Don’t fall into the Debt Trap

Last weeks blog about making money was popular but I’ve been asked about getting out of debt so I thought id search about and give you some tried and tested ways to get out of debt.

First let me start by recommending anyone in debt that isn’t paying them off each month to get in touch with someone like the citizens advise bureau and seek help. Never sweep it under the carpet it won’t go away! Take ownership of the problem and be in control of it rather than the other way round.  Speak to us at Homestyle if you feel more comfortable and we can point you in the right direction.  We will have some links added to the end of this blog to help.

Next you need to get real and list your income and expenses.   Writing down your incoming and outgoing money is a great way to organise your finances and will help you see exactly where your money is going. Hopefully with this in mind you will start looking at your spending habits  and find ways yourself to stop spending and you will be surprised by how much money you spend on small items that you could easily live without.

Making cutbacks then, i think most of us have already tried all the usual tricks like buying Supermarket Value products instead of Brand Names at the supermarket and writing shopping lists and only buying what we need etc but there are other ideas you may want to try as well such as :

SKY or Virgin for example is expensive.  Try negotiating a better deal with them, downsizing your package or leave, many alternatives like Now TV , kindle fire stick, free view boxes are all now cheap and easily available and are just as good! But if you’re like me and love your Sky TV then you will need to cut back elsewhere…

SWITCH Gas and electric or other utilities, money man Martin Lewis is always telling us to shop around and get a better deal, he is right every so often spend a while making sure you have the best deal, saving a few quid every month is easy. Same with your home and car insurance never accept the renewal without searching alternatives first. You usually find your insurance company will match the better deal and if not just switch !  Check him out hes fully of handy tips and often knows all the best deals out there

SECOND JOB or ask for extra hours! Doesn’t suit everyone and isn’t always that easy but if you’re able then do it. The extra cash coming in will be worth it. (make sure this doesn’t affect any benefits).  See last weeks blog for other money making ideas.

WALK don’t drive … if you do not need to drive then don’t, not only do you do your bit for the environment, you save on expensive fuel and you also get some exercise and the kids will love scooting or riding to school or the shops.  Walking can help you clear those cobwebs away and give you a clearer look on things too.  I find it very therapeutic, and the dog loves it too which is a bonus!

Im sorry to say it but if necessary then LUXURIES will be the next to be cut back on.  Do you really need that coffee with your friends? can you take turns at each others houses instead and do you have to get that magazine every Friday?  Probably not, habits like these can be costly but no need to take away the fun.  Replace it with something cheaper or FREE!!  I used to be a serial magazine buyer but i realised a couple of quid every week was adding up so i now download my books for free on my Kindle instead!! Charity shops also have a large selection of cheap books, always worth a look.

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Next tip is to make sure you are getting any benefits and entitlements such as the following:

  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Incapacity or disablement benefits
  • Child Maintenance
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income tax – make sure you are on the right tax code.
  • Help with Housing benefit or council tax

Check with the Department of Work and Pensions if you’re not sure what you’re entitled to.

If you have fallen too far into debt and need more help than this and you’ve tried all the above and are still really struggling then we suggest you seek help from a debt management agency straight away.  You can do this for free.  Step Change, for example are fantastic they will contact all your creditors for you and arrange a suitable payment plan. This is their thing and they are good at it.  If you are not able to get yourself out of debt then this is what i would suggest.  They will help prioritise your debts so the important ones such as mortgages or council taxes are paid so you don’t loose your property.  This is very important, no one needs to struggle alone. There is no embarrassment in seeking help.  It takes a strong person to own up to their problems and tackle them head on.  Be strong, things will get better.

Thanks for reading , hopefully you have found some useful info here to save a few more pennies.

As promised here is the link for some contact numbers that may also help you if you have money worries

See you next week 🙂

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