Take Control of Your Money

Taking the time to manage your money can really pay off.

You don’t need to feel manic about money; flustered that your bank account is bare or panicky that your purse has nothing in it but loose change.  There is another way to live, a way which puts you in control of your money rather than money or the lack of it, controlling you.

The first step in taking control of your finances is in building a budget.  The thought of building a budget may not make your pulse quicken with excitement.  Facing your realities may be scary but doing your budget will be worth the effort.  Many people who work with us tell us “I wish I’d contacted you sooner, I could have avoided so much stress”.

Having a budget makes you

  • less likely to end up in debt
  • less likely to be unable face unexpected costs
  • more likely to have peace of mind when it comes to money matters
  • more likely to be prepared to pay your way
  • more likely to have savings for a rainy day
  • more likely to be able to control your spending and spot savings you can make
  • more likely to be able to borrow when you need to
  • more likely to be able to save for things that give you pleasure … a holiday, a new car, a little treat

How do you Build a Budget

Building a budget can be as simple as making 2 lists.  First list your income.  Next list your spending.

Budget Sheet

What building blocks will you need to Build your Budget

  • Your household bills
  • Your latest bank statements
  • Your payslips (whether you are getting a welfare payment, a wage or a salary)
  • Think about and write down what you spend on
    • Food
    • Education costs
    • Travel
    • Leisure
    • Clothes
    • Occasions, such as birthdays and Christmas

You don’t need to have perfect information to start your budget, just get the information you have and make a start.  You can fill in any missing figures when you get them.

Don’t know what you spend?

Call, email or private message Limerick MABS for free spending diaries.  Write everything you spend in these for a few weeks.  This will make it really clear where your money goes.

When your budget is built

    • You find you have more money than you need to pay all your expenses
    • You can move on to thinking about saving for rainy days
    • You can plan to have some of life’s little treats
    • You find your outgoings add up to more than your income
      • Work out if there are places where you can cut back
        • make lunches at home
        • plan your weekly menu and shopping so that you control your spending – our FREE cook book 101 Square Meals may help you to do this
      • Work out if you are spending on things you don’t need
        • a gym membership you don’t use ?
        • transport costs you could cut down by walking?
      • Get everyone in your household involved
        • make a plan you can all stick to
        • agree how much you will each spend
      • Try to cut your household bills
        • switch utility providers
        • look out for deals and offers
      • Review your spending and budget regularly – your spending changes and with luck your income will go up over time.
      • Make sure you are getting your correct tax credits and any social welfare payments you are entitled to.
    • If you can’t make your income and expenditure balance give Limerick MABS a call.
    • A professional money adviser can work with you FREE of charge to get your budget built.



Feeling You’ve Messed up ….

When you can’t pay your way, it eats away at you. Have you ever felt like you are shrinking in on yourself and there’s a ball of fear somewhere between your heart and your throat ?

Some very unpleasant things happen to good people.  When illness, loss of a job or relationship breakdown sends your life and your finances into a spin what do you do ?

Most people are so traumatised, they stick their head in the sand and hope things will improve without them doing anything. When life takes a negative twist, and then another; and it feels like the hard times go on and on, it becomes harder and harder to cope.  The power of positive thinking is all very well but it truly is easier said than done.  Over time hope ebbs away.  You lose yourself, who you thought you were drips away.  Stress wears you down even when you can put on a good front.

The bills pile up. You stop opening them.

The people you owe money to call and call and call. You don’t answer them.  You are ashamed.  You have no answers.  It feels like the minute you are not in good standing with your bank or who ever you owe money to, that they start treating you like you are some kind of sub-human.  Dealing with collections agents, no matter how understanding they try to make you perceive them, or how well they think they present themselves, is a body blow.  You want this onslaught of organisational torture and corporate types to stop at you.

The phone ringing frightens you. You feel like screaming but you know that won’t help.

The postman arrives with registered letters. You don’t want to answer the door now.  You feel hunted.

How do you make things better when you don’t know where to turn with the weight of debt ? You’ve messed up.  That’s how it is in your head.

If you are feeling any of this MABS, a free, small local organisation in your town may be for you.  We don’t judge.  Bad things happen to good people.  Most of us are only a few pay days away from times being tough.

It’s a hard thing to do, to take the big, brave step of telling a stranger about the mess. You feel you’ll be judged, made feel small and bad. Telling a stranger who works for Limerick MABS may be just the thing to do to take that first vital footstep on your journey of change.

What do MABS do ? We get it.  We see it every day.  Your situation is unlikely to be the worst we’ve ever seen.  We try to take the weight off you.  We help by letting you let out.  We help by organising, getting your paperwork together and getting your budget down on paper.  We help by treating you like you matter and helping you does matter to us.  We’re at the end of the phone when the envelope arrives that you are just too afraid to open.

Working through your debt can be an emotional journey, we don’t pretend otherwise. The emotion at the start of your journey may be tears of despair or anger. We’ve taken that journey with hundreds of people each year.  We’ve helped people for the last 25 years. A recent client told us we brought him “back from the darkness of hell to sunlight” he had gone from “despair to jumping in the air” because his Money Adviser negotiated a write off of his debt.  The emotion at the end of your journey could be tears of relief.  You could be this person too, we are a phone call 0761 072 210 or an email away limerick@mabs.ie.

Money Muddles ….. by Yvonne B


Where do you go when your head is swimming with money muddles ?


Who do you turn to when you feel the muddle is too big or too hard for you to sort it out by yourself. Do you talk to a friend ?  Or would that be too embarrassing ?  Do you pay someone to listen to you and give you advice ?  Or is that unaffordable ?  Do you struggle on, feeling more and more stressed out because nothing is changing and nothing is getting any better ?


Or, do you do “none of the above” ?


MABS ….. is a strange name.  From the letters M … A… B… S… it’s hard to tell exactly what it is and what it does.  You’ve heard it talked about.  You vaguely think you know what it is and who it is for but my guess is you’re not really sure.


MABS is a FREE service for anyone with personal money worries, from a small niggling worry to a whopping great debt.  It’s also for people who want to be organised about money so that it isn’t always a worry.


No money worry is too small or too big to bring to MABS. It’s FREE because the Government funds MABS, but MABS is not a government organisation.  So, you can rely that anything you discuss with MABS is in complete confidence and that any advice you get is unbiased.


What does MABS do ?


MABS listens – you can talk about money being tight, unpaid bills or how you are not good at managing your money without feeling embarrassed. Every year thousands of people all over Ireland talk to MABS without blame and without shame.


I bet you’re thinking, what kind of people talk to MABS and you’re probably thinking, MABS is NOT for people like me. The truth is, MABS is for people like me, like you, like all of us.  All kinds of people have money worries for all sorts of different reasons at times in life.  Being worried about money and making ends meet can make any one of us feel vulnerable.


MABS works with people whose income is low and who can’t make ends meet.  You’d expect that.  It also works with people with big incomes but big personal expenses.  It works with people whose lives have changed and money is short because of redundancy or because they can’t find a job or because of a family break up.  It works with people who have a lot of cost because they are battling illnesses.  It works with people who’ve got behind in paying bills, such as electricity and gas; who are struggling to pay rent or who don’t have enough money to stretch out over a week.  It works with people in mortgage debt.  It works with people who have to go to Court because of unpaid debt. It works with parents struggling to cover the costs of children going to school and college.  It works with people who aren’t in any particularly difficulty with money, who just want to be organised and have a budget done so that they feel in control of their spending.


Over the years MABS has worked with Office Workers, Factory Workers, Civil Servants, Doctors, Architects, Teachers, Gardai, Trades People, Mothers, Fathers and all sorts of others.  It doesn’t matter how you label yourself, MABS doesn’t label you, it just tries to get your money to go round on the things you need to pay for, so that you don’t need to spend your life stressing and worrying about money or the lack of it.


It doesn’t matter what your reason is, MABS will listen. You may want to talk just to ease your mind, or to get advice.  Or you might want to meet a Money Adviser, to get someone on your side to help you sort out your money muddles, someone who can talk on your behalf to companies you owe money to and get you started at getting on track and in control of your money.


If you want to talk about money worries, call LIMERICK MABS on 0761 072 210. If it’s easier not to talk send an email to Limerick@mabs.ie or a private message on Facebook @MABSLimerick.


Money worries can be un-muddled, give it a try.