Take control

It’s never too late to sort out your debts and find support. It’s a good idea to organise your debts and make a list of the details of each debt, for example:

  • who you owe the money to – this is called your creditor
  • how much you owe them
  • the payments you have missed.

If you’re unsure how to deal with your debts, there’s plenty of support available. You can get free, confidential, impartial debt advice from the charities National Debtline and Stepchange. They can help you to:

  • work out your budget
  • deal with your most urgent debts
  • deal with your non-priority debts.

Your local Citizens Advice can also advise you if you’re in debt. Their useful budgeting tool may help you to work out your spending and where you might be able to save money. They also have information on dealing with debt.

You can find local debt advice agencies on the MoneyHelper website.

Get a benefits check

Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Our benefits calculator can help work out what you may be able to claim. Or call our free Helpline and arrange a benefits check with an adviser.

Consider help in an emergency

If you have an unexpected cost due to an emergency or crisis, you might be entitled to help from your local council’s welfare assistance scheme. If you're getting certain benefits, you may be able to claim an interest-free Budgeting Loan from the government to cover some costs. 

If you’re having trouble paying your fuel bills, your energy supplier may be able to help. Read our webpage Switching energy supplier for more information.

There are also some charities that offer grants.

Contact your local Citizens Advice if you need help urgently – for example, you’re being taken to court for a debt, or you’re being evicted for rent or mortgage arrears.

Reduce your living costs

You could think about reducing your regular living costs to save money. For example, you could:

Visit our Saving money webpages for more information.

Avoid short-term solutions

Don’t be tempted to get a payday loan or use credit cards to pay off your debts. These are short-term solutions and can make the problem worse.

Some companies may offer to help you sort out your debts for a fee. But you’d be better off spending that money on paying off your debts. Use the free independent services instead.

Get emotional support

Money worries can make you feel stressed and anxious, which in time may affect your mental health. Visit Mind's website for advice on coping with money worries. For more general ways to care for your mental health, see our page Looking after your mental health.

Next steps

Stepchange offers free debt advice and can help you organise a personal action plan.

Get in touch with National Debtline for free advice, or your local Citizens Advice for help.

You can also search for free debt advice agencies in your area on the MoneyHelper website.

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