Budgeting involves keeping track of how much money you receive and how much you are spending.

It can help you prioritise important things and cut back on others. It also helps you plan for the future. A good budget plan can stop you getting into debt.

The Money Advice Service Budget Planner can help you plan your budget.

Get a bank account

Access to a bank account is important, especially if you are on benefits. The new Universal Credit benefit can only be paid into a bank account. 

Besides this, a bank account makes it much easier to manage your money. You'll be able to spend money using a debit card instead of carrying cash around. You can also set up Direct Debits so bills are paid automatically.

Maximise your income

Check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. Entitledto.co.uk has a very useful benefits calculator that can show you anything you're missing out on. 

Do you receive tax credits? Use the government's Tax credits calculator to make sure you're receiving the right amount.

Be a savvy shopper

Use vouchers and discount codes - you can often find them by searching online. Try to shop around for the best deals on your weekly shopping. Make a list and compare prices online before you go shopping. You could save on your weekly shop by switching to the supermarkets' own brands or by taking advantage of 'buy one get one free' deals.


Smarterbuys helps social housing tenants buy furniture and other essential items on affordable credit. Some of the items are sold at a significant discount. 

We are one of the providers offering affordable loans that can be used to purchase items from Smarterbuys. 

Energy bills

You could reduce your energy bills by switching your gas and electric supply. You may qualify for various discounts from your supplier:

  • Dual fuel discount for having the same supplier for both gas and electric
  • Discount for paying by Direct Debit
  • Discount for paperless billing and managing your account online
  • Warm Home Discount (£140 discount off your winter electric bill)

Universal credit

A monthly payment for working-age people on a low income or out of work.

Find out more