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Budgeting During the Cost of Living Crisis: A Guide to Financial Stability

Moneymagpie Team 16th May 2023 No Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The cost of living crisis is an economic phenomenon that affects everyone, making it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. As prices continue to rise, wages often fail to keep up, and many people are left struggling to pay their bills and maintain their current lifestyle.

 In these times, having a solid budgeting plan can make all the difference in maintaining financial stability. In this article, we’ll provide you with practical tips on how to budget effectively during the cost of living crisis. If you’re in need of further guidance or professional assistance, visit this website for more useful information.

The Importance of Budgeting

Budgeting is essential for maintaining control of your finances, particularly during a cost of living crisis. A well-crafted budget can help you:

Identify and prioritize expenses: By tracking your spending, you can identify areas where you can cut back or eliminate unnecessary costs, allowing you to focus on more important expenses.

Avoid or reduce debt:

By managing your money more effectively, you can avoid taking on additional debt or work towards paying down existing debts.

Save for emergencies and future goals:

A budget can help you set aside money for unexpected expenses or save for future goals like buying a home or planning for retirement.

Gain peace of mind:

Knowing that you have a plan for your finances can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

Step 1: Track Your Income and Expenses

The first step in creating a budget is to track your income and expenses. This includes all sources of income, such as your salary, freelance work, investments, and any government benefits you receive. Be sure to include irregular or occasional sources of income, such as bonuses or gifts.

Next, make a list of all your monthly expenses, including both fixed and variable costs. Fixed expenses are those that remain constant each month, such as rent, mortgage payments, and insurance premiums. Variable expenses can fluctuate, such as groceries, utilities, and entertainment costs.

By tracking your income and expenses, you’ll have a clear picture of your financial situation, making it easier to identify areas for improvement.

Step 2: Categorize Your Expenses

Categorizing your expenses helps you understand where your money is going and makes it easier to create a budget. Divide your expenses into categories, such as:

  • Housing (rent, mortgage, property taxes, utilities)
  • Transportation (public transit, car payments, insurance, gas)
  • Groceries and dining
  • Insurance and healthcare
  • Debt repayments (credit cards, loans)
  • Savings and investments
  • Entertainment and hobbies
  • Miscellaneous (clothing, gifts, donations)

Step 3: Set Spending Limits for Each Category

After categorizing your expenses, set a spending limit for each category based on your income and financial goals. This will help you prioritize your spending and ensure that you are living within your means.

To create a realistic budget, try using the 50/30/20 rule as a guideline:

  • 50%: Allocate 50% of your income to essential expenses, such as housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation.
  • 30%: Allocate 30% of your income to non-essential expenses, such as entertainment, hobbies, and dining out.
  • 20%: Allocate 20% of your income to savings and debt repayment.

Remember that these percentages are just a starting point, and you may need to adjust them to fit your specific situation. For example, if you have a large amount of debt, you may need to allocate a higher percentage of your income towards debt repayment.

Step 4: Monitor and Adjust Your Budget Regularly

Once you have set spending limits for each category, it’s important to monitor your budget and track your progress.

Review your spending habits at least once a month to ensure that you are staying within your budgetary limits. If you find that you are consistently overspending in a certain category, consider making adjustments to your spending habits or reallocating funds from another category to cover the excess spending.

Monitoring your budget regularly also allows you to identify any changes in your financial situation, such as a sudden increase in expenses or a change in income.

By staying on top of these changes, you can adjust your budget accordingly to maintain financial stability.

Step 5: Cut Back on Non-Essential Expenses

During a cost of living crisis, it’s important to prioritize essential expenses and reduce non-essential spending. This can help you free up funds for more important expenses, such as housing, utilities, and groceries. Some ways to cut back on non-essential spending include:

  • Reducing the frequency of dining out or ordering takeout
  • Cancelling or downgrading subscriptions, such as streaming services, magazines, or gym memberships
  • Cutting back on entertainment expenses, such as movie tickets, concerts, and vacations
  • Shopping for clothes or other items on sale or at discount stores

Step 6: Save on Essential Expenses

Even essential expenses can often be reduced with some effort. Here are a few tips to help you save on some of the most common essential expenses:

Housing: Consider refinancing your mortgage or negotiating a lower rent with your landlord.

Utilities: Implement energy-saving measures, such as using energy-efficient appliances, insulating your home, and turning off lights when not in use.

Transportation: Use public transportation, carpool, or bike to work instead of driving alone.

Groceries: Shop at discount stores, use coupons, and plan meals around sales and seasonal produce.

Step 7: Build an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is essential during a cost of living crisis, as it provides a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, car repairs, or job loss. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a separate, easily accessible account.

This will help you avoid taking on debt in case of emergencies and provide you with added financial security.

Step 8: Seek Professional Assistance

If you’re struggling to create or stick to a budget, consider seeking professional assistance. Financial advisors, credit counsellors, and debt relief specialists can help you develop a realistic budget, provide guidance on debt management, and offer additional financial resources..


Budgeting during a cost of living crisis is crucial for maintaining financial stability. By tracking your income and expenses, setting spending limits, cutting back on non-essential spending, and building an emergency fund, you can navigate these challenging times with confidence and peace of mind.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence. 


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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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