10 steps to a debt free future

Wirral Consumer Debt Advisor tells Heart the best way to help get out our debt this New Year

A survey last month found that more than a third of us were expecting to have to take out payday loans to cover the cost of Christmas.

Shirley Shacklady, a consumer debt advisor at Aegis Law in Hoylake has put together these ten top tips to a brighter future.

"More and more people in debt are finding it hard to cope, it is important to deal with the problem straight away – the longer you leave it the worse the situation gets.

"Take Control with our 10 easy steps:

  1. Acknowledge that you have a problem
  2. Work out a personal budget – what you have coming in and what you have going out.
  3. Prioritise your debts – mortgage, rent, utility bills and council tax come first, then your other debts credit cards, bank loans, catalogue payments and money borrowed from family and friends come second.
  4. Work out what you can afford to pay. 
  5. List the payment dates when bills are due to be paid – this is an area where most people fall down they do everything else but forget to check date of direct debts and then end up in the red with an unpaid direct debt – were possible get all your payment dates 2 – days after your wages are paid in to your bank account this will ensure all your debts are paid each month and you then know what you have left to live on.
  6. Talk to your creditors – don’t be afraid, offer what you can afford – it’s important not to offer more than you can afford, also at this point you might need to change the date of the direct debt.
  7. Discipline is crucial – stick to your budget and review every three months.
  8. Become a smart shopper – use coupons, look out for the BOGOFF offers in shops look for better deals on your household bills (Gas, Electric, Insurances).
  9. Best plans do go astray – remember if the budget you have set yourself becomes unmanageable for whatever reason, talk to your creditors right away.
  10. Stop using shopping as a form of Therapy – If your idea of stress relief is a spending spree with your flexible friend DON’T find another hobby.

"The best New Year’s resolution you can make is to take control of your finances, face up to your situation, and talk to your creditors."