Renfrewshire Council

Diane's financial wellbeing advice for colleagues

Social renewal lead officer Diane Dunn shares her advice and top tips for helping you manage your income

Image of Dianne Dunn Back in December 2021, our social renewal lead officer, Diane Dunn, shared her advice and top tips on managing money throughout the winter months. Since then, many have seen and felt the impact of global events and the resultant pressure on household budgets, most notably the sharp rise in energy bills - as the cost of living continues to increase. We caught up with Diane to talk about the support and advice available to help people cope with these ongoing financial worries.

Diane said, "As the cost of living rises, I think it's fair to say that money and bills are on almost everyone's minds. People everywhere are feeling the squeeze and that's why we've been looking more closely at financial wellbeing and exploring what we can do to help our colleagues and the people of Renfrewshire."

Diane's top tips

  • Talk about it

    If you are struggling with money, talking about it can be difficult. That's why we take part in Talk Money Week each year. We know that often the first step is the hardest. But it's that first step that will start you on your journey to taking back control.
  • Find support

    We want to make it simple for people to get the help they need when they need it. The Financial wellbeing section of the Taking care of our employee wellbeing webpage is a good place to start if you think you need help or financial advice.
  • Watch your energy use

    Most of us have seen an increase in our fuel bills recently. It's good to know what you're using, so look at the bills you receive and see if there are any simple ways you can reduce your energy usage.
  • Shop around before you borrow

    Please don't use payday or high interest lenders. If you can't get a loan from a bank, or you want to borrow a small amount (banks typically won't give you a loan for less than £1000), look at The Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance (RACA) for information about safe local places to borrow as well as improving your credit rating.
  • Save a little

    If you can afford it, try to save a small amount each month. Having a small financial cushion can really help with unforeseen strains on your income like unexpected repairs. We have links with local Credit Unions that have simple options to help you save. If you live or work anywhere in the West of Scotland, there's the Right Way Credit Union and Scotwest Credit Union, and if you live in Renfrewshire, you could opt for Johnstone Credit Union. Each offer payroll schemes where you can set up an amount to save directly from your wages or if you take a loan, you can also pay the credit union back this way. You can find out more on the My Credit Union Renfrewshire website.
  • Maximising your income
  1. Make a list of what is coming in and what's going out. This simple step can really help you take back control. If you are spending more than you have coming in, don't panic! Make an appointment with an adviser at Advice Works who can help you balance your budget.
  2. Check your bank statements for direct debits and standing orders you no longer need or use and cancel them.
  3. Find out if you are entitled to any benefits or help with things like paying your Council Tax. Advice Works and Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau both offer benefit checks so you can be sure you are receiving everything you are entitled to.

Did you catch our Facebook live event?
On Monday 22 May, advisors from Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau, Dan and Robert, f were live on Facebook answering local people's questions on rising energy bills, cost of living and managing money. If you missed it you can watch the recording on our Facebook page.

Don't forget if you are feeling stressed, anxious or worried about your wellbeing for any reason, you can access free counselling through our employee counselling service Time for Talking. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for confidential support from professional counsellors. You can find out more on the Time for Talking website or call 0800 970 3980 for support now

Published on Thursday 26 May 2022