Check If You Qualify

How do I calculate my monthly living expenses?

Sharon McDougall - Updated - 30th April 2024 - 5 minutes to read

If you’ve entered into a Scottish trust deed or any other personal insolvency procedure, and are worried about how you’re going to manage the bills, making a budget is one of the most important steps to take. In fact devising a workable budget is a useful exercise for anyone whether they are dealing with debt or not. It is only by knowing where your money is going every month that you can highlight areas where savings can be made.

Although creating a budget takes a little time and effort, once done it will make your finances much easier to manage, and can literally transform your outlook on life during this stressful time.

So let us help you build a budget that keeps you in control, ensures sure you have enough money for life’s essentials, and prevents you sliding into further debt.

A detailed budget is the key

The first step in making a budget is to collect together all your household bills for the past year, as well as bank statements and receipts for your living expenses. We have also included the amounts set by Insolvency Practitioners/Trustees when creating a budget for trust deed clients. For those entering into a trust deed, these are the maximum limits allowed per category; if you are not in a trust deed then you are obviously not bound by these limits, although it may be useful to use these as a rough indication of what you should be spending in each category.

Scotland Debt Calculator

Get a rough indication of what your repayments might be under each of our different debt solutions.

Your Total Debt

£0 - £5,000

£5,000 - £10,000

£10,000 - £20,000


Your Employment Status

I am employed

I am self-employed

I am unemployed

I am a student

I am retired

Your Total Monthly Income

£0 - £1,000

£1,000 - £2,000

£2,000 - £3,000


What can you pay monthly towards your debt?

£0 - £100

£100 - £200

£200 - £300


Here’s what you’ll need to include in your budget:

Mortgage/rent payments

Multiply a weekly rent by 4.33 to arrive at the figure you’ll need to include in your monthly budget.

Electricity and gas

Energy costs can be difficult to calculate as they vary over the months, so the best way to approach this is to work out how much you’ve spent on energy in the past year. You can then divide this figure by twelve to reach your average monthly payment.


Water bills can be paid monthly, half-yearly (divide your bill by six) or once a year (divide it by 12).

Council tax

Payment options for council tax are generally once a year, or over 10 or 12 equal instalments from April to January. While paying over 10 instalments and having two payment free months a year is tempting, spreading the cost over a full calendar year could ease your cash flow and make budgeting easier.

Home insurance

All mortgage lenders require buildings insurance, but it’s also important to have contents insurance in the event of a fire, or burglary for example even if you are in rented premises.

Landline, mobile and internet provider

The general limits set by insolvency practitioners for the purposes of a formal insolvency agreement are:


This category includes the cost of food, as well as cleaning products and toiletries. Insolvency practitioners use the following figures to determine a realistic budget for a client:

These figures may seem much lower than you are used to, but there are a multitude of ways you can cut down on your grocery bill. Creating a meal plan for the week before you head out to do your food shop can ensure you are not buying food you will not eat; also cooking in bulk and freezing the leftovers can not only save you money but can also be a great time-saver after a busy day.

Meals at work and school

In addition to the above, you will also need to budget for meals eaten at work or during school hours. Recommended figures are £36 for each adult and £35 per child per month.

Clothing and footwear

When devising a budget for a potential trust deed, clothing and footwear are considered luxury items, and therefore a low monthly amount is allowed. Current figures are:

These figures do not give much leeway for buying much more than the bare essentials. You can make your money go further by scouring second-hand or charity shops, looking online particularly places like eBay for quality used clothing, or seeing what budget retailers have to offer.

Travel and transport

If you travel by public transport to work, multiply your daily cost by the number of days you travel during the month. Car owners will need to factor in a range of costs, including:

Travel to school by public transport can also be included. To arrive at an accurate monthly figure, take the daily cost and multiply by five, multiply this figure by 38 (the number of weeks in an academic year), and then divide by twelve to reach your monthly budget figure.


Insolvency practitioners will generally no allow the combined cost for food and pet insurance to exceed £23 per month, although you may be able to negotiate a higher figure if you have more than one pet.

Childcare and child maintenance payments

Paying weekly for childcare or child maintenance means you need to multiply the figure by 4.33 to reach an accurate monthly amount.

Rental of white goods/TV

Budget according to the figure on your contract.


The limit for prescriptions equates to one prescription per month, and for dental and optical treatment it is:

Home maintenance and repairs

This should cover the cost of emergency plumbing, for example, or servicing/maintenance of your boiler:


A very small budget is allowable for entertainment/hobbies:

Contingency for emergencies

A pot for minor emergencies and unexpected costs such as having to take a taxi rather than the bus, should also be included in your budget.


Miscellaneous items could include buying a newspaper, or the cost of laundry/dry cleaning. Limits are set at:

For more help in developing your budget, call one of the team at Scotland Debt Solutions. We work to help Scottish residents escape debt, and have five offices around the country.

facebook colour icon twitter colour icon linkedin colour icon messenger colour icon whatsapp colour icon email colour icon
Sharon McDougall Square

Sharon McDougall


Other Articles

Can I borrow money whilst I’m in a Trust Deed? Can I Borrow Money

Can I borrow money whilst I’m in a Trust Deed?

Borrowing money when you’re already deeply in debt requires careful consideration, and consultation with your trustee, as there are various factors associated with further borrowing in this situatio...

Your guide to getting a mortgage after a Trust Deed Guide to get a mortgage

Your guide to getting a mortgage after a Trust Deed

If you’re about to be discharged from a Trust Deed, you may be wondering to what extent your ability to obtain a mortgage has been affected.

What is an inhibition court order in Scotland? Court Order

What is an inhibition court order in Scotland?

If you’ve lost your job, state benefits and tax credits can provide vital financial support to see you through this tough time and help you avoid taking on too much debt while you look for more work...


Why Choose Us

Usp Discussion

Speak Direct With

A Qualified Adviser


We Don't Operate

Call Centres

Usp Location

5 Offices in Scotland

National Coverage

Usp House

Ask us About

Home Visits

Usp Award

Fully Regulated Advisors

From a Reputable Firm

Usp Hand Heart

Helping Scots Get

Out of Debt Since 1989

We'll give you a call

Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.

Here at Scotland Debt Solutions we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to contact you with regards to your enquiry. We will not use your information for marketing purposes. See our Privacy Policy.


Useful Tools

Personalised Debt Report
Usp Planner

Personalised Debt Report

Our personalised debt report will help you better understand your financial position and see where your money is going.

Debt Report
Instant Scheduled Call & WhatsApp

Instant Scheduled Call & WhatsApp

Arrange a call with an expert advisor at a time to suit you or contact our team via WhatsApp for immediate help and advice.

Arrange Callback
Find a Local Office
Usp Signpost

Find a Local Office

We have five offices located across Scotland. Find your nearest one here.

Find an Office


We can help you with...



Sequestration is the Scottish version of bankruptcy and may be suitable for you if you do not have the money to pay back your debts

Find out More
Trust Deeds in Scotland

Trust Deeds in Scotland

A Trust Deed involves making a monthly contribution to your debts for up to four years. After this time any remaining debt included in the Trust Deed will not need to be paid.

Find out More
Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) lets you pay off your debt through a series of manageable instalments over a reasonable length of time.

Find out More
Business Debts
Icon Briefcase

Business Debts

Whether you are a sole trader or a limited company director, we can help you work through your current financial problems including money owed to HMRC

Business Debts

Our Insolvency Practitioners are regulated by ICAS or the IPA and our firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Fees and Information: There are fees associated with our services. These will be fully explained before entering into any of the personal debt solutions referred to on this website. Full details of our fees and how these are charged are fully explained to you prior to you committing to any particular service.

ICAS Insolvency Practitioners