Managing money is critical. In modern times the pressure to spend money can be overwhelming. The opportunity to get into debt is significant and spending less is not easy. The way you handle money has a direct impact on your wellbeing.
Budgeting gives an accurate picture of your financial capability and your spending habits and, possibly, where savings can be made. Budgeting also helps make money go further. The fundamental aim of budgeting is to ensure that basic needs are met and that, where necessary, steps are taken to keep you out of debt.
Don’t be taken in by advertisements or material possessions, put a brake on impulse spending and think carefully about your standard of living. The use of credit to finance your lifestyle should be avoided. Most of all stay clear of debt and set a budget and live by it – manage your expectations and you will find your stress levels will reduce. Remember money can’t buy you happiness or health and it can’t even buy you love.
When you are thinking of buying something that is not essential ask yourself whether it is something you or your family really need or whether it is something you just want.
Consider buying everything on a cash basis. Don't be afraid to haggle over prices, especially if you are paying cash. A cash customer is in a much stronger position to bargain than a credit customer.
Avoiding debt is essential but if you do find yourself in debt the best advice is to seek advice. You need to plan what to do and decide which debts to deal with first. Keep up to date with priority debts, including housing, heating and council tax. If you have problems paying a court financial penalty don’t ‘bury your head in the sand’ you could go to prison for non- payment. The court fines officer is there to help in times of difficulty.
If you find yourself in debt then contact the Citizens Advice Bureau. There are offices throughout central Liverpool including: Anfield, Crosby, Formby & District ,Garston ,Halewood, Huyton, Kirkby,Maghull ,Netherley, Norris Green Speke Toxteth Walton and Wavertree.
Consult the Phone Book or Yellow Pages for contact details or go to any of these websites:
If you are facing serious financial difficulties you should talk to a licensed insolvency practitioner.
Contact the National Debtline :
0808 808 4000 www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
For debt counselling tailored to your individual circumstances call the Consumer Credit Counselling Service:
0800 138 1111 www.cccs.co.uk
You may be entitled to receive benefits if you are on a low income or have certain costs to meet because of your personal situation. If you're on a low income (employed or looking for work) or if you have dependent children, you're ill or disabled, you're caring for someone, you're aged 60 or over, you have been bereaved or you're pregnant or have recently had a baby then you may be eligible to claim a benefit. Direct.gov offers free advice for all of these matters. Here are contact details for the Liverpool offices
0151 233 3000 or text phone 01512 253 275
Jobcentre Plus is the agency for people of working age (16 to 65). You can use them to claim benefits or find work (or both). Your local office will be listed in the phone book under Jobcentre Plus
0845 604 3719 or textphone 0845 608 8551
Connexions is another organisation which offers advice and support for people of all ages but also specialises in helping young people to find work. Contact the main Liverpool office for further information:
0151 709 5400 www.connexionslive.com
Paying tax is not something that any of us welcome but it is also the way we finance and run our country and society as a whole. Taxation is very complex and virtually every day you will be taxed in many different ways.
There are basically four different categories of tax: Income tax on earnings, pensions, savings, investments and benefits, tax on certain types of transactions such as related to buying a house, tax on savings and investments, tax on goods and services such as duty on fuel and tax on local services such as to fund policing and refuse collections.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the Government organisation set up to collect tax and pay certain benefits. Contact them via your locals tax office (also see the phone book).
* Please note there are also tax agents and advisers that you may wish to contact to discuss more complex issues or to gain advice.