The Citizens Advice Bureau has offered the following hints and tips for dealing with your debt problems.
Work out how much you owe
Step one is making a list of all your creditors so you can see how much you owe.
You will need to collect the following information for each debt:
- The name and address of the creditor
- The account or reference number
- A copy of the original agreement you signed
Prioritise your debts
Some debts have more serious consequences if they are not paid than others.
Priority debts include:
- Mortgage or rent arrears
- Gas and electricity arrears
- Council tax
- Court fines
- Child maintenance payments
Non-priority debts include:
- Benefit overpayments
- Credit debts
- Water charges
- Student loans
- Money borrowed from friends and family
Budget, budget, budget
List all the income for your household including net wages or salaries. If the amounts are different each month, average them over three or six months.
Include any benefits you receive such as Child Benefit and tax credits, child maintenance payment benefits, contributions from other members of your family or lodgers.
What happens next?
Contact your creditors and make arrangements to pay back what you owe them.
Organise your priority debts before coming to any arrangement with your non-priority creditors.
You can then ask non-priority creditors if they can freeze the interest on your debts while you deal with them.
For more help and advice visit:
Your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau
The StepChange Debt Charity website
The Debt Advice Foundation's page
The National Debtline website or call them free on 0808 808 4000
The Government's website