Money Essentials

Manage your budget

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Are you ready? Then let’s do this. In week one, we’re going to show you how to make and stick to a budget that works for you.

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  • Making and managing a budget for your household spending is essential to your financial health. For this week’s activity, start by thinking of things you’ve budgeted for in the past — perhaps a holiday or a big purchase?

  • Creating a budget makes it easier to see where you’re overspending and where you might cut back to help you reach your financial goals faster.

    Find out more in our Beginner’s guide to managing your money.

  • Now you know why it’s important, set aside a few hours in the next few days to create your own budget. We’ll guide you through how to do that in the next step.

  • How do you feel about your finances now?

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  • Gather your bank statements, household bills, credit cards and any outstanding loan paperwork and let’s get started.

  • Use our handy Budget Planner to track your finances and  identify  simple changes you can make to keep to your financial plan.

  • Stay motivated by making a note on the calendar to check your plan every two weeks to make sure you’re recording your progress.

  • How do you feel about your finances now?

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  • Look out for positive influencers that give you encouragement and can help you stick to your programme. If you live with others, get them involved in creating a budget. If you’ve never openly spoken about money with people close to you, use our Talk Money guides to get started.

  • Make sure you have wider support around you too. This could be trusted friends or family members who might be on a similar journey.

    Join our online community of savers in MoneyHelper’s Budgeting and Saving Facebook group for friendly peer-to-peer support from like-minded people

  • Check in regularly with those on the journey with you to share challenges and inspire each other to keep going.

  • How do you feel about your finances now?

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Money Essentials

Staying on top of bills and payments

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This week we’ll be talking about debt. Maybe you’re on top of your regular payments but you’re concerned that things could get out of control. There are lots of things you can do to keep on track and the great thing is there’s loads of support out there to help you too.

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  • If you’re worried about keeping up with bills and payments let’s start by looking at the outstanding payments you have and seeing what you can do to help manage them.

  • Have a look at our guide Help with bills and payments for suggestions. Your Budget Planner from week one can help you too.

  • If you’ve read the guide from the previous step and still feel like you need extra support to find ways to keep on top of your bills and payments, give us a call on 0800 138 7777. Our help is always free, confidential and impartial.

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  • Let’s get going by gathering details of what you owe so you have them to hand. It might feel daunting and stressful at first, but this is the first step to gaining control.

  • Stick with it, you can do this. We’re going to help you set out a clear plan for what to do next. Read our guide Help if you’re struggling with debt for all the details you need.

  • Never feel you have to go this alone. We can put you in touch with debt advisers who are here to help. Find free, confidential debt guidance online, over the phone or near to where you live with our free Debt advice locator.

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  • If you have several debts, you might be feeling overwhelmed. But now that you have a list of them, we can help you sort out which ones to pay off first with our guide How to prioritise your debts.

  • Make a plan of how you’re going to deal with your debts. Do you feel confident to go it alone and speak to the people you owe money to? Or would it help to get some free confidential advice about the best options for you? Follow our next steps for how to manage debt so you’re in control.

  • You can get great advice online, over the phone or near to where you live using our Debt advice locator.

    Get friendly support from people in the same situation as you by joining our private Debt Support Community Facebook group to help give you new ideas to tackle debts and keep you motivated.

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Money Essentials

How to cut your costs

Before we get started, please tell us how you feel about your finances?

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This week let’s see if you can save money on your household bills. Now that you’ve made a budget and have a better understanding of where your money is going, it’s time to make sure you’re getting the best deals.

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  • To get started it’s a good idea to check your EPC certificate and see if there are any cost-effective, easy ways to make your home more energy efficient. You can do that here.

  • We’re picking up the pace now. Have a read of our guide on how to Save money on gas and bills.  There are lots of grants available to help with things like improving your insulation, upgrading your boiler and appliances and installing solar panels or other renewable technologies.

  • Keep it up! Set a regular reminder on your phone or diary to check you’re on the right tariff for you. You could also check if your supplier or council has any schemes to help you reduce your bill. They might offer products that help to reduce your usage.

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  • Let’s warm up and review your contracts to see if are any up for renewal.

  • Time to cut those household bills. There are some useful ideas in these guides How to save money on your home phone and broadband and How to save money on your mobile phone. Have a read and make the switch.

  • All done? Work out how much you’re saving yourself in a year and celebrate. You could use that money to pay off credit cards or put it into savings – both of which you’ll learn about in the coming weeks.

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  • You can often make big savings by using price comparison sites or by contacting your existing insurer directly, but check the level of cover meets your needs. Remember that the cheapest cover isn’t necessarily going to be the best one for you. Read our guide on Car insurance and let’s work out how much you are currently paying and if you can get a better like-for-like deal (if your contract allows).

  • Next up, check if you can improve on your home insurance (if your contract allows). Read our guide How to get the best deal on your home insurance.

  • Great! You’ve now got the best deals for you. Make the most of the savings you’ve made by setting a reminder a few weeks before your next renewal date. It’s always worth shopping around to see if you can get find a better deal.

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Money Essentials

Building up savings

Before we get started, please tell us how you feel about your finances?

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Time to step it up now and focus on savings. It’s a good idea to put money aside regularly if you can – for emergencies, treats, and for your financially fit future.

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  • Now’s a good time to open an easy-access savings account. You’ll be using this to start building an emergency fund for unexpected costs.

  • How much should you have in your emergency savings pot? Our guide Emergency savings gives you tips on how much you should aim to save and how to go about it.

  • Visualise your end goal. If your boiler needs replacing or your car breaks down, having an emergency reserve to draw on means you will now have peace of mind.

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  • Let’s warm up by setting a savings goal. Decide how much you need to save, and what your time frame is.

  • With your goal in mind, let’s see how much you can save with our Savings calculator. It tells you how long it’ll take to save a specific amount, or – if you have a date you’re saving for – it will tell you how much you need to save each week or month.

  • Check your savings on a regular basis. Seeing progress will keep you motivated to keep going.

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  • Make a list of any savings you may already have, and then think about when you’ll want access to the money you’re saving now.

  • There are so many savings options out there so let us help you choose the best one for you. Our Types of savings guides will show you your options, from Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) to Premium Bonds and many more.

  • Do you have any existing savings accounts that aren’t working so well for you? Now you’ve bulked up your savings knowledge, it’s a good time to review them.

  • How do you feel about your finances now?

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