Negative Budgets Survey

Citizens Advice is doing some work to understand people’s experiences of financial difficulty. Many people we help regularly end the week or month without enough money to cover essential costs such as their rent, mortgage, household bills, food costs, care costs, or debt repayments.

When people have £0 or less after paying for those costs, it is called a negative budget.

We want to understand how many people this affects and the impact of having a negative budget. We’re especially interested in gathering responses from people who have got debt or are looking for debt or money advice.

There are no right or wrong answers to the questions below, we are keen to hear about your experiences and just ask that you respond to the best of your knowledge.

Privacy Note

In the survey we will ask for your contact details if you are happy to be contacted about participating in further research through a short interview. People who participate in an interview will receive a £30 voucher. You will not receive a voucher for completing this survey.

We will use the feedback in this survey to build an understanding of the financial challenges people face and to collect consent to be contacted in the future.

We are unable to give advice through this survey or in the interview, but you can seek help from our website ( which will also explain how to contact your local Citizens Advice office.

In the survey we ask for the information we need to tell your story or inform our research. This might include information about: your situation and how it affects you, your name and contact details - so we can keep in touch with you, and information like your ethnicity, employment status or age. This information is collected in order to inform whether particular groups are experiencing different problems or are being unfairly affected. If you don't want to give us some personal details, you don't have to.

All responses to the interviews are anonymous and confidential. Any use of information from the survey or interview in reports and other outputs will have identifying details removed and changed. All the data we collect is stored securely on our internal systems, and will be stored for up to 5 years, but will be deleted when it is no longer needed. You can withdraw your permission for us to store your personal information at any time - known legally as withdrawing consent. Tell us what personal information you don't want us to store and we'll delete it. Please see our Privacy policy for further information (

If you have any questions about how your information is collected or used, please contact Jasmin Matin - Senior Policy Researcher at or on 03000 231785
1. After covering your essential costs, e.g. rent or mortgage, essential food, council tax, household bills, childcare how much money does your household tend to have left at the end of a normal month? *
2. After covering your essential costs e.g. rent or mortgage, essential food, council tax, household bills, childcare, are you left with money to cover your credit commitments e.g credit card, personal loan, catalogue repayments etc. *
3. In the last 12 months (i.e. since November 2018), has your financial situation resulted in any of the following? Please select all that apply *
4. If you said that you are unable to cover essential costs or have £0 left over after essentials in a normal month in Q1, what would you say are the main reasons for having little disposable income within the last 12 months (i.e. since November 2018)? Please select all that apply. *
5. Please continue to think about the last year (i.e. since November 2018). Which, if any of the following have you/an adult in your household done in order to meet essential costs (e.g. food, rent, utility bills, council tax etc.)? Please select all that apply. *
6. We may wish to hear more about the experiences you have shared with us. If you would be happy for us to contact you, please provide your contact details (email address and/or telephone number).
Your answer
7. Which of the following age brackets do you fall into?
8. What is your ethnic group? Choose one option that best describes your ethnic group or background
9. Which of these applies to you?
10. Which of the following best describes your main home?
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