Talking about tomorrow


Managing finance

Financial planning

Planning is the best way to be sure you’re dealing with the most important things. It also helps you prepare for the future.

Start by writing down all your household income and where it comes from – for example salary, benefits, or anywhere else.

Then write down what you spend money on. Try and come up with at least a rough figure for everything, from rent or mortgage payments to social and leisure activities. It can be useful to refer to recent bank or credit card statements to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Decide which items on your list are essential (for example rent or mortgage, household bills or other contract payments). That gives you an idea of how much you have available for other things you want to do.

If you know something will be expensive, planning can help you work towards it rather than being caught out and risking getting into problems.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Whatever your income, a financial adviser can help you make the most of what you have available.

Dealing with debt?

It can be easy to get into debt and begin to feel overwhelmed.

If that’s you, don’t delay – talk to someone who can help you get things under control. Contact’s freephone helpline has details of national and local debt advice services, or visit the Scottish Government website Scotland’s Financial Health Service for advice on all aspects of debt management including links to local advisers across Scotland.

An adviser will give you free confidential advice and support to start sorting out your debts and managing payments.

Read Contact’s tips for dealing with debt.

Building your young person’s financial awareness

It’s a good idea to involve your young person in managing their money as far as possible, depending on their understanding and ability.

The aim is to build their everyday awareness as one of the steps towards greater independence. Even if they will always need help in some areas, being able to manage money is important in reducing stress and building confidence.

Start by talking about where your own money comes from, and how you decide what to spend. Even if you manage their benefits or expenditure, you can encourage them to check amounts and monitor invoices.

Try and come up with a way of keeping track of money that makes sense to them, and use it together – maybe a spreadsheet for transactions if you have a computer, or a notebook kept just for finance. Money can be a difficult concept to grasp, especially now most of us don’t use actual coins and notes very often. Seeing the numbers can help make it more real over time.

If it’s appropriate, give your young person some responsibility in managing money – start with small amounts and build up gradually. If you have guardianship or power of attorney, your young person can take responsibility for some tasks and you step in where they need more support.

Make sure they know what to do if something goes wrong – especially if there seems to be an error, for example an incorrect invoice or statement. It’s important they know where to find help if they need it, to avoid overpaying and prevent undue stress.