New Year Money And Debt Worries? Plan Your Way Into Calmer Waters
The memories of Christmas are starting to fade, Brexit seems as if it might actually happen, bills are coming in and debts are accumulating. Now we’re into February and March you’re not sure how you are going to cope financially until next Christmas.
To help you navigate what can often seem like a perilous journey, with no obvious route mapped out in front of you, here are some ideas and actions which may be the difference to having a good year and having a year to forget.
Top Tips for 2020:
- If you haven’t done it before write down an accurate and honest list of your income and your outgoings. Look at where you could spend less; remember, every pre-work Costa coffee, Greggs breakfast snack or post-work pint adds up. Take advantage of the wide range of advice on money matters provided by the Money Advice Service and really look closely at where you spend your money and whether there is room to get what you need in a smarter way.
- Don’t ignore your Council Tax Bill, or any other debt letters you will receive in the coming couple of months. Council tax is the number one debt worry for our clients – you are not alone. If you feel you are going to struggle with your Council Tax payments contact your local Council as soon as you can and ask for help. If you are receiving letters, phone calls or texts from bailiffs don’t ignore them. Make them aware of your financial situation. If they don’t seem sympathetic get advice from your local Citizens Advice.
- Have a look at consumer websites like ‘Money Saving Expert’ and ‘Which’ to see where you can get the best deals on everything from food, travel and insurance to bigger items like holidays.
- Look again at national messages on energy efficiency from Citizens Advice and others – through Big Energy Saving Week. Everyone always tells you that you can save money switching your energy supplier, but this is only one of a number of ways you can get the energy you need for less than you currently pay.
- If you find yourself struggling for money don’t borrow from short term, high cost lenders and don’t feel pressurised into taking money from unregulated lenders (‘loan sharks’), no matter how friendly they sound. Look properly at the value of an account with a local Credit Union and get free, independent, impartial and confidential debt and money advice from trusted advice specialists like the Citizens Advice service.
Help is out there:
- For help on how to put a personal budget together go to https://tools.nationaldebtline.org/yourbudget/ and use their template budget sheet.
- For information and advice on a range of debt and money issues visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/ or call the national advice line on 03444 111 44. Alternatively, visit the Money Advice Service at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en or call them on 0800 138 1677.
- For up-to-date information on getting the best consumer deals try, among others, https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ or https://www.which.co.uk/
- To report ‘loan sharks’ operating in your area visit http://www.stoploansharks.co.uk/ or call, in confidence, 0300 555 2222
- To search for your nearest Credit Union use https://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/
Please note: All the advice services mentioned above are free to use and have an established reputation for quality. If you are approached by an individual or organisation offering to provide a similar advice service at a cost please be aware that such services are not illegal but may vary considerably in their quality and may, in exceptional circumstances, be a channel through which criminals can steal your identity.
Our thanks to Coventry Citizens Advice (CCA) for submitting this article to us. For more information, contact your local CA offices or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.