Spring Clean your budget for Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a new type of financial support for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. It’s being introduced gradually between April 2013 and 2017. It is a new single monthly payment which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now.
Universal Credit will be paid in a different way to your current benefits:
- It will be paid monthly into a transactional account therefore your old Post Office account will not suffice. You can make an appointment to open a bank account at Scotcash.
- If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment. It will be your responsibility to pay your landlord.
- If you and your partner are both eligible, you will get one monthly payment for the household.
Universal Credit will generally be managed online. You make your claim online, then check on your payments and updates through your online account. For more information on Universal Credit click here.
If you don't have access to a laptop or computer you can contact the GAIN Helpline on 0808 801 1011, Mon - Fri 10am – 8pm and Sat 10am - 2pm to get free advice regarding the changes.
If you are finding it hard to make your money stretch every month the following tips could help make your money go further:
- Add up your non-essential spending
How? Find out how much something you buy regularly costs you each month and what you can cut back on using the Money Advice Service Cut-back Calculator.
Why budget – why now? With the introduction of Universal Credit not far away it is important to manage your money and a good way to do this is to draw up a household budget.
If you want to get on top of your finances, a budget is a good way to start. It’s simply a record of money you have coming in (from things like your salary or wages, pensions or benefits) and payments that you make (such as your rent or mortgage, insurance and Council Tax as well as living expenses and regular and irregular spending).
Getting a single monthly Universal Credit payment may be making you nervous about keeping your head above water. Drawing up a budget will make you feel more in control of your money and allow you to judge how much you have to live on each month after your essential bills are paid.
Remember - if you currently work out your budget weekly or fortnightly, you’ll have to start looking at your incomings and outgoings across the whole month.
Did You Know?
Over half of UK households keep a regular budget. And most of those who do say it gives them peace of mind about how much they are spending, and makes them feel better about life in general.
Source: Money Advice Service research (Oct 2012)
- Tips for staying on track
Drawing up your household budget is a positive start, try to stick to it as much as possbile, prices are going up all the time and a one-off expense like a new pair of school shoes can threaten to knock you off track.
Read the Money Advice Service Low-income survival tips to help you find more ways to make your money go further each month.
If you do fall behind on an important payment such as rent, council tax, gas or electricity make sure to contact your supplier/landlord immediately to get advice on how to manage your payments. You can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau to help you with this.
For more information on the benefits that are being phased out and getting replaced with Universal Credit as well as introduction dates visit the GAIN website.
For more information please contact us and a member of our team will advise how Scotcash can help.