“It took me three years to pluck up courage to admit I was in debt and I needed help. I had stacks of unopened bills. But once I’d talked to someone I felt more in control.”
FACING UP TO IT
Jacqui’s story is not unusual. Some people worry about owing the odd tenner. Others have hundreds or thousands of pounds of loans and credit cards they feel they’ll never be
able to pay off.
Credit Action say there are 3.7 million people struggling with credit card debt in the UK. Thirty per cent of adults are worried about debt. Talking to friends and family is a good place to start and if someone comes to you, don’t judge too much but offer a listening ear. Some straight talking might help but people in debt feel bad enough already.
For some people though, professional help is the best way to sort out the problems.
You need to know where you are before you can do anything about it. Your options change depending on how bad things have got, so make a list:
- How much money do you bring in each month?
- What do you have to pay for even before thinking about debts, such as shopping, rent or mortgage, gas/electricity and so on?
- How much do you think you owe in total?
- What is the least you should be paying to lenders each month?
You might get a shock but you have taken step one towards sorting things out. Now you can work out what next. Take action now. Use our budget planner here. The longer you leave things, the worse they get. Lenders will happily charge you interest and fees for getting behind. That is, after all, how they make their money.
IN THE BLACK
If your monthly income, is quite a bit more than your out-goings then you’re pretty sorted, especially if you have no debt. Keeping debt at bay, you can look at growing your income, reducing spending and saving money for the future. You control your money so well, you can even manage free to use, higher interest credit cards provided you pay them off in full each month. Some even pay you money.