General Advice and Tips on Becoming Debt Free
As soon as you realise you are getting into difficulties with money. don't panic - there is free help available. See below ...
But first, here are some things you can do on your own ...
⇒ Put your money worries on paper. Start by working out a budget. Write down your weekly or monthly income (pay, pension, benefits etc).
⇒ Then list what you spend; everything from mortgage or rent, loan or credit card repayments, shopping, annual items such as car and house insurance, and luxuries and gifts, etc. Keep a spending diary every time you pay for something, no matter how big or small the amount.
⇒ Check that you are getting any financial support or benefits that you are entitled to and that you are not paying too much tax.
⇒ Shop around and maybe switch savings accounts, credit cards, utility suppliers (gas, electricity, etc) to make sure you are getting the best deals.
⇒ Stop any direct debits that may be paying for things you no longer use, eg., gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, etc.
⇒ Save on motoring costs by doing fewer journeys and driving fuel-efficiently.
⇒ Find out how you can save energy in the home and check for any grants you may be able to claim.
Once you've written everything down, then seek free expert help. There are a number of organisations offering a free service, either face-to-face, by phone or online. Talk to them about your money worries and they will explain your options for becoming debt free, such as extra benefits and financial entitlements, IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements), debt management, consolidation loans, equity release, bankruptcy, etc., and help you put in place an appropriate plan.
Money Made Clear
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has a website, Moneymadeclear, where they cut out the jargon from financial advice and just give you the plain facts about financial products and services.
If you are worried about your job, mortgage, pension, bank account, credit cards, investments, savings, loans, retirement options, equity release, insurance, etc, then you should visit Moneymadeclear for no nonsense information, advice and simple tips for dealing with all aspects of your finances.
Finding Authorised and Regulated Financial Advisors
The FSA provides a searchable database of firms and individuals who are authorised to provide financial services and products.
To be certain you are dealing with a FSA regulated person or body, you can check them out at www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) - Surrey
The Citizens Advice Bureau is a charitable service, which helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice, and by influencing policy makers.
Surrey has over 60 local Citizens Advice Bureau offices including in:-
Epsom & Ewell
Reigate & Banstead
To find the address, telephone number and website (if available) of your nearest CAB branch office, go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk and simply enter your postcode or placename into the search box provided.
CAB Advice Online
The Citizens Advice Bureau also has a special website offering online advice. The website consists of a full and comprehensive series of FAQs (frequently asked questions) with informative answers.
Subjects covered include Money Issues such as benefits, employment, tax, debt; Family Issues such as health, housing, education; General Issues such as communications, consumer affairs, travel; and Rights Issues such as discrimination, human rights, civil rights, immigration and the legal system.
Consumer Credit Counselling Service
CCCS is a registered charity offering free, confidential advice and support to anyone who is worried about debt.
Consumer Direct is funded by government and gives clear, practical consumer advice to members of the public. Advisors are based throughout the UK and fully trained to advise on consumer issues of all kinds, including the purchase and supply of goods and services, warranties, codes of practice, etc. They will also explain how you are protected under the law regarding contracts, unfair terms, returns, cancelled orders and disputes, etc. Know your rights.
FamilyLine Surrey - Freephone 0808 800 5678
Established in 1994, FamilyLine Surrey is a charity based near Dorking offering a confidential freephone telephone Helpline for any family member that lives or works in Surrey or the surrounding area, and is experiencing difficulties.
No problem is too small for us to discuss. From all walks of life - parents, singles, grandparents, spouses and partners, teenagers or lone adults - many find their life difficult to cope with.
People with money worries often need emotional help as well as financial advice. Fully trained volunteers offer help for coping with or resolving all kinds of family problems which may or may not arise from money troubles.
The official UK government website for citizens. Mortgage worries? Struggling with debt? Need to know about student loans, benefits, taxes, tax credits, council tax, carers allowance?
Get information and easy access to ALL public services on a single website including, employment, education, parenting, young people, over 50s, disablement, crime and justice, etc.
Office of Fair Trading
The Office of Fair Trading is responsible for ensuring that businesses are fair and competitive and work well for consumers by promoting and protecting consumer interests throughout the UK.