When you have a small or irregular income it can be really hard to manage your money from one day to the next.
Take a moment to get the bigger picture. Step by step, use these tips to break down what is coming in and what goes out.
Income – write down what money is coming in
Essential bills – Then list what you need to spend your money on and when it needs to be paid.
- Rent and Service Charges (fixed monthly amount)
- Council Tax
- Utilities – Gas/Electricity/Oil/Water
- Phone (vital connection to the world)
- TV Licence (illegal not to have one)
Other expenses – What else do you spend your money on once your essential bills have been paid?
Keep receipts and write down how much you spend on shopping, travel, clothes, loans, insurance and leisure.
Review where you are spending your money and see where you can make savings.
Be honest with yourself and don’t bury your head in the sand; no matter how bad you think it is.
Managing your finances and working to a budget is essential if you income is via Universal Credit.
If you have a regular ‘pay day’ or ‘benefits day’ each month, you can plan when to pay your bills. Knowing when pay day is goes a long way to working to a budget.
If you haven’t already – Set up a Bank Account so that you can view a full list of incoming and outgoing money on a monthly statement.
Once you have a bank account, you can set up Direct Debits or Standing orders.
You can spread most of these bills out over the year by Direct Debit or Standing Order. This means making payments on a regular bill, direct from your bank account, on a certain date every month (around pay day). It then helps to know how much money you have left to spend on other items.
Money Advice Service
Use theMoney Advice Service online Budget tool to calculate your monthly budget and see where you can cut back.
Their website is packed with useful links and advice:
• Talk to a free debt adviser for independent advice
• Claim benefits you are entitled to
• Keep up with your priority debts
• Take control of your spending
• Get help
• Try their simple Cut-Back Calculator to see how much you could save.