Adjusting to life after the loss of a loved one is never easy. As well as the emotional stress you may also be concerned about how you will manage financially. Working out how much you now have to live on and how your budget might change can help put you in control of your finances so you have one less thing to worry about.
Your household income
Your household income is likely to fall if you’ve lost your partner or someone close to you who helped out with your family finances. If you relied on their income or any maintenance payments you received from them you are now likely to have less money to live on. Even if they didn’t work you could still see your household income drop if you lose any state benefits they were entitled to.
There are state benefits if someone dies that you may get such as Bereavement Support Payment if you’ve lost your wife, husband or civil partner. And you may qualify for other benefits or tax credits if your household income falls below a certain amount. There are a number of useful benefits calculators which can help you find out what benefits you may be entitled to and how to claim these.
Budgeting for household bills
Your household expenses are likely to change with one less person to budget for. For example, your household bills might fall and your food bills are likely to go down. You may also find you don't have to buy things you used to pay for before.
If you shared all your expenses with a partner you’re likely to have fewer bills. For example, instead of paying for two phone contracts you might only have one now. And if you're the only adult living in your home you can apply for a 25% reduction in your Council Tax bill.
However, other costs might go up. For example, you may find you now need to pay for help in the home for tasks the person who died used to perform such as childcare, cleaning, cooking, gardening and home maintenance.
The amount you spend on financial products might fall if you are now the only adult. For example, rather than paying into two pension schemes you will only need to pay into one for yourself. And you will no longer need to pay into any insurance schemes that were specifically for your partner or the person who has died.
But you will still need certain insurances such as for your home. However, other cover might be cheaper such as car insurance if you are now the only driver of a vehicle.
You may also want to take out additional insurance, such as life insurance or redundancy insurance, if you are now the only adult at home.
The amount your household spends on travel costs might go down if there is one less person travelling to work. If you no longer have the use of a company car you may want to replace this or you might decide you no longer need a car.
The amount you spend on leisure activities might also change. You may want to look at how you spend your spare time and there may be annual subscriptions to clubs or magazines that you no longer want to keep up.
Working out your new household budget
To see what your household expenditure might look like and to draw up a new household budget try the Money Advice Service Budget Planner. You simply enter your income and all your expenses and it then gives you a clear picture of where your money goes and if you are living within your means or need to make adjustments.
Written on 12 February 2018