Our money advice team offer free and confidential advice to Aspire Housing customers on all matters relating to money.

Here you’ll find links and guides to help improve your finances including tools and calculators so you can find the right information, speak to the right people and make the right decisions about your money.

Our money advisors have a wealth of experience in helping people to budget, save money for those rainy days, reschedule their debts and apply for the correct benefits.

Money advice drop in sessions every week

Monday 11am – 1pm @ Merrial Street

Monday 9.30am – 11.30am @ Chesterton One-Stop Shop

Tuesday 9.30am – 11.30am @ Kidsgrove Job Centre

Wednesday 9.30am – 12.30pm @ Knutton, Home start, behind Cedars School

Friday 9.30am – 12 noon @ Merrial Street

Getting affordable credit can be difficult if you have been on benefits for a long time or have a poor credit history. When deciding whether to take out a loan it is important to:

  • Make sure that you borrow money at the cheapest interest rate possible
  • Budget for the repayments you will have to make
  • Ensure that you borrow money from companies licenced to lend money
  • Not make hasty decisions when making decisions about money

If you want to borrow money to pay off debts or for buying one off items like a cooker or school uniforms, there is alternative help available. Please click on the Money Advice Team pages on the left for useful information and tips or if you would like some specialist one to one money advice.

Budgeting loan

For people on benefits, click here to see if you can get an interest free loan

Join the credit union

Click here if you would like to join a local, non profit making, save and borrow scheme which offers affordable loans

Moneyline

Click here for an affordable loan from a local, non-profit making lender

Doorstep lenders

It may be tempting to turn to a doorstep lender if you have bills you can’t pay, but borrowing at such a high interest rate is likely to add to your problems rather than help them. Contact us for more information.

Borrowing money from someone who calls at your house can be very expensive. If you are considering applying for this type of credit, read this first.

Information about borrowing money from loan sharks

A Loan Shark is someone who lends money without the correct permissions. These permissions are granted by the Financial Conduct Authority. Loan Sharks rarely, if ever, give any paperwork and if payments are missed they often use intimidation and violence to get money from their ‘clients’.

  • Have you been offered a cash loan?
  • Have you been threatened when you couldn’t pay?
  • Has your bank card been taken from you as a security?
  • Does what you owe keep growing even though you are making payments?

If you can answer YES to any of the above questions click here

Good money management can mean many things – from living within your means to saving for short and long-term goals.

There are lots of smartphone apps to help with keeping a track on your finances, getting money off vouchers and doing price comparisons. Many of these apps are free to download. Spendometer and Spendingtracker are just two examples.

Using a budget calculator is a great way to understand monthly finances. Use the calculator from The Money Advice Service for more information.

To reduce school expenditure you cn use these useful links; Free School Meals, ClothingTransport (via council) and Breakfast Clubs.

More ways to save money can be found on the following websites;

Fair for You is a new alternative to high cost weekly payment stores.

You can buy directly from the manufacturer by taking out a loan Fair for You, and then pay later in weekly, fortnightly and monthly instalments. Their interest rates are significantly less than doorstep lenders and weekly payment stores.

Fair for You is a national charity that helps people from lower income families to gain access to affordable credit. It is fully transparent and not run for profit which means it is able to offer a fair deal.

Saving a few pounds here and there on essential bills can be really beneficial when you’re living on a tight budget.

  • Install a water meter for cheaper bills. This is mainly for single occupiers, even if they can’t fit one you can ask for a reduced ‘assessed’ bill. A water meter calculator can be found here
  • Watersure scheme, reduce the cost of your water bill if on certain benefits, have 3 or more children or disabled click here
  • Cheaper electric and gas, join the Cheap Energy Club – help with switching suppliers and updates on when to change can be found here
  • Beat the cold, get local advice from a friendly service find out more here
  • Professionally refurbished desktops and laptops here
  • Reduce your health costs, prescription pre pay certificate for cheaper prescription charges  (0300 3301 341) or click here

Save money on phone bills using these useful links.

Reduce Mobile Tariffs
Compare  Mobile costs with “Bill Monitor
0800 free/cheaper mobile calls

Different ways to reduce travel costs

Local bus pass
Elderly bus pass
Disabled bus pass
Petrol Prices
Reduce motoring costs
Blue Badge Parking
Staffs Wheels to Work Scheme

Paying the correct council tax?

Information on the Newcastle Borough Council reduction scheme can be found here. For information about people exempt from paying please click here

Cheaper electric and gas

Join the Cheap Energy Club – help with switching suppliers and updates on when to change can be found here
Beat the cold –  get local advice from a friendly service find out more here

Low cost computers and internet access

Most Newcastle-under-Lyme Libraries have internet access. The Post Office provides a print out of the nearest locations offering free or low cost internet. You can access free online training and internet access at www.ukonlinecentres.com. For low cost computers visit the Get Online At Home website.

Reduce your health costs

Prescription pre pay certificates are available for cheaper prescription charges alongside help towards health charges if you are on a low income. Call 0300 3301 341.

Aspire Housing’s Money Advice Team offer free training sessions. Please get in touch via the contact details at the top of this page if you are interested in training on:

  • Money Matters;
  • Managing your Money;
  • Help with Benefit Appeals;
  • Personal Independence Payment;
  • Universal Credit
  • Benefits for Older People

Many people fall in to debt when they have a change of circumstances such as losing a job, ill health or starting a family. This can be an extremely stressful time, but with a few simple steps there is always a solution to getting finances under control.

Our top tips

  • Don’t ignore debts.
  • Check you are claiming all the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to.
  • Pay priority bills first – rent, council tax, TV Licence, gas and electricity.
  • Work out what money comes in and what money goes out of your home each week. (this is called a personal budget)
  • If you owe money to any organisation, contact them as soon as possible.
  • Know your personal budget and show this to people you owe money to as this will help you plan reasonable repayments.
  • Even if you offer to make small regular payments – it’s better than paying nothing at all.
  • Always keep copies of any letters or papers you send or receive and make a note of what’s been agreed in a telephone conversation.
  • Do not borrow money to pay off your bills without getting independent money advice.
  • If any organisation is taking you to court – seek independent advice.
  • Remember – you don’t have to cope on your own – help and advice is available if you ask for it.

Many people don’t claim the benefits that they are entitled to because they don’t understand which benefits they can apply for and are fearful of claiming something they shouldn’t.

It’s important to make sure that you get all the help that you’re entitled to.

This page gives you information on benefits and tax credits if you are working or unemployed, sick or disabled, a parent, a young person or an older person. There is also information about council tax and housing costs.

There is currently a BENEFIT CAP applied by the government which restricts how much a household can claim in benefits. From 7th November 2016 the government will be restricting these amounts to £384.62 per week for lone parents and couples; and £257.69 per week for single people.

There have been a number of changes in the benefit system over the last few years, it is important that you get the right information from the right people. See trusted links below:

Benefit cap

There is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.

Which benefits are included in the cap?

Bereavement  Allowance, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, ESA, Housing Benefit, Income Support, JSA, Maternity Allowance, Widowed Parents Allowance and Universal Credit.

Which benefits aren’t included?

Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Discretionary Housing Payments, Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity Pay and Paternity/Adoption pay.

Who is excluded from the cap?

  • Claimant or partner is Pension Credit age
  • Claimant or partner entitled to Working Tax Credit (even if nil award due to income)
  • Claimant or partner on Universal Credit and earning £430 or more net pcm
  • Claimant or partner in support group of Employment Support Allowance
  • Claimant or partner claims Carers Allowance
  • Adult or dependent child on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
  • Claimant or partner on an Industial Injuries Benefit

If capped and on Housing Benefit?

The cap is imposed by reducing the Housing Benefit award (down to 50p per week minimum). This would mean that the claimant would have to pay their rent from their other benefit income.

If capped and on Universal Credit?

The cap reduces the whole award, so in theory someone could lose all of their rent element and other benefits could also be reduced.

Use this link to see if you are affected by the Benefit Cap.

We know it can be stressful to have to find the extra money for an important appliance when its breaks or when you’re setting up home.

So we have teamed up with Staffordshire Credit Union to provide cheap, regulated finance when you purchase white goods through Furniture Mine shops so you don’t need to find the money in one go, or resort to expensive credit arrangements.

All you have to do:

Choose the appliance you want from the Furniture Mine shops at Bridge Street, Newcastle or 88 Cannon Place, Hanley.

You can then apply for a loan with Staffordshire Credit Union. The maximum loan amount is £500.

You can repay the amount weekly or monthly for up to 24 months maximum.
As an example, if you were to borrow £500 over 12 months, the weekly repayment would be: £11.84 (27.07% apr), the monthly repayment: £51.28 (26.82% apr). This is a very competitive rate compared to pay day loan providers or weekly retail stores.

If your application for a loan is approved, you will need to become a member of the Credit Union (a one-off fee of £3 applies). You will also be required to save a minimum of £1 per week while you are a member of the Credit Union.

You will need to make your payments by bank Standing Order. We can help you set up a bank account if you don’t have one.

Furniture Mine and Aspire staff will help you with your application and any more information you need.

They can arrange delivery for £11.50 (£17.50 for up to 3 items) which can be paid for upfront or added to the loan amount.

All our appliances come with a warranty and cost between £125 – £155.

Use this calculator to work out what you might be entitled to.

You can find where your local foodbank is by clicking here

You can find out about winter fuel payments by clicking here

For help with your council tax:  Newcastle     Stoke-on-Trent    Cheshire East