How to create your own personal budget: Tips to make a household spending plan

Rishi’s not the only one who needs to think about budgets (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I want you to be like Rishi Sunak.

No, you don’t need to be a millionaire or have your own fancy personal branding. And you don’t have to agree with his politics.

All you need to do to emulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer this week is to do as he will be doing on Wednesday. That’s when he’ll reveal the government’s tax and spending policies in the latest Budget.

Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to try to solve how we pay for the pandemic. Instead, I want you to produce your own spending plan. One that looks at your household finances.

The idea of a personal budget isn’t anything new, but with an ever increasing cost of living, even those who haven’t been hit with an income drop will be noticing a lower bank balance. And even if everything seems OK now, we’ve seen how fast things can change. Who knows what’s next around the corner?

Rishi Sunak will be releasing the autumn Budget on Wednesday Picture: Anthony Harvey/REX/Shutterstock)

So set aside an evening, grab a drink of choice, put on some music and settle down with your bank statements to take a proper look at where your money is going.

The basics require a list of all the money coming in and another list of all the expenses going out. Don’t forget to factor in those price hikes! Total up both lists and calculate the difference.

Are you spending more than you earn? That’s a clear warning to take action. Even a healthy surplus at the end of a month isn’t a reason to be complacent. You’re in a position to make your money work harder.

Taking it further you can break down the spending into categories: transport, food, going out, etc. The more the better. This will help you identify places you can cut back and prioritise where you want your money to go.

Use the free online MoneyHelper Budget Planner for handy reminders of what to include — it’ll also do the maths for you.

Once you have worked it all out, there is one more way you need to copy the chancellor: You need to tell the people it affects. Switch the despatch box for the kitchen table and gather the household around to go through everything.

Explain why you are making changes and share exactly why you are choosing one expense over another. For your spending plan to work, you will all need to be on board.

Deal of the week

For half-term savings, pick up a Lotto ticket for £2 and use it to claim a £25 voucher to spend on UK days out via

Should you switch or stay?

There have been switching offers from around a dozen different banks this year. Although the deals come and go, it shows that the banks are desperate to get you as a new customer.

Right now nine such deals are available, including two that are offering you a massive £150 to switch.

These offers — from RBS and NatWest — will give you £100 in the New Year, and another £50 if you stick around until November 2022 and make ten transactions each month.

So is this a good deal? For serial switchers I’d just get the £100 and move on. But if you’re moving your bank once and want to keep using it as your everyday account, then the extra money could be worth it.

Plus you can get £3 extra each month if you opt for a Reward account.

Who to follow

Helping you find the people who know what they’re talking about.

If you’re trying to adopt more frugal spending habits, then head over to the blog Run by Faith Archer, it’s full of ways to stretch your pennies and pounds.

Faith’s top frugal food tip

‘I’m a big fan of slow cookers for warming soups, stews and curries, which also make the most of beans and cheap cuts of meat. A fan-assisted oven costs 46p an hour on average, compared to a tiny 3p an hour for a slow cooker, according to Utilita.’

Andy Webb is an award-winning blogger and podcaster from Be Clever With Your Cash. Follow Andy on Twitter and Instagram

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MORE : National living wage to rise to £9.50 an hour as part of autumn Budget

MORE : How Rishi Sunak plans to spend our money – what we know about Wednesday’s Budget

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