Planning your budget

Creating a budget can help you manage your money each week or month. It helps you know what you need to do next.

There are three steps to creating your budget:

Step 1

Decide whether to use monthly or weekly figures. You can convert any payments like this:

  • Weekly amount x 52 = monthly amount
  • Monthly amount x 12 ÷ 52 = weekly amount

Write down all of your regular income. This may include wages, benefits, your pension, savings or insurance. Add all of this together.

Step 2

Write down everything you spend and add this together. It’s important to be realistic about what you might spend. Bank statements or bills can help you to work out your expenses.

Step 3

Subtract your spending from your income. If the final amount is less than zero, you have a shortfall. Using savings or borrowing money may cover a shortfall in the short-term, but it isn’t sustainable. Think about any ways to increase your income or reduce your spending. The information in this section on managing your money day-to-day can help you do this.


Working out your weekly or monthly budget is an important first step to managing your everyday finances. A budget is a record or prediction of how much money you have coming in and going out. Once you’ve created a budget, it will help you understand what you need to do next.

How to create a budget:

Step 1

Write down your regular income from all sources. This could include:

  • wages
  • benefits
  • savings
  • insurance
  • pension payments.

Then add all this together.

Step 2

Write down everything you spend. Then add all this together. Be realistic and make sure you put in enough for items such as food, housekeeping, heating and transport costs. Remember that if you have cancer, these costs may increase. For example, you may need to have a more expensive diet, additional heating, or more hospital visits.

Bank statements, credit card statements and bills will help you work out how much you are spending. If you’re not sure where all your money goes, try keeping a spending diary for a week or two.

Step 3

Subtract your total spending from your total income. If the final amount is less than zero, then you have a shortfall. You may be able to cover a shortfall in the short-term by using savings or borrowing. But in the long-term, a shortfall isn’t sustainable and needs to be addressed. Check whether you can increase your income and look at ways to cut your spending.

If you can’t get your budget to balance and you’re getting into debt, you can contact StepChange Debt Charity for some advice.

Budget calculator

You can use the tables below to help you work out your household budget. We also have an online budget calculator.

When using the tables, decide whether you want to use weekly or monthly figures and use that throughout.

You can convert weekly payments to monthly amounts like this:

Weekly amount x 52 ÷ 12 = monthly amount

You can convert monthly payments to weekly amounts like this:

Monthly amount x 12 ÷ 52 = weekly amount

You can work out the weekly or monthly equivalents of quarterly (four times a year) payments like this:

Quarterly payment amount × 4 ÷ 52 = cost per week

Quarterly payment amount × 4 ÷ 12 = cost per month

Remember to be careful when converting weekly amounts to monthly ones. Multiplying the weekly amount by four will only cover 48 weeks of the year (which is 52 weeks).

Once you've completed the income and spending tables, work out A – B (income minus spending).

A: Weekly/monthly income

Weekly/monthly income
Take-home pay (how much you earn after tax and other deductions)
Sick pay
Personal/occupational/company pension
State pension
State benefits/tax credits
Regular travel cost refunds
Regular income from grants
Income from insurance policies
Income from savings
Contributions from other people in your household
Other income
Total income (A)

B: Weekly/monthly spending

Weekly/monthly spending
Mortgage or rent
Council tax (rates in Northern Ireland)
Regular household bills (water, gas, electricity, TV licence, other)
Telephone (landline, mobile, broadband, subscription TV)
Home insurance (contents, buildings)
Home maintenance costs
Housekeeping (food, toiletries, cleaning products, etc)
Repayments for household goods bought on hire purchase or being rented
Clothing and footwear
Health costs (prescriptions, dental or other)
Motoring costs (tax, insurance, fuel)
Bus and rail fares, other travel

Going out, other leisure, hobbies
Life insurance, medical insurance, other insurance
Regular saving, pension contributions (unless deducted from pay)
Credit card and loan repayments (other than mortgage)
Other spending
Total spending (B)
*Be careful not to count anything twice. For example, if you pay your supermarket bill by credit card each month and then pay the balance off in full each month, the amount should either go under housekeeping or credit card, but not both.

Working out your budget

Fill in the numbers for A (total income) and B (total spending).

Then work out this sum:

A (              ) – B (              ) =

If the answer is less than zero, you have a shortfall.

If you don’t have much money left over, then you may need to reduce your spending or look for ways to increase your income, if possible. You may be able to do this through state benefits, savings, insurance, grants or a pension. The rest of our information on managing your money day-to-day can help with these steps.

Back to Managing your money day to day

Your income

Living with cancer may affect your finances. It’s important to make sure you have enough money to pay for your expenses.


Make sure you’ve considered other options before borrowing money. Choose the cheapest type of borrowing and know how you’ll make repayments.


It’s important to make sure you’re paying the right tax. This includes checking if you are owed a tax rebate.