Tim Bowen offers some quality advice as he shows us how to budget.

The word budget is most commonly used as a noun but it can also function as a verb and an adjective.

Its main meaning as a noun is the amount of money a person or organization has to spend on something. Expenditure can be on budget or within budget, in which case you are spending only as much money as you have. Or it can be over budget, in which case you have spent more than you have.

A tight budget is a small amount of money, as in ‘They run the magazine on a pretty tight budget’. A budget deficit is a situation in which a country spends more money than it has available, as in ‘They plan to reduce the budget deficit by some £12 billion in the next financial year’.

In the UK, the Budget (with a capital ‘B’) is a statement about the financial position of the country given in a speech to Parliament each year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance), detailing changes to taxes and public spending.

The verb to budget means to plan the way that you will spend the money you have, especially so that you do not spend too much, as in ‘University students don’t have much money, so it is particularly important that they learn how to budget’.

Only used in prenominal position, the adjective budget means ‘very cheap’. Budget airlines and budget hotels have proliferated in recent years and it is common to see advertisements for ‘quality goods at budget prices’.