Cope with unexpected changes such as unemployment, sickness and family changes
Spot areas where you can make savings
Save for special occasions, like birthdays, Christmas, and plan for school summer holidays
Claim all the benefits you’re entitled to
You could be entitled to more benefits than you think.
If you have a health condition that means you have difficulty with daily living or getting around, you could be missing out on Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, or Disability Living Allowance for any children in your household. If you look after someone who receives these benefits, you could be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
If you’re working, you could be missing out on additional income from Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, or Universal Credit. You could get Personal Independence Payment while you work, too.
We can help you find out what benefits you may be entitled to, and help you make a claim. Contact us to speak to an advisor.
Struggling to make it to the end of the month?
No one should go hungry and if you find yourself unable put food on the table this week you may be able to recieve anemergency food parcel. TheTrussell Trustis an organisation with a network of over 1,200 foodbank centres. They can provide a 3-day minimum food parcel for those in need. You can find your local foodbank here.
You'll need a referral from someone like a doctor, health visitor, social worker or the Citizens Advice. There's lots of way you can contact the Citizens Advicehere.
How to work out a budget
Working out your budget will take a little effort, but if you get the whole family involved, it will be a lot easier to work out and stick to.
First, work out how much you spend on:
Household bills (rent, gas, electricity, council tax, internet, TV…)
Living costs (groceries, household supplies…)
Family and friends (presents, school supplies/uniform…)
Next, you should work out how much money you have coming in from work, your benefits, and other sources.
Ways to cut costs
It can be difficult to increase your household income when you regularly have more money going out than you have coming in.
Here are a few quick tips to cutting your costs:
Price comparison websites are your friend – Websites like Cheap Energy Cluband USwitchcan help you find better deals on your gas, electricity, or home phone/broadband bill
Find a contract that matches your lifestyle – Are you getting charged for going over your mobile phone’s data allowance? Call your supplier to find a better contract for you. You can also request a cap so you don’t automatically get charged
Cut the cost of your gas and electricity – Call your supplier and negotiate a better price, use a price comparison website to find alternative offers, switch to monthly Direct Debit payments to cut your costs, turn the thermostat down by just 1°C – it could cut as much as 10% off your bill
Check your council tax band – Approximately 400,000 homes are overpaying council tax. You can check and challenge your council tax banding in 10 minutes and at no cost – you might even get a rebate! Call usfor advice on how to do this
Find cheaper travel alternatives – Be on the lookout for petrol stations which offer cheaper fuel, shop around for cheaper car insurance, buy a cheaper monthly or weekly ticket if you regularly use public transport
Pay your bills on time – Late payment charges can eat in to your hard-earned savings, so try to pay all your bills on time. Set up Direct Debits for regular bills so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to pay them.
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.
Ways to save
Credit Unions are community based organisations and offer savings accounts to anyone who lives in their area. All savings are protected by free insurance, and used to provide loans to other people in your community. Northern Money can help you find details of your local credit union
Interest Savings Accounts (ISAs) offer tax free savings, so you get the best interest rate possible
Banks and Building Societies offer lots of savings accounts tailored to what you need. Because banks, building societies and credit unions pay interest, this will add even more to your savings.
If you don’t have a bank account, or you’ve had difficulty getting a bank account in the past, you may benefit from one of the new fee free basic back accounts.
The nine banks offering basic bank accounts are:
Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank
Lloyds Banking Group (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands)
Royal Bank of Scotland (including NatWest and Ulster Bank brands)
It always costs to borrow, but sometimes borrowing money is the only option. If you do find that you need to borrow, treat it like any other purchase and shop around for the best deal.
There are three important 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 are very important and can vary dramatically. A bank might charge 10% interest, while a payday lender might charge as much as 5853% interest.
If you borrowed £100 for 12 months at these interest rates you would have to pay £5 interest to the bank, or £5,753 to the pay day lender.
In certain circumstances, you might be able to get an interest-free government loan to help you makes ends meet. Find out more about Budgeting Loans and get an application form on theGOV.UK website.
Avoid Loan Sharks
Avoid borrowing from loan sharks at all costs. These unlicensed money lenders are not regulated by the Office for Fair Trading and you could end up being harassed if you get behind with your repayments. They also charge an extortionate rate of interest.