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Guest Blog: Advice From The Money and Pensions Service

We asked the people from the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) if they would write a guest blog for Meic as part of our Cost of Living Crisis Campaign. They said yes, and have shared loads of useful information and advice for you.

This article is also available in Welsh. I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma

Sarah Horscroft and Lee Phillips from MAPS have some advice and ideas to share with you about how to access support if you’re a young person worried about the cost of living. They also have advice on managing your money, whether you’re about to start living independently or you want to support your family during a challenging time.

MAPS logo for advice guest blog

Money worries is normal

Money is something we have to deal with on a daily basis and the increases in the cost of living are something we constantly see on TV, with people talking about the cost of food and heating our homes. Understandably, many of us are feeling a bit worried.

It’s normal to experience money worries, but it’s always better to face them rather than ignore them. Whether you’re moving out, have just graduated, or started your first job, if you can sort out the basics with your money now, then you’ll find it easier to hit those big money goals later down the line.  

Illustration. Person sat on floor cross legged with laptop on knee and hand to head with puzzled expression. Large question mark on right hand side. For advice guest blog

When you first start to support yourself financially, there are a lot of things to consider: begin by thinking about your own relationship to money, you might find it’s better than you thought it was. The questions below might help to get the ball rolling:

  • Do you prefer to live for today or plan for tomorrow? And why is this?
  • Are you confident managing money? And why is this?
  • Do you think it’s important to keep track of what’s coming in and going out? Why/why not?
  • Do you like to shop around to make money go further or do you buy on impulse?
  • Do you talk about money?
  • What are your attitudes to spending, saving, and borrowing money?
  • How was money managed by your family when growing up?
Illustration. Red button with black surround with word start in middle and cursor pointing at it. For advice guest blog

Where do I start?

Although supporting yourself financially can seem complicated and a bit overwhelming at first, our MoneyHelper website lists the most important things to consider if you are between 16 and 24. It can also point you to our best guides to help you get on the right track with your money.

“I’m hopeless with money, and everyone knows that”

Just because you’ve been one way with money in the past, it doesn’t mean that’s how you’ll be in the future. As you grow as a person, priorities change and those around you will understand that.

The first step to becoming a money pro who knows exactly what they’re talking about is sorting out your budget. It will take a little effort, but it’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the money you have coming in and going out. Setting up a budget means you’re:

  • less likely to end up in debt 
  • less likely to get caught out by unexpected costs
  • more likely to have a good credit rating
  • in a great position to save up for a holiday, a car, or another treat

To get started you can use MoneyHelper’s free and easy-to-use Budget Planner

Illustration of a piggybank For advice guest blog

Money saving tips and resources

At University? Take a look at our budgeting tips and guidance for uni students

Using the bus or train? If you use the train a lot, then make sure to get a 16-25 Railcard as it saves one-third on train fares. If you’re aged 16 to 21 and live in Wales you can apply for a MyTravelPass. This means you could get about a third off the cost of bus travel.

Living in Wales means that we can access extra support from Welsh Government

Illustration of green tick For advice guest blog

Prioritise

If you or your family are struggling, MoneyHelper’s quick, easy-to-use bill prioritiser can help you understand which bills and payments to deal with first and how to avoid missing any payments.

If you have missed a payment, you don’t need to struggle alone. Speaking to a trained and experienced debt adviser about your situation can help you see what the best decision for you might be. Use MoneyHelper’s debt advice locator tool to find support near you, either online, by phone, or face to face.

Often, there’s a link between struggling with money and poor mental wellbeing. Feeling low can make it tough to manage money – and worrying about it can make you feel even worse. Learn more about money problems and poor mental wellbeing.

Illustration of fingers taking a note from a wad of notes with pound symbol on them.

And some good news you might not be aware of….

If you were born in the UK between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, you will probably have a child trust fund – a kind of savings account – regardless of whether your parents or carers opened an account for you.

These were opened with a free £250 or £500 contribution from the UK government when you were born. Welsh Government also topped up some of the accounts. Even if no more money was added to the account, there should still be something there for you – there might be anything from a few hundred to over £1000. If you are 16 or 17 you can start to manage these accounts yourself but can’t access the cash until you are 18. This video will explain it. 

Whatever your situation, remember there is support out there. Reach out to MoneyHelper for free guidance you can trust.

Want to talk?

If you need to talk confidentially about anything that’s worrying you, whether that be about money or anything else, then Meic is here to listen and offer advice every day between 8am and midnight. Text, Call or chat to us online.

Check out our Cost of Living Crisis campaign for more blogs that may help you. There are lots of great services and organisations out there that can help.