SAVING & SPENDING
Information and help if you’re struggling to manage your money or have debt problems.
Table of Contents
Help from the Council
Find out if you can get a Council Tax Reduction and how to claim. Council Tax Reduction is a means tested reduction to help you pay your Council Tax. You may be able to get this depending on your circumstances.
Tell us about changes that happen to you or the people living with you
Sign up to check your Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Council Tax account
Extended Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction when you or your partner start work or increase your hours or earnings
Send us documents that support your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction claim
If your income is too high for Council Tax Reduction you can claim second adult rebate
Appeal a Council Tax Reduction decision
What to do if you disagree with your Council Tax Reduction
People who live with you may affect your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction
Bristol’s local Council Tax Reduction scheme
The Council Tax Reduction scheme replaces Council Tax Benefit. 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.
Apply for an emergency payment or household goods
Find out if you qualify, how to apply and what happens next.
Contact the local crisis and prevention fund team
Contact us if you need help.
Preventing money problems
Information and help if you’re struggling to manage your money or have debt problems. Local services that can give you advice about budgeting and money management:
(for young people up to the age of 25, who live in social rented housing)
(for people aged 25 and over)
MoneySmart on North Bristol Advice Centre website
(for people in North Bristol. Telephone 0117 9515751)
(free, independent services in the south west)
If you have problems getting a bank account Bristol Credit Union may be able to help. Telephone 0117 9247309.
Money Advice Service (advice and guides to help improve your finances)
Money Saving Expert (advice about getting a basic bank account)
Dealing with debt
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.
You can make an arrangement to pay your council debt online.
Money in an emergency
Local crisis and prevention fund
You may be able to get an emergency payment and help with essential household items.
Find out more about getting an emergency payment or household goods.
Find out about hardship payments on GOV.UK.
Short term benefit advances
You may be able to get an advance on your first benefit payment if you’re in urgent financial need.
Find out more about short term benefit advances on GOV.UK.
Find out about budgeting loans on GOV.UK.
Charitable trusts may be able to help with specific needs, or people who have worked in particular jobs.
Find out more on the Turn2us website.
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.
Housing Benefit Information on housing benefits from central government
Help with Rent Support and guidance from Citizens Advice
Turn2Us Charitable advice on benefits and grants
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
At the time of writing (May 2016) there are a great deal of credit cards offering 0% on balance transfers.What this means is you can take an existing debt, possibly from your current credit card and move this to the new deal. You will typically pay a small ‘transfer’ fee to move the money; typically 1-2% and then no interest at all for the duration of the offer.The important things to remember here are:
It’s still a credit card
You must keep paying back at least the minimum payment each month to avoid additional fees
You need to move the money or pay off the debt by the end of the term
If it’s a 30 month term then the bank is hoping you will forget and go on to their much higher rate in month 31. Make a reminder for yourself on your phone to not forge!
Don’t use it as a credit card
The cheap rate is often only for the initial debt you transfer, set yourself an amount to pay each month (more than the minimum and hopefully enough to make a dent in the loan) and then forget about it till the end of the term.
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.
Making your money go further
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.
Something a bit different today. I was reading an article and it linked to an excellent presentation about how we can start to fix our
Saving money on energy
Bloomberg have run a story on how to save money this winter with the rising cost of electric and gas. The story contains this excellent