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One Street, One Goal: budgeting

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 17:07 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

How much did you spend on food this week? Going out with friends? Any ideas? Probably not.

In fact, almost 40% of us don't keep a regular check on our finances which can lead to problems down the line, as Rhodri's been finding out on Heol Y Cyw High Street.

We asked households here whether they set a weekly budget. Only a fifth said they did. And most said they'd never set one.

Natalie and Gareth Williams find that making ends meet is a battle every single month. Gareth works as a home insulator, but his hours are unpredictable and the wage isn't great.

At the moment though saving isn't an option. Earlier this year Gareth needed an operation and was off sick for three months, and the couple's income dropped from £1,000 to just £400 a month. As a result they gave in to temptation and began using credit cards. Natalie's now training as a driving instructor and hoping it'll help to clear the debt.

It's a tough situation, but we're determined to put the Williams family back in the driving seat when it comes to their money.

calculator

Sue Clay is a spending-savvy mum who works in the finance industry and helps run Debt Divas, an advice website for people with money worries.

She's spent hours analysing Natalie and Gareth's finances, before meeting them. She advises them to draw up a budget and keep a cash diary. That way they can keep a close eye on what they are spending, and then try and identify areas in that budget where they can make those cutbacks

Over the next few days the couple put Sue's advice into action, writing down everything they spend and seeing what they can change in their budget - such as the washing machine insurance and other monthly outgoings.

Can they make the cuts needed to put themselves on the road to financial recovery?

If you want to to draw up your own budget, you can use Sue's budget planner, downloadable here: pdf version or Excel version.

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