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Options for dealing with your debts

If you have debt and are stuck on what you can do to help pay them off then these steps will help you whether your debt is small or large.

Get all the income you can

If you are employed, check your wage slip

Are you being paid the right amount, for the right hours?  Is your tax code (opens new window) correct?  (If it isn't you might be losing out every payday.) If you work through an agency, watch out: tax code mistakes are common.

Claim all the benefits and tax credits you can

Nobody will tell you if you're entitled to something; you must find out. Many people (especially those with a job) don't claim all they're entitled to. Billions go unclaimed each year.

Check what benefits you may be able to claim with a benefits calculator Benefits calculators

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Claiming benefits and fixing tax problems can take time. Stick with it.

Spend less on your debts

The best way to get debt-free is to:

  • make a budget planner
  • spend less, to free up more money to repay the debts
  • be organised about making repayments

Use cheaper credit

Any kind of credit costs money, whether it's a loan, an overdraft, a store card or an item bought on a "buy-now-pay-later" basis. Think of credit as buying money, and shop around to find the best deal.

If you need to take out credit then get advice from a free debt help organisation beforehand. 

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It may be cheaper to get a credit union loan than get credit from a shop. If you took credit without shopping around to see if there is a cheaper option then ask for advice to see if there is a way to reduce the cost or pay the loan back quicker.

Spend less on everyday living

The internet is full of tips on saving money. Put some time aside and do some research to see what you can get cheaper. Whether its looking for ways to reduce your household bills, save money on travel or find offers on things you need to buy there are a number of sites that can help.

If you are shopping on the high street then avoid shops offering credit. Swansea has some good second hand shops, which help the environment by keeping good stuff out of rubbish dumps and support charities, as well as selling bargains. 

If you are looking to reduce your spending but aren't sure where to start then do a money makeover (opens new window) on the Money Saving Expert website. Take some time to sit down and go through the stages and see what you can save. If you still want to cut down on your spending then there are tips on spending changes that involve curtailing or changing elements of your lifestyle.

Get a debt-busting budget

Debt repayments leave you with less to live on, so you risk more debts.  A debt-busting budget shows how much debt you can pay off without being left short.

We recommend two great tools to help you make a budget to stick to:

When you are setting your budget be honest about what you are really spending. Ideally look over the last year and include spending on holidays, Christmas and birthdays. Make sure to include everything you have spent your money on.

Once you have completed your budget see if you can afford to increase your card and loan repayments. At the very least make sure you pay more than the minimum each month. This means you'll repay more debt, sooner, which is the key to debt-busting. If you still can't cover all your costs then keep calm. Ask for free advice from a specialist organisation to get their help. There are lots of organisations and charities that can help for free. Don't pay for advice to reduce your debt as this only makes the debt worse.

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Take control: Get free help

Remember: never pay for debt help. With free debt management, all the money you hand over goes to pay off your debts. So you get debt-free sooner.

The organisations below give free, confidential debt help. 

Contact one today, especially if you are unable to make your minimum repayments. They could help you agree lower repayments with your creditors (people you owe money), and avoid more interest or charges mounting up.

If you are anxious and stressed, they will understand.  The sooner you take control, the sooner you will feel better.  They will listen to your situation, explain what might work for you and help sort your debt problems out. You have nothing to lose!  

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