Budgeting & Debt Advice

Budgeting

There are many reasons to keep a budget including being able to live comfortably now and be able to plan for the future. Other reasons include:

  • checking your financial position
  • you can react quickly to debt issues
  • you can plan to borrow money
  • to help with life changes, such as changing job, moving house or starting a family
  • to prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit

Follow these key principles when budgeting:

  • Use weekly, fortnightly or monthly amounts and do not mix!
  • Use realistic amounts.
  • Include fines, travel and loans.
  • Be realistic regarding food and housekeeping.
  • Include emergencies, birthdays and Christmas.

For help with completing your budget, you may want to use the Money Advice Service budget planner

Debt Advice

Tips for dealing with debt:

  • Don’t ignore the problem.
  • Make the most of your income.
  • Tackle your priority debts first.
  • Work out your personal budget.
  • Get in touch with your creditors straight away.
  • Work out a reasonable offer.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Always keep copies.
  • Don’t borrow money.
  • Get advice.

If you are worried about debts, please contact our Tenancy Sustainment Officers on 0300 123 1567.

Other organisations that can give free, independent advice on financial issues include:

Priority debts

Priority debts are those that carry the most serious consequences if you don’t pay them.

These don’t have to be the largest debts or have the most expensive interest rates, but if you don’t pay them it could lead to serious problems. Priority debts include:

  • mortgage, rent and any loans secured against your home
  • income tax, national insurance and VAT
  • council tax
  • gas and electricity bills
  • child maintenance
  • TV licence
  • hire purchase agreements, if what you’re buying with them is essential
  • court fines

 

Why you should pay off priority debts first

The consequences of not paying off priority debts could be:

  • losing your home – because you’re not keeping up with mortgage or rent payments
  • receiving a court summons
  • being visited by bailiffs
  • being made bankrupt – because you haven’t paid your tax bills
  • having your heating or lighting cut off – because you haven’t paid your fuel bills

 

What are non-priority debts?

The consequences of not paying non-priority debts are less serious.

If you don’t pay non-priority debts, your creditor could eventually take you to court or instruct bailiffs to collect money from you. Your non-priority debts include:

  • credit card, store card debts or payday loans
  • catalogue, home credit or in-store credit debts
  • overdrafts
  • bank or building society loans
  • personal loans
  • money borrowed from friends or family

Banking

Having trouble with opening a bank account or being charged when your direct debit or standing order fails?

Bank customers across Britain can now access fee-free basic bank accounts. The accounts are available to anyone who doesn’t already have a bank account, is ineligible for a standard current account or who can’t use their existing account due to financial difficulty.

The new accounts – which do not add charges for failed direct debits or standing orders –  remove the risk that basic bank account customers will be forced into overdraft because of fees and charges.

The banks and building societies that have signed up to offer a basic bank account are:

  • Barclays – Barclays Basic Current Account
  • Santander – Basic Current Account
  • NatWest – Foundation Account
  • Ulster Bank (Northern Ireland) – Foundation Account
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (Scotland) – Foundation Account
  • RBS England & Wales – Basic Account
  • HSBC – Basic Bank Account
  • Nationwide – FlexBasic
  • Co-operative Bank – Cashminder
  • Lloyds Banking Group (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands) – Basic Account
  • TSB – Cash Account
  • Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank – Readycash Account

 

How can we help?