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Making ends meet

It is always a good idea to manage your financial outgoings and review this on a regular basis. And identify your outgoings and cut costs where possible.

You can create a budget planner to get a clear view on where your money is being spent. This will help you allocate and save money accordingly.

The Money Advice Service offers clear, unbiased money advice and information to help you work out what's right for you. The service is free and independent, and includes step-by-step guides, product information, tools and calculators.

For your free money health check arrange to speak with an advisor on 01708 432824.

There are many types of benefits that can be claimed in the UK but only two types can be claimed through local councils. These are:

Housing Benefit
Housing costs are a large part of most people's expenses. If you do not own your own home you will probably pay rent. If you are on a low income, this can be difficult to manage. Housing Benefit can cover or pay towards your rent.

Local Council Tax Support
Whether you own your own home or pay rent, you will probably have to pay council tax. Council Tax Support (which replaces Council tax benefit) is available for households on low income including those in receipt of Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Pension Credit.

Other types of UK benefits

Information on all other types of benefits, including your entitlement and the ways in which they can be claimed, can be found at GOV.UK.

Liberty Credit Union
Credit Unions are profit-sharing, non-political, financial co-operatives. They are owned and controlled by members, and exist to help members save and borrow in a fair ethical way.

They work by members' savings accumulating to form a pot of money from which loans are offered to other members at low rates of interest.

The credit union holds savings deposited by members, makes loans to members at fair rates of interest and provides other financial services. Anyone living or working in Essex can join.

Debt advice
The worst thing that you can do when you owe money is to ignore the problem, hoping that it will go away. If you know that it is becoming a problem making payments to people you owe money to, it is better to contact them as early as possible - they are more likely to be flexible about making future agreements with you.

Budgeting loans

Loans for essential items such as rent, clothing, furniture and travel expenses are available for those who meet a certain criteria.

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