Young People

Basics of finance and budgeting

Managing your money is important for everyone - regardless of financial circumstances. You do not need to be a financial expert to learn some basics of finance and budgeting. Taking control of our finances and learning better ways to manage your money will help you not only now but for future decisions.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused about finances. That is completely understandable, especially because managing your finances and budgeting is not often taught to young people. If you have grown up without financial security that may influence the way you view and manage your money and your spending habits. People that have grown up with financial security can also benefit from learning how to better manage finances. A lack of financial education can leave you vulnerable to falling into debt, gaining a bad credit score and financial insecurity. It can be tempting to apply for credit cards as soon  you become eligible for one, or take out a payday loan for short-term help, however these short term solutions can often end up creating long-term  financial insecurity and can quickly get out of hand. Often the best place to start is to have an honest look at your spending habits. You can make a note of all of your outgoings and categorize them in order of priority (bills/food/other) this will give you a better understanding of your income  and out-goings and what you have available to spend each month to better manage your spending habits. This can seem daunting and ignorance can be blissful but taking the first step in managing your money and spending habits will benefit you greatly long-term.

One way to manage your money is through a bank account. You can open a bank account at the age of 16 to keep your money safe. To open a bank account you will need I.D and proof of address.

You may find it helpful to budget for your bills every month. Some bills that you might need to budget for are:

  • Gas + electric – you might get a combined bill or 2 separate bills, depending on how it's set up.
  • Council tax  
  • TV licence  
  • Internet / phone / TV – most of the time you'll have a 'package' with all 3 together in one bill.
  • Home contents insurance  
  • Water 
  • Rent
  • Travel expenses

If you have both monthly and quarterly bills, it can be hard to keep track of what payments are due. Pre-payment meters are more expensive, but easier to budget as you can only use what you've already paid for.

Keeping track of what finances you have coming in and what bills you have to pay each month will help you to stay on top of bills.

Budgeting your money – budget calculator - click here

Here you can find out how to open a bank account and advice around understanding the different type of accounts - click here

Credit cards – what you need to know - click here

There is a lot of advice and support out there to help you manage your money if you need more support - click here for more advice

Taking small steps such as budgeting can have a positive impact on your spending and long term financial security. Making budgeting a habit will pay off greatly in the long-run.

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