Debt

If you feel your debts are getting out of control, it’s time to tackle your problem. What’s important is that you face up to your debts, don’t ignore them.

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Take action on debt

Use this action plan on debt to find out how you can solve your debt problem. Whether you’re in debt or worried about getting into it, taking action now will help. 

  • Read our guide to debt

    Your first step to sorting out your debt is to understand it. If you haven’t already, read our simple guide to debt.
  • Take a debt test

    Getting a clear picture of your debt situation means you can start taking steps to manage it. If you’re worried about your finances but you’re not sure if you’re actually in debt, this test will help you find out. Take the StepChange 60-second debt test today. 
  • Prioritise your debts

    Make a list of what you owe and prioritise the debts you need to deal with first. Priority debts will include your rent or mortgage, council tax, and utility bills. If you don’t pay these you risk losing your home, being taken to court or having your services cut off. 

    To get help in deciding which debts to prioritise, see debt charity StepChange’s article which debts and bills to prioritise.

  • Get independent advice

    Being in debt can feel overwhelming, so get independent advice from a reputable organisation like StepChange debt charity.
     
    One option is to enter into a debt management solution. However, if your career is in banking, you might be worried that entering into a debt management solution could count against you, or even cost you your job. This may be true if you’re working in a regulated role, in which case it’s worth checking your contract or speaking to your line manager or HR. Read about how to get help with debt.
  • Negotiate with your creditors

    If you’re struggling to pay your bills, try to negotiate with your creditors for a reduction in your payments.

    You can ask for this on a temporary basis, or try to negotiate a permanent reduction in what you pay each month. If you have a short-term problem, like a gap between jobs, which makes it hard for you to pay your debts, you could ask your creditors for a payment holiday. To find out how, read this article from debt charity StepChange.

  • Set and stick to a budget

    If you’re struggling to pay your basic living costs, making and sticking to a budget is important to help you manage your income and spending. A budget can also help you identify where you can cut back and save money on non-essentials each month. Read our action plan on budgeting.
  • Don't take on more debt

    Don't take on extra debt to pay what you owe. It can be tempting, but it'll only make your situation worse. Especially if it’s from a high-cost short-term lender like a payday loan company. 

    If you’re not convinced it’s not a good idea, this payday loan calculator from StepChange can show you how much you’d have to pay back on a loan. 

  • Get help to eat

    If you're struggling to afford food, contact your local foodbank.

    They can tell you where to go to get a food voucher which entitles to you three days’ emergency food. At your local foodbank, volunteers will sit with you over a warm drink or a hot meal and may be able to give you advice or put you in touch with agencies who can help.

  • Look after your health

    Take steps to look after your mind and your body so your debt problems don’t overwhelm you.

    Money worries can affect almost every part of our lives. If you’re in debt, you could be losing sleep or feel helpless or alone. Get support from your friends and family and try to stay positive to help you manage your stress levels and your health, as well as your debt.

    Read this article from Money Aware to find out how.

Next steps

Use the actions you think will work for you. Add them to your to-do list so you can start tackling your problem debt today.