You may have relied on your partner to sort out the finances in the past or be used to budgeting for another person. In either case the sooner you adjust and sort out your financial situation, the least likely you are to run into problems. The following steps will help:

Calculate your income and expenditure

Work out how much you have coming in and out every month. Calculate essential expenditure as a baseline so that you can work out your disposable income.

Know what you are spending your disposable income on

Make a list of what you have spent in the last month under various sub headings: groceries, medical, clothes, etc. If you eat, lunch or have coffee out, make sure that you include this separately. You might be surprised at how much you are spending in any one particular area and could then look at making savings, for example, swapping pre bought lunches for homemade sandwiches.

Open a bank account

Set up Direct Debits to pay for your bills. Ring the companies involved for a form and send it back, they should do the rest. Check that the date any Direct Debits leave your account is close to the day after your money goes in as this will make budgeting much easier.

Ring utility companies and inform them if you have left the property

Ensure you ring the bank to cancel any Direct Debits that you are no longer obliged to pay. If you have a joint account, close it as soon as possible and split the money as you agree, the longer this is left the more likely it is to lead to dispute.

Don't borrow your way out of debt

Do not be tempted to approach companies offering unsecured loans with high interest rates. Such companies prey on people in difficult situations and you could end up in court if unable to meet the repayments. Seek help from an Independent Advisor before entering into any credit agreements.

Shop around

...for the best deals on utility services, financial services and insurance. Ask friends and family for their recommendations and do not change companies through door-to-door salesmen. Take your time to read through the terms and conditions before signing up to a new service provider. Comparison sites may be a good start, but compare several of these as even they vary with the deals on offer.

Remember that you are shopping for one adult

A small shop every couple of days may be better than a large monthly shop, and try small high street shops as you can often buy goods in smaller quantities, avoiding unnecessary waste. If you have friends that are single you could shop together to buy in bulk, saving money on multi-buys and special offers. Also swap large stores for Aldi and Lidl. The quality of food is excellent and they are far cheaper than the larger supermarket chains.

Make a list when you go shopping and stick to it

Plan your meals in advance and make a list of what you need. Do not be tempted by special buys, two for ones etc. as you will often end up buying things that you don't need. Remember that superamarkets employ pyscholcogists to tempt you buy items that you don't need with special offers and carefully placed items at eye level and at the end of isles. Stick to your list!

Swap brand names for own brands

Own supermarket brands are often made by the larger brands and then relabelled. There are plenty of own brand goods that are just as good in quality. Also look for the cheapest of any product at that time rather than sticking to the same on every shop.

Avoid buying clothes and shoes that you will never wear

Any female reading this will almost certainly have items in their wardrobe that they have never worn, probably still the with the labels on! Limit yourself to one quality item per month rather than buying shoes and clothes because they are on sale, and if you don't have the money, don't go clothes shopping at all - then you won't be tempted. 

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Bereavement Links

Age Concern Bereavement Advice
Information and support services for the bereaved including advice on arranging a funeral, grieving, living alone and local support services (pdf download)

Cruse Bereavement Care
Charity dedicated to supporting you through bereavement

NHS
NHS advice on coping with bereavement

MIND
Mental health charity with support for bereavement

See our Bereavement Links page for more links