StepChange are the UK’s leading debt advice charity, offering free, impartial and non-judgemental advice, to support people in getting their finances back on track. Jenny Simpson explains how to go about getting debt advice.
Every year, we support around 600,000 people in the UK with their debt and money worries, using our debt advice service to help people with debt problems take back control of their finances and their lives. For over 25 years we’ve been supporting clients with every step of their debt advice journey, both online and over the phone. Whichever way you contact us, we’ll follow a simple, three-step process to deal with your debt:
- Help you work out your budget, income and debts.
- Use this information to find a solution to your debt that suits your situation.
- Set up your debt solution, and offer support for however long you need it.
We always encourage people to seek help as soon as they need it. Delaying support can often lead to additional worry, stress and a worsening of your financial situation. And we know how hard it can be. But regardless of your personal circumstances, there is support available for you.
Debt and COVID-19
We know it has been an especially difficult year for many people due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, one in ten of our clients gave COVID-19 as the main reason for requiring debt advice. But there are also many other common reasons why people may seek our help:
- Unemployment or redundancy
- Injury or a health issue
- Separation or divorce
- Pregnancy or childbirth
- Feeling a lack of control over finances
- Increased cost of living
- Irregular income
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dealing with debts and money worries. In fact, our clients all have unique circumstances, and our debt advice service is designed to support everyone in the most effective way possible.
Top tips for getting your finances back on track
If you’re worried about your financial situation, don’t know where to start or just want some advice on improving your money management, follow the tips below.
- 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. Our budgeting guide can be found here.
- 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.
- 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 as soon as possible.
- Deal with the most important bills first. When you have so many things to pay every month, it can be difficult to tell the more important bills from the less important. Once you know what bills to focus on each month, you may find your overall situation easier to deal with.
Some bills are classed as priorities because the consequences of not paying them are greater than the consequences of not paying others. For example, rent and mortgage, utilities and council tax. To find out more about which bills you should pay first, read the full guide on the StepChange website.
How to get help with your debts
Whether you need a way to get your finances back on track after coronavirus, support with budgeting or managing persistent debt, StepChange can help. We’ll look at your individual circumstances and recommend a course of action tailored specifically for you.
There are lots of fantastic resources available on our website to support you in dealing with your finances, including our online advice tool. You can also access support via telephone, by calling 0800 138 1111 on Monday – Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm.
We know that debt can affect other areas of your life too. And that’s where the Foothold team can help. If you or your partner is a current or former IET member, Foothold could help with finances, wellbeing, career advice and more. Get in touch today.