Dealing with debt

We don’t want any of our members to struggle alone without help, That’s why we’ve partnered with StepChange the leading Debt charity in the UK to be able to bring you support and guidance for dealing with debt. 

If you’re worrying about money or struggling to keep on top of your regular payments, there is free help available to help you get your finances back on track. StepChange’s service is free, impartial and they never judge. 

Here are our tips for taking the first step towards taking control of your finances: 

Work out what you can and can’t afford to pay

  1.     Make a budget: Make a note all your income and what you spend each month on household essentials to get a clearer view of your finances. Follow the budgeting guide from StepChange.
  2.     Show your budget to any companies you owe money to. If you’re being chased by a creditor or debt collector and can’t afford to pay what you owe, they’ll need to understand what you can afford. Your budget can help them to agree to you making temporary payment plans or payment breaks. 
  3.     Don’t wait to get help if you need it: Your budget might show you that you don’t have enough money each month to pay for essentials or repay any money you owe. If this is the case, don’t wait – get help from a free charity like StepChange as soon as possible.  

If you get advice from a charity like StepChange, you may be able to apply for ‘Breathing Space’. This is a government scheme that launched in May 2021 and gives you time to focus on setting up your debt solution without worrying about being chased for payment or incurring extra charges.

Deal with the most important bills first

  1.     Rent and mortgage: Contact the lender or your landlord and explain that you’re struggling to pay the full amount. Share your budget with them and many will agree to you paying what you can afford, while you deal with your financial problems.
  2.     Utilities: Many suppliers have schemes to support people on low incomes, or for those who are experiencing financial difficulties. 
  3.     Council tax: If you fall behind with your Council Tax, you risk losing the chance to pay in monthly instalments and may be told to pay the full amount owed. 

Read StepChange’s guide to find out more about which bills to pay first.

Whether you need debt advice, a way to get back on track after the financial effects of coronavirus, or support with budgeting or managing persistent debt, StepChange can help. They’ll look at your individual circumstances and recommend a course of action.

Visit their website at http://www.stepchange.org/ to get advice online or call them on 0800 138 1111 Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm.