Life skills - managing your money

Find out about accessible banking services, university or college funding or advice on sticking to a budget, gadgets and pieces of equipment to help you manage your cash.

Looking after your own money is perhaps one of the most defining steps towards increasing your independence. There may be benefits you could be entitled to and lots of resources that can help you budget. So read our tips and start managing your cash flow today.

Banking and financial services

Banking services are covered by the Equality Act 2010 which means that your bank or building society must provide their services to you in a way that you can access. Our Money and finance section has information on banks and banking, paying for goods and services, advice as well as details of our campaign to get more talking cash machines in the UK! The RNIB shop has lots of useful gadgets that can help you to identify coins and notes and produces a useful guide called Managing Money which offers advice about chip and pin, managing foreign currency and getting financial advice.

Benefits and welfare rights

It is important to make sure you are receiving all of the benefits and welfare rights that you are entitled to. The type or sum of benefits you can get may change depending on your age, circumstances, living arrangements or learning or working status. Our Benefits for blind and partially sighted people section outlines the types of benefits available to people with a visual impairment including Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payments, Tax credits and more.

If you would like to speak to one of our trained benefits advisers about applying for DLA on behalf of a blind or partially sighted child, or how to appeal if you are unhappy with the result of your claim, please call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk.
 
You can also discuss your claim with the DWP by calling their DLA Helpline on 0845 712 3456.

Further support

If you have any welfare rights enquiries, please call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk and our Welfare Rights Advisors can help to resolve any problems you have in getting the right support. For further support, get in touch with your nearest Independent Living Co-ordinator (ILCo) from Action for Blind People. They can offer advice and guidance around day-to-day living, welfare rights, housing issues and managing personal budgets.
 
In Northern Ireland, RNIB Northern Ireland has a welfare rights service that offers support and information on the full range of social security benefits that blind and partially sighted people, may be eligible for. Our advisors can be contacted by emailing us atbenefitsni@rnib.org.uk or call us on 028 9032 9373. You can also find out more about the services offered by RNIB Northern Ireland on our 'Benefits Advice Service' pages.
In Scotland, RNIB Scotland offer information and advice about the benefits and financial help you may be entitled to. For further information, contact RNIB Scotland's Benefit Helpline on 0845 602 4033.
 
In Wales, RNIB Cymru offers money advice and support for blind and partially sighted people living in Wales. This service can provide help with assessment of entitlement to benefits, form completion and challenging benefit awards or decisions.To find out more about this service visit our RNIB Cymru 'Money advice and support' pages.

Budget advice

If you are living independently for the first time, or have had problems getting into debt in the past, budgeting is a great way to try and keep within your limits. Budgeting well follows the very simple principle of knowing what your income and outgoings are, either on a weekly or monthly basis. Follow these tips to create your own budget:

  • Work out your total income each month (from benefits, grants, pay from work etc.)
  • Work out your fixed or regular outgoings, such as accommodation costs, energy bills, phone or broadband bills, regular charitable giving. Set these up as Direct Debits if possible, then you don't need to worry about making late payments.
  • Work out your regular but variable outgoings, such as phone bills, travel and transport. If you review your spending over the last three or four months, you can estimate roughly what these things cost you.
  • Hopefully so far your outgoings are less than your income! The money you have left is what you can spend on "food and fun", clothes, music, gadgets, entertainment or even for saving if you are doing really well!
  • Divide up your "spending" money into a weekly amount.
  • Keep an eye on your budget during the first few weeks and months of using it - if you have over or under-estimated any of your spending, adjust your "food and fun" allowance accordingly.
  • Be careful of building up debt on credit or store cards, they may have high interest rates and it is more difficult to keep track of your spending if you only receive a monthly statement

Debt advice

Getting into debt can be a worrying experience, and increasingly common in the current financial climate. Support is available to help. Visit our Debt advice pages for advice and support about debt.

Student funding

Various support is available to help with the cost of a college or university course. Visit Funding at College, Disabled Students Allowance and other funding to find out more.

Other money and finance publications

RNIB has several free publications packed full of impartial information on many aspects of money and finance.

There are lots of books and guides to help you make the most of your money which are not written by RNIB and you can find details of these on our Money - further reading pages.

Donate now

Right now we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most. Please make a donation and help us support more blind and partially sighted people.

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