Top tips to surviving financial difficulty | Debt Advice Foundation

Top tips to surviving financial difficulty

How to survive being in debt

 
There is no typical person who is most likely to get into debt. It can literally happen to anyone, at any time. Often there is a ‘shock’ which radically lowers household income, such as job loss or the end of a relationship. With many people having little savings, they can find they are no longer able to repay monthly credit commitments or start to run up debts to meet living costs.

How to survive being in debt

 
There is no typical person who is most likely to get into debt. It can literally happen to anyone, at any time. Often there is a ‘shock’ which radically lowers household income, such as job loss or the end of a relationship. With many people having little savings, they can find they are no longer able to repay monthly credit commitments or start to run up debts to meet living costs.

 
The solution to financial difficulties is different for everyone based on their circumstances. Some may have a problem with their income level so should check their benefits entitlements, whereas some may have an issue with their levels of expenditure and will need to enforce some lifestyle changes. 
 

Top tips to surviving financial difficulty;

 
Make a budget
 
Budgeting is the starting point for anyone struggling with debt and is vital in deciding what kind of debt solutions are recommended. Budgeting is often stressful but once completed it can bring acute relief. Most people are unaware how much their direct debits, credit cards and other regular payments really cost them each month. 
 
If people wish to create their own budget then we do have an online budget planner or Debt Advice Foundation do a full financial assessment when people call. 
 
Switching products and checking where you can save money
 
If your current account is often in the negative, make an appointment to talk to your bank about changing your overdraft into an agreed one or swapping accounts, as un-agreed overdraft charges can be astronomical. 
 
Use a comparison site or go online to find deals for things like mobiles, electricity, internet and insurances. 
 
If you are paying a high interest rate on a credit card, switching to one with 0% balance transfers may ease the pressure for a number of months, but remember there's a lump sum fee for the transfer and that the interest will be high when the offer ends. Consolidating debts by getting a personal loan with a low interest rate may be a better solution, reducing both the monthly cost and the overall repayment amount.  
 
Don't forget about the weekly shop. Supermarket deals can be overwhelming. Make a food list for the week ahead and shop online to reduce the risk of an impulse buy. 
 
Take care of yourself and your family 
 
Talking about debt seems like the last taboo. Trying to hide difficulties increases stress so confide in your friends, family and partner about the situation and the need for you to stick to a budget.  Getting things out in the open will allow you to deal with the problem. 
 
Take care of your mental health. Debt can cause problems such as depression, which can in turn cause us to make bad financial decisions. If you’re feeling down or have a history of a mental illness, make sure to keep in touch with your GP or healthcare team. 
 
And finally
 
If you think that your debt is becoming unmanageable, don’t panic. There is plenty of support out there and there is always a solution. 
 
Our helpline advisers are available to discuss in confidence any aspect of debt. The freephone helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. Call on  
 
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