Citizens Advice Bureaux will help an estimated 10,000 people with debt problems this week as they begin to get to grips with their finances in the new year.
Top Ten Tips on how to deal with debt
- Don’t bury your head in the sand. Dealing with debt problems is easier the smaller they are, so take action before they start to spiral out of control.
- Think very carefully before you take out more credit or a loan to cover your debts.
- Talk to your creditors and let them know you are having problems.
- Don’t pay off the person who is shouting the loudest, but pay the most important ones like mortgage or rent; council tax; and gas and electricity. Otherwise you will be in danger of losing your home, having your gas and electricity cut off; or ending up in court and possibly prison.
- Don’t ignore court papers.
- Get advice on benefits, tax credits and other help you may be entitled toif you are struggling. A bureau adviser can check if you are missing out on additional income and help you make a claim.
- Look carefully at your spending, see if there is anything you are able to cut down on and draw up a realistic budget.
- Work out how much you can realistically afford to pay.
- Start planning ahead for next Christmas now. Putting aside a little money each week could cover the cost of next Christmas and mean you don’t have to take out loans.
- Don’t pay for advice. Citizens Advice gives free, independent and confidential advice. They will help you work out repayments and negotiate with your creditors, and also help you keep out of debt in the future.