Spring into action - take control of your debt

April 19th, 2016 by The Mag Editor in Features

Everyone knows spring time is a great time for a good clear out. But a ‘spring clean’ doesn’t have to apply only to cupboards. Spring is a great time to take stock of your finances and to get your finances back in order.

According to figures published by the Bank of England in January, UK families borrowed £1.5billon on loans and credit cards in November 2015, marking the biggest borrowing rise since February 2006.

For some credit cards are a useful way to spread costs and take away some of the immediate pressure but when reality sets in sometimes debt can become quite overwhelming.

If this sounds like you, there’s never been a better time than now to take control and address those lingering debt issues and the best news is you can start to make a difference in just 7 days!

Debt charity Stepchange have pulled together their guide to overcoming your money problems in just one week. We’ve picked out some of the main points to help you on the road to debt recovery.

Day 1: Work out what you owe

Hidden bills won’t go away. It just gets worse. Pull together everything so you have a clear overview of what you owe and to who. If you know what you need to do, you can start thinking about how to do it.

Day 2: Pay priority debts before anything else

The most important bills to pay are the ones that keep you warm, safe and secure. Your rent, gas and electric, council tax and water bills should always be top of the list.

Day 3: Make a list of everything you spend

Understanding your expenditure can help you see where your money is going. It’s surprising how a little bit here and a little bit there can add up. But keeping to a tight budget can really make a difference. Don’t forget those non-regular and sometimes unexpected and pricey expenses, such as school uniforms, birthdays or other celebrations.

Day 4: Can you boost your income?

Now you know what you need to do you can look at how you can do it. Any increase in income, however small, can help with that. You could look at ways to put your skills to good use, if you’re good at baking why not sell cakes? You can also look at selling and unnecessary and unused items you have lying around the house. Sites like eBay are a great way to make a little extra cash and clear away some clutter.

Day 5: Get your personal debt action plan

After completing the first four steps you should have a good idea about where you stand. Next step is to address the problem. Step Change service Debt Remedy is a free online debt advice service where you can get your personal action plan in around 20minutes.

You can also contact Step Change on 0800 138 1111 for a free chat with a debt advisor. If you have any worries or concerns about making the call, your Support Worker can be there to help you.

Day 6: Listen to the people you trust

If you’re still not sure about what to do it’s good to turn to others for help and advice. However, it is really important to make sure you turn to a trusted, impartial person or group who has your best interests at heart.

Day 7: Don’t give up!

You’ve taken the first steps and they are often the biggest, but it can be a long journey. The important thing to remember is that by taking things one step at a time you will continue to move in the right direction.

What to do next?

For more information about the 7 day guide to debt you can visit www.stepchange.org. If you have any worries or concerns about debt you can speak to your Support Worker, who can help you get started.