Setting a budget can help you feel more in control of your money and plan ahead. To make budgeting easier, we’ve created an online tool that does lots of the legwork for you. It’s free, easy to use and has been designed to give you a better understanding of your finances.

What does it do?

Our Budget Planner compares how much money you have coming in with how much you’re spending. It also provides a breakdown of your finances. And highlights where the highest portion of your money is going – after your rent or mortgage payment.

The tool takes around 10 minutes to use. Make sure you have your banking app or statements to hand before you start.

How do I use the Budget Planner?

Enter your income

The first step is to enter your monthly income – after tax. If you’re self-employed, this could be what you earn on average each month. To calculate a monthly average, add up your earnings for a year and divide this number by 12.

You can enter your income into the tool

Enter your spending

Add in how much you spend on bills and services, transport, groceries and shopping. For some categories, you have the option to enter the details of particular purchases for each category, for example how much you spend on home insurance or fitness. You can select your own time period for spending: monthly, fortnightly or weekly.

If you’re a Starling customer, you could use the Spending section of the app to choose a date range, (for example, last month) and go through your spending for particular categories. You can view individual transactions by tapping on a category. For example, tapping on ‘Groceries’ would bring up a list of transactions made at various supermarkets or local food shops.

The don’t forgets…

Once you’ve entered how much you spend in each category, add any additional items you want to include in your budget, for example, what you need to set aside for tax if you’re self-employed.

The results

Our Budget Planner crunches the numbers for you and brings up a personalised summary of money in, money out and any remaining balance. We won’t store any of these details or share them with anyone else.

The results page shows where you are spending

If you’re within budget (you’re earning more than you spend), we’ll provide a simple tool to help you save towards a financial goal, such as a family trip or rainy day fund. You can enter your target amount, how much you’d like to save each month and we’ll work out a target date for reaching your savings goal.

If you’re over budget (you’re spending more than money coming in) we’ll outline further money management resources, provided by government-approved services such as MoneyHelper.

Whatever your results, we’ll spotlight a few features of the Starling app that can help you budget. For example, with Saving Spaces you can keep savings or money for bills separate from your main balance. You can also use Bills Manager to set up direct debits and pay your rent or council tax straight from a Space. That way, you can set funds aside for essential expenses or savings goals on payday, so you don’t accidentally dip into them.

To help you better understand your finances, we’ve collected a range of budgeting articles under the ‘Cost of living’ section of the Starling blog. If you’re struggling, you may also find it helpful to share any money worries or goals with a trusted friend or family member – talking about money can be a key step in making a plan to take control of your finances.

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