Welcome to our monthly advice column from Citizens Advice Bury and Bolton. Each month, we’ll be tackling an advice query about a specific issue, sharing information and letting you know where to go for support. Remember, if you need any advice you can contact our team: freephone 0808 278 7804 or visit www.cabb.org.uk to find out more about our advice by video service or to self-refer.
I am a single parent with two young children. I am already struggling to stay on top of my household bills; my weekly food shop isn’t stretching as far anymore and now my energy bill is going up too. I don’t know how I’m going to afford all of these price rises. What can I do to stop my finances spiralling out of control?
First of all, you are not alone in this and there is always support to help you.
It’s always worth checking if there are any benefits you don’t know about that you’re eligible for, including support with your energy costs and living costs. On the Citizens Advice website, there’s a benefits calculator, advice on how to reduce living costs, and information on other ways to increase your income.
There’s also emergency support that you may have access to, such as food bank vouchers or fuel vouchers. You could contact your local council to see if they could also offer support.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of bills, it’s really important to understand what money you have coming in and going out each month. Citizens Advice has a budgeting tool on its website that can help you with this.
If you’re already behind on bills, prioritise paying your rent or mortgage, plus energy bills and Council Tax first. Not paying these bills has the most serious consequences. You should speak to the person or company you owe money to, to see if they can help you repay your bills sustainably.
We know that times are incredibly tough but please remember, you don’t have to face this alone. Do contact your local Citizens Advice to help you find a way forward.
If you need help or are worried about your situation, we can help. Get in touch with us free on 0808 278 7804 or visit cabb.org.uk for more ways to access support and self-refer and we’ll call you back.