Take Control Of Your Finances

The Consumer Council

Managing our finances can be challenging for lots of us, especially at the moment, but there are steps you can take to regain control of them.

Budgeting and Online Tools

It is easy to lose track of our spending from day to day. Many of us don't know where our money goes. Maintaining a fixed budget can ease the stress of financial worries. By using some of these resources as a first step, managing your income and outgoings can be made easier and ultimately help save money on your bills,

  • Free Online Budgeting Tool - The Consumer Council’s online interactive budgeting tool can help your household get a handle on spending and identify areas where you can save money. It provides examples of what typical households in Northern Ireland are spending so you can compare. There is also a variety of free, online and interactive comparison tools that can help you save money in all sorts of areas such as transport costs and saving money on your household energy bills and home heating oil.
  • Home Budget Planner - The Home Budget Planner can help to show you where your money goes, where you may be able to cut back and what money you need to try to put aside for unexpected bills. It also helps with setting priorities for the essential bills such as the mortgage or rent, electricity and heating.
  • Spending Diary - Keeping a spending diary can help you work out a budget and writing down what you spend will help you think about how you spend your money and where it goes. This will help you see your spending habits over a period of time. To request a free spending diary call 0800 121 6022.

Understand the true cost of borrowing money

It is essential that you consider all of your options before making any borrowing decisions. If you feel that you have no option but to borrow money, there may be more alternatives than you realise - even if your credit history isn't the best.

If you have difficulty making ends meet and are considering borrowing, you may find some helpful advice on The Consumer Council's website under its borrow money section.

Who can help if you are in financial difficulty

In cases when your everyday costs increase but your income does not, or when you have to borrow to service an existing debt, you may need financial help. Some of us struggle with our finances from time-to-time, but if you are constantly having trouble making ends meet, you should be proactive and seek advice and guidance early on - before debt becomes a problem.

You can find a number of agencies that offer free, independent consultation and advice.

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