Budgeting and looking at spending can be daunting if you have a low income or spend a large amount of money each month. While it can be tough to put in a budget at this stage, organising your spending, and understanding how to reduce bills and spending can help in the long run. Take it one step at a time, remember we’re here for you if you need us.
We’ve gathered some useful advice and tips for you to consider when looking at your budgeting plans.
To make sure you get the support you need, we have partnered with Payplan who offer free, simple debt advice to anyone who needs it. By working together, we can make a plan that works for you.
With cost of living on the rise, we’re all feeling the pinch. Whether you’ve cut your gym membership, or are making meals last longer, many of us are changing how we live every day.
We have put together some useful information and resources to help you feel more in control of your money
Even though energy prices have fallen, the fact remains that many of us are still paying more on for our energy.
If you are worried about getting on top of your energy bills, then speak to your supplier as soon as possible. If they know there is a problem, they can help make a plan to support you.
This could include setting up a realistic payment plan to help manage how much you are spending on bills, without leaving you with less for essentials.
More support for managing your energy bills
Find out more
The Household Support Fund is designed to help those households who may need extra support because of the rising cost of living.
The Household Support Fund is money allocated by local authorities which can support you with hardship grants, housing costs and other cost of living support. See what your local authority can support you with here:
Funding is available up to March 2024 and possibly longer.
To find out what help is available in your area, contact your local council. You can normally find their contact details on any letters you get from them.
You can get further support through our Better Days Programme. In some circumstances we may also be able to support eligible customers with an energy or food voucher, speak to one of the team for more information.
Want to be the boss of your money? Well, the secret weapon is having and sticking to a budget. Let's dive into the What, Why, and How of budgeting—your guide to becoming a budget professional.
Put simply, a budget helps you keep track of what’s coming into – and what’s going out of – your bank accounts. With prices rising and bigger household bills, now could be a good time to take a fresh look at your personal spending.
With the cost of living going up, many of us are having to keep a close eye on our spending. Luckily, there's help available. There's support for those earning but still struggling with rising costs, plus you can get help if you've got children, caring responsibilities, or a long-term health condition. it's always worth a quick check to see if you are eligible for any financial support.
Work and progression
Check the National Minimum Wage calculator on GOV.UK to see if you’re being paid the correct amount for the work that you do. You can also check if your employer owes you money.
If you’re not being paid the right amount, start by having a chat with your employer. It could be that they have made a genuine mistake and if that’s the case, they should agree to pay what you’re owed.
If you’re not being paid minimum wage, visit the Government's Check Your Pay site for advice on what to do next.
For those on a salary, consider using an online salary calculator. A quick check can help you determine whether you're being paid fairly for your role. These calculators provide information that is specific to your position in your industry based on your years of experience and relevant education levels.
What are you entitled to
Use an online benefit calculator or check with your local benefits adviser as to what benefits you are eligible for. Please note these calculators are guides and the actual amounts you receive might vary.
How do you apply?
Citizens Advice have useful guides around eligibility and how to apply for benefits. For more information, visit Citizens Advice.
Sell unwanted items on sites like eBay/Facebook market place or car boot sales. Find out more here.
Cutting back can be hard to do. Especially when you see that there is a sale on in your favourite supermarket or your local coffee shop are offering an extra treat if you buy their latest festive drink. Those small, ‘spur of the moment’ purchases can all add up, meaning less to spend on your essentials.
Below are some tips to help you spend less.
We've all been there – strolling through the supermarket, and suddenly, the aroma of fresh-baked bread hits you, or those tempting snacks by the checkout catch your eye. It's like the supermarket is playing tricks on us, making everything look and smell too good to resist. But being aware of these sneaky tactics can help us stick to our game plan, dodge those unplanned purchases, and maybe make healthier choices.
How to beat the supermarket tricks:
If adding optional cover will bring you peace of mind, and you can afford to pay for it, then it’s worth thinking about it.
However, before you buy any add-ons, check you haven’t already got the cover elsewhere.
For example, your bank account could include car breakdown cover as a perk. Lost key cover could be included with your home insurance. If you have life insurance or critical illness cover, this could mean you may not need to opt for personal accident cover. Your employer may also cover some of these extras.
Been with your current provider for a while now? You might want to look at what else is out there as you’re probably no longer getting the best deal on your TV, broadband and phone.
If you're struggling with debt, you're not alone. However, it's never too early or too late to ask for help. Take the first steps to regain control of your finances with some of our tips below.
Write down how much and to who you owe money to. This will help give you an overall picture of your situation so you can take the next steps in dealing with it.
Go through your list of debts and categorise them into ‘priority’ and ‘non-priority’. You can find more information in our Cost of living toolkit.
If you’re struggling to pay your debts, just speak with us or you can always reach out for help and support from a debt advice organisation. Working with an organisation such as PayPlan, could give you a plan on how to tackle the debt and make life easier to manage.
Most lenders can put you on a payment plan or put your interest on hold if you explain what’s going on - just make sure you contact them as soon as you’re missing payments or if your financial circumstances change. Ignoring your lender can often make the situation worse.
Cut down on your debt costs and interest rates by combining all your debts into one or two places. It's an easier way to manage your payments as you are only paying one lump sum each month, rather than multiple payments to different lenders across the month. paying off one or two amounts instead of a bunch of different ones.
Making a budget can really help, especially if your debt is due to overspending on things you may not need.
There may be a time that you need to borrow a little extra cash to see you through to the end of the month, however, consider these few points before you look at borrowing options:
Ask yourself, “Do I need this item? Is this urgent or can it wait until next month?” Perhaps you could consider buying the item second hand from online sites or a second-hand shop.
Look at your budget and decide if there is extra room for unexpected costs. Consider what you would do if your rent/mortgage might increase, bills go up or you received an unexpected pay cut.
If you have considered the above and still feel you need to borrow money, then make a solid plan before you do.
Go through some details about your current situation to make sure you are in the best place to be able to pay the money back when you are back on your feet.
We understand it can be quite confusing when it comes to figuring out which borrowing option is right for you and your situation. Check out this handy guide from the Citizens Advice Bureau which explains all there is to know when looking to borrow money.
Before considering mainstream lenders such as banks, talk to family and friends. They may have a way of helping out and this way, you won’t have to pay extra fees such as interest rates (interest is the price you pay to borrow money) on top of the amount you want to borrow.
Loan sharks are illegal lenders who will often target people who need to borrow money and can’t do so legally. Loan sharks are not authorised or regulated and they may charge high-interest rates and use threats and intimidation towards anyone who borrows from them.
While it’s illegal to lend money without authorisation, it’s not illegal to borrow from a loan shark. So, if you have borrowed from a loan shark, you don’t need to worry that you will get in trouble with the police by reporting them. If you think you have borrowed money from a loan shark, you can report them.
We can all struggle with our feelings sometimes, especially if we’re facing money problems. If you're finding it difficult to deal with money worries, it could, understandably, have a big impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
These feelings could affect us in different ways, for instance some people could experience
These feelings are normal, we’re here to help if you need us.
Our free Better Days programme offers expert advice and practical information across a wide-range of support services from mental health, financial or debt advice, to employment and digital skills. Simply click the button below to find out more. You can also call us on 0800 678 1221.
Visit our events page to find out about a variety of activities in your area from; drops-ins, jobs fairs, meet up groups, fun days, training and awareness sessions and much more!
If you need help or advice at any time, the Better Days programme is here to support you, please complete the self-referral form and a member of our orbit team will contact you.
PayPlan give free, simple debt advice to anyone who needs it. They help people to manage their debts and become debt-free through clear, honest advice. They offer and discuss the many different debt solutions available, giving a clear idea of what options there are, and how each one could help.
NEA offers personalised and expert energy advice. Offering guidance on how to use energy wisely, cut down on bills, and remain comfortable, safe, warm and well in your home.
The Welfare Benefit Service helps you determine what benefits you may be eligible for and offers advice to help you get good handle on your finances. The goal is to help you build a strong financial plan and make sure you're getting support if you need it.