Taking the first step
You’ve taken the first step – which is starting looking at who and what there is out there! Before you go any further, get prepared!
Work out what you owe:
- Who do you owe money to? Collect letters or statements from each company you owe money to.
- Unsure of what you owe or who you owe money to? Don’t panic – Sometimes debts get passed from one company on to an agency responsible for debt collecting, sometimes they stop writing or calling, could you have forgotten about debts along the line? It might be an idea to perform a credit search and make sure you know exactly what is owed to whom. See the table below for credit reference agencies, their services and associated costs.
- If you are confused by credit scores and credit rating and what it all means read this useful and easy to understand guide by the ICO by clicking here!
Credit Reference Agencies
Check your credit score for free with one of the below providers
|www.clearscore.com||Free for life.|
|www.noddle.co.uk||Free for life. Newer than Experian/Equifax and not as widely used by creditors updating reference agencies|
|www.experian.co.uk||Free for life.|
Increase your income
Increasing your income could also mean you don’t need to look at a debt solution – consider the below options and make the checks using our suggested links to see if there are opportunities to give your household income a boost!
- Are you on the correct tax code? Grab a wage slip and click on this link for more information on tax codes, how to check it and what to do if you are on the wrong code https://www.gov.uk/tax-codes
- Could you take on a second job or overtime? Ask your line manager or HR department if there are any opportunities for you
- Depending on space in your home you could take advantage of a tax free income with the government ‘Rent a Room’ scheme by taking on a lodger –read this CAB article before taking it any further https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/subletting-and-lodging/lodging/taking-in-a-lodger-what-you-need-to-think-about-first/ and then if it is something you want to consider the following site will explain how much you are able to earn from taking in a lodger before you pay tax https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/the-rent-a-room-scheme
- Check whether you are eligible for benefits, additional benefits or an increase in these by contacting your local benefits office or: https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/entitlement https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
Reduce your outgoings
- What do you pay for monthly? Check your bank statements and make a list of all your outgoings, who they are to, how much they are asking for, how you pay them, and when they are due. Visibility of what and when you need to pay items can sometimes reduce the risk of missing payments.
- Spring clean your finances – Get rid of any subscriptions and monthly outgoings you can live without! Check with your providers to see if you are on the cheapest tariff for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, internet etc. you never know what you might save!
- Are you eligible for funding for your utilities? The best place to start to find out more about this is http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/
- Other useful links for reducing tariffs and seeking out comparisons are: comparethemarket.com and www.moneysupermarket.com
Are you ready to take action now? Here’s some more advice for consideration when tackling your debt and financial concerns and choosing where you go to for help and support:
- Never ignore the problem – Our clients tell us that they feel significantly less stressed and overwhelmed just from talking it through with someone who listens, and has the knowledge and experience to give advice.
- Consider all available options – Weigh up the benefits and potential pitfalls of each option, take your time, talk it over with your partner and get expert advice. Do not rush in to making a decision, do not allow anyone else to rush you – the choices you make now will affect your financial future.
- Take action – Problems rarely go away on their own. Support and solutions are always available.
- Seek independent advice: we are only a phone call away – and are happy to call you if you submit your details here (online enquiry tool) however there are also other places you can go to for advice, which are free and impartial https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en is a great source for advice on all things money and debt related.
- Good luck – we hope you find what you are looking for and start working towards towards a debt free future. We would greatly appreciate any feedback you wish to share with us on our website and the advice we have shared, any communications you have with GW employees and anything we could do better. Just follow this link to leave your feedback. All comments will be treated sensitively, confidentially and with consideration for how we do the best job we can for people in financial difficulty.
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