What is an ‘essential’ expense?

When you’re trying to sort out your spending, it’s really important to work out what an ‘essential’ expense is, as opposed to an ‘optional’, ‘nice to have’ or ‘luxury’ expense. In this post I’m going to talk about essential expenses only, and I’m going to be very strict!

Realistically, to have any kind of a decent life you need to be able to spend money on more than just the essentials. However, by starting with these, you will have a good understanding of what you have left over so that you can enjoy your life.


Naturally, your rent or mortgage is the most important expense. If you don’t pay your rent, you could end up accruing arrears and potentially being evicted. If you don’t pay a mortgage, you are at the additional risk of losing your home and all the money you’ve already paid towards it.


It goes without saying that food is an absolute essential, so you must make space for it in your budget. You can’t get very far without food! The good news is that to an extent you can adjust your food budget according to what you have. Buy cheap brands from the supermarket, try going at the end of the day to obtain yellow-sticker items, and look up budget recipes from the likes of Jack Monroe to make your money go further.

Council Tax

It’s super important to keep on top of your council tax – if you accrue arrears on this, councils can be very quick to take you to court, and this can further increase your debt.

Utility Bills

After council tax, make sure to keep on top of your utility bills – things like gas, electric and water. Getting your electricity cut off can be really unpleasant and communicating with utility companies can be difficult and stressful.

So there you have it – the four absolute essentials when it comes to budgeting. If you are experiencing difficulties, please don’t despair – contact someone like Citizens Advice for help.

Add a Comment