so your wages / benefits pay these as soon as the money is in there each month.
Toiletries & Household Items
Mobile / Telephone
These are things you are going to need buy but the amount you spend on each, and how you spend your money, can change.
For example, you've got to eat and you could spend £100 on takeaways or you could eat just as many meals by spending £30 in a supermarket
These are things we would all like to spend our money on but they are not essential.
If we are stuggling with money and need to be careful these are things we should try and limit so it doesn't affect the things above which are more important.
3. Non - Essentials
Broadband (if we have internet on our phone this could be avoided)
Social - Nights out, cinema etc
Cigarettes (if you smoke)
Other non-essential items (e.g. things for your home you dont need)
It can feel difficult to not prioritise the ‘fun’ things when you are thinking about your money but remember if you get in control of your finances then you should have more money for the things which are fun.
You can download a version of the priorities checklist from the previous page below, you can adapt it for yourself if you have other things to add in but remember the same rules apply and think very hard about whether something is really Essential.
Saving money is really important, even small amounts of money saved can add up and can make it easier for you to do the ‘fun’ things you want to do.
You have probably heard the term ‘saving for a rainy day’ this means we are putting money aside for when things are not so good, when you live on your own and are responsible for everything, the bad news is that from time to time a ‘rainy’ day will come.
Your TV or microwave could break or a bill you have budgeted for may be bigger than you thought it would be.
On a positive note if these things don’t happen and you have been saving money regularly you may have enough money to go on holiday or to buy something you really want.
This is why saving, no matter how small the amount, is really important.
Some ways you can save:
A piggy bank – Think about getting a moneybox or just a jar and put any small change you have in it, you’ll be surprised how quickly it builds up.
Savings account – Based on your budget why not set up a savings account and have an amount of money go into it every time you are paid or receive your benefits. Just think if you could save even just £10 per month in a year you would have £120 to spend on the things you want.
LET'S RECAP ON WHAT WE HAVE COVERED
MANAGING YOUR MONEY IS REALLY IMPORTANT – This will really help you make sure your bills are paid and you don’t get into debt.
TRY AND MAKE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT – You will actually have more money if you budget well and stick to the plan you come up with.
SAVING IS IMPORTANT, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE AMOUNT – Saving money is really important and can help when things go wrong and can help you have the money to do the things you are going to want to do.
THERE IS HELP – Help is available that can support you with managing your money.