Budgeting tips

Ways to stay on top of your money

  • Internet Banking can help you keep a close eye on what’s coming in and what’s going out of your account.
  • Saving any spare money each month could help cover unexpected expenses in the future.
  • Taking advantage of schemes like Child Tax Credits can help you budget as a family.
  • Shopping around for the best price could help reduce your spending and stick to your budget.

Start with the basics

Bank online

If you have access to the internet, most banks let you manage your bank account online. You should log in regularly to check your spending and balance.

You can view statements online and also print them off if you need to. This will help you see what’s going in and out of your account. Always check your bank statements to make sure there’s nothing amiss and cross-reference it with your list of outgoings.

Take notes

Try keeping a spending diary for a month. You may be surprised.

Put money aside to cover bills

You could open an additional current account so you have enough money put aside to cover your bills from one account. You can leave the rest in your other account for everyday spending. This way you’ll have enough money to cover your bills, and you’ll know how much you have left to spend.

Smart budgeting

Spread it out

You could find that spreading larger purchases over the year (for example, your car insurance or TV licence fee) makes more sense for you. Setting up a monthly direct debit to cover these payments can help you manage the cost, which can be helpful if money is tight.

Start saving your money

If you have some spare money at the end of the month, it could be a good time to save. Having money set aside could help with unexpected bills, a sudden repair job, or an unexpected redundancy. There are lots of different ways to save, but if you want to access your money at short notice, then an instant access savings account could be a good choice.

Think ahead

Try to avoid impulse buying but do keep money aside for some unplanned spending. If you can plan your spending in advance, you're less likely to buy things you don't need or can't afford.

Track your budget

Once you've completed a budget plan, you'll become more aware of your outgoings and what you have available to spend. You should keep track of your budget each month and update it whenever things change (for instance, if your utility bills go up during the winter months).

Budgeting as a family

When you're managing the ever- changing financial demands of having a family, a good starting point is to draw up a family budget. This will include all your monthly costs and expenses, so that you can start planning for future commitments. The process is similar when planning a budget for yourself.

  • Pay attention: Start a family spending diary. Try keeping track of every penny that everyone spends in a month – you’ll be surprised where the money goes.
  • Shop around: Lots of retailers have schemes offering incentives and offers on relevant products.
  • Tax credits: You may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit scheme. This is a means-tested benefit for parents and those responsible for a child under 16.

Useful sites

The sites below offer lots of advice and support to help you cut costs and manage your finances.