budgeting tips and tools

This resource we have put together a short list of budgeting options and ways of making savings.


There are places you can turn to for support if you are on a low income or just struggling financially. In this resource we will share vital information on local and national support available to you.

budgeting tools:

Before you start making savings through taking advantage of schemes and discounts it is always a good idea to have a complete budget plan. Citizens Advice have a budgeting tool to help guide you through the process.

This tool takes you through all of your income and outgoings including wages, benefits, debts, leisure, transport, and savings and investments.

Remember to include small one-off payments in your budget, such as new appliances. It has been generally advised to leave some additional room in budgets for products not too regularly bought like spices and lightbulbs.

Also be aware that some months are likely to have more spending than others due to holidays, birthdays and other events where additional costs can occur.

Keeping to a strict budget can be stressful, and if you haven’t done it before it can take a few months to get into the rhythm of budgeting well and keeping track of purchases. Eliminating small unused subscriptions will free up room that can be used for additional expenses or for personal goals/items.

We also suggest prioritising what you’d like to do with any spending money you have, such as perhaps setting some aside for an expensive purchase or allowing yourself a specific “treat” each month if you stick to the budget.

This will stop you from feeling that you are just treading water and continuing to progress with your personal goals which in turn will help with morale and keeping to the budget set in place.

keep in mind that some months are likely to have more spending than others.

Additional costs will likely occur during holidays, birthdays and other social events.

ways to save:

  • The fear of losing money on buying a new item when it can be repaired can be daunting. To save on expensive repair costs or the purchase of a replacement, Repair Café is a service where you can come in and get your items repaired by volunteers, for free (though the organisation running may ask for a donation). These are often held out of local town halls.
  • Take full advantage of cheap food and travel options. We have two resources upcoming on all the ways you can save on these essentials.
  • Making simple switches to cheaper brands (or Downshifting as it has been called) for items like laundry detergent and kitchen rolls are a simple way of cutting back on basics. As these items are bought regularly the savings are much higher than on rare one-time purchases.
  • Giveaway sites are where people offer items they no longer need to their local community for free. Websites like Freecycle and Freegle are some prime examples. They are free to join and are volunteer-run.
  • Coupons are always an easy way to make quick savings – even just by quickly searching the name of the site and vouchers on the internet you may easily make quick savings.
  • Broadband is another recurrent cost that can save you hundreds of pounds in the long run if you are able to get a cheaper deal. Shopping around and being aware of Social Tariffs for those on benefits can really help with the

free or cheap leisure and events:

Councils across the UK offer a combined library & leisure card. This will give the usual access to borrow books from libraries but also to visit the online library which has hundreds of Ebooks and audiobooks available.

The leisure card requires you to be on certain benefits but allows you to gain cheaper access to any leisure centre to use the gym or access the swimming pool. The best place to find these is on your local council’s website.


Read our recommendations to policymakers in response to the cost of living crisis and view all of our Cost of Living support guides.