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Dealing with debt

At this time of year people can find themselves struggling with financial worries as Christmas  spending and paying regular bills places a strain on finances. If you find yourself in this position it is better to seek help as soon as possible.

Monmouthshire Citizens Advice can provide information and advice so that financial pressures don’t become a crisis. You can pop in to one of our offices (Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow or Monmouth), ring Advice line 03444 772020 or webchat via https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/about-us/contact-us/web-chat-service

Here are our six top tips to sort out your debts

  1. Work out how much you owe: make a list of who you owe money to and add up how much you need to pay each month. If you don’t have your most recent statements, contact your creditor to find out what you owe.
  2. Prioritise your debts: your rent or mortgage, energy and council tax are called priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. These should always be paid first. Separate these and work out how much you owe.
  3. Work out how much you can pay: create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking away these from your income. Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts. Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help (see website below).
  4. Paying urgent debts: you may have several priority debts and can’t pay them all. Contact all your creditors to find out if you can negotiate on how much you pay, and/or when you pay them. Always try to pay any priority creditors first, especially if they are taking action to recover the debt. Seek help if necessary to negotiate with your creditors.
  5. Paying non-urgent debts: if you have any money left after paying priority debts, consider getting a free debt-management plan. Organisations such as Stepchange, Payplan, Money Advice Service can help you with a plan.  It means you will make one monthly payment to the plan provider, who will handle paying your creditors. Or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay. Remember to ask the creditor to confirm any agreed repayment arrangement in writing.
  6. If you can’t pay your debts: if you’ve got little or no money spare to pay your priority debts seek advice straight away. It is important that you do not ignore letters from your creditors as the debt may grow because of added debt recovery charges.

Useful websites

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/debt-and-money/

https://www.stepchange.org/debtremedy.aspx; https://www.mymoneysteps.org/

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/budgeting/budgeting/work-out-your-budget/

Monmouthshire Citizens Advice

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