Some months are always easier than others - but if you're finding you have more tricky ones than good ones, or something changes in your life that means you're struggling with money, try not to panic. There are things that can be done to help - but the sooner you deal with it, the more options you have.
Should you be worrying?
- is your current account mostly in a debit position?
- can you only afford to make minimum monthly repayments to your credit cards?
- do you owe money to more than 5 lenders (banks, credit cards, store cards)?
- do you rely on credit cards to pay for your everyday living expenses?
- have you received an unpaid bill reminder from your utility provider?
If you find yourself answering yes to any of these, there are definitely things you could be doing to make life easier.
Work on your budgeting
Completing a monthly budgeting form opens a new window of all your outgoings against your income will help you see the extent of any problem, and where the imbalance lies.
Once you've done this, you can look at ways of reducing your spending - look for a cheaper utilities provider, or cut back on any non-essential hobbies and entertainment. Another good tip is to talk to companies you pay by standing order or Direct Debit - if your payments are due on an inconvenient date each month they could move them, or give information on different ways of making your payments.
Talk about your worries
If you're ever worried about money, the best thing to do is talk about it - it's the first step to lifting the burden. If you're a first direct customer you can talk about your accounts with our Credit Solutions team on 03 456 100 189* - the sooner you share your concerns, the sooner steps can be taken to help you. If you're not a first direct customer, or you'd prefer to talk to someone independent, there are a number of organisations who can help you, free of charge:
- StepChange Debt Charity Debt Remedy Tool opens an overlay
- StepChange Debt Charity website opens an overlay or call 0800 038 1111
- The Money Advice Service website opens an overlay
- National Debtline website opens an overlay or call 0808 808 4000
- Citizens Advice Bureau opens an overlay
You can also use the Money Advice Service money health check toolopens an overlay to get a clear picture of where you stand with your finances.
If you're feeling emotionally distressed about your finances, you can talk to the Samaritans 24/7, in confidence and without judgement - phone 08 457 90 90 90 (UK) or 1850 60 90 90 (ROI), or visit the Samaritans websiteopens an overlay to find your nearest branch.
The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand, however tempting it may be - you'll almost certainly feel better once you start having conversations and feeling more in control again.
*Available Mon-Fri 8am to 10pm, Sat 8am to 7pm and Sun 9am to 10pm. Calls may be monitored and recorded.