Here are some of my top tips to help you if you find yourself in debt or struggling with money and want to do something in the short term. Just remember that if you are in debt, it might be a long road to get out of it. You may need a lot of help and it may take a lot of time. It also might not take long at all and a quick look at your finances will help you identify what you need to do to sort out your situation.
- Check to see whether you may be entitled to any benefits. Some people really don’t want to go on them, but if you are entitled to them, why not apply? You can always cancel them or decline them once you are back on your feet. You can check whether you are eligible at: https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators or https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Find-Benefits-Grants
- DO NOT take out a payday loan. Whilst they may seem like the answer to your problems, they have very high interest rates. This can more often than not this can spiral out of control and end up costing you more and doing more harm than good. It can also negatively affect your credit score if you cannot pay it back on time.
- Try and workout where you are with your finances. This may include putting together a budget. https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner When I was in debt I went through a stage of not opening my post. You must open all your post and keep your paperwork – even if you just put it in a drawer together.
- Go through your Direct Debits and Standing Orders – DO NOT cancel any of the essentials (such as mortgage, rent and utilities). You might spot something that you don’t need though. Can you downgrade a TV or phone package? Do you actually go to the gym enough to justify the spend?
- Contact your creditors. They are more able to help you if you speak to them early. The longer you leave it, the more interest and charges you may rack up. The majority of financial companies will have information online or on their bills about what to do if you are having trouble.
The important thing to remember is not to do anything in the short term that can end up affecting you in the long term.