Column: There is help and advice at hand to support you with your debt problems
Here is an example of the sort of question we deal with when people come to us with issues around their debts, writes Roger Naden, advice services manager for Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts.
“I have fallen behind on my bills and the debts are building up, I do not know where to start?”
It is important to know you do not need to face this alone and that you can contact us for help.
In the meantime, here are four steps you can take to get started:
Work out how much you owe - Make a list of whom you owe money to and add up how much you need to pay each month. Your most recent statements are useful for this although it is worth noting that some creditors will have special arrangements for people with Covid-related arrears.
Prioritise your debts - Your rent or mortgage, energy and council tax are called priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you do not pay them. Separate these and work out how much you owe.
Work out how much you can pay - Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking these away from your income. The Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help which is available on our public website www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts, starting with the priority debts first.
If you have any money left after paying priority debts, but not enough to make your usual payments on other debts, consider getting advice on the best way for you to start getting on top of them or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.
If you cannot pay your debts - If you have little or no money spare to pay your priority debts seek advice from us straight away. If you can’t pay off other debts, such as credit cards and loans, you can also contact us for help.
We know it can feel very daunting to deal with debt, but having a plan really helps and our team are here to help you each step of the way.
If you would like to contact us for advice over the phone or an appointment at our Heanor office, the number is 0808 2787 954. Our lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. Heanor, Town Hall, Market Place, DE75 7AA.
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