New Year, new start - get your finances in shape this year

calculator small for webWe’re encouraging people to make this the year they get their finances in shape; reviewing where they can make savings and getting on top of any debts. 

Get started today - take our financial health check…

Looking at how you spend your money and where you can trim back will help you plan a budget that meets your daily costs.

It can also help you build up savings so you’re prepared for any sudden changes, from one-off expenses like replacing a washing machine to a change in your employment.

We can help you sort out your debts and give you the knowledge and tools to plan your budget and achieve a more financially secure future.

Here's our top tips for getting your finances in shape

 

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Blitz your budget

Get a clear idea of how much you spend - do a simple budget.
Write down your income and take away your essential bills such as gas and electric, food and transport. Some bills vary from month to month, so take an average of these outgoings and use it to build a realistic budget. 

If you have money left over, plan in advance what else you’ll spend or save. If you don’t, look at ways to cut your costs.The Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help you set a more detailed budget.  

 

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Get the best deal on your energy and other essentials

You could save an average of £300 on your energy bill by changing tariffs or suppliers. Use Citizens Advice’s energy comparison tool to see if you can save.

Diarise the dates of annual contracts that are up for renewal, like your mobile phone or car insurance, and use a comparison site to see if you can get a cheaper deal. 

Water down your water costs - smaller households may be able to save money by moving to a water meter. With a meter, you only pay for what you use. Work out if you could save by visiting: www.ccwater.org.uk. Many water companies have special schemes to help people who are struggling with their water bills. Contact your water supplier to see if they run one.


Sort out your debts

paper and pen heritageblueMake a list of your creditors, how much you owe and when you need to pay it back. Refer back to your monthly budget and see what you can afford to pay.
If you can’t pay all your debts at once, it’s important to prioritise. Rent or mortgage and council tax are more important than credit card debts for example, as the consequences can be more serious if you don't pay. Go to how to prioritise on the Citizens Advice website for information on which debts should take priority, and negotiating with your creditors or call us on 03444 111 444 or drop into your nearest Citizens Advice office.  

 

Maximise your income

check tax code
Overpaying taxes and not claiming what you’re entitled to can have an impact on your income. Make sure you’re on the right tax code by visiting gov.uk.
 
If you have children or are married, check if you can apply for working tax credits, marriage tax allowance or universal credit by visiting gov.uk.
 
 
If you live alone, make sure you’re not overpaying council tax - single person households should get a 25% discount.

If you claim benefits, visit the Citizens Advice website to check if you are eligible for discounts on your water or energy bills.

 

Invest in your future

diamond responsible pensions
Pensions are a great way to save for the future and are also good value, as your contributions are topped up your employer and the government.

If you’re eligible for auto-enrolment, consider paying more than just the minimum.Those who are self employed can still set up their own pension but make sure it’s with a regulated company.If you’re over 50 and have a defined contribution pension you can get free a Pension Wise appointment to learn more about taking your pension.

 

Need advice?

Call us on 03444 111 444

Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Send us an email

Get advice online at: citizensadvice.org.uk

Or for advice in person, visit your local Citizens Advice, see locations and opening times.

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