Credit and 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
More information about money matters is on the Staffordshire Cares website
Contact details of agencies and organisations that can help you solve or reduce your money problems:
Contact Tel: 0808 808 4000
Bankruptcy-Insolvency.co.uk – debt advice service
Contact 0800 074 6918
The freephone service and detailed online resource is confidential and non-judgemental. The service provides self-help advice to its callers and also produces written self-help packs and fact sheets to back this up. The service can also assist callers with the setting up of Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) Debt Management Plans and Bankruptcy. For more information take a look at the IVA section and the Bankruptcy section
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.
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.
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
Citizens Advice Bureau
Providing debt advice, welfare rights/benefits advice etc across Staffordshire
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 Poverty
Contact: Tel: 0800 328 0006
Offering free debt counselling in Stone, Tamworth, Burntwood, Lichfield and Cannock and surrounding areas.
Christians against Poverty UK is an award winning charity that offers free face-face debt counselling to all. They state that their personal and long term approach empowers people to get out of debt and learn budgeting skills with great success. Almost 90% of their clients pay all their bills and debts on time every month, with the same number saying that their help was life transforming or a great help.
If they cannot give you full help on your debt they can refer you to another appropriate debt counselling service, or can send out self help packs.
Job Centre Plus
A government agency supporting people of working age from welfare into work, and helping employers to fill their vacancies.
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.