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Four ways to get a handle on debt

If you’re in debt, you’re definitely not alone. Many of us find ourselves in debt at some point in our lives. But being in debt can be a huge weight on your shoulders, and put a strain on your relationships. Even though it’s really stressful to think about, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, and when you’re a parent, you have enough sleepless nights without having to worry about money. Below are just some of the things that could help.

Tip #1: Call the Money Talk Team

The Money Talk Team, delivered by the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland, can help you chat through your options and make sure you are maximising your income. They aren’t there to judge, just to help see if you are eligible for any grants, exemptions or benefits, or if you can save money on bills like gas and electricity. They can also help you get debt advice if you need it. You can call them on 0800 085 7145.

Tip #2: Get to know your debt

It can be really scary to see it all on paper, but try making a list of all your different debts along with the interest rate repayment. Once you know who you owe and how much, you’ll be able to see more clearly your full financial position. Some debts are more important than others – these are called priority debts and include rent arrears, mortgage arrears, utility arrears and council tax. Deal with the priority debts before deciding what to do about your other debts. Once you have dealt with them you will know if you have money left to deal with the non priority debts.

It's best to deal with all of your debts at the same time, and remember that help is available from the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland.

Tip #3: Remember you are not alone

It can be very stressful thinking about money and payments you need to make. Remember that asking for help is the first step towards getting rid of the worry. It might take some time, but every day is a step forward, and there are lots of organisations out there to help you.

Tip #4: It’s good to talk

In Scotland, there are free, independent, impartial and confidential money advice services, who specialise in helping people in debt.

Money Advice Scotland Helpline provides signposting to free, confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt. You can call them on 0800 731 4722, Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm.

There’s also more information available at the Citizens Advice Scotland