Household Bills and Budgeting

Different types of household bills you need to budget for (make sure you have enough money to cover) these each month include:

Rent or Mortgage to pay for your accommodation/housing.

Food and vital supplies, like toiletries.

Fuel costs, like petrol or travel costs, like bus and train fares (check if you qualify for concessions (discounts) due to your disability or a free bus pass).

Range of Utility Bills:  Water bills/rates, also heating costs, like Gas or Electric bills are generally paid every three months.

Council Tax Bill:  to pay for local council services where you live.  If you live alone, you get a 25% discount if you are on a very low income, or if you are a full-time student, you do not pay Council Tax.  The amount depends on where you live and the type of home you have.  

Phone Bills, such as a mobile phone and/or a house phone.

Internet Bills for internet services.

You may have Direct Debits: these are set amounts that come out each month to pay for services you have agreed to pay the organisations to take to cover their bills.  You can set up some bills, like your phone or gas/electric to be taken by the company so you do not have to remember to pay.  Direct Debits can be for varying amounts that the organisation must inform you of in advance based on what you have spent and will go out of your account on an agreed day.  Standing Orders are similar, but for set amounts each month.

Entertainment Bills, such as for going out, going to the cinema or pub, or going out for a meal or a general socialising bill.

You may need money at times for new items, from technology to clothes that you do not buy every month.

TV Licence Bill: you must have a licence.  You pay for each year if you want to watch TV (BBC). 

There can be extra bills so you need a (contingency), a small amount each month to cover extra unexpected costs, like gifts for people, or if you need to pay for a prescription.

If you do not have enough money to cover costs/bills, you will go into debt and have to pay more money (interest). ,You need to stop this happening by planning and staying in budget.  

You may find it helps to use a Budget Planner like from the Money Advice Service.

Each month or week, you should receive money in.  This could be from work as your wages from your job and/or benefits, like Disability Benefits or Personal Independence Payments and, maybe, Employment Support Allowance or other benefits.  Be sensible and responsible with your money and plan what you spend.

You need to decide if you will work out a monthly or weekly budget and stick with this throughout.  If you get paid monthly and/or get benefits monthly, then monthly may be simpler to work out.

Your Income is the total amount of money you have.  This could be from a job and/or from benefits.  From this, you need to work out what your typical Expenditure is.  This is simply the money you regularly spend on needed items. You need to take away your expenditure (money you regularly spend, like on vital bills from your total Income).  What you have left is your Disposable Income.  This is money you can spend as you wish, as you have covered your bills and vital costs, for example, on going out

You need to understand and identify essential spending, like bills for accommodation, gas or electric bills, travel costs, food bills from less essential spending, or non essential  spending, like buying luxury items or leisure items.

When you shop, you need to consider prices, for example, do you always need the most expensive items?  You cannot always afford the lifestyle and items you would like.  For example, you may not be able to afford the car you want, or to have a takeaway each time you would like.  You may not be able to afford a luxury holiday or a cleaner and need to be realistic with your plans and set sensible priorities.  This means you can plan more and save up for things occasionally that otherwise you will not have money for.  You need to take control and responsibility for your money and be aware of what you can afford.

If you spend more money than you have, you get into debt and will need to borrow money, for example, if you spend more money than you have in your bank or if you get a loan.  A debt means this is money that must be paid back and you would have to pay interest on it, meaning you pay extra money that you would have to find.  Sometimes, interest can be high, making paying back the money difficult and this means you will not be able to covernormal costs and manage your spending.

Budgeting resources and videos:

NatWest Money Sense - Online Budgeting Game:  See if you can manage your finances for three months with this game aimed at young people.

Make Money, Make Sense.  Eastbone Citizens Advice and East Sussex Trading Standardsresources, including information on budgeting, banking, wages, debt and offers advice to students and lesson plans.

The Money Manual from the Money Charity offers budgeting information to help you with budget planning and how to build a budget.  It also covers savings and types of borrowing, types of banking, types of insurance and to understanding your payslip and sources of income.

Lloyd's Bank Video explaining how to budget, so you have money for what you need and gives you tips.

Haltwhistle Film Project - Managing a Budget.  The lived experience of someone with a Learning Disability.

Money Advice Service - How to Open a Bank Account

  This is a YouTube video for Barclay's Money Skills, explaining Budgeting.