How to create a budget

  • Write down how much you earn and spend

    You can use a budgeting tool, spreadsheet or just pen and paper to get started. Note down everything that comes in and out of your account, including any benefits, tax credit or pension income, as well as bills and expenses. Try and be as honest and detailed as you can.

    Use your bank statements (online or on paper), or your transaction information to help. Most current accounts have an app or internet banking where you can access your spending history. You can also check for any scheduled or recurring payments to see any direct debits or standing orders. If you find any recurring payments you don't recognise, try an internet search of the payment or company name to find out what the payment is for, to make sure you don't cancel any important payments.

    If you normally use cash for your spending, you’ll need to keep your receipts and use those. 

    Think about splitting your spending into different categories, like essential bills, household spending, groceries or eating out. 

    Organisations like Citizens Advice and MoneyHelper have detailed budgeting tools that can help you with this.

    If you would like some help to access your spending digitally, or using online budgeting tools, we've partnered with digital support charity Citizens Online, so that all Triodos Bank UK customers can access free, one-to-one telephone support with a Digital Champion, at a time that suits you. Find out more here.

  • Compare your income with your spending

    Ideally, you'll be spending less than you earn each month. We’re sorry to say this might be where you can see most clearly where increases in prices for day to day spending and energy costs are impacting what you’re spending every month. If your income has changed, is low or has been reduced due to a change in circumstances, it's worth checking to see if you're entitled to any benefits. If you're struggling with bills and payments, MoneyHelper has advice and tools to help with this: Help with bills and payments | MoneyHelper

    If you're spending more than you would like, or want to build up your savings, see if there's anywhere you can reduce your outgoings. Try to highlight those items of spending which are essential, and any items where you could reduce or remove the cost. This might include shopping around for savings or offers, thinking about your shopping habits, or deciding a fixed amount to spend on non-essential items to reduce your spending.

    If you find any recurring payments you don't recognise, don't cancel them straight away. Try an internet search of the payment or company name first, to make sure you're not cancelling any important payments.

  • Think about ways to make budgeting easier

    Organising your spending can help to keep track of your money. It can be easier to pay your bills by Direct Debit so your essential outgoings are covered. Setting these up near payday makes it easier to see how much you have left to spend. You could also consider setting up a separate bank account to cover your regular payments, such as mortgage, rent or bills. This can help separate your 'essential' money from your 'spending' money, which you could keep in another account. 

    If you have a spending goal in mind, or are trying to build up your savings, have a think about how you can meet these goals.

    Are there any sums you owe (for example, credit card debit balances or small loans) where you have savings which would allow you to pay them off now? The interest you accrue on debts like this is often significantly higher than the interest you receive on savings, so it can be worthwhile paying those debts off.