Everyone who has unmanageable debt has their own unique story as to how borrowing money has ended up causing them a whole load of grief. However, debt problems are generally resolvable and taking action puts you back in control and on track to feeling your world is a brighter place.
Ever got paid and realised that you’re still overdrawn? Sweated at a check out to see if your card goes through? Most of us have been there but having monthly expenses and debt payments that are greater than your income can become a real problem if you do not acknowledge or manage the situation.
Debt becomes a problem…..
- if you are living beyond your means – you like the finer things in life but don’t have a salary to match the lifestyle you want, it’s likely that you will end up in debt.
- if your income reduces – you need to reduce your hours or take time off work to look after a sick relative, this will reduce your income and may force you into debt.
- if you’re money management is poor – don’t budget or track your spending, then it’s inevitable at some point that you will be overspending.
- If you are “robbing Peter to pay Paul” – an old saying that means you are taking money from one place or person and giving it to another. In other words you are not solving the problem, simply moving it around.
The impact of debt is also a problem, not just for the person or people responsible for repaying it but also for others around them like family members and colleagues at work. Unmanageable debt can affect the way you make decisions, cause families to break down and affect your physical and mental health.
OK, so I think that this might be me……
Acknowledging that you might have a debt problem is always the first step to finding an appropriate solution and there are many specialist, free organisations that can help you confidentially for example, Step Change, Citizens Advice and National Debtline.
However if you think that you can resolve the problem yourself, think about the following tips to help you get on your way to a debt-free you…..
- set yourself a weekly spending budget and don’t go over it
- know your finances, what’s coming in and going out each week – each day if you have to! This information will help you plan.
- if it helps, get an affordable amount of cash out each week and only spend that. Put your cards away in a safe place and try not to use them unless you have to.
- Inform the people and lenders who you owe money to, particularly your bank – if they are aware of your situation, they may be able to help and could support you in coming up with a suitable repayment plan
- Open your bills! Come on, you can do it! They won’t bite.
- By avoiding and ignoring the problem won’t change anything. In fact it will make you more anxious and worried.
- Renegotiate your contracts – your phone/TV/internet providers can always help you find a cheaper deal
- Check money saving websites to find great deals from insurance to your food shopping
- Make sure you are getting the benefits you are entitled to – visit gov.uk to check your eligibility
- Avoid situations where you could impulse buy – you CAN do without that coffee, magazine, sweets by the till (for now!)