How to Budget your money using the Choose Wisely Budget Planner
SUPER SIMPLE BUDGETING
The Choose Wisely team decided that the other online budget planners out there just didn’t make the cut. They’re not useful and they really don’t help. So we decided to create our own budget planner tool that can be completed in just two minutes!
Ready now? Jump straight to the budget planner.
WHY SHOULD I BUDGET?
We’re on a mission to help you take back control of your finances and there’s no better place to start than looking at where your money is being spent. If you want to save some extra pennies or avoid burning through your paycheck within a week, then a budget could be perfect for you.
Our online, interactive budget tool gives you an easy view on your spending and will even tell you the average amount the rest of the UK is spending so you know if you’re spending more than necessary.
STEP 1: PERSONAL FINANCE BASICS
Gather together as much information as you can about your finances; what goes in and what’s going out. If you use internet banking the easiest way to do this is to download a copy of your most recent statement. It will work just as well with your paper statement if your bank still post it to you.
If you don’t have a enough info for this month, use lasts month’s statements but make sure you accommodate for spending that doesn’t occur every month, like birthdays or quarterly utility bills.
STEP 2: WHAT’S COMING IN?
Your household might have multiple streams of income so you may want to note down a small income statement to get an idea of the total. These could include child tax credits, your occupational income, benefits, disability benefits, Universal Credit and more.
Once you’ve got this together, enter your main source of income (and any extra income) after tax into the first two fields of our budget planner tool.
STEP 4: THE REMAINING EXPENSES
Instead of filling in useless expenses you don’t pay for, our budget planner tool lets you select which expenses apply to you. Enter how much money you spend on each individual cost and if necessary add any costs to the 'Any Other Expenses' field.
STEP 5: THE OVERVIEW
Our budget planner gives you a clear view of your financial health with our simple chart. If you have money left over then this is great news! If you haven’t started already, try putting a little money aside each month to cover emergency expenses like broken boilers or an unexpected hike on your bills. Read more about saving for a financial safety net here.
However, if you’re spending more than you earn or feel like you’re only just getting by, have another look at your breakdown of expenses. Use our guide for tips on saving £100s on your utility bills.
STEP 6: KEEP UPDATING YOUR PLANNER
We know keeping a budget can be a bit of a heavy slog every month but organising your outgoings against your incomings will help you recognise where you’re spending too much money.
If you are hoping to borrow and wanted a good idea of how much money you have left over each month, you can start thinking seriously about your borrowing options. If you’re not overspending and have debts to pay off, consider paying some off these early or making larger deposits against your overall balance. Have a look at our managing your loan repayments or use our Loan Repayments Calculator.
Mark joined Choose Wisely in 2015. He continues to work in close contact with the providers, brokers and journalists operating in the world of consumer credit.