BudgetDrive - Manage Your Money

Manage your money

Firstly It’s not easy. There are a number of sites that talk about different ways to save money. But it’s like dieting and becoming healthier – that is, easy to say, harder to do. 

Today we live in an ‘instant coffee’ world whereby many people want everything yesterday and want the latest things every year.

Managing your money is all about creating new habits. They say to kill one habit you need to start another and stick to it for at least 21 days. Most people start to budget when they have to rather than proactively planning; a bit like a New Year’s resolution – easy to make hard to keep up.

Managing your money is quite simple – you have money coming in and money going out. You can borrow money easily and lenders will tempt you with special offers.

The UK has the highest personal indebtedness in the world because we always want ‘a newer model’ now and we can buy it on credit.

Money management can also fail if we are not happy with our lives; if we have had a hard month at work and we think blow it, I will buy a new dress, shirt,shoes, or go out on the town. It’s a short term comfort blanket to appease your feelings but the next month you’re fretting because you don’t have enough cash to pay for everything.

Budget Facts

£ 1

is the average UK spend on food in 2017, up 4% on 2016 (Office National Statistics)

£ 5
per week

is the average household spending in 2016 (Office of National Statistics)

£ 1
per week

per household was spent on restaurants and hotels (Office of National Statistics)


is a well known budget with income for your needs (50%), your savings and debt (20%) and your wants (30%) – Elizabeth Warren

Map out your financial plan

We have done our own 10 step financial planning template you can look at and download.  It doesn’t just consider how to do a budget, but gives some tips on how to decide what’s important to you and how to balance the short term immediate issues with looking to the future. 

Following this will give you ideas on how to prioritise your spending. 

Budget format

You Drive the way to do your budget! Here you can download paper forms which you can print and fill in, download spreadsheets you can fill in and keep,  or do them online – again you’ll find the links here.

To go to the Money Advice Service Budget Planner, click the button below.  For the others, go to ‘More Info’ below.

Tips for doing your budget

There are loads of tips online for doing your family budget – we’ve come up with our favourites in this list:

  1. Get organised – make sure everything is included, and don’t guess!  It doesn’t matter if it’s on a spreadsheet or on paper – get everything down.  Look at six months of statements – remember some bills are quarterly. Remember cash!
  2. Set up categories and sub-categories – separate fixed costs (rent/mortgage, utilities, car and other insurance costs, etc) from discretionary costs (eating out, travel, gifts, etc.).
  3. Include all monthly costs and one-off costs – this includes ‘treats’ and holidays.  Don’t miss bits because they’re unusual.
  4. Include a ‘buffer’ – for unexpected costs and also treats – say 10% of food costs. Also round up costs – so £40.18 becomes £41.
  5. Pay off debt or make savings – if you have debt, allocate more than minimum payments. If not, allocate money for savings, and have a goal.
  6. Don’t overspend – some experts recommend putting money in envelopes and not using the tempting debit card!
  7. Plan your month’s spending in advance, and review it!  Allows you to reallocate between ‘pots’ if needed.
  8. Don’t give in! If it went wrong, because you missed something, or you just caved in after a bad day, try again!
Martin Lewis on Budgeting


This video from Martin Lewis explains what’s needed to do a budget in real terms – allows you to set up a budget.  Note you can download the Excel spreadsheet used at the bottom of this page!!

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
will smith
Will Smith

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See what other things can help

More information

If you want to do a full financial health check using the Money Advice Service tool

Use the Money Advice Service budget planner to plan your budget

StepChange the leading debt charity have a section on budgeting – why it’s important, how to make an income and expenditure statement if you need one and how to manage your budget.

If you need to see what universal credit you might get, go to the MAS Universal Credit Money Manager

If you want to see how much you could save – go to our Money Advice Service calculator

If you want an app to help you budget, see the list of the 8 best personal finance apps of 2018 at Investopedia

There’s a template for budgeting from StepChange, the Debt Charity – in Excel so you can enter your own numbers

There’s a template for budgeting from StepChange, the Debt Charity – in PDF format so you can print and enter your own numbers manually

There’s a template for budgeting from MoneySavingInspiration in Excel

There’s a template in Excel you can use from  MoneySavingExpert for setting up your budget

Martin Lewis on Budgeting
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