Saving and budgeting

The first step to taking control of your finances is budgeting. It’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the money you have coming in and going out.

Setting up a budget means you’re less likely to end up in debt, less likely to get caught out by unexpected costs, more likely to have a good credit rating, more likely to be accepted for a mortgage or loan and make you able to spot areas where you can make savings.

To get started on your budget, you’ll need to work out how much you spend on:

  • Household bills – Council Tax, water, gas, electricity, broadband etc
  • Living costs – food, cleaning products etc
  • Financial products – insurance, credit/store cards etc
  • Family and friends – presents
  • Travel – car costs, petrol, public transport etc
  • Leisure – holidays, sport, restaurants, cinema trips etc

A great way to work out your budget is with The Money Advice Service free and easy-to-use Budget Planner.

Getting your budget back on track

If you’re spending more than you have coming in, you need to work out where you can cut back.

You could also keep a spending diary. Or, look at last month’s bank statement and work out where your money is going.

Get everyone involved

Get everyone in your family involved with keeping to a budget. Sit down together and make a plan that you can all stick to. Work out how much spending money is available and agree between you what you’ll each have.


Some people find it hard to get motivated about saving, but it’s often much easier if you set a goal. Your first step is to have money to fall back on if you have an emergency, this could be useful in your first 6 weeks of transferring to Universal Credit.

Credit Unions

The best way to save money is to pay some money into a savings account every month. A Credit Union savings account might be for you if you want a flexible account that lets you save what you can, when you can. Find your nearest credit union here.

More help

Money advice service use your bank to make budgeting easier

Regular Saving – Money Advice Service

Beginners guide to managing your money