Written by Nick Whittingham, Citizens Advice
“We’re a family with two young children.
We’re already struggling to stay on top of household bills; the weekly food shop isn’t stretching as far any more and now my energy bill is going up too.
We don’t know how we’re going to afford all of these price rises.
What can we do to stop our finances spiralling out of control?”
Firstly, it’s always worth checking if there are benefits you don’t know about that you might be eligible for.
Including support with your energy costs and living costs.
On the Citizens Advice website - http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk - there’s a benefits calculator.
You will also find advice on how to reduce living costs and information on other ways to increase your income.
There’s also advice and information on emergency support that you may have access to.
This includes food bank vouchers or fuel vouchers – we can help you with this.
Or you can contact organisations such as your local council to get some more information.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of bills, it’s important to understand what money you have coming in and going out each month.
Citizens Advice has a budgeting tool on its website that can help with this.
If you’re already behind on bills, prioritise paying your rent or mortgage, energy bills and council tax first.
These are priority bills, and not paying these bills has the most serious consequences.
If you do owe money, you should try and speak to the person or company you owe money to.
See if they can help you repay your bills sustainably.
There is lots of information available on the Citizens Advice website http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk