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Find out how to get the best out of the Money Advice Service Budget planner and the spending you can’t afford to leave out when making a budget.

Budgeting week: How to use the Budget Planner

When you’re setting up a budget there are a lot of things you need to think about. It can be really easy to forget some of the bits and pieces coming out of your account.

So far this week we’ve looked at why you should make a budget and three ways to make budgeting easier.

Today we find out how to get the best out of the Money Advice Service Budget planner and the spending you can’t afford to leave out when making a budget.

Our money expect Andy Webb looks at the kinds of spending you’ll be asked about when using the budget planner.


This isn’t just your salary, but everything you have coming in over the course of a week, month or year.

It can include any benefits you are receiving, interest on savings, or even money you make by selling things online.


Your mortgage and rent will be the main ones, but there are lots of other things coming out of your account.

Utility bills, like water, electricity and gas, can be difficult to calculate as they might be coming out every three months.

Make sure you don’t forget things like broadband, mobile phone bills, online subscriptions and Council Tax. 

Everyday spending

Supermarket shopping will make up the lion’s share of this, but your food bill isn’t the only expense.

Clothes, shoes, takeaways, and even the naughty stuff like cigarettes and alcohol need to be included.

Financial products

Credit card bills and loan repayments are the main things here, but remember to include any money you move into a savings account or pension.

Family and friends

This can include things like childcare, baby items like nappies, school trips, pocket money and after-school clubs.

You should also include the cost of your family’s furry (or not so furry) friends, so think about pet food and insurance.

If you are giving money to a family member, for example a child at university, it should be included here, as well as any money you are paying back to friends and family.


Getting around can be really expensive, but can often be forgotten.

Car costs, such as insurance, MOT and petrol, can be big outgoings, but don’t forget to include your season ticket if you take the train into work.


This section is for everything else. Things like the cost of going out for a drink or a meal with friends on the weekend, cinema and theatre visits, gym membership and so on.

It should also include money you are saving up for a holiday and the cost of birthdays and Christmas.

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