Decide whether to budget weekly or monthly
- If you get your money on a weekly basis you should download the weekly budget sheet.
- If you get your money monthly you should download the monthly budget sheet.
- You can also complete an online budget by visiting the Money Advice Service budget planner.
A budget sheet is very useful because it shows you how you are spending your money. You write down all your income (including any benefits you receive) and all the money you spend (including money you spend on rent, council tax, gas, electricity, food, and so on) on the sheet. You should send a copy of your budget sheet to your non-priority creditors when you are offering to pay them.
Put all your income on the sheet
Give details of all money you have coming in. Examples of income include:
- Your net wages (wages after tax or your ‘take-home’ pay),
- Tax Credits,
- Child Benefit,
- Child Maintenance,
- Benefits such as Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit
- Board paid to you by others who live with you.
Put all your outgoings on the sheet
List all the things you must pay for, including any payments to clear arrears on your priority debts, such as rent and council tax.
Write down what you spend on housekeeping. Housekeeping includes food, toiletries and household cleaning materials. A typical figure might be around £35.00 a week for an adult and £15 – £25 for a child.
Work out how much rent you pay each week or month and don’t forget about payments included in your rent, such as water charges. If you have a court order, stick to paying the amount on the order. If you don’t, you could lose your home. If you cannot afford the amount that the court has set, contact our money advice team straight away. The court may agree to lower the amount.
Gas and electricity bills
If you pay for your gas and electricity every three months you will need to work out how much you spend each week. You can do this by adding your four quarterly bills together and dividing the total by 52. This will give you an average weekly amount.
These could include bus fares, taxis, or car costs such as petrol, tax, insurance, MOT and repairs or maintenance.
If you have rent or council-tax arrears or if you have fallen behind with other priority bills, you will need to set aside money to offer to clear those arrears.
Priority debts should be cleared as quickly as possible to prevent further action being taken against you such as possession of your home or perhaps bailiffs coming to your home to collect the debt.
You should work out how much you can pay every week or month in order to clear those arrears. Make the offer to pay and once it is agreed ensure the payment is made when it is due. Don’t forget to include the arrears balance and the payment for the arrears on your budget sheet.
Helpful hints on preparing your budget sheet
- Work out all your income and outgoings for every week or every month. Don’t mix monthly and weekly figures.
- To change weekly to monthly figures, multiply by 52 and then divide by 12.
- To change monthly to weekly figures, multiply by 12 and then divide by 52.
- To change figures for every four weeks to monthly figures, multiply by 13 and then divide by 12.
For example, if you earned £200 a month, you would work out what you earned every week as follows.
£200 x 12 = £2400
£2400 ÷ 52 = £46.15 every week