Managing your money

Tips and tools to help you manage your finances 
A worker is sat to a table in a coffee shop. They are writing in a notepad with a coffee by their side.

Managing your money and planning ahead

For many film, TV, and cinema workers, managing your money and everyday finances can be difficult, especially if you’re a freelancer. Freelance income can vary from month to month, and there may be times where work slows down. This can be particularly hard as you wait for the next opportunity to come in. 

Sometimes these challenges can cause people to get behind with payments and fall into arrears or debt. Recognising when things are getting tough is an important first step and, fortunately, there is a lot of really useful help and advice available if you do run into problems. 

We’ve teamed up with MoneyHelper to provide you with some practical tools to help you manage your money and improve your financial wellbeing. 

A man is sat to a coffee shop table. He is wearing a beanie hat and a red t-shirt. He has earphones in and is making notes in a pad that is on the table.

Prioritising your bills

Bills are a part of everyday life, but sometimes it can be difficult to manage all the payments coming out of our accounts. Our friends at MoneyHelper have developed a bill prioritiser to help you prioritise your payments in the right order and give you useful information about what you need to do if you’re struggling to pay before you miss a payment.

Budget planning

Budgeting is a key skill that will help you to manage your money more effectively and plan for inevitable ups and downs. MoneyHelper have developed a simple Budget Planner to help you track your spending and manage your money each month. Just fill in your details below for a breakdown of where you’re spending, so you can feel in control of where your money is going each month. 

If you’re a freelancer, you can use the planner by working out an average income – take your earnings from the previous 12 months, divide by 12, and use that figure as your average monthly earnings. If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you can work out a longer-term average by doing this for several business years. 

Budget Planner

Managing debt

If you do fall behind, it’s important to keep lenders, providers, and suppliers in the picture – many of them will understand the kind of difficulties you could be facing and can often offer their own support in the form of payment plans, reduced payment options, or other solutions to help you manage. 

In addition, organisations like Stepchange, Christians Against Poverty, Citizen’s Advice, and National Debt Line can all offer further advice. You can also check out what support could be available to you by visiting our Benefits and Stop-Gap Grant pages to check your eligibility. 

Debt and mental health

We know that mental health and financial wellbeing are closely linked – being worried about money can have a negative impact on how you feel, and poor mental health can also make it much harder to deal with your finances.

If your mental health is affecting your ability to manage your finances, you could consider completing a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form. StepChange also have more advice about how this could help you deal with creditors. They can also provide information about Breathing Space, a debt respite scheme aimed at relieving some of the pressure debt can cause. 

The tools and resources mentioned above can help you manage concerns you might have about debt or financial worries. You can also call our Support Line at any time for free, confidential advice and support. 

Planning ahead

We understand that for many people working behind the scenes in film, TV, and cinema, planning ahead is difficult. But with the cost-of-living crisis creating new financial concerns for many people across the UK, it’s more important than ever to consider planning for the future. 

Our research shows that many in the industry don’t have access to savings, and many more are not currently paying into a pension scheme. Both of these things might feel like a luxury, especially for freelancers, but both can also help to build financial resilience against challenging times in the future. 

The amount you’re able to save will depend on your personal circumstances, but even saving a small amount each month can help with unexpected bills and costs. The recommendation is to try to ensure you have three months’ worth of essential outgoings put aside, in case you have an urgent financial need.

A woman sat on the floor in a living room wearing headphones and writing in a notebook. In front of her is a laptop and a pile of books.

Mental health and wellbeing support

It may not always feel like it, but there is support available for people working in film and TV. So if you’re particularly stressed or just not yourself right now, you’re not alone.

Love the film, TV and cinema industry?

Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about new support services, pilot schemes, opportunities, events, roundtables, appeals, industry news and more.