Dealing with Debt
Written by Pete Lowman
You can download the PDF of this resource here.
Someone You Know is Getting Into Debt. What Do You Do?
On the topic of helping people with debt issues we can’t do better than point you to www.creditaction.org.uk/helping-youself/debt-advice.html.
We’re also impressed by the very practical help that’s given in specific debt situations by Christians Against Poverty; seewww.capuk.org/help/needhelp.php or phone 01274 760720.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got friends wrestling with money use and debt, why not give them the following?:
Debt: Prevention is Better Than Cure!
1. Go food shopping with a friend – make a list and at the supermarket entrance swap lists. This way you won’t purchase anything unnecessary. Swap back at the checkout!
2. Go through your bank statement and check direct debits. You may be paying for some you don’t need any more.
3. Find out what tools and gardening equipment your friends or homegroup have and borrow from each other.
4. Companies make lots of money out of customer loyalty – why are you staying with your insurance company if you can get a better deal elsewhere?
5. www.moneysavingexpert.com is full of money saving tips on energy bills, switching mortgages, cheap flights etc that can save you hundreds.
6. Have a clothes swap party with friends – new clothes – no cost – lots of fun.
7. Use freecycle to find things other people are giving away.
8. Before clothes shopping, check your wardrobe and make a list. Impulse buys can cost big money – in this and other areas too!
9. Before buying larger goods check out the Which guide available in your local library.
10. If you are already on a low income and receiving certain benefits, most utility companies have a scheme whereby you can get your gas and electricity at a lower tariff – you have to actively apply for this – they do not advertise the fact!
11. Before a day out, look for vouchers and offers of money-off for the place you are visiting.
Things That Can Help if You’re Already in Debt
1. The national debt helpline is: 0808 808 4000.
2. Christians against Poverty are a national organisation that helps people with debt and money management: www.capuk.org or 01274 760720.
3. Have a free benefit check at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau to see if you are entitled to claim any benefits you may not be aware of.
4. Always speak to your debtors – in their case no news is bad news – if you keep communicating they are usually more helpful.
5. Debt collectors are not the same as bailiffs and do not have the same powers.
6. Always offer to pay something off each debt, but not more than you can afford. It’s best to ring everyone you owe first to get a total figure and then work from that point.
7. Nothing can be taken from you without the go-ahead of the courts. So don’t be intimidated by debt collectors, and don’t agree to anything on the doorstep before taking advice.
With thanks to Sarah Mayhew of Communicare
© Pete Lowman