This week marks the beginning of National Debt Awareness Week, which aims to raise awareness of debt and discuss the danger signs. Today is also Blue Monday. Blue Monday is not based on scientific fact in the slightest, but someone, somewhere worked out that the dark nights coupled together with failed new years resolutions, the appearance of credit card bills and the fact that we’re still not speaking to our Great Aunt Margaret for finishing off the brandy all means that the 20th January is the most depressing day of the year.
Whether you’re a bit skint or seriously strapped for cash, we have some information on how to manage your debt.
1. Know How Much You Owe
It may seem easier to ignore your debts and hope for the best, but to manage your debt you need to know how much you owe on credit cards, loans and arrears. Once you know how much you need to pay off, you’ll be able to start tackling those debts!
2. Organise Your Debts
Look at who you owe the money to, which are the most important debts. Mortgage debts and utility bill debts are important, as they keep a roof over your head and keep the house comfortable. Prioritising debts will help you manage your money more effectively, and ultimately become debt free.
Make a list of what you earn and your outgoings.
4. Reduce Outgoings
Use your budget to manage your debt. Look at all your expenses going out. Can you reduce any of them? You may have to cut down on treats, or even decide you can live without things. Be brave, you’re doing this for financial stability.
5. How Much Can You Afford?
Using your budget, look at how much you can now afford to pay off, having made changes to your spending habits. Does the amount you’re now saving ensure you can pay off your debts or do you need some more help?
6. Unlawfully Charged?
Many people have been sold payment protection insurance when they either didn’t need it or want it. For more information, see FSA
7. Get Help
Don’t suffer in silence or struggle on your own, get help. Debt can be an isolating experience and it’s important to recognise the danger signs of debt.
If you’d like advice on managing your money, or if you feel as though you are struggling with debt, StepChange Debt Charity can help. They provide free, expert, confidential debt advice and support to anyone in the UK who is struggling with money.
Alternatively, you can speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Be wary of debt management companies which charge for their debt advise and management services.
If you’re struggling or just feeling blue, you may wish to contact Beat Blue Monday
It’s difficult to manage your debt, but with careful planning and management you can work towards becoming debt free.
Have you cleared your debts? Tell us about your money saving tips!