Staying on top of your finances can be difficult, especially if you’ve recently switched from claiming benefits to receiving a pay packet. As bills start to mount up, it can be very tempting to stick your head in the sand and keep them hidden out of sight. However enticing this is, we all know this is not the answer.
Imagine being in control of your finances and freeing yourself from the stress and worry. It’s not as difficult as you might think and it is certainly within your power to change. However, it can be difficult taking the first step.
Before you do, it’s important to remember that you are not on your own. In fact, the amount of support and advice relating to money management has increased significantly in recent years due to the rise in the number of people affected by debt issues across the UK.
Here are some simple steps you can take to help you get back on track with your finances.
Know where your money goes
Keep in mind that small things which seem relatively inexpensive on their own all add up. If you buy a coffee and newspaper three times a week then you’ll end up paying nearly £10 each week. That is over £500 per year. By reducing the number of avoidable purchases you make, you could afford more luxuries like a holiday or a new TV.
Prioritise your bills
If you can’t afford to pay off all of your debts straight away, you might be worried about who to pay first. The most important bills are those relating to your housing and any amenities to run your household. While all bills are important, catalogues and credit cards are a lower priority and lenders will often allow you to negotiate a payment plan to reduce your monthly payments if you are struggling. The following bills should all be viewed as a priority:
- Water, Gas, Electric bills
- Child Support and Maintenance
- Payment orders that have been set up by a court of law (eg CCJ’s)
Ask Ingeus for help
- Ingeus Advisors can help you with practical solutions to improve your situation, including:
- Provide a benefit calculation, showing you what benefits you should continue to receive while working
- Advice on managing a budget
- Access to local specialist services
Quick ways to start saving now
Make a plan - keep track of your daily and monthly expenditure, so you know where your money is going.
Get the best deal - shop around for the best deal available, from internet packages to mobile phone contracts.
Be a savvy shopper - write a shopping list and stick to it. Don't fall for 'buy 2 get 1 free' deals, they’re often priced up and are cheaper on their own after the promotion has finished. Find the discount shelf instead.
You don’t need to follow all of these steps all at once. Choose a couple that seem achievable and see what difference they make to your situation after a few weeks. You might be surprised!