Planning your finances

Good money management can mean living within your means to saving for short and long-term goals, to having a realistic plan to pay off your debts. Start with a money healthcheck to give you an idea of how your finances stack up.

Budgets

Getting on top of your finances can be daunting. Doing a budget is a great way to start. Record the money you have coming in (like your salary or wages, pensions or benefits) and payments that you make (such as rent or mortgage, insurance and Council Tax as well as living expenses and regular and irregular spending) and you will get a better picture of your finances.

If you're spending more than you earn, look more closely at what you're spending money on and what you can cut back. Even small amounts such as money for sandwiches at lunchtime can add up.

If you have loans or owe money on credit cards it usually makes sense to pay off the debt that charges the highest rate of interest first.

Savings

You may find it hard to get motivated about saving, but it's easier if you set a goal. Rather than thinking about the money you are setting aside each month, you can focus on what you will be able to do once you've reached your goal. Your first step is to have some emergency savings - money to fall back on if you have an emergency, such as a heating boiler breakdown or if you couldn't work for a while.

Getting started

You may feel that you need to speak to a professional about your personal finances. We have the largest database in the UK of professional financial advisers who are all members of the Personal Finance Society, which means that they have committed to higher standards of professionalism and code of professional ethics. 

Tools