Improving your finances
Struggling with money? This guide will help you to start solving your money problems and tell you where you can go for more support.
What's on this page
Making your money go further
Create a budget
A budget is one of the best ways to get in control of your finances. It will help you to see where your money is going, how much you need to cover bills and essentials, and where you might be able to reduce spending.
Review your payments
Once you’ve looked at your budget and outgoings, it can help to review your Direct Debits and standing orders to identify any non-essential spending that you might be able to go without for a while. Many people have unused memberships or subscriptions that they may be able to cancel — things like film or music subscription services. There may also be more affordable options available.
You can usually end a Direct Debit or standing order online or by phone, but you should always check if your subscription is in contract to avoid any cancellation fees.
Discover ways to make savings on your usual purchases on the Money Helper website (opens in a new window).
You could also think about whether there’s anything that you could do without, like cutting back on takeaways or magazines.
Review your utility suppliers
It’s often possible to save money by switching suppliers for utilities like electricity or broadband.
We know that a change to your income — whether it's due to job loss or reduced earnings — can make things more difficult. Financial support is available, whether you're employed or self-employed.
Support if coronavirus has impacted your job
Benefits you might be able to claim
To help you find the support you need, we’ve teamed up with Policy in Practice. They're recommended by GOV.UK to offer you a free to use, anonymous and independent benefits calculator.
Their calculator can help you to find out what benefits you could get, how to claim and how your benefits will be affected by changes in your employment or working hours.
You'll need accurate information about your:
- income, including your partner’s (from payslips, for example)
- existing benefits and pensions (including anyone living with you)
- outgoings (such as rent, mortgage, childcare payments)
- Council Tax bill.
Manage income changes with a budget
If your financial situation has been impacted by changes to your employment, it can be helpful to create a budget. This will help you to get clear on the money you have coming in and going out and spot where you might be able to make some changes.
Managing payments and debt
Keeping up with payments
If you’re worried about missing payments for upcoming bills such as your water, gas, electricity or Council Tax bills, speak to your supplier or local authority as soon as possible. Many providers can offer special payment assistance to help during difficult times.
If you’re renting and worried about meeting your monthly payments, speak to your landlord as they may be able to help. For more information, read the Government guidance on financial support available to tenants (opens in a new window).
If you’re already in debt, it’s important to clear your priority debts first. These are the debts that carry serious penalties when not paid, such as your mortgage, rent or Council Tax.
If you’re worried about missing a debt payment, always speak to your supplier as soon as possible as they may be able to help make things easier to manage with special payment assistance.
Find out more about how to prioritise your debts from the Money Helper website (opens in a new window).
Get free, confidential advice from a debt adviser
It’s always best to talk to someone as soon as possible if you’re feeling concerned about your finances. The sooner you seek advice, the sooner you can start to feel back in control again. If you have debts with multiple providers, a third party debt adviser can help. They’ll discuss your situation without judgement and help you to find ways to manage your debts, however large or small.
There are many free debt advice services available, providing online, over the phone and face-to-face support, so you can get help in the way that best suits you.
Citizens Advice (opens in a new window) offers free, independent, confidential and impartial debt advice online through their web chat service and by phone.
StepChange Debt Charity
StepChange (opens in a new window) provides expert advice, budget support and solutions to help you manage your debts.
Debt Advice Foundation
Debt Advice Foundation (opens in a new window) is a national debt advice and education charity offering free, confidential support and advice to anyone worried about debt
PayPlan (opens in a new window) offers an online debt solution tool, PlanFinder. The tool will give you a personalised debt solution in as little as 15 minutes. They also offer free live chat and email support.
It’s important to carefully consider whether borrowing money is the right option for you. You can find lots of advice on borrowing money on the Money Helper website (opens in a new window).
If you’re struggling to find a lender
Get advice on what to do if you’ve been refused credit or a loan from the Money Helper (opens in a new window). This includes how to improve your credit rating and suggestions of alternative borrowing options.
Managing borrowed money
For advice on managing money you’re already borrowing, visit our guide to managing borrowed money.
Managing money worries and mental health
Money and mental health often go hand in hand. Worrying about money can make your mental health worse, and poor mental health can make it harder to manage your money.
If you feel like your money worries are impacting your mental health, or if mental health issues are making it harder to manage your money, the charity Mind offers brilliant advice.
Benefits you may be entitled to
If you struggle with your mental health, you may be able to claim welfare benefits to help you financially.
Support with gambling problems
Speak to us
If you’re struggling or falling behind on your payments with us, our dedicated team is here to help.
Get free, independent advice
If you’re worried about debt or money, you can get free, independent advice, online or over the phone, from the following organisations:
StepChange is a debt charity operating across the UK.
StepChange Debt Charity (opens in a new window)
Citizens Advice gives free, confidential information on money, legal and consumer problems.
Citizens Advice (opens in a new window)
National Debtline is a leading debt advice charity.
National Debtline (opens in a new window)
Money Helper is free and gives impartial money advice.
Money Helper (opens in a new window)
You may be able to get face-to-face advice, although these services could be limited during the pandemic.