Why is this important?
I am going to live on my own for the first time and am worried about how to manage my budget. What can I do to avoid getting into debt?
Try not to be intimidated by money matters. Keep track of how much money you have coming in and how much you have to put aside for bills, rent and food. You may find it helpful to set up standing orders and direct debits to pay your bills. Arrange for payments to leave your account soon after your pay date. If you can, try and save some money each month as a general savings plan or to cover emergencies when they arise. Make sure you look again at your budget each time there is a change in your income or any other change that might affect your finances.
Always shop around for the cheapest gas, electricity, telephone and insurance deals. There are many to choose from now.
Be careful about buying goods on credit. The interest repayments can be quite high. Also, be careful about interest free credit. It may seem a good deal but if you fail to repay the full amount before the end of the free interest period, you could find yourself paying the full interest, even if you are one day late on your payment. Try to pay at least 10% of your balance every month on your credit cards.
Don’t just run up an overdraft without talking to your bank, you will be charged for unauthorised overdrafts.
Be very careful about taking out any loans. Read and familiarize yourself with the terminology. Most important, know the difference between secured and unsecured lending. If you take out a secured loan, you are using your house as surety and may lose it if you cannot make the loan repayments.
For more information about buying goods on credit and taking out loans, see Credit.
For more information about unauthorised overdrafts, see Banks and building societies.