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Sorting out your finances

How to stay in control of your money

If you're struggling with your financial commitments, you should pay all your essential bills first, such as your mortgage, utility bills (electricity, gas, water), insurance, council tax and also housekeeping. You should make sure that you pay these bills before making any payments towards credit cards or loans.

What to do first

  • Check whether you can get any state benefits or tax credits that could help to increase your income.
  • If you have an insurance policy, such as income protection insurance or mortgage payment protection insurance, check whether this could help with your payments.
  • Seek debt advice, such as from the Citizens Advice Bureau, if you would like help managing your finances.
  • Make sure you keep all joint mortgage holders, as well as anyone acting as a guarantor on your mortgage, up to date with what is happening.
  • Get in touch with creditors early and make them aware of your situation. Find out how you can set up payment plans.

Get practical help sorting out your finances

Your bank or building society should be able to provide you with help and guidance if you're experiencing financial difficulties or just want to talk about your financial situation. They can give you a range of practical tools to help review your financial situation and decide what you can do next.

A common mistake people can make is to leave contacting their lender until the situation becomes critical, which reduces the number of options available to them. Letting your lender know early on that you may struggle to make any payments to them because of a change in your circumstances is the first step. There are many things that lenders can do to help you manage your situation so don't be afraid to get in touch with them.

Understanding your financial situation is key to solving problems you may be experiencing. Seek useful guidance from your bank or building society.

Quick ways to cut costs

There are a number of ways to reduce your outgoings quickly. Here are some suggestions.

  • Switch to cheaper utilities – See if there are cheaper options for your gas and electricity service. Also, check whether your utility companies offer discounted rates for payment by Direct Debit.
  • Check your tax payments and benefits – Sometimes when you're working you can end up paying too much income tax. You should also make sure you claim for any benefits to which you're entitled.
  • Trim mobile bills – It’s easy to waste money on mobile phone tariffs that don’t meet your actual needs. You could think about a 'pay as you go' deal, so you can’t run up a large bill without realizing, and you won’t be locked into a 12 or 18 month deal.
  • Compare quotes – Use comparison websites to make sure you get the best deal on various types of insurance.


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