Managing your household budget on separation

Money Advice Service

Separating from your ex-partner means you will have to make some big changes to the way you manage your household and other finances. It’s often much more expensive for each of you to live on your own than to live together. But there are ways you can save money and reduce costs.

Struggling with problem debt after a separation? Learn more about what help is available to you with our guide.

Why a budget can help

After you separate, drawing up a budget should be your starting point to reviewing your spending.

A budget is simply a record of how much money you have coming in and what is going out each month.

Once you’ve completed your budget, you should have a clearer idea of what you have to live on.

Use our Budget planner to get a sense of your new situation.

Cutting back on your spending

See if you can make any cut-backs from your day-to-day spending. Even a few pounds saved here and there will add up.

Use our Quick cash finder to find out where you can save.

You can also spend less by getting a better deal on things like your shopping.

Find out how in our guide Smarter shopping – tips and tricks to save money.

Saving money on your bills

If you haven’t ever switched your gas or electricity supplier or you haven’t switched for a while, it’s definitely worth doing as it could save you money.

You can also consider switching if, for example, you want a fixed-price tariff.

That way you will know the price you pay for your gas and electricity each month or quarter.

If you have broadband at home, and you have a landline or mobile phone, you might be able to Switch or get a better deal from your existing provider.

Travelling for less

Travelling costs, such as your train ticket to work or the cost of running your car, can make a big dent in your budget.

You might be able to save money on petrol costs, car insurance or train tickets.

Paying less Council Tax or Rates

In England, Wales or Scotland, if your partner moves out and you’re the only adult living in the property, you can claim a 25% discount on your Council Tax bill if you’re the only adult.

You can also claim the discount if an adult lives with you who is a full-time student, a live-in carer or someone with a severe mental disability

If you are on a low income, you might also be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax. You’ll have to apply to your local council.

Find out more about Council Tax reduction on the GOV.UK website.

In Northern Ireland, depending on your income and circumstances, you might be able to claim ‘rates Housing Benefit’ or ‘Rate Relief’.

Read more about this on the nidirect website.

Emergency savings

Even though money might be tight after a separation, it is worth considering putting away some money every week/month as emergency savings. That way if, for example, your boiler or washing machine broke down, you’d be covered.

Learn how to build up savings and how much you’ll need in our Emergency savings guide.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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