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If you’re short on money every month, there's lots you can do. Setting up and sticking to a budget is the best way to help you meet your needs and stay out of debt.

Use this guide to budgeting to help you get back in control of your money.

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A guide to budgeting

In this guide we consider how using a budget to balance your income and spending helps you manage your money. 

  • What is budgeting?

    Budgeting is setting up a financial plan that will help you spend less than you bring in. By sticking to your budget you can make plans for your short and long term spending. 

    To lots of us the word 'budget' means spending less. But in its truest sense it means taking time to ensure you don't spend more money than you have coming in.

    Think of it as a tool that allows you to prioritise your spending to ensure you have enough for the essentials whilst saving for the nice-to-haves.
  • Signs you need to start budgeting

    • You can’t pay your bills
    • Your credit cards are always maxed out
    • Important bills are those you avoid
    • Spending when you know you shouldn’t isn't uncommon
    • Money is a consistent worry
  • How does budgeting work?

    Setting up a budget is pretty straight forward.
    You work out the amount you want to spend over a particular period, for example over a week, a month, a year and you compare it with the amount you have coming in every month.

    If you have less money coming in than you spend, you need to decide which things you can do without.

    If you have more money coming in than you spend, you should think about putting a bit away for unexpected events.

    By getting into the budgeting habit you can quickly work out where you're spending money you don't need to, and where you can make savings.

    Setting up and sticking to your budget can take time and a bit of practice but is almost always worth the effort.

  • Why is budgeting important?

    Helps you know what you spend your money on
    By writing down what you have to, what you want to, and what you actually do spend your money on will help you understand your spending habits. This is the first step in knowing where you can make changes.

    Makes sure you spend on the important things

    Most of us can't afford to buy everything we want, creating a budget helps you save for the most important things

    • Buying a coffee every day or having a summer holiday?
    • Eating out twice a month or paying off some of your debt?
    • Keeping a bit back for Christmas or spending the spare cash on a treat for the kids?

    Gets you ready for unexpected expenses
    We all face unexpected events which mean unplanned costs; the car breaks down, you lose your job, you need to take sick leave. By working to a budget you can make sure you save a little every month.

    Lets you make smarter choices
    Learning good spending habits will help you in the future. It’s not just about cutting back, it’s about making the good choices, shopping around for great deals on things that are important to you.

Next steps

Being cash positive can help reduce your stress levels, letting you get on and enjoy life. Use our action plan to find out how to set up and manage on a budget, helping to set you on a path to managing your spending. 

Next steps

  • Our support services

    The Bank Workers Charity exists to support current and former bank employees. Find out more about the services and support we provide.
  • Financial Resilience Check

    Take a couple of minutes to help yourself understand whether your finances are sound now and for the future.
  • How to track your spending

    Recognising your spending habits means you can begin to manage them. Here’s some straightforward advice to help you start tracking your spending.

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