You may have heard that the Citizens Advice network in Scotland has been delivering advice and support to people for 80 years now.
The chances are that you or someone you know has been helped by a CAB adviser at some point.
One of the biggest issues people bring through our door is debt. Particularly at this time of year, as many people may have over-spent during the festive period.
Is that you? Well if so, the good news is that help is here. Follow our five tips to take control of your New Year debt.
1. Do a budget
On a piece of paper write down what money you have coming in on one side, and what goes out on the other. Remember to include all your bills, food, clothing, pet costs and travel. Don’t include your credit payments in the list. Whatever money you have left over can be used towards paying your debts.
2. Organise, and prioritise your debts
Now list everything you owe. If you have any spare money from stage 1, prioritise your debt payments: rent, fuel and council tax should get paid first. Then pay your non-priority debts like credit cards, store cards and loans.
3. Have you maximised your income?
There may be grants or benefits you are entitled to but not claiming, which could help boost your income. You can find out by talking to the Money Talk Team, a Scottish government-funded service run by the Citizens Advice network. It’s one free phone call: 0800 085 7145.
4. Don’t take out new debts to pay old ones
It can be tempting, but borrowing more now will just make things worse. So don’t take out new debt unless it’s absolutely necessary. And if you do, try to find the cheapest option, like Credit Unions.
5. If you need help, it’s here!
Don’t ignore your debts or hope they will go away. They won’t! Try to follow these tips. But remember – if you need extra help, visit our advice website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/ or go and see the money adviser at your local CAB.
Happy New Year to everyone. The CAB service is here for you whatever your problem, and our advice is always free, confidential and impartial.