Are you worried about debt? Help is at hand
ClearScore teams up with the Debt Advice Foundation to bring you step-by-step advice for dealing with debt worries
If you’re worried about debt, there is always someone you can talk to. It might be a close family member or friend, or it might be a debt charity such as Debt Advice Foundation. We’ve teamed up with the charity, who are recommended by the Money Advice Service, to bring you this simple guide on how to handle any debt concerns you might have. So, over to them.
The first few months of the year are always one of the busiest periods for debt advice charities. At Debt Advice Foundation, calls to the charity’s helpline almost double in January in comparison to December, as people look for a fresh start. The new year is a great time to take a look at our money lifestyles – to find out exactly where the money goes each month.
If you think that your debt is becoming unmanageable, don’t panic. There is plenty of support out there. The first thing to do is work out what you owe, what needs prioritising and if you need to take any further steps.
Most people are unaware how much their direct debits, credit cards and other regular payments really cost them each month. Even if you think you have taken everything into account, it’s still worth double checking – it’s easy to forget things like pet food, or annual breakdown cover.
If you have a family or partner, get them involved in this budgeting exercise. Talking about money is never easy, but getting things out in the open will reduce stress and allow you to deal with the problem.
Prioritise your payments
Give yourself a couple of hours, sit down with a pad or our budget planner and list all of the basic bills you have to pay every month to keep the household going. Those are your first priority. Remember that it is more important to pay bills such as rent and electricity than credit card and loan debts as that is what keeps you in your home.
Now list debt repayments such as your car, credit cards, catalogue payments and personal loans. Next list the non-essential household costs such as paid-for TV services like Netflix, gym memberships etc.
Finally, add up your income and work out the difference. Hopefully there will be enough to keep paying for all your outgoings. If not, you may need to look at what you can cut from the non-essentials list, or look at getting further help.
Talk to an expert
If you are struggling to keep up your debt repayments, you can access free advice from national debt charity Debt Advice Foundation. Whether you simply need to discuss your options or need a template letter to send to your creditors, we are available to talk to in complete confidence so you can be free from the worry of debt.
The charity’s helpline advisers are available to talk to Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm. Call our helpline on 0800 043 40 50 or visit our website.