What to do if you’re in debt

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man worrying about debt

If you have debt and are struggling to pay, know you’re not alone. According to the Money Advice Trust, 8.1 million people say they regularly lose sleep, worrying about increased costs.

Fortunately, there are options available to help manage your debt.

Below are a few ways to get started, but some debt solutions can impact your credit rating and ability to borrow in the future. That’s why we strongly recommend speaking to a trained professional before taking action.

Check how much money you have

Before you speak to your lenders or a professional, you need to know:

  • the total cost of your debts
  • when your debts must be paid
  • how much money you have (savings, disposable income)
  • how much money you can save by adjusting your living costs

MoneySavingExpert has a helpful cost of living guide, including budgeting tips and ways to cut back.

There are also free tools available online to help you budget your money. We recommend this one from Money Helper.

Once you have that information, you can start to work out your next steps.

Speak to your lenders

Firstly, speak to your lenders (or creditors) to explain your situation and ask for help.

Lenders have a responsibility to treat you fairly. Often, they can offer support options such as:

  • an affordable repayment plan
  • reducing or freezing interest payments
  • suggesting you seek free, independent help from a trained debt adviser

Money Helper has advice about talking to your lender if you need more information.

Speak to experienced professionals 

In the UK, there are free, independent organisations to help you with your financial issues. Debt advisers will:

  • speak to you no matter how big or small your worry might be
  • find ways to help you budget if you’re worried about money
  • suggest ways to deal with debts that you might not know about

Here are some debt charities you can speak to:

If your mental health is suffering

Money worries significantly impact our mental health; unfortunately, many of us suffer alone. If you feel safe, we recommend speaking with a trusted friend or family member to lessen the mental burden.

However, we know that’s not always possible, so below are some charities you can speak to