‘Feeling out of control when it comes to money can be scary, especially if you don’t know whether you’ve got enough to live on. Getting a single monthly Universal Credit payment might be making you even more nervous about keeping your head above water. The only way to manage your money is to draw up a household budget.’ So states the Money Advice Service. Which is sensible. If you’ve never done this before though this can be a daunting task and take several hours to complete. The effort is worth it though.
Thankfully the Money Advice Service also provide an Online Budget Planner which helps with this task. They also provide useful information of how to use this free tool too. If you can look thorough your last three months of spending, either from receipts or banks statements to get an average spend on items, such as food, and use this figure in the planner.
Monthly budgets though can’t be totally relied upon though. The main problem is that because they concentrate on a typical month, they massively underestimate your real spend, as this approach misses the huge costs that can be associated with events such as Christmas, or if a fridge or washing machine breaks down. So set aside a savings contingency in any such monthly plan, better still set up a direct debit to transfer this budget area into a separate account, so you can see what’s available.
Consider joining a Credit Union, such as the Pennine Community Credit Union, which is an ethical, not for profit financial co–operative serving the local community with saving and loan facilities.
The National DebtLine is also a very useful resource too, which has a webchat facility.