With many households struggling to make ends meet, there’s never been a better time to keep an eye on your personal finances by checking how your income compares with your expenses and by tackling any debts you might have. Managing your money is, after all, a must-have skill these days, especially if you’re on a low income.
It’s also not as complicated as you may think. And if you get into the habit of spending just an hour once every few months reassessing your money situation, you’ll soon be in charge of your finances – instead of your finances being in charge of you.
We understand the costs involved in running a pub and know how tricky it can be to balance the income and outgoings. Establishing your budget is a good start to managing your finances. The Citizens Advice Bureau has a useful tool to work out your budget.
Having identified your outgoings, the next step is to explore where you might cut down costs. There are many ways to do so: shopping around for better deals for things like utility bills, mobile phone contracts and insurance. Cutting out little things that you spend on daily and looking at which supermarkets offer the best deals can also make a big difference.
Below are a few suggestions on how to cut down costs:
- Comparing prices between different energy providers to ensure you get the best deal.
There are several tools available:
- CAB energy compare
- Which guide to switching energy supplier
- Energy tips from Money Saving Expert
- Check whether you’re eligible for any benefits by using the CAB benefits calculator.
You might be missing out on a benefit you’re entitled to that could make a real difference to your income.
- Council tax reduction
Ask your council to spread your Council Tax over 12 months instead of the usual 10. This will reduce the amount you pay each month.
You might be entitled to a discount on your Council Tax if you:
- live on your own
- live only with someone who’s under 17 or a full-time student
- live with someone with mental health problems
- live with someone who is severely disabled
- earn below a certain amount of money – this depends on where you live
You can check and apply online.
- Check your Council Tax band is right
Your bill might be higher than it should be if your property is in the wrong Council Tax band. Follow the steps on the MoneySavingExpert website to check.
- Managing mortgage payments
Switching to a cheaper mortgage could help you manage your monthly payments. Find out how much remortgaging your property might cost and what you need to consider before going ahead with the Money Advice Service guide.
- cutting down your monthly payments
- changing payments on your endowment policy
- if you’re on a shared ownership scheme, selling back some of the ownership to your property to your landlord.
If you’re struggling to pay your bills and are worried about debt, we can help you with practical advice and guidance, so call us on 0808 801 0550.
Another great organisation, StepChange, is the UK’s leading debt charity and their guide to managing personal debt is full of useful support to help you get your finances back on track.
If you are still struggling to pay for essential living expenses and have been working in the trade for a minimum of five years, give us a call on 0808 801 0550 as you may qualify for financial assistance.
The following help sheet will give you some tips on planning your own budget, how to prioritise any debt you might have and ways to save money. plus useful points of contact for further, expert advice.