Like it or not, we all need a reasonable amount of money to survive. Homes, utilities, taxes, food, activities, holidays ... it’s easy to see where it all goes.
Life’s major milestones can have a massive financial impact too. Whether you are going to university, getting married, buying a home, starting a family, splitting up or setting up a business, it all takes money – and lots of it.
If you are receiving home (personal) care services, you might be asked to make a contribution to the cost up to a maximum of £80 per week (subject to a financial assessment).
Even if you do not have to worry about money, good financial planning will help you to survive sudden changes in your circumstances or unanticipated expenses. It's also a good idea to make a will no matter what your age.
Increasing your income
If you are struggling to make ends meet, make sure you are getting all the benefits and tax allowances you are entitled to. If you are working, check you are on the right tax code. You may also be eligible for in work benefits.
If you are disabled and have extra living expenses or are unable to work, it’s worth checking that you are claiming everything you are entitled to.
To check if you would be better off applying for certain benefits before putting in a claim, use an online benefits calculator like the ones on Turn2Us and EntitledTo. Turn2Us can also advise you about charitable grants and support services.
Cutting your outgoings
If you are still paying a mortgage, you may be able to get help towards the interest (Support for Mortgage Interest) – although under Government proposals this may be repayable from April 2018.
You may also be able to apply for a reduction in your council tax if you are the only adult in the home (single person discount) or your home has certain features to enable a disabled adult or child to live there. If you rent your home, you may also be able to claim housing benefit.
There is no longer any stigma attached in wearing second-hand or ‘preloved’ clothes. Snap up a bargain at your local charity shop - your purchase will be helping the charity and the environment. Some shops also sell furniture and other household items.
Discount supermarkets have weekly offers on fresh food, fruit and vegetables, with half price offers at weekends. Most supermarkets make massive price reductions on fresh foods, like salads, ready meals and bakery items, in the evening.
Money Saving Expert has advice on how to save money on almost everything, including utility bills, travel, insurance, shopping and loans.
Dealing with debt
If you do find yourself in debt, try not to despair. There is plenty of support out there to help you sort out your money problems.
The Money Advice Service in Wales offers free and impartial advice about money matters, including dealing with debt and borrowing. Tel: 0300 500 5000.