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Managing your money

Understanding your financial situation, and managing your money, can be difficult and stressful. With the current increases in the cost of living, more people are finding it hard to cope.

But there are steps you can take, and things you can do to make your financial life a little easier.

This content is intended as guidance only. You should always seek professional support if necessary. If you’re worried about money or living costs, please talk to your support worker or tutor.

You can also find lots of advice and resources on our Support Hub. Just search under ‘Finance’.

Budgeting is about checking how much money you have coming in (income) and how much you have going out (outgoings). It’s then about putting a plan together to manage your money, so you don’t have more outgoings than income.

If you find yourself getting into debt at the end of the month, or don’t always have money to pay for everyday things like food or utility bills, it’s worth creating a budget.

It will help you to see:

  • what you’re spending money on
  • where you may be spending more than you need
  • where you can save money.

Creating and sticking to a budget may help you to feel more in control of your finances. It can make it easier for you to pay bills on time and know what you have left to spend after necessary costs like rent, food, and utilities have been paid for.

Creating a budget can seem scary, especially if you’re not confident with numbers. However, it’s worth spending time to work out your income and outgoings and creating a plan.

There are lots of resources online that can help you to do this.

  • MoneyHelper has an easy to use online Budget planner. You just enter your income, like benefit payments or wages, and add outgoings like bills and other costs and it helps you to work out your budget. You can save and revisit your planner at any time.
  • Money Saving Expert has a whole section on Budget planning. This includes advice and tips plus a planner you can download as a spreadsheet or print off and fill in.
  • Citizens Advice also has a Work out your budget online too you can fill in.

Dealing with debts can be challenging, but you should try to understand and manage any debt you have. There are many reasons you may have got into debt, what’s important is that you don’t ignore it. If you do, you could find yourself in more debt.

It may seem daunting to face your debts, but there is support available.

A great place to start is Citizens Advice dealing with debt information. Money Helper also has a dealing with debt section on its website. And Money Saving Expert has a Debt problems and help available section.

If you don’t feel you can handle your debts on your own, you can get debt advice.

Money Helper has a list of organisations that provide free debt advice. You can also contact the National Debt Helpline.

Not having a bank account can make it more difficult to manage your housing and employment, or when claiming benefits.

Without a bank account you may find yourself charged more for some things. For example, some utility companies will charge you less money if you arrange to pay by Direct Debit. You can’t do this unless you have a bank account.

There are lots of different types of bank accounts available, from current accounts to savings accounts, and special accounts for students and children.

Find out How to choose the right bank account from MoneyHelper, or get information on the different Types of bank account from Citizens Advice.

You could also always visit your local bank branch and ask to speak to an advisor. Or get advice from your support worker.

There are different ways to borrow money for both the short- and long-term. This could be through an overdraft with your bank, a personal loan, a mortgage, or credit cards.

You should always think carefully before deciding to borrow money. Ask yourself if you really need to borrow in the first place.

Find out more about Borrowing money from Citizens Advice. MoneyHelper also has some useful advice on working out if you need to borrow money in the first place.

Loan sharks are illegal lenders. They often target people who need money but can’t borrow it from legal services, like banks. They are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You should avoid them.

Citizens Advice has more information about loan sharks, including how to check if a lender is authorised, and what to do if you owe money to a loan shark.