Debt and Money Management
Managing your money to avoid debt and financial anxiety is important. Poor financial health leads to poor physical and mental health too particularly if you:
- Don’t have enough money
- Can’t pay your bills
- Have debts which you can't repay
- Barely have enough money to buy what you need
- Stop opening letters because you're afraid of what’s in them!
If you are struggling or find yourself worrying about meeting your financial commitments, there is help.
- First, make a list of all your creditors, your debt balances, how much you should, and could, repay
- Don't be afraid to contact your creditors to explain your situation and to ask for their help. Most will put a revised repayment plan in place for you
- Deal with your priority debts first. For example, if you are behind with your rent, mortgage, utility bills, or loan repayments
- Get specialist help if you are unable to repay your debts.
Types of Debt
Priority debts: Non-payment of a priority debt may lead to imprisonment, the loss of your home or essential services.
You should always manage your priority debts before your non-priority debts.
Non-priority debts: The consequences for failing to repay a non-priority debt are far less serious. You may have to pay more credit charges, get a poor credit rating, county court money judgement or become bankrupt.
|Rent arrears||Priority||Eviction, bankruptcy, court fines, bailiffs, or a prison sentence for wilful non-payment|
|Fine default||Priority||Extra costs, bailiffs, possible prison sentence|
|Maintenance (child support) arrears||Priority||Deductions from wages or a prison sentence for wilful non-payment|
|Income tax arrears||Priority||Fine, county court judgement, and ultimately bankruptcy or a prison sentence for wilful non-payment|
|Water arrears||Non-priority||Additional charges, deductions from wages or benefits, a poor credit rating, county court judgement|
|Credit cards||Non-priority||Additional charges, negative credit rating, county court judgement, bankruptcy|
|Hire purchase arrears||Non-priority||Repossession of item, added charges, negative credit rating, county court judgement, bankruptcy|
|Telephone arrears||Non-priority||Disconnection, added charges, negative credit rating, county court judgement, bankruptcy|
|Personal debts to family and friends||Non-priority||Breakdown in relationships with your family and friends|
|Personal loans||Non-priority||Additional charges, negative credit rating, county court judgement, bankruptcy|
|Charge cards||Non-priority||Additional charges, negative credit rating, county court judgement, bankruptcy|
|Catalogues||Non-priority||Additional charges, negative credit rating, county court judgement, bankruptcy|
Get specialist help if you have borrowed money from a loan shark and have difficulty making your repayments. To report a loan shark visit the UK Government website.
- National Debtline on 0808 808 4000
(Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9.30am to 1pm)
- StepChange Debt Charity on 0800 138 1111
(Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm)
- The Debt Advice Foundation on 0800 043 4050
(Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm)
- Community Money Advice - visit their website here
- Citizens advice Bureau on 03444 111 444
- Money Advice Service - visit their website here or call 0800 138 7777
(Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 9am to 1pm. Sunday and Bank Holidays, closed)