Top tips to help you with managing your finances
Here are our top ten tips to help you manage your money and budget for your essential bills.
Know your budget, see where your money is going and keep on track with your spending. Don’t estimate your figures, check what you are actually spending against your bank statements and receipts. For free debt advice, go to: National Debtline
2. Bank statements
Review your bank statements at least once a month, you may not realise that you are paying direct debits, recurring payments or deals and subscriptions that have ended or have increased in price due the special offer ending.
3. Maximise your Income
Are you eligible for benefits? Take 10 minutes to complete the benefit calculator. Benefits Calculator - entitledto - independent | accurate | reliable to find out.
Also, check if you are eligible for Council Tax discounts? Apply for a council tax discount, (www.gov.uk)
You may be eligible for financial help through grants. Local authorities have a range of grants schemes, check out their website for financial support. Turn2us provides a free and easy-to-use Grants search tool to check out what you may be able to claim. Search for charitable and educational grants at Turn2us
5. Regular bills - spread payments over 12 months
Payment of some bills like council tax and water are usually paid in instalments of 10 and eight months. Contact your local council and water supplier and request your bill is spread over 12 months.
6. Know your energy costs
Submit a meter reading once a month to keep track of how much you are spending on energy. Some suppliers like British Gas are proactive at sending customers text reminders to submit a meter reading and provide a simple way to submit the meter reading by text message.
Pay by direct debit as you’re likely to get cheaper energy deals and, see if your energy company can provide you with a cheaper tariff. You may be eligible for Cold Weather Payments, Warm Home Discount. If you are in debt, check if your energy supplier offers grants, You'll find more information with Turn2us and Citizens Advice
Are you paying more for your energy because of poor insulation, visit the Green Doctors London for advice.
7. Water bills
It may be cheaper for your household to switch to a water meter, use Consumer Council for Waters calculator Water Meter Calculator | CCW (ccwater.org.uk)to find out if it’s worth switching. If you are struggling to pay your water bill, don’t delay, contact your water supplier. They may have special schemes to help clear debt including the Watersure scheme WaterSure scheme – help with paying water bills - Citizens Advice. Water companies cannot lawfully disconnect or restrict the supply of water for domestic customers.
Plan ahead, make a shopping list to avoid buying things that you really don’t need. Are the bulk buy deals and specials offers really as good as they seem? Are the big brands really superior to the supermarket ranges? The price differences can be large. Don’t forget the supermarket loyalty cards and discounts can make a difference too.
Loyalty does not always pay; shop around each year for the best contents and vehicle insurance offers. Remember the comparison websites don’t always have the best deals, check out individual companies’ websites too.
10. Broadband and Media Packages
Access to the internet is no longer seen as a luxury, it’s a necessity. The big media companies are vying for our business. When your current contract is due to expire speak to your supplier to see if you can get a cheaper deal, or speak to other suppliers and compare.
Finally, if you are in debt, don’t delay with getting help. We all need a helping hand from time to time. If you are struggling to pay your rent and other essential household bills, speak to our Financial Resilience team
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