We’re braced for the busiest time of year for debt advice
We are expecting around 150 people to seek advice for debt concerns in January, including problems relating to council tax arrears, credit card debt, rent arrears, and unsecured loans.
Analysis of national Citizens Advice data over a 12-month period reveals that on a single day – 29 January 2019 – Citizens Advice offices helped 2,776 people. This is 24% above the daily average.
In 2017 and 2018, the busiest day for debt advice across England and Wales fell on 31 January, with 2,762 and 2,775 clients seeking help respectively.
This means over the past three years one person sought help from Citizens Advice every 10 seconds on our busiest days for debt advice.
Jackie Jeffrey, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Shropshire, said:
“There is a surge in demand for our debt advice towards the second half of January.
“We know that dealing with debt can be hugely stressful and that Christmas is often an additional burden for anyone already in financial difficulty.
“Citizens Advice can offer free and independent advice and support to help you deal with your debts and get back on your feet.
“It’s so easy to feel you are in a downward spiral and there’s no way out. Asking for help is the hardest step and there is always something we can do.”
To help people kick off 2020 on a stronger financial footing, We’re sharing our six top tips to help people get their finances in order for the New Year.
Citizens Advice Shropshire’s six top tips to sort out your debts.
- Work out how much you owe – Make a list of whom you owe money to and add up how much you need to pay each month. If you don’t have your most recent statements, contact your creditor to find out what you owe.
- Prioritise your debts – Your rent or mortgage, energy and council tax are called priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. These should always be paid first. Separate these and work out how much you owe.
- Work out how much you can pay – Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking these away from your income. Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts. Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help.
- Paying urgent debts – You might have to contact priority creditors quickly in urgent situations, like if you are about to be evicted. Tell them you’re seeking debt advice so you can find a way forward. You could try to pay them something if you can afford to.
- Paying non-urgent debts – If you have any money left after paying priority debts, consider getting a free debt-management plan. You’ll make one monthly payment to the plan provider, who will handle paying your creditors. Or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.
- If you can’t pay your debts – If you’ve got little or no money spare to pay your priority debts seek advice from us straight away.