When you’re struggling with your finances, even the simplest tasks such as food shopping, paying a bill or opening mail, can cause an extraordinary amount of worry and stress which could seriously impact your mental health. Every year TASC provides hundreds of sessions to support the financial wellbeing of the ambulance community. In fact, last year 1 in 3 interventions we provided were for people struggling with money!
A survey by Yorkshire Building Society found that 19% of UK adults have less than £100 in savings.
Sometimes, small changes can have a big impact and for this year’s Talk Money Week, we’ve been speaking to our in-house Money Advisor, Julie, about the small steps people can take to help get their finances back in the black. Here are Julie’s top three tips to help you start managing your money and maximising your income.
Complete a money audit
The first step to managing your money better, is to know exactly where your money is coming from, where it’s going, and the cost difference between the two.
The Money Charity reported that in July 2021 the average credit card debt per household was over £2,000.
Go through your statements or bank transactions from the last few months, then grab a bit of paper and in one column write down exactly how much income you have (e.g. salary, benefits etc) and in another column write down what your outgoings are (rent, travel, child care, groceries etc.). Julie says:
“Most of our service users are quite surprised to see exactly where their money is going. However, for you to get the real benefit of this audit you need to write down everything you spend as accurately as possible. For example, add up all the amounts you spent in the supermarket in the last month and use this figure rather than estimating.”
Add up the figures to get your total monthly income and outgoings, and the final difference between the two. TASC has a handy budgeting sheet that does all the hard maths for you. Click here to download it.
At the end you will know roughly how much you’re saving or overspending every month as well as areas where you could make changes to maximise your income.
Check your bank statements and credit card bills
Life moves fast, and sometimes cancelling an unused subscription/membership or an old insurance policy gets forgotten about. However, they can have a big impact on your finances!
According to TopCashBack, the average UK adult wastes around £179 a year on subscriptions they don’t need.
So, grab your bank statements from the past 12 months and work through them to see if you’re currently paying for any subscriptions, policies, or memberships you don’t need. Then take some time to cancel them. Julie says:
“In the past I’ve seen people who have had six old insurance policies for household goods they no longer have! It’s also important to go through the last 12 months as you may have signed up for a single annual payment.”
Common things to look for are:
- TV streaming services
- Music streaming services
- Gym memberships
- Old household goods policies
- Product delivery services e.g. Amazon Prime
- If you’ve recently moved, check for old building policies or magazine subscriptions
Take the TASC tracking challenge!
Once you know where your overall money is going, try and dig a little deeper to see exactly what you’re spending your money on day-to-day. For one month, challenge yourself to track everything you spend – from your morning coffee or new shoes for the kids, to your weekly takeaway or filling up the car with petrol.
You could write down your expenses in a journal, spreadsheet, or one of the many money management phone apps. If you use online banking, your bank may also offer an option to track your spending. Julie says:
“Knowing exactly where your money is going throughout the month will help you see if/where you can make changes to boost your income. For example, if you buy a medium latte every day, you could save around £100 a year if you bought a small latte instead.”
TASC is here to support your financial wellbeing
If you’re struggling with your finances, TASC is here to help. As part of our financial wellbeing services, we can:
- offer a benefits check to see if you’re entitled to any extra support
- give you guidance on reducing debts, maximising your income, or applying to the Department of Work and Pensions for support
- provide information on how to apply for support after a bereavement
- work with you to apply for grants
Since April 2021, we have helped write off £22K of debt and helped our service users achieve an extra £132K in annualised awards from the Department of Work and Pensions.
- Ybs.co.uk. 2021. Almost a fifth of UK adults have less than £100 in savings | News | YBS. [online] Available at: <https://www.ybs.co.uk/media-centre/savings-crisis/index.html> [Accessed 26 October 2021].
- https://themoneycharity.org.uk/. 2021. Money Statistics September 2021. [online] Available at: <https://themoneycharity.org.uk/money-statistics/> [Accessed 26 October 2021].
- Topcashback.co.uk. 2019. Are you Wasting Money on Subscriptions? Here’s how to get a Handle on Them.. [online] Available at: <https://www.topcashback.co.uk/blog/subscription-saver/> [Accessed 26 October 2021].
- Prices based on medium and small lattes from Costa Coffee as displayed on the Costa Coffee app on 26/10/2021.