Managing your money

We all have different methods we use to take control over our spending. With constant sales in shops windows and all the temptations to buy our kids all the toys they pick from a TV advert, it can be easy to suddenly lose track of what we spend and find that we are either in debts or cannot afford the necessary things.

Here are some few tried and tested ways to gain more control over your money.

  • Using cash and envelopes: “When I was living as a single parent and before that when I was pregnant and then had my daughter I used the same system.  That enabled me to never get into debt and ensure I lived within my budget” says Natalie, ‘psychologically it feels like the cash has value and isn’t limitless, whereas a card doesn’t feel like that. My advice is to write down how much you started with on each envelope, and whenever you take money out write down how much should be left so it looks like a bank statement.  Just make sure you lock your envelopes away somewhere safe of course!
  • Spend some time working out what money you have coming in and what will be going out not just weekly, but throughout the year.  
  • Make sure you include at least a small amount to be able to buy yourself something nice at least once a month (even if it’s just £2 for a coffee)
  • Create weekly envelopes for the things you have coming out weekly (food, electric, gas, nappies, bus fares etc)
  • Create monthly envelopes which are saving for things that are either monthly or annual (christmas, birthdays, broken appliances, car insurance etc). Stick to it.   
  • Unless you need it to improve your credit record, it might be best to avoid debts such store cards, loans, Bright House (WONGA!), overdrafts ETC.  Even though it may seem like a good solution, it is likely to cause more problems in the long run. (Exemptions would be a student loan and mortgage)
  • Live within your means: If you CAN’T afford it, DON’T buy it.
  • Plan ahead: ‘When organising food, I always plan a week’s menu and then just buy the food required for the meals I have planned.  It saves so much money (and food) from just going and buying bits and pieces and trying to make a meal out of it’ says Natalie.
  • If possible shopping somewhere like Aldi or Lidl might be cheaper than Tesco or Asda.
  • Look out for free activities for kids in your area (E.g. going to the park, library, children’s centre, museums etc)
  • There will be sacrifices. ‘When I was living on income support I didn’t have broadband or a TV, but I did have enough for everything else’ Carly.


I am in debt and I need help!

If you are really struggling, you may benefit from contacting CAP: who offer money management courses, debt advice and solutions
You can also get help from the Citizen Advice Bureau if you find yourself in debts or you need more advice on how to avoid debts.

If you or any other person you know might be experiencing financial abuse from a partner, friends or relatives while being a young parent, this could mean having less control and/or power over their own money. Please follow this link to get help.


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