There are things you can do to help you feel more in control of your money. The tips on this page can help you get started.
Tips for organising your finances
- If you are in England or Wales visit the Mind website to make sure you are claiming any extra money or support you are entitled to.
- If you are in Scotland visit the SAMH website for further information about welfare benefits.
- If you are in Northern Ireland visit the Advice NI website for further information about welfare benefits.
- Put all your important documents in one place so you can find them easily. This could be letters, bank statements, payslips, bills and receipts.
- Check your bank balance at a regular, set time so you know what you are spending your money on and how much you have left.
- Build money tasks into your daily or weekly routine. You could allocate a set amount of regular time to think about any tasks you need to do around money, for example paying bills. You could plan a relaxing activity for after you have finished. You could start by using this money and mental health toolkit from the Mental Health and Money Advice website.
- Make a plan for ways to distract yourself, if you notice changes in your mood that might affect your spending.
- If possible, use cash instead of cards. Take out only the amount of money you can afford to spend, for example for a weekly shop.
- Create a budget. The Money Helper website has budgeting advice for people who are self-employed, on a zero-hour contract, or claiming Universal Credit.
- Make a list of all the essential things you need to spend money on every month. This could be things like rent or mortgage payments, energy bills, phone bills and food shops. The Mental Health and Money Advice website has a free budget planner, which might help.
- Manage your debts if you can afford to. You could set up a standing order to pay off your debts each month. Or you could use an online debt tool. Use one of the tools on the StepChange website.
- If you are struggling to pay off your debts, get debt advice. You might find it helpful to contact one of these debt organisations listed on the Mind website.
- If you live in England, Wales or Scotland and are struggling to pay off your debts, you could ask for a break from paying interest on your debts. Visit the StepChange website to find out more.
- Use bank accounts which allow you to put money aside in separate pots. This can stop you spending the money you need for rent or bills. Money Saving Expert has more information about different banking apps.
- Set up direct debits for your bills and other regular payments so they do not pile up. See below for information on what to do if you cannot afford to pay your bills.
If you cannot afford bills or food
If you cannot afford the things you need, help is out there. Remember, everyone has the right to essentials like food and housing. If you need support, the following things can help:
- See above about how to ensure you are claiming all your entitlements.
- Use a local foodbank
- Community Fridges offer free food and most of the time you do not need a foodbank voucher to use them.
- Find out if you should be getting social care by contacting your local authority.
- If you are in England or Wales and are on a low income and need to adapt your home because of a disability, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
- Speak to your energy supplier. Most energy suppliers have schemes for people who are struggling to pay their bills.
- If you are in England and Wales the disability charity Scope runs an energy advice service where they can give you advice on managing energy bills and switching suppliers.
- Ofgem has information about getting help if you cannot afford your energy bills.
- Your local authority may have an assistance scheme. You may be able to apply to this scheme if you are on a low income and need help with an emergency cost you cannot afford.