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Managing your money

Whether you get wages, benefits or a student grant, you have to make sure your money will cover your housing costs and your living expenses. This page will help you make sure your money lasts from one payday to the next.

What should I pay first?

No matter how you get your money, you should get paying for your essentials out of the way first. That way you will know how much money you have left for other things.

As soon as you get your money, for example, wages or student loan, you should pay your rent or your mortgage. If you have a bank account, you could set up a standing order or a direct debit. That way, you won't even have to think about paying it every month and you will have the security of knowing that it is paid.

If you are over 18 and not a student there is a good chance that you’re liable to pay council tax and this should be next on the list to be paid. As with your rent or mortgage the easiest way to make sure you stay up-to-date with your payments is by setting up a standing order or direct debit.

Pay your bills

Try to pay off any bills that you have next. If you have a bank account, you can arrange to pay your bills monthly by direct debit. This is a good idea because you will know how much money to set aside for bills every week or month, rather than getting a nasty surprise when a bill comes through for the last three months.

If you have a power card meter, do you know many power cards you usually buy between one payday and the next? If you buy them now, you won't run out of power after you have run out of money.

Visit an energy advice centre for tips on how to save money on your gas and electricity bills. Local money advice services will also be able to help you understand how to work out the best deals for things like your mobile phone, credit cards, bank charges for example.

What are your other essential expenses?

Have a think about the other things you might need to buy between now and your next payday. Can you buy them now or set the money aside? For example:

  • food
  • travel to work/college
  • toiletries.

Your money

If you pay for all your essentials as soon as you get your money, you can see what money there is left over for anything else. It will also stop you from spending too much money and finding that you can't pay your rent or your bills.

If possible, try to save some money. A little each week or month will soon add up and it is handy to have a cushion for unforeseen spending emergencies.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

The important points

  • Your rent or mortgage payments should be your priority when you get paid or get any income.
  • A good way to stay up to date with your rent and council tax payments is to set up a standing order or direct debit.
  • If you use power cards or a meter to pay for your heating or electricity, work out how many you use so you can buy them in advance and avoid running out at the end of the month.

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