Advice on Managing on a Reduced Income

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Posted on10 Jun 2020

Martin Bell, Money and Benefits Adviser, gives his latest advice on managing on a reduced income

If during the last few months your income has been affected by the pandemic with a reduction in hours, pay cut, or losing your job this can come as a shock both emotionally and financially.

Whilst things seem manageable at first, as time goes on it can become more difficult and things can feel out of control - you are not alone, there is help.

Universal Credit (UC) is available to help toward the cost of rent and everyday living costs even if you have an income. Depending on the circumstances, your UC entitlement may be affected by certain rules and regulations. If you have a shortfall you may then also be entitled to further financial help with your Council Tax and from locally administered schemes.

Utility companies also have schemes for their customers hit by hard times. You will need to contact your energy supplier to discuss the options that are available to you. If you have a fuel debt there are also charities that can help reduce this debt in certain circumstances.

Finally, there is help available from JRHT and independent organisations to both manage and prevent debt.

Get help in a crisis

Further support is also available to get people through short term difficulties. Navigating through the welfare system is complicated and by seeking help we can ensure individual’s circumstances and needs are assessed.

A loan may also be a short-term option to help you get by and you can take out loans for small amounts. JRHT are partnered with Leeds Credit Union and they can provide budgeting advice to help you get back on track and also potentially start to save so that you can build up a cushion for sudden large expenditure.

Budgeting

A good discipline for everyone is knowing where your money goes and being able to prioritise essential expenditure like council tax, rent, utility bills and food. Check out budgeting tools at the Money Advice Service.

Tips for taking control

  • Make a budget and list all your income and expenditure to help work out if and where you can cut back
  • Check out whether you can get a better deal on energy bills or broadband. If you are made unemployed, having a low-cost broadband may still be essential and will help with job searches and keeping connected
  • If you have credit card debt – could the interest be suspended? Make contact with the provider and find out about options
  • Think about what may be coming up, for example new school uniforms in September, car MOT etc.

If you have debts that you cannot keep up - seek help.

The following organisations can provide advice with your debt and can also negotiate on your behalf with the people you owe money to and agree affordable payment plans:

If you have any questions or queries about money and benefits please do get in touch by calling us on 0800 587 0211, alternatively more information is also available on our updated webpage here.