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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Managing Your Money

Managing your money is a real life skill! There is a lot to learn and a lot of information out there, let us break it down for you.

On this page we cover the following:

  1. Interesting information about money
  2. Credit vs Debit
  3. Budgeting and Cost of Living support
  4. Debt
  5. Savings
  6. University and Student loans
  7. Investing -risk or reward
  8. Insurance

We also have information if you or someone you know is worried about the cost of living.

Did you know?

What is the difference between tax and National Insurance?
Income Tax: is a deduction that goes towards paying for all the services we use in our society.
National Insurance contributions: pay for certain state benefits, including your State Pension and NHS Services.

What does the term PAYE stand for?
Pay As You Earn. This is the way most employees pay tax – it is deducted by the employer – so the amount of money received comes after tax is taken off.

Do you know the difference between a standing order and a direct debit?
Standing orders: You are in control. You instruct your bank to pay the money to a particular person or company, and it is your responsibility to change the payment details.
Direct debit: You instruct your bank to release money automatically from your account each month to pay bills and other amounts. The billing company has control.

What is phishing?
Phishing is a criminal activity which attempts to mislead you into providing your personal information and bank account details. This is often done online through fake emails and text messages. Never share your bank account details or pin number to anyone.

What financial support is available? Find out about financial support if you need it - benefits - GOV.UK  Or take a look at our factsheet below.

Benefits calculator: Visit Turn2us for information on financial support for young people 16-18.

What’s the difference between a credit card or a debit card?

A debit card is what you get when you open a current account with any bank. You deposit money into this account (both in person and online) and the money you use is this money.
A credit card needs an application. The money that is available on this card and with this account is borrowed and you must repay this monthly.

Which is better – credit or debit?

There is no right or wrong answer to the question – find out which one works best for you. When you are first working, you may find it best to only use a current account to keep track of your money.

Some people like to use a credit card to build up their credit score, which will help them move towards bigger commitments, like a mortgage.

Credit usually incurs interest and you may get into trouble if you cannot meet your repayments.

You can also organise an overdraft to help cover for unexpected outgoings (it’s like a short term debt, useful if you get low on money at the end of the month).
– DO speak to your bank, agree a suitable limit that you can easily pay back and set up re-payments so you don’t get charged.

Credit cards

“How do I borrow money with a credit card?

The first step is to approach a bank. But, here are some useful tips before you do:

  • Figure our how much you can afford to repay each month.
  • Read the forms before you sign them. If you don’t understand them get help from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website.
  • Check exactly how much you’ll pay back including interest and charges.
  • Watch out for optional extras. Sometimes payment protection insurance is included when you haven’t asked for it. You don’t have to take this up and it may not cover you if you’re self-employed or on a short term contract.
  • Look at the length of the loan not just the monthly payment.
  • Set up automatic repayments so you don’t go into debt.

How do I budget?

Budgeting looks at your income (wages) and your outgoings (rent, bills, food etc) so you make sure you have enough money.

If you spend a bit of time creating a budget or thinking about your money it can save you stress and issues in the long run.

Online help to manage money and debt:

Digital advice tool – Register to receive online debt advice, visit the National Debt Helpline website.

General advice on all sorts of issues relating to managing your money-  Money Advice Service website.

Money saving tips and advice from Money Saving Expert website.

Maybe you or a parent are worried about the cost of living? 

Use the links on this page to help find support, including Citizens Advice.

You can find out more about cost of living support on the Suffolk County Council's website.

It can be really stressful, when you don't have enough money or you are struggling with debt- but there are people to help you. 

Getting help if you are struggling with debt 

Don’t bury your head in the sand. There are a few things you can do if you’re having trouble managing your debt:

  • Speak to your bank. 
  • For independent advice, visit the CAB website
  • Call the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000

How do I save?

You might want to begin saving – that’s amazing!

Take a look at this article on the Money Advice Services website for some tips of how to get started: How to start saving money | MoneyHelper or use the savings calculator.

Do you know what the personal savings allowance is?
It means a basic-rate taxpayer (who pays 20% tax on income) can earn £1,000 interest on savings per tax year before paying tax on it.

There are lots of ways to stay on top of your savings and your money. Speak to your bank about what they offer.

“How do I plan for university and understand student loans.”

Student loans:

A student loan pays for your university course tuition fees during the 3 years of your degree.

The Government has announced that for students starting university courses from 2023/24, that tuition fees will be frozen at £9,250 for another two years. 

Your student loan is split into two parts: a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of your studies and a maintenance loan to help you with the cost of living while studying.

Maintenance loans are means tested which means how much you are paid depends on your household income and how much your parents earn. Due to this your parents may be expected to contribute to your cost of living while studying.  

To find out what tuition fees cover and how you apply for a student loan, visit the UCAS website.

Living costs while at university:

Depending on how much maintenance loan you get, you may need to consider planning how you will afford to live away from home to help cover the weekly costs of food, clothes, travel, entertainment and course equipment.

Tips to help save money at university:

  1. Use your student overdraft wisely
  2. Be smart in the supermarket – plan meals together with housemates to help share cost of food
  3. Ask about student discounts in shops/places you go
  4. Buy second-hand course books/laptops
  5. Get a 16-25 railcard

Current student loan repayments:
You become eligible to repay your student loan in the April after you leave University. 

Students must repay loans at a rate of 9% of everything they earn above £27,295 each year (you do not repay anything if you earn less than this). For example, if you start earning £32,295 after graduating (£5,000 more than the £27,295 threshold) you’ll repay 9% of that – which is £450 a year.

Interest on student loans:
After you graduate, each year you will receive an annual statement which shows you your student loan amount and the yearly interest on top of this.
With any loan you take out you pay interest for the amount you have burrowed until the loan is paid off. Student loans have the lowest interest rates compared to other loans. MoneySavingExpert helps explain about student loan interest.

Investing – risk and reward

What is the difference between investments and gambling?

An investment means you have

  • done your research before investing and the odds are favourable,
  • a long-term plan,
  • ownership of something,
  • better chances of a positive result

Gambling means you have…

  • done little or no research and the odds are unfavourable,
  • is risk-seeking, maybe done in secret and not part of a long-term plan;
  • the activity is significantly motivated by entertainment or compulsion;
  • you do not have ownership of something tangible
  • gambling is addictive so you will end up losing more money than you gained

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a financial product sold by insurance companies to safeguard you and/or your property against the risk of loss, damage or theft. There are various types of insurance including car, home, life, and travel insurance.

You take out an insurance policy to cover you or your items up to a certain amount.

It’s good practice to take out insurance, but shop around and do some research so you get a competitive price and only pay for what you need.

Need proof of age?
If you need proof of age ID, we suggest getting a Citizen Card, visit
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Page updated on May 2nd, 2024 at 12:06pm