If you’re struggling to make ends meet and you’re spending more money than you earn, you need to do something about it. Getting into DEBT could affect you for years to come.

If you are supporting yourself for the first time, maybe as you leave home or go to college, you will need to pay for lots of things such as rent, bills and food. It is a good idea to set up a BUDGET from the beginning, so that you can make sure that your money goes around well, so that you don’t get into debt and have some left to enjoy yourself with!

The first thing that you need to do is write a list of OUTGOINGS such as rent, bills, food and drink, travel, leisure activities, repayments on cards and loans etc. Then you need to write a list of your INCOME such as wages/salary, benefits and other money (e.g. money from parents). Now take your Outgoings from your Income. If there isn’t enough, you need to either find a way to reduce your costs or to increase your income, possibly by a part-time job or by working more hours. If there is any money left over, you could set aside a realistic amount for going out, buying clothes/books/music etc. then you could put some money aside for SAVINGS. This could be for a holiday, something special or maybe just for a rainy day!

A budget is only an estimate of what your income might be, and what you’re likely to spend. It’s important to keep track of your actual income and expenses to make sure that your budget is accurate. It is a good idea to keep a notebook with you and to note everything you spend, then you’ll be able to review your budget regularly and you may get some ideas of where you can save money – not buying lots of expensive coffees when out for example.

If you have a problem with money/debt or a question about it you could:

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