It turns out nothing levels things up like a pandemic. Millions were forced on to benefits as jobs dried up and Universal Credit (UC) claimant numbers doubled almost overnight. Suddenly we really were in it together, working out how to navigate the system and live on very little.
Quids in! has been going since 2008. Our aim was to help people on lower incomes, or facing money shocks, to stretch and grow a limited budget. We have a quarterly magazine, a monthly money email, a website, support services and a range of guides… like this one.
This Guide makes UC simpler to manage. All the advice about avoiding the pitfalls came from claimants. The lessons they learned the hard way largely fall into three areas, which form the themes of this guide:
Banking, Budgeting and Being Online. They inspired our ‘3 Bs’ events taking place around the country and the ‘three bees’ mascots (see more below). Their other tips included: Talk to someone, check you’re claiming all your benefits, and plan ahead.
It’s been a rubbish couple of years. Those pushed on to benefits during the pandemic really are hoping the country will ‘build back better’. But while we wait for the dust to settle and jobs to reappear, at least we know we have the basics covered.
Due to how it’s paid, we need to plan ahead so payments cover day-to-day expenses as well as essential bills and rent. Many claimants have found themselves in debt from the start and we could all do without that hassle.
Bankers have joined the ranks of estate agents and double glazing salesmen as the people we love to hate. UC claimants, however, will need to make banks, or a credit union, work for them. The right account could make the difference between our bills getting paid or us falling into arrears.
UC claims will be made and managed via the internet but while we’re there, we can check we’re claiming all we’re entitled to. Then we can shop around to bag some bargains and get ourselves, ahem, quids in!