Staffordshire County Council|

Credit/Debt Advice

Want some tips on how to solve or reduce your money problems?

If you are worrying about paying back your debts or are starting to struggle to manage your finances in the current economic climate, here are a few tips that can help you reduce your debt and money problems:

  • Manage your financial commitments by deciding which debts or financial outgoings take priority - for example your mortgage or your rent - and which will cost you most through penalties or higher interest rates
  • If you are having problems, contact those who you owe money to as soon as possible.  Many companies will be helpful if you talk to them
  • You can't ignore your debts.  Better to pay a small amount than nothing at all - those you owe money to may be prepared to accept low repayments
  • Only agree to pay off debts at a rate that you can keep up.  Don't offer more than you can afford
  • Don't ignore your bills; those that are due payment won't go away
  • Check to see whether you're getting the best deal from your utilities suppliers, from your telephone, water gas and/or electricity company - paying by direct debit may be cheaper
  • Check that you are adequately insured for your car, home and contents.  Can you get a better deal with a different insurer?
  • Work out a realistic budget that covers all your income and spending.  Check whether there are any benefits or tax credits you are entitled to that you are not getting
  • If you are struggling with store or credit cards stop using them
  • Keep all letters you send and receive about your debts
  • If a debt collector calls at your home, you do not have to let them in.  If you want time to get advice arrange a later appointment.  If a debt collector or lender harasses you or you receive a threatening letter, contact your local CAB or trading standards service
  • Think very carefully before borrowing more to pay off your debts.  Get impartial advice and don't rush into signing anything you don't understand
  • If you are thinking of taking out a new loan to pay off debts make sure you find out the total cost of the loan, not just the monthly repayments
  • Check if a loan will be secured on your home.  If it is and you do not keep up repayments you could lose your home.  If you do not understand the terms of a loan, get advice

Agencies and organisations that can help you solve or reduce your money problems:

  •  offer telephone /Internet based advice and analyser / free money manager tool the charity Tel: 0800 085 0226.
  • National Debtline  Contact Tel: 0808 808 4000. 
  • TalkAboutDebt a free service providing access to confidential debt charity help lines which offer practical advice, in order to help users receive the right debt advice for their personal circumstances. TalkAboutDebt also offer an extensive Q&A section for people who simply need a quick reference to a debt query, which includes real people with their stories and problems which people can relate to.
  • Moneymadeclear service - people can visit the website for more information about money worries, financial planning and their rights and actions that they can take if they feel they are not getting a fair deal. The Moneymadeclear helpline is available on: 0300 500 5000 from 08:00 - 20:00 (excluding bank holidays)
  • 'CCCS guide to Debt Management Plans' gives free advice on debt management plans & other solutions to serious debt problems.
  • Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) Contact Tel: 0800 138 111.  A debt advisory charity offering independent, free advice. Don’t be defeated by debt.  The Consumer Credit Counselling Service is a charity that has been helping people to get the better of their debts, for over 15 years.  They provide a comprehensive range of services, free of charge.  They can set up a zero fee debt management plan on your behalf and now have an online debt help tool, CCCS Debt Remedy that you can use to get an anonymous assessment of your needs.
  • Financial Services Authority (FSA) 'Moneymadeclear' Contact Tel: 0300 500 5000.  Provides advice on managing everyday finances, studying, retirement, family financial problems, buying or renting your home etc.
  • Provides a list and access to more information and advice on all public services.
  • Community Legal Advice Contact Tel: 0845 345 4345.  Offering free, confidential and independent legal advice on areas including family, debt, housing and employment.
  • Citizen's Advice Bureau Providing debt advice, welfare rights/benefits advice etc across Staffordshire.
  • Trader Register Contact: Tel: 01785 330888. A free service for anyone living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, it provides a selection of traders who are committed to doing a good job at a fair price.
  • Staffordshire Credit Union Contact: Tel: 0845 224 1215.  Can help people gain access to credit at affordable rates and reduce their levels of personal debt.
  • Christians against PovertyContact: Tel: 0800 328 0006 are offering free debt counselling in Stone, Tamworth, Burntwood, Lichfield and Cannock and surrounding areas.
  • Job Centre Plus A government agency supporting people of working age from welfare into work, and helping employers to fill their vacancies.
  • Connexions Information and advice for young people including careers, work, money, health and housing.
  • Winter Fuel Payments Contact: Tel: 0845 915 1515.  Offers an annual payment to help people aged 60 and over with the costs of keeping warm this winter.
  • Home Heat Helpline Contact: Tel: 0800 33 66 99.  A free, central phone number offering practical energy advice for people concerned about paying their energy bills. Contact your local district and borough council - they may offer grants and advice on insulation.
  • A website set up by OFT and others, which gives advice about credit repair. The aim is to give borrowers advice so they don't have to resort to using credit repair agencies.
  • Data Protection website. It contains information on how to obtain your credit reference file. 
  • The website for the consumer magazine Which offer telephone /Internet based advice and analyser / free money manager tool the charity Tel: . offer telephone /Internet based advice and analyser / free money manager tool the charity Tel: . offer telephone /Internet based advice and analyser / free money manager tool the charity. offer telephone /Internet based advice and analyser / free money manager tool the charity.
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