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Budgeting Advice

A budgeting plan needs to be flexible enough to meet the realities of day to day life and reflect individual needs. A personal budget enables you:

A Bournes Counsellor will assist you with a financial statement, but it is important that you are able to budget for essential expenditure if you are to succeed in clearing your debts.

The first stage is to work out if a monthly or weekly budget suits you best. If you are paid weekly or fortnightly, then a weekly budget is for you. If paid monthly, then it may be easier to have payments set up for around the time when you receive your pay.

Council Tax

Council Tax is normally paid by 10 monthly instalments. For people who budget weekly, it may be worth checking with your local authority if they will allow for weekly payments, but such facilities are rarely provided.

Water Charges

OFWAT guidelines recommend that water companies should offer at least on ‘frequent payment option’ to meet the need of low income customer (at least fortnightly) and ensure that this is adequately advertised.

All water companies offer budget schemes of monthly payments over an 8 month period and some e.g. Severn Trent, will readily agree to payments over a longer period and will provide weekly payment books if requested.

Fuel

There are a number of ways of budgeting to meet fuel charges – budget schemes, prepayment meters and fuel stamps. Fuel Direct deductions from Income Support are also available to meet ongoing charges only but are often only considered appropriate by fuel suppliers and the DSS where there are fuel arrears.

Car Tax

Road fund licences can be bought for 6 to 12 months periods. Saving stamps are available from post offices in units of £5 to assist with budgeting.

Insurances

Many insurance companies now offer instalment schemes and it may be worth shopping around for these.

Travel

Regular users of public transport can often spread out the cost of their fares by advance purchase of some form of season ticket or pass and, although this is a short-term lump sum cost, long-term savings can be made.

TV Licence

There are a number of ways of budgeting for TV licences.

The scheme allows for weekly or fortnightly instalments. Anyone wanting to pay their TV licence through the Cash Easy Entry Scheme can make an application by phoning the Helpline on 0845 728 9289.