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From next month electricity and gas bills for a typical UK household will go up by nearly £700 a year, a 54% increase. These eye-wateringly high figures will have an impact on an estimated 18 million households.

Alongside this we’re facing a rise in costs elsewhere, with fuel prices increasing and inflation having an impact on food prices, our mortgages or rental costs.

Maive Coley, Vice Chair of the RCN Nursing Support Workers Committee, is concerned. “After two years of working under the relentless pressure of a global pandemic, we need to make sure this isn’t the final straw,” she says.

We need to make sure this isn’t the final straw

The RCN can provide advice and help if your finances are getting out of hand. We’ve teamed up with MoneyHelper, previously the Money Advice Service, to offer a range of tools and tips for setting daily budgets, and calculators to help you manage your increasingly stretched income.

Maive adds: “We know that the rising cost of living is having an impact on our members’ spending and, for some, this can be a worry. Please seek support and don’t feel alone in trying to manage any debt or money worries.”

Financial shock

As well as the increasing cost of essentials, sometimes people experience a financial shock triggered by something external. This could be a life event, like redundancy, or a period of illness, which means a decrease in your income or an increase in your spending. 

RCN welfare adviser Ian King says there are many ways to seek support if you’ve had a change of circumstance. “Our new webpages have easy tools and guides that can specifically help whether someone needs benefits advice or just tips on how to spend less and ways to make their money go further,” he says.

“With the RCN financial wellbeing checker, you can pinpoint exactly where you need support, and someone will be available to help.” 

Read RCN advice in our guide, Financial Wellbeing: Money Troubles.

‘It can be hard to accept you’re the person who needs help’

RCN member Helen* developed a health condition which meant she’s now unable to work. She tells us her story 

You never know what’s coming around the corner in life. I couldn’t have predicted that my financial situation was going to become problematic. I was so used to being independent.

I contacted the RCN for advice on how to manage on a reduced income and how I should go about accessing additional financial assistance. 

I was advised to take a look at the financial wellbeing resources on the RCN website. There I found a wealth of information. The budget tools were especially helpful for really sorting out my income and outgoings.

I was so used to being independent

Having used the information on the website, I then made an appointment to speak to one of the RCN’s welfare team, who was brilliant. Discussing my situation with them helped me rebuild my confidence, as I had felt so isolated.

As nursing staff we’re used to looking after other people so it can be hard to accept you’re the person who needs help. But when that support came, it meant so much. I felt I wasn’t alone – I had the RCN team on my side.

I feel fortunate that I was able to access help from the RCN. If you’re worried about your finances, for whatever reason, remember the RCN is there for you.

Start off by looking at the information on the website as soon as you can. Even if you find it hard to take this small first step, do it, and take control. 

*The member’s name has been changed.

Tips for financial health

  • Track your budget. It’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the money you have coming in and going out. 
  • Write it down. Keep track of what you’re spending daily – the RCN has a tool to help you do this.
  • Try to save. Even if it’s just a small amount each month, it could help deal with unexpected costs.
  • Access NHS or RCN member discounts. You can get money off supermarket shopping cards, travel and cinema trips with RCNXtra which could save you hundreds of pounds. 
  • Speak to someone. If, after using the new financial wellbeing resources, you need to discuss your situation, contact the RCN welfare service.  

Further information

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