If you’re in debt, these are important 'dos' and 'don'ts'.
- Get professional advice – see the list of useful websites below.
- Use the personal budgeting sheet - download a copy at the end of this page.
- Make a list of everyone you owe money to and let them know that you are having problems – you might be able to come to an agreement with them
- Pay the most important debts first – see our priority list below
- Ignore the problem or try to hide debts; things will just get worse
- Borrow more money to repay debt
The following debts should all be priorities. If you don’t pay them, you could lose your home or essential goods and services. You could even be sent to prison.
- Rent, service charges and mortgage
- Council Tax
- Gas and electricity bills
- Maintenance and child support
- Fines (especially court fines)
- TV licence
Don’t struggle, ask for help
The following organisations offer debt advice and assistance.
- National Debtline – call 0808 808 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
- Step Change – call 0800 138 111 or visit www.stepchange.org
- Money Advice Service details a variety of places you can get help and advice on how to manage your money - call 0800 138 7777
Remember: You can call our Income Team on 0300 373 3000, who are here to help if you are having difficulties paying your rent.
You can also download and read our Your money and On the money booklets. They include a range of financial information and advice covering managing your money, dealing with debt, savings, different types of benefits and more. On the money is also aimed at and written for young people.
Managing your bills
- Organise your bills so you know what needs paying and by when.
- If you have a bank account, pay your bills by Direct Debit so you know when and how much money is being taken from your account each month.
- Energy bills are a major expense. Make sure you shop around for the best deal for you. Visit www.uswitch.com or www.theenergyshop.com or call the Energy Shop on 0845 330 7247.
- Switch off lights or electrical appliances when they are not needed
- Unplug your mobile phone once it is fully charged
- Reduce your room temperature slightly
- Draw the curtains at night and use draught excluders to stop heat escaping
- Only boil as much water as you need and put lids on pans to trap heat
- Don’t leave taps running when you are not using them, especially if your water is metered.