It’s important to keep your money safe, make the payments that you need to and that you have enough money to meet your needs. 

Managing your money can help you avoid getting into debt or running out of money. It can help you feel in control and you may be able to save for the future.

Find out about your rights, budgeting, bank accounts, and borrowing money. Try out our free managing money training module.

Your rights

Under the Equality Act 2010, or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland, banks and other finance companies mustn’t discriminate against anyone on the grounds of disability or treat people with disabilities less favourably because of their disability. They must also make 'reasonable adjustments' for people with disabilities.

This means that they have a duty to change any practice, policy or procedure that makes it difficult for autistic people to use their services.

Talk to your bank or service provider about how they can help you. If they can’t or refuse to, contact the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) or the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for advice.

Some autistic people feel they need additional support in managing their money. Find out how someone else could manage your affairs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and about mental capacity.

Budgeting

The first step to managing your money is to work out a budget and stick to it.

Budgeting will help you:

  • keep track of what you are spending
  • help you to avoid going overdrawn on your bank account by spending money that you don't have
  • decide whether you can afford to buy something that you would like
  • deal with debt by planning repayments that you can manage
  • work out how much money you may have to save. 

You can work out how much money you have coming in and going out using a budget planner.

Remember that the amounts shown in your budget should be either monthly or weekly amounts. 

Once you have the results of your budget planner you can decide what changes you need to make.

If you have some money left each month then you could use that to repay debts or save.

If you end up with £0, then you won’t have enough money to cope with an emergency.

If you end up with a minus figure then you have more money going out than coming in. Check your amounts carefully to be sure this is correct. This will mean that you won’t have enough money to meet your basic living expenses or cope with an emergency, meaning that you will be getting into debt. In this situation you could try:

  • checking that you are claiming the benefits you are entitled to
  • looking at a price comparison website to see if you can get services such as gas, electricity or insurance cheaper
  • finding ways to spend less – compare prices online, make shopping lists and stick to them, shop at a cheaper supermarket, decide which non-essential items you could manage without (eg leisure activities, treat food)
  • seeing if you can reduce your gas and electric bills by saving energy
  • avoiding paying estimated bills by giving your gas and electricity supplier regular meter readings
  • keeping track of what you are spending on utility bills by asking your supplier to fit a smart meter

If you are an older person, check to see if there are any age related discounts that can help.  For example, you are eligible for a free TV licence if you are age 75 years or over. 

Re-do your budget every year, or whenever you have a change such as a pay rise, reduction in benefits, a new baby, or a move to a new flat.

For more help or guidance on budgeting contact the Money Advice Service.

Bank, building society or post office accounts

Most people now have one of these types of account. The benefits of these are:

  • it will keep your money safe
  • you can pay bills more simply by direct debits or standing orders
  • internet banking is now widely available. This reduces the need to visit banks and other services that autistic people may find difficult
  • benefit payments can only be paid into an account
  • you can have a debit card, make it easier to pay for purchases and you can shop online
  • you may be able to earn interest on the money you have
  • you can pay bills by direct debit or standing order, which are sometimes rewarded by a reduction in what you pay for services
  • you can use your cashpoint card to access money easily from cash machines in the UK and sometimes abroad
  • your bank or building society may be able to give you an overdraft or loan.

Having a bank account will help you to develop a credit record information, this helps if in the future you want to borrow money from bank, Credit Card Company or mortgage lender as they are able to check your credit report

Read more about using a bank account or download the banking made clear guide from BILD.

Debit, credit and store cards

There are a number of different cards that you can use to make a payment. These include:

Using a card to pay for something is very simple, particularly if you use the contactless system. It’s important to take account of what you have spent in your budget.

Credit and store cards can attract large interest rates.

Saving

Saving money is a good way to protect yourself for the future, for example you may have an unexpected bill you need to pay.

Find out more about saving.

Borrowing money, making payments and debt

It's easy to think of a loan or overdraft as free money, but it’s actually expensive as you have to pay back the original amount plus interest. Try to only borrow money when you need to and repay it as soon as you can.

There are many ways of borrowing money, including:

When you borrow money, you are entering into an agreement to repay it in the agreed way. If you don't do this, the lender is entitled to take steps to get the money back.

If you are in debt and need support, here are some organisations that can help you:

You should avoid companies that will offer to deal with all of your debt problems and talk to lenders on your behalf, as they often charge large fees.

Pay day loans also attract large interest rates and should be avoided. There may be some alternative ways to deal with money problems.

Find out more about borrowing and debt.

Insurance

Insurance is a way of protecting yourself against unforeseen circumstances.

Here are some examples of the kind of incidents you may need insurance for:

  • a driving accident
  • a flood in your home or being burgled
  • treatment at a vets for a pet
  • going on holiday.

To find insurance you can use a price comparison website such as Go Compare, Money Supermarket or compare the market.

Read more about insurance.

Further help from our charity

Managing money online module

Where to find local benefits advice

More information

Money Advice Service

Step change

Citizens Advice Bureau

Easy read information about money

Mental Health & Debt

How to make a Living Together Agreement

Scams, rogue traders and bogus callers

A beginner’s guide to scams

The Easy Picture Guide to Banking

Last reviewed: 5 September 2017.