WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE MY SITUATION?

We believe that the key to sorting out your borrowing problem is a straight-forward three-step approach:

1. Work out the scale of the problem

Make a list of all your borrowings, including unpaid bills, loans from family and friends, and money owed on store cards etc. Prioritise these debts with the most important ones to sort out first, although it is still important to remember that ignoring any debts can have serious consequences.

2. Draw up your budget

Work out how much you need to cover your day-to-day living expenses and how much you are receiving in income (whether that’s through salary, benefits, or a combination of both). Aim to save the surplus each month to contribute towards paying off your debts.

While it may sound obvious, see where you can reduce expenditure (for example shop around for the cheapest gas, electric, phone and internet companies and stick to food shopping lists to avoid unnecessary impulse purchases). Also see how you can increase income (check you’re receiving all the benefits you’re eligible for, check you have the correct tax code, sell any unwanted items from around the house and work overtime if possible).

3. Don’t bury your head in the sand

Recognise when you need help and find it! If you have followed these steps and still find that you are struggling, look for the necessary help when you need it. Ask friends and family for support or turn to a professional for advice on how you can manage your finances better and deal with your debts. Recognising that you need help and asking for it as soon as possible will make the situation easier to manage; don’t wait for your debts to get out of control.