Do you need help with your finances?

Free debt advice can help ease money worries

If you’ve got debts you can’t handle, it can be scary to acknowledge them. But new figures from the Money Advice Service reveal getting free advice really can help. Close to two thirds (65%) of people who received regulated debt advice were repaying the money they owed or had repaid in full within three to six months.

Free debt advice is widely available across the UK, providing a safe, independent space for people to address their money worries and learn some first steps to clearing their debts.

How to prioritise your debts

Debt problems tend to build up over time, gradually getting to the point where finances reach crisis point. Often it’s not until this late stage that the full situation becomes clear. Yet there are symptoms of debt which, if noticed, could make the difference at an earlier stage.

With one in six people at risk, there’s a good chance you know someone struggling – even if they’re trying to hide their problems. We’re calling on friends and family to keep a look out for any of these signs and potentially intervene to show there’s support out there, and to hopefully stop the debts getting out of control.

Symptoms of debt

It’s not always easy to acknowledge you are struggling with problem debt. Often when people have money worries they hide them due to embarrassment or to protect their family. Or perhaps they just don’t realise the severity of the situation – or want to admit it. But there are clues you can look out for.

Ask yourself:

  • Have you been in debt in the past?
  • Have you had a recent life event? – an event that has resulted in a loss of income or higher spending for example having a baby, being made redundant, illness, divorce or a death in the family.
  • Are you living beyond their means or over spending? – you always seem to have the latest ‘must have’ items although they don’t have the income to cover this.
  • You appear anxious, withdrawn or depressed – you have reduced time socialising, they are avoiding friends.
  • Are you starting to hide issues and avoid talking about finances?   
  • You have changed your spending habits – either reducing spending (e.g. going on fewer holidays or eating out less) or overspending (spending without a plan for repayment for example putting luxury items on credit)
  • Are you tired or are having trouble sleeping

Finally, see if you can get them to take the Debt test on the Money Advice Service website. It helps them work out which option is the best bet to resolve their worries. It’ll also find free debt advice option in their area.

Take the Money Advice Service debt test and find options to solve your money problems

Where to get free debt advice

Debt advisers won’t judge you or make you feel bad for any decisions that caused the problems. Instead they’ll suggest ways to deal with the debt, and offer advice on ways to better manage your money.

You can access free advice online, over the phone or face-to-face wherever you live in the UK. What you discuss will also be confidential. Our debt advice locator tool can help you find the right place for you.

Try the Money Advice Service debt advice locator too

Avoid fee charging debt management firms

You should be able to get the support you need to rebuild your finances and clear your debts from charities or free organisations, so avoid any company that wants to charge you a fee for the same services.

We can help you

Are you:

  • In arrears?
  • Need welfare benefits advice?
  • Affected by the welfare reform?
  • Have utility company debts?
  • Have loans that have high interest?
  • Have other debts and you need help with arranging repayments?

Contact Wandle for advice

Your Income Officer can help with advice on paying your arrears. Any arrangements made will depend on the amount of the arrears and how much you can pay. We will try and make an agreement with you to clear your arrears, considering your income and other priority payments you have to make. Contact your Income Officer.

We can also refer you to a money and debt advice service. If you prefer a home visit for independent money and debt advice then contact your Income Officer for a referral to this service.

You can also access our budgeting tool and benefits calculator, or get more support through our service MyMoney - Make it Count.