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Budgeting to pay your rent and other essential living costs

Budgeting is about more than making sure you have enough money for rent and any service charge payable for a particular home.  Council Tax is an obligation upon all householders, and utilities, food, insurance, essential travel expenses, TV licence, telephone costs, clothes and shoes, heath/eyecare costs and money for leisure have to come out of your income too.

Creating a budget is relatively straightforward.  A budget is a spreadsheet which shows your income on one side and your likely essential household expenditure on the other.  By essential, we mean housing costs and other costs to care for yourself and your family.

In a budget, you have to allow amounts not only for rent and Council Tax, but for food and housekeeping, utility bills, clothing and shoes, essential travel costs, TV licence, phone, internet, insurance and so forth.  Our self-calculating budget sheet is here   Alternatively, you can use a budgeting form from one of the advice websites below.  Each website includes advice on budgeting, money management and reducing debt.

Citizens Advice


Telephone:  03444 111 444 – Wiltshire Citizens Advice

Money Advice Service – webchat available

Telephone:  0800 138 7777

National Debtline

Website: – webchat available

Telephone:  0800 138 1111



Telephone:  0808 808 4000

Money for Life

Aimed at young people primarily


We recommend that any debt advice service you consult is accredited by the Money Advice Service and its advisors are members of the Institute of Money Advisors.

If you create a budget for your present home, which has the correct number of bedrooms for your household, and you are still struggling to pay the rent and meet your other essential living costs, advice is available from the council’s Housing Options team

In relation to help with housing costs (eg Housing Benefit or Universal Credit), it is important to understand how these benefits work.  Which you need to claim depends on your circumstances as Universal Credit housing element is due, over time, to replace Housing Benefit for working age people.  Wiltshire Council is now a Universal Credit full service area and this affects most working age people with increasing numbers of people on low incomes in the area already claiming Universal Credit and its housing element. Please see these links to the Gov.UK website for information about Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Housing Element.  It is important to understand that Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears, so it is vital to be managing your money well if you are claiming it.