Tips to help cope with money worries - in partnership with StepChange Debt Charity
If you’re struggling to manage your money and worried about what to do next, you’re not alone.
Thinking about how to resolve your situation can be overwhelming, so here are some tips from StepChange Debt Charity on keeping worries and doubts at bay, and taking control of your finances.
1. Make a budget you can stick to
Creating a budget is one of the first steps towards taking control. It helps you see exactly where your money is going, so you can make sure everything you need to pay – like bills and repayments – are covered.
If you’ve got a fluctuating income, budgets also help you work out what your average take home pay is each month, then you can work out what your essential living costs are.
Use a free online budget planner to enter how much you earn and what you spend. The calculator will then work out a breakdown of your finances for you.
Budgets are also handy for spotting where you can make any extra savings.
2. See where you can cut costs to save money
Have a look at your essential living costs and see if there are any savings you can make. For example, can you save money on food by changing where you shop? Or can you reduce your TV and Internet costs?
Even if you're already on a tight budget, there are many ways to reduce your spending and find cheaper alternatives to make managing cash that bit easier.
3. Look at increasing your income
If you're able to work, keep looking for opportunities that could increase your hours or be a second job. You could also:
- Check you're claiming all the benefits you're entitled to
- Rent your spare room to a lodger
- Sell any unwanted items online
- Take on a part time job
- Switch energy or credit card providers
4. Build an emergency fund
Sooner or later, an unexpected expense crops up. That's why an emergency fund is so important. Even a small amount each month will add up to a fund that could be a massive help should you need it in the future.
Use the budget you created to work out how much you can comfortably put away each month, and set up a savings account to make sure you only use the money in a true emergency. Have a look at trusted cashback websites to earn money back from online purchases you usually make. You might as well save the money you get back in your emergency fund!
You could also save your spare coppers from the weekly food shop in a trusty piggy bank. It's an old-fashioned way of saving the pennies, but it works.
5. Don’t let your money doubts spiral
If you find you're still struggling with money worries, it helps to get some support. Most people wait for a year before contacting experts for debt advice, and many wish they'd done this sooner.
There's also a 60-second debt test you can do to quickly assess your situation and find out what to do next.
Whatever your situation, there's help at hand to ease your money worries and give you a plan for the future.