whether we’re trying to get a handle on our expenses, work out ways to save money or simply make the most of the money we’ve got coming in, it can be tricky trying to do it on our own. we’ve put together a list of free online tools and resources to help you get a grip on your money. moneyhelper is a free service provided by the money and pensions service, who in turn are sponsored by the department for work & pensions. you can pay your rent, set up or amend a direct debit, check your balance and order a rent statement here on our website. head over to your rent to get started! it’s a good idea to compare how much you spend on things like energy, your mobile phone, internet or insurance a month or so before your current contract is due to run out. this is because if you find a good price on the comparison website, you can usually save it for a month before you sign on the dotted line.
the first step is to work out exactly how much you owe, after which you can start to put a plan together. you’ll need to speak to an accredited adviser to get started, and once you’ve done that you can find out if you qualify and apply for ‘standard’ or ‘mental health’ breathing space, giving you the time, you need to get a repayment plan in motion. our money management page has lots of ideas for how you can make the most of your money, plus links to other websites where you can find trustworthy, accurate and reliable resources. you can find out if you’re eligible for benefits, learn about the benefits cap, and let them know if your circumstances have changed. there’s no doubt how much will come out of your account, no surprises, and it means you won’t have to remember to make a payment each time it’s due – that means you’re less likely to fall into debt. it’s very unlikely that the state pension will provide you with enough money to have a similar lifestyle as you do now, so putting some away each month ready for when you retire is a really wise decision. if you’re in work, you’ll likely be contributing to a pension already, and your employer is likely to be putting some money into your pot too, so you can always ask them for details on how to find out how much you’ve already saved. we won’t judge you or your circumstances – we’re here to help you in any way we can.
it can be difficult to avoid debt if the money coming in is less than what is going out. making some small changes to your lifestyle and shopping around for better deals can help you stay out of debt and even start to save. write in a notebook every time you spend money. if you have a computer, you could put this information into a spreadsheet. download a budgeting app to your smartphone or ask your bank if they have a budget planner for online customers. these are rent or mortgage and heating, plus the bills you have to pay by law like council tax. if you’re claiming housing benefit or universal credit, a discretionary housing payment is available for help with housing costs. buy a flask for tea and coffee and make your own packed lunches. buying your groceries online will save you the price of a taxi or bus to the supermarket. if you use the same supermarket to shop online, you can save your shopping list so it will not take so long to order the next time. if you have milk or newspapers delivered separately, you might want to get these as part of your online grocery shop to save on delivery costs.
if you have a computer and access to the internet, it’s easier to find deals that can save you money. or you could ask a friend or family member to help. look for a card that allows you to pay the bill over a longer time and without interest. consider switching to a new card once any promotional period is over. price comparison sites can help you find the best deals. you could get into debt if you do not pay your bill on time and in full. go through your statements or ask your bank or check online for a list of your direct debits. christmas, birthdays and socialising can be hard if you’re trying to save money. warm home discount (whd), cold weather payments and winter fuel payments can help you with the cost of your gas and electricity bills. does anyone know the eligibility for a budgeting advance? however, the one are where i seem to struggle is finance management & budgeting.
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