The recession, complete with rising cost of living and job insecurity, has seen many families and individuals forced into debt. While some debt may be manageable, having unmanageable debt can quickly spiral out of control.
If you’re struggling to keep on top of your debts, don’t despair. There are solutions and help available. Here’s how to deal with debt:
1 – Acknowledge the debt
While it might be tempting to bury your head in the sand, that will only make matters worse. Acknowledging your debts is important, so, if you’ve stopped opening correspondence from companies and lenders to whom you owe money, it’s time to make a change. If it’s easier, perhaps you could get a trusted family member or friend to open letters for you.
You should also check your credit rating and report, to see if it shows any issues that need dealing with in order to build a better credit score.
2 – Look at Solutions
Once you have a clear picture of your financial situation, you can start looking at the possible solutions. Think positively – there is a lot that can be done to improve even the worst debt problem, including;
Adjust your budget
If your debt problems are minor, or have occurred as the result of every day overspending, it’s time to take a good look at your budget. It’s a good idea to do this regularly anyway, but more urgent if you have debts to deal with. You’ll find budget planners and lots of great tips for reducing your outgoings at www.moneysavingexpert.com.
Check the details of your debts to see if they include any charges that could be reclaimed to reduce the overall amount. Many people have been successful in reclaiming bank and credit card charges – and you should also check for any mis-sold payment protection insurance on the debts that you could claim back.
Slash your interest
Some debts could be moved to an account with lower interest rates. For example, credit cards are often cheaper than overdrafts, whereas a loan may be cheaper than a credit card. 0% credit cards are a fantastic solution, if your credit history is good enough to be accepted for one. Do check before you apply, to prevent doing further damage to your score.
3 – Get Outside Help
There are many non-profit agencies offering free debt counselling. These include the Citizens Advice Bureau, Christians Against Poverty, StepChange, National Debtline and Payplan. These agencies can negotiate frozen interest and reduced payments, and also help you to arrange an IVA, Debt Relief Order or bankruptcy, if appropriate.
The key thing to remember is that even seemingly out of control debt is manageable with the right help, so deal with your debts today for a better financial future.