Managing your money and debts

What steps can you take to help manage your money?

Managing your money

What steps can you take to help manage your money?

Set up a budget planner

Using a budget planner is an easy way to manage your finances, work out an achievable budget and identify where savings can be made.

  • List everything that's coming in and out of your account each month. This is the starting point to being able to balance your budget. Your bank statements should help with this.
  • Identify essential outgoings such as your mortgage, council tax, utilities, travel expenses, childcare etc. These costs are likely to be a set amount each month.
  • Identify variable outgoings such as groceries, clothes and everyday expenses such as coffee, lunch and newspapers. These outgoings will change on a month-to-month basis, and they are the ones that you can reduce and can have the biggest impact on balancing your budget.
  • If you have any money left over at the end of the month, you should consider saving it: even small, regular savings can make a difference over time, creating a pot of money you can break into for unforeseen emergencies or even periods when you know your spending will increase, such as Christmas.

Once you've created a budget planner, these are things you can do to organise and take control of it.

  • Wherever possible, pay your bills by Direct Debit or standing order 1 or 2 days after you get paid, so that you know you'll have enough in your account and can clearly see what's left over.
  • If your bank has an online banking service, use it regularly to keep track of your spending.
  • Regularly review your variable outgoings and save money by cutting back on non-essential items, cancelling that unused gym membership or switching to cheaper options.

Manage your debt

It's a good idea to tackle debt problems quickly before things get worse. Before you tackle debt you'll need to address your spending first; so if you haven't done so, you should set up a budget planner to get your monthly outgoings under control. Then, you should consider the following to help sort out your existing debts.

Make a list of all your debts, the ones with the highest interest rates should be first

To find out what your interest rates are you simply need to:
M&S Credit Card – Check your most recent statement, this will show your current interest rate 
M&S Personal Loan – Your agreement will have details of your interest rate as well as some other information

Where possible, try to move any debts with higher interest rates to lower rates

There's a few options out there. You could explore a balance transfer credit card or consolidate your debt with a personal loan to name a couple.

What's a balance transfer?

If you have existing credit or store card debt and you're being charged interest, you could save money with a balance transfer credit card. This is where you can move your debt onto another card that offers an interest-free period on the amount you transfer.
This could help you pay off your debt more quickly and save money on interest.
Here's a few top tips for balance transfer credit cards:

Check the terms. Make sure you understand how long the 0% interest period is for, is there a fee to transfer your balance from another card and does this outweigh the benefit of a 0% interest period, what's the annual interest rate on the card once the 0% interest period ends?

Always make the minimum payment. Just like other credit cards, you're required to make at least a minimum monthly payment otherwise you'll have to pay a fee. If you can afford to pay more than the minimum each month, this will reduce the time it takes to pay off your debt and the interest you'll pay.

Don't use the card more than you need to. The benefit of a balance transfer credit card is that it allows you to pay your debt in a cost-effective way. If you plan to spend on this credit card too, some balance transfer credit cards also offer a 0% interest period on purchases.

Keep an eye out for the message on your statement that tells you the end date of your 0% interest period. When this period ends, a new interest rate will kick in. If you can, try to pay off your balance before this happens. If you do have a balance when the new interest rate kicks in, you'll start to be charged interest.

What's debt consolidation?

Over time you could end up with several debts with different financial institutions such as credit cards, store cards, overdrafts and personal loans. Debt consolidation is the process of merging debts into one loan. This could help in simplifying payments, reduce stress and can be cheaper.

If you're considering debt consolidation, think about how this will impact your total payment amount. Even if the new loan has a lower interest rate, if the new loan has a longer term you could end up paying more in interest than you're currently paying. You should also think about any early payment fees on any existing loans and factor these into your calculations.
You can use a calculator to estimate how much interest you'll pay over time. The amount you borrow, loan term and interest rate will determine how much interest you pay.

Contact your creditors to let them know you’re struggling to make your payments, they may be able to find a solution with you.  

If you’re worried that you can’t make your M&S Bank contractual monthly payments, or have already fallen behind on payments, we’re here to help.

Get free debt advice to help work out the way forward.

See our list of charities you can contact to discuss the best way to get yourself out of debt quickly.

Ways to get in touch

If you're concerned about your immediate financial situation, it's best to get in touch as soon as possible. As a responsible lender, we'll work with you to ensure you can keep in control of any money concerns you may have, whether they are short or long term.

Chat with us

A quick and easy way to get in touch with us for any account specific queries is to use our ‘Chat with us’ service. This can be found within our Mobile Banking App or within Internet Banking.

Please note responses may be delayed over bank holidays.

Call us

Talk to our team of experts about your financial circumstances on
0345 300 1312.

Lines are open 8am-6pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4pm Saturday excluding bank holidays.

Virtual assistant

Have a question about your financial circumstances? Just ask our virtual assistant to see if it can help

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Further help and support available to you

StepChange

Offering free debt advice and support in tackling your debts.

Visit StepChange
or call 0800 138 1111

Money Helper

Offering free and impartial money advice as well as tools to help improve your finances.

Visit Money Helper
or call 0300 500 5000

National Debtline

Offering free and independent debt advice.

Visit National Debtline
or call 0808 808 4000

Citizens Advice

Offering free, impartial advice on debt and money, work, benefits and more.

Visit Citizens Advice
or call 03444 111 444