Get help with debt and reducing your spending
If you have problems with debt or financial planning try working through the following topics to see if you can get help to reduce your outgoings. For even more help on debt and other financial issues you can go directly to the Councils main website.
Council Tax Reduction is a means tested reduction to help you pay your Council Tax
Get help if you can’t afford the basics like food, gas, electricity and household goods.
We can give you emergency payments, mainly for essentials like food, gas and electricity. You won’t have to pay this back.
We also help with household goods, for people or families that can’t meet basic living requirements, or who need support to stay in the community.
Help with money and debt problems
Information and help if you’re struggling to manage your money or have debt problems.
Preventing money problems
Local services that can give you advice about budgeting and money management:
- Cashpoint project (for young people up to the age of 25, who live in social rented housing)
- Pennywise (for people aged 25 and over)
- MoneySmart on North Bristol Advice Centre website (for people in North Bristol. Telephone 0117 9515751)
- Talking Money (free, independent services in the south west)
- Money Advice Service (advice and guides to help improve your finances)
- Money Saving Expert (advice about getting a basic bank account)
If you have problems getting a bank account Bristol Credit Union may be able to help. Telephone 0117 9247309.
Dealing with debt
To find details of local advice organisations which provide debt advice and help, see the ACFA website.
- National Debtline (debt advice guide)
- My Money Steps (debt advice service)
- StepChange debt charity
- Citizens advice national website
There are many websites offering advice to people struggling with debt, but many of these offer services that you have to pay for. Check whether the information on the websites above can help you, first.
Make an arrangement to pay your council debts (Council Tax, rent and other bills)
If you owe us money it’s best to work out an arrangement to pay. Don’t leave it as it will be harder to deal with later.
Money in an emergency
Local crisis and prevention fund
You may be able to get an emergency payment and help with essential household items.
Short term benefit advances
You may be able to get an advance on your first benefit payment if you’re in urgent financial need.
Charitable trusts may be able to help with specific needs, or people who have worked in particular jobs.
Beware of loan sharks
Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who often charge very high interest rates. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously.
Loans calculators. How much are you really paying on the average UK credit card?
Many credit cards are currently offering 0% rates and can be an effective way to reduce debt. We suggest Money Saving Expert and some of it’s links below as a good starting place to find a better deal
Go here for far more information
To quote the excellent information page at MoneySavingExpert:
They’re high cost, short term loans with more tricks than a Crufts show
Payday loans are short-term lending often used by people to tide them over until payday. They’re often very easy to get – some even do it on mobiles while drunk, which makes them feel convenient. But it’s that very ease which is the danger. If you don’t think about what you’re doing, it can be a nightmare. if you are considering a payday loan, please look at the above sections on debt advice or balance transfer loans first rather than risk falling victim to a scam.
Spend smart and save money
One way to spread your money further is reducing what you spend on the items you need. The sections on this page go into detail about the resources available online to cut your costs whilst still keeping essential services
Energy Club Save money by finding the best deals for your Gas & Electricity supplier. you can often save money and the process is very easy once the paperwork is complete
Water advice Could you save a packet by moving to a water meter? Most homes have estimated costs which may be far higher than your actual usage.
Cheap Phones and internet Move your phone provider or ISP to reduce costs. This has become much more painless in the last few years and the best offers are typically for new customers. You can even swap backward and forwards from the same two companies and receive many freebies for being a ‘new’ customer.
HotUKDeals A great website that has been around for years and allows users to submit deals they have found in store or online. It’s often worth a quick search if you are about to make a purchase and it can give you ideas about the best prices for the things you want to buy.
CamelCamelCamel A strange name for a great service. A little fiddly to use but the idea is genius; simply find an Amazon product and you can see it’s historic pricing as well as set an alert. You get an email when it gets to the price you want to pay!
Quidco & Topcashback Ever wondered how advertisers make money online? Probably not, but I’ll tell you anyway. Each time you click on an advert and get taken to a website that sites owners kicks money back to the advertiser. Fancy that money yourself? Simply set up an account for either of these two sites and you can earn as much as 10% of your spending back into your bank. The schemes make their money by keeping a small percentage. It’s win-win!
Shopping tricks 15 tips for high street shopping.
Product testing Get paid or receive freebies for testing product. This isn’t always fun or easy but can be a great way to turn free time into money or new stuff
Your rights It’s always best to know your rights. There is no need to get angry and frequently a polite letter of phone call will sort out many issues.