Anyone can get into debt, for a wide range of reasons, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and it’s never too early or too late to seek help.
Take the first steps to regain control and find your way back to a debt-free life.
The best way to start is by completing a budget. Gather together all the information you have about your income and expenditure and the bills you have to pay. You can use this handy Budgeting Sheet to help you. If you need help phone Silver Line Scotland 0800 4 70 80 90. Alternatively there is a useful online budget planner on the Money Advice Service website.
- Open all letters about your debts. This will give you a clear picture of how much you owe and help you prioritise your debts.
- Decide whether you need a debt adviser if you can’t deal with your debts yourself.
- Write a 'holding letter' to your creditors asking them to suspend any repayments and interest while you take advice. Most creditors will be reasonable if you explain the situation and show that you’re taking positive steps.
- Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Contact Silver Line Scotland for a benefits check or use our online benefits calculator.
Contact a debt adviser
A debt adviser can help you deal with your debts, but don’t be tempted to pay a debt management company – there’s a lot of free, confidential, independent help available.
The following organisations can offer debt advice:
- Silver Line Scotland – offers initial information and advice to help you get started
- Business Debtline – offers telephone advice to self-employed people.
- Citizens Advice Bureaux – offers help face-to-face, via telephone or email.
- Citizens Advice Consumer Service – provides telephone and online advice on consumer issues.
- National Debtline – provides telephone and email advice. They can send you a free self-help information pack. Visit My Money Steps for a personalised action plan.
- Payplan – provides telephone advice and can help you set up a debt management plan.
- Shelter Scotland – provides advice on housing and homelessness, including managing debt, paying rent or mortgage arrears, and dealing with possible eviction or repossession.
- Stepchange – provides telephone advice and has an online Debt Remedy tool that can work out the extent of your debt and give a personal action plan.