Tips to help manage your money following the end of the Universal Credit top-up

With both the £20 Universal Credit top-up and Government Furlough Scheme coming to an end, we’re offering some simple tips to help you manage your money

Finances And Money

12 Oct 2021

Check your benefits

Each year, millions of people miss out on claiming benefits that they’re entitled to.

National charity group Turn2Us offers a free and confidential benefits calculator that you can use to help you find out what benefits you’re entitled to claim?

It’s quick and easy to use the calculator. Last year alone, over 2 million calculations have been made to help people get the information and support they need.

 You can also find help and advice on making a claim on the Turn2Us website.

Know what you’re spending

Sit down with a pen and paper and add up what you’re spending each month. Think about how much you spend on things like:

  • rent
  • gas and electricity
  • council tax
  • food
  • going out and socialising
  • travel
  • smoking
  • anything else?

You could try using a budgeting tool, such as the one offered by Citizens Advice, to help you understand what you’re earning and spending and where you might be able to cut costs.

Get the best deals

  • Search for the best rates for gas, electricity and mobile deals using comparison sites like https://www.uswitch.com/ or https://www.confused.com/
  • Call your current supplier and ask for a better deal
  • Try a local community energy supplier
  • Some of the best deals are on the internet – make sure you shop around and try looking for online discounts and vouchers - some retailers have regular special deals
  • When your mobile phone contract runs out and you have paid for your phone, switch to a SIM only deal - you could potentially save £15-£20 a month.
  • Switching to lower cost supermarkets, or buying own-brand, can save you money.
  • Money Saving Expert offers lots of useful tricks and tips that can help you and your family to save money.

Check out the warm home discount

The Warm Home Discount Scheme offers a £140 a year reduction on your energy bills which goes straight on your energy account. People claiming Guaranteed Pension Credit should have this automatically applied, but check you’re receiving it and contact your supplier if you’re not.

Different energy companies open their applications at different times, typically between October and January, so remember to check this with your energy supplier.

Saving and loans

If you can, try to start saving. Putting a little money away each month soon adds up and means you’ll be better prepared for whatever the future holds.

If you need some extra money to get you by, then you could set up a Credit Union account where you can save and get a loan. Find your nearest Credit Union.

It’s very important to avoid loan sharks – they’re illegal and charge the highest rates.

Check any current debt repayment arrangements

If you have debt reduction payments taken from your Universal Credit payments, this will reduce when the top-up comes to an end. This is because deductions are taken as a percentage from your standard allowance. You should check that you will still be able to continue meeting your current repayment arrangements and seek advice if this is needed so that you don’t fall behind.

If you’re looking for help and advice to manage your debt and finances, Citizen’s Advice and Step Change offer lots of free and useful information.

Check your council tax

If you are the only adult in the property, you can get a 25% discount on your council tax payments.

You could also consider comparing your Council Tax band to other homes in your postcode area to check you’re paying the same amount. If you’re paying more then you can ask your local council to consider re-banding your property. Contact your local Council for help with this.

There are also a range of benefits to support you with Council Tax depending on your circumstances. You can use our benefits calculator to check you’re receiving what you’re entitled it.

What to do if you’re worried about falling behind with your rent

If you're worried about falling behind in your rent payments, Thirteen can offer you practical help and support based on your personal circumstances. Please don't put off speaking to us if you have any concerns - contact us as soon as you can for advice and guidance.