Start Moving Forward With Your Debt

You need help - as quickly as possible. As difficult as it seems, take some time to try to sort your finances out and then you'll be able to relax in the knowledge that you've started to take positive action to deal with your debt.

Get On The Front Foot

  1. If you are reasonably confident about negotiating, write to each of your creditors (people you owe money to) and give them a copy of your monthly income and expenditure statement and ask if they will accept less than the precise amount due. It's not a good idea to offer less than 40% of your current monthly payment. Also ring your utility companies and the rates people and ask them what help they can give you. Some have charitable trusts who can give support.
  2. Otherwise, consider getting free professional money advice with a view to entering in to a Debt Management Scheme. Call the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000, visit www.mymoneysteps.org, or call StepChange on 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org, for free, impartial advice.

Improve Your Awareness

  1. Draw up a list of your credit commitments, including the amounts outstanding, the monthly payments on each and the interest rate that applies.
  2. Update it monthly. You may find that you are doing better than you think.
  3. Simplify this process by monitoring your outstanding borrowings using our Credit Report monitoring service. You can try this FREE for 30 days. If you don't cancel, which you can do at any time, it costs £14.99 per month.
  4. Make a very detailed list of your monthly income and expenditures and work out the shortfall. Be realistic - include things like alcohol, cigarettes and gambling if you are likely to spend on them. There's no point in fooling anyone at this stage - you need to know where your money is going and you'll need to show this to lenders later, so if you don't add them, they will.
  5. Prioritise your debts, which means working out which ones must be paid, and which ones that can wait. For example, if you don't pay your mortgage or a secured debt, you risk losing your home. At the other end of the scale, mail order debt is often unenforceable unless there is a written credit agreement in place. Don't pay the company that shouts the loudest or who hassles you most.

Investigate Alternatives

  1. Think about approaching your family for help. They'd probably rather help you than see you being stressed out by debt.
  2. Go through the recommendations for those with Short Term Problems and Debt Indigestion.
A bit extreme? See some more moderate optionsFeeling out of control? Take steps to regain control