Dealing with debt does not have to be done alone. There are many ways that we can help you to get the most out of your income and get you on your way into coming out of the red. The following pages are designed to provide you with basic tips and tools on how to manage your money better and include some practical advice on keeping a budget and where you can go for extra help.
Feeling on top of your finances starts here…
1. Keep a record of what you spend. Be clear about where you money is going and how much you spend. A simple budgeting plan will help you to keep track of your spending.
2. Work out and list your monthly/weekly income and spending. Don’t forget to include the things that you only pay for once a year like your car insurance and TV licence. You can see if there are some things that you are able to cut back on by making a list.
3. Organise your list of spending. Some expenses are more important than others. You need to work out which expenses are more important and need immediate attention. Don’t forget other expenses like store cards, credit cards and catalogues.
4. Make sure you speak with your creditors. (Creditors are the people and companies that you owe money to). If you are unable to pay your bills on time speaking with your creditors and explaining your financial difficulties can allow you to make a payment agreement to pay off what you owe, when you can.
5. Be realistic about what you can afford. Work out how much you can afford to spend and stick to it.
6. Use your bank account wisely. Standing orders and direct debits can help you work out exactly what you are spending and when. You have much better control of what money is going out of your bank account.
7. Try and save. Once you have worked out your essential spending see if you can start to save small amounts of money. You can save for those things that you thought were once out of your reach. You could set up a standing order to a savings account. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your savings can grow.
8. If you can’t pay for goods straight away, don’t take out credit. Although it may seem like a good deal at the time in the long run it will usually end up being much more expensive. Interest rates on credit loans are generally higher than a loan from the bank.
9. Spend time shopping around before borrowing. See what is on offer and get advice. You should avoid door stop lending at all costs. This type of lending will lead you to paying a lot more money back than the original loan if you borrow money without thinking it through.
10. Don’t rush into buying something just because you want it today. Shop around and compare prices especially for the more expensive items. Impulse buying might make you feel good for a few minutes but usually leads to buying items that you really don’t need.
11. Check to see if you can save money on your bills. It pays to shop around for your energy suppliers and to make sure you are getting the best value for your money. If you have low income you might qualify for cheaper tariffs, called social tariffs. Check with your utility companies if you qualify.
12. Get free advice. We offer welfare and benefits advice in our London office. Find out more about the welfare benefits officer here >> (insert link) There are also many organisations that offer free and independent money advice.
Keep a record of what you spend – budgeting made easy!