Next, work out how much money you have coming in from work, benefits and anywhere else.
Now compare the two! If you’ve got more money going out than coming in, you’ll need to make some adjustments. The Money Matters Team can help you identify ways to cut costs.
Remember it’s never too late to save
Saving a little each week, or setting aside some money for a rainy day, can help you plan for the future and cope better with any unexpected bills and expenses.
Using a budget planner can help you make small changes to your spending that will allow you to save. Even if it’s less than a pound a week, every little helps.
Getting emergency borrowing right
Sometimes borrowing money is the only option. But just because it’s an emergency, doesn’t mean you don’t have options.
Three things to consider:
How high is the interest rate?
How long will you be paying it back?
Can you afford the minimum repayments?
Interest rates can vary dramatically with banks sometimes charging 10% and some payday lenders charging as much as 5853%.
In certain circumstances, you might be able to get an interest-free government loan to help make ends meet. Find out more about Budgeting Loans and get an application form on the gov.uk website.
Avoid borrowing from someone who could be a loan shark at all costs. The England Illegal Money Lending Team gives advice on how to spot, report, and deal with loan sharks; visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk.
Debt getting on top of you?
Our Money Matters Team can help you to understand your rights and responsibilities and those of your creditors. We’ll also help you weigh up your options in relation to dealing with debt. Our debt advice service is free and impartial.
Your adviser will:
Explore with you the ins and outs of any debt you have and give advice for managing that debt
Look for ways to increase your income and reduce your outgoings by completing a benefit check and a financial statement
Look at different debt solution options with you - Signpost or refer you to a trusted free and confidential service that can administer a payment arrangement or insolvency solution for you. Please note this may affect your credit rating. Any service we refer you to will be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, except in the case of Local Authority debt advice services which do not require this.
Act on your behalf if necessary, in relation to the following payments and debts: rent, council tax, gas and electricity, water rates and benefit overpayments.
Although we can offer advice and information on non-priority debts, we cannot hold money for you, distribute funds, or negotiate and monitor repayments and offer acceptances with or from multiple non-priority creditors. We do not act as Debt Relief Order intermediaries or assist with bankruptcy applications, IVAs, or other insolvency options. We do not help with business debt. If you require a service we do not provide, we will advise you on alternative advice options and can make referrals with your consent.
We can carry out casework for you but cannot represent you in court. The debt advice we give includes personal debts and we cannot advise on business debts. If following our initial interview, or if at any point in your case we feel that we cannot meet your needs, we’ll help you find an alternative service. This might happen if you need support, or if you require the help of a debt relief order (DRO) intermediary.
Financial Conduct Authority and Complaints
Our debt advice service is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) FRN 775843. If you aren’t happy with our service, please call us on 0808 164 0111 and we’ll register your complaint.
If you aren’t happy with our final response you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Further information can be found here.