Making the most of your money
On this page you'll find information on how you can increase your income and get more support to help your money go further.
Do a benefits check
Making sure you're getting all the benefits you're allowed is one of the best ways of making sure that you're getting the most income possible, benefits are available to both employed and unemployed residents. Sometimes benefits entitlement changes so it's good to do a benefits check every few months to make sure you're up to date and claiming the correct benefits.
You can use the government's independent, free and anonymous benefits calculator on the government website.
What to do if you're struggling to pay your bills
There is support available for you if you're struggling to pay your bills on time.
If you're a Birmingham resident and are struggling to pay your council tax there is support available to you. Check out our dedicated pages on difficulty paying your council tax to find out more.
Rent payments for council tenants and leaseholders
Falling behind on paying your rent is a stressful situation but there is help for you to access. Visit our dedicated page on debt support for council tenants and leaseholders to learn more about the help available. If you're in rent arrears or are struggling to maintain your rent payments then the Citizens Advice provide dedicated support and give rent debt advice on their website.
Mortgage payments support
If you're experiencing difficulty in maintaining your mortgage payments there is help available. The Citizens Advice has dedicated support and advice on mortgage problems on their website. There is also information on help with mortgage payments on our website.
Everyone has experienced the rise in energy costs in recent times. If you're finding it hard to pay your energy bill or are concerned about how much your energy bill is costing then visit our dedicated page full of information on getting help with your energy bills.
Managing your money
Having a budget for all your outgoings each week and month can help you take control of your income and decide how and when you're going to spend it.
Top tips on making your budget:
- work out your total income for the week or month
- list your priority bills, things like rent or mortgage
- list your non-priority bills, things that you don't need all the time
- work out which bills have to be paid first
- adjust spending if needed
- review regularly
The Money Helper website has dedicated free support to help you to make a budget and guidance on managing your money. If you're making a budget and are finding it hard to know which bills to prioritise and how to manage them there is help with this too on their bill prioritiser page.
Step Change Debt Charity
Step Change provide free guidance, support and practical tools and tips to help you manage your money. For help in making a budget visit the making a budget page of their website.
Most high street banks offer guidance on how to manage your money, make a budget and prioritise payments via their websites or in branch.
Saving your money
Having savings can help ease the financial stress in difficult times and give you some flexibility to pay should an unexpected expense arise. If you're on a low income and finding it hard to save there is help available.
Help to Save
Help to Save is a UK government-backed savings scheme it allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years. Find out more about Help to Save on the Gov.UK website.
Sharia compliant savings
Sharia compliant savings accounts work in the same way as standard current accounts but they don’t give you a return on your money or offer overdraft facilities. For more information check out the Sharia compliant savings account information on the Money Helper website.
Help paying for food
For residents that are struggling to pay for food there is help out there.
There is a dedicated page in our Family Hubs pages with more information on Help with food. Residents can find local organisations such as food banks that are providing help for those struggling to buy food.
Foodbanks are available across Birmingham and residents can request foodbank vouchers too. For more information on finding your local foodbank and requesting vouchers, there is a dedicated Foodbank page.
For residents looking for immediate support due to a crisis the Local Welfare Provision (LWP) is a grant-based scheme that helps residents who need help immediately to get essential things, including food. Visit the dedicated LWP scheme provision page for further details.
Help accessing credit
Getting credit can help spread the cost of essential items, including food where buying in bulk can lower costs overall. It can be hard to know what to do if you have lots of credit from different places though, so, there are places you can go to get help and advice on how to use, access and manage credit.
Money Helper gives free guidance about money that you can trust. Check out the dedicated section on the Money Helper website about how residents can use credit wisely to help pay for items like food and to spread the cost of borrowing.
Help with debt
Being in financial debt is often worrying and stressful. If you are in debt then there is free and confidential advice available.
Beware of loan sharks
Loan sharks target people who are struggling with debt and who may be struggling to borrow money legally, however, they should be avoided. It is important you can spot a loan shark and there is helpful advice on what to look out for on the Money Helper website.
National Debtline is a nationwide charity that gives free, impartial, expert debt advice. Visit the National Debtline website for more information or call them for free on 0808 808 4000.
Step Change Debt Charity
The Step Change Debt Charity offers a range of services and advice for people struggling with debt and financial problems. Find out more by visiting the Step Change website
Mental health support
In times of difficulty and stress it's important to prioritise your mental health to help you cope, build resilience and stay healthy and well. There is dedicated support and guidance on organisations and charities, both local and nationwide that are able to offer wellbeing and mental health support for free. Take a look at the wellbeing and mental health page for further details.
Mental health emergency
If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health emergency it is important to seek help for them as quickly as possible. The NHS has a dedicated mental health emergency helpline, visit this NHS website for further details.
Page last updated: 14 December 2023