Debt Help: 7 Ways to Get Your Finances on Track

Dealing with debt can be stressful, but you don’t have to struggle through it alone. Read on to find out about all of the places offering debt help to get your finances on the right track.

Hannah Smith, Brean Horne Last updated on 11 April 2022.
Debt Help: 7 Ways to Get Your Finances on Track

Being in debt can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure how to start tackling it. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are lots of places that offer debt help. Here, we run through seven ways to help you improve your financial position.

Speak to your lenders

Many lenders offer debt help to customers facing financial difficulties that affect their ability to repay what they owe. So if you’re having trouble paying off your debt, speak to your lender as soon as possible because they may be able to offer support.

For example, your lender may agree to smaller monthly repayments, using a debt management plan, if you can prove that you’re already paying as much as you can afford to.

Other lenders may offer a partial settlement. This is when you only repay a percentage of the total amount of debt you owe because it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to repay the full amount.

The earlier you seek debt help from your lender, the quicker you can take action to manage your debts and keep on top of your repayments.

» MORE: How to get out of debt

Get free expert debt advice

If you find your debt is unmanageable, don’t struggle alone. Instead, contact a free, independent debt advice service as soon as possible for help. A debt adviser will be able to talk through your financial circumstances and help find the best way to deal with your debt.

A debt adviser can also help you apply for temporary protection from your creditors through the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme if you live in England and Wales.

To apply for the Breathing Space scheme, you will need to meet certain eligibility criteria, including being assessed as being in problem debt by a debt adviser and not having used the scheme within the past 12 months (unless it was due to mental health reasons).

Scotland offers similar protection through a programme called the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). Northern Ireland currently doesn’t offer an equivalent temporary protection scheme.

» MORE: How to get free debt advice

Apply for government support and grants

You may need to apply for a Debt Relief Order. A Debt Relief Order can only be used if you owe less than £30,000, don’t own a property and don’t have much money in savings.

If your debt is unmanageable and you can’t pay off your debt, you may decide to apply to make yourself bankrupt. Bankruptcy is a legal tool used to deal with debt that has spiralled out of control. If an Insolvency Service adjudicator decides you should be made bankrupt, the court will use any assets you have to help clear the debt, ending your relationships with your lender.

Speak to your employer

If you are working, some employers offer schemes and services that can help you access debt help. For example, having a confidential chat with HR or researching your company’s benefits package can help point you in the right direction of any support available.

» MORE: Getting an employee loan

Reach out to close family or friends

Our finances can be a tricky topic to discuss, but if you have family and friends you can trust, they can be a great source of debt help. For example, you may be able to get recommendations of organisations or charities that someone else used. They can also offer support and encouragement as you get your finances back on track.

If you are in a relationship, it’s important to be honest with your partner about any debt issues if you’re in a serious relationship or married. Bear in mind that if you have plans to join your finances, their credit rating may be affected by your borrowing history.

Debt can also be a source of tension and stress within relationships, so being transparent about your finances can help ensure that you’re on the same page and can support each other.

If you are already financially tied to another person, through a joint account or if you have a guarantor, speak to them about your debt situation as soon as possible. Your financial circumstances and low credit score may impact your ability to borrow in the future.

If you have a joint debt, you can still apply for the Breathing Space scheme – even if your partner doesn’t sign up for it – while spouses, civil partners or couples living together can apply to Scotland’s DAS scheme, so long as they both agree.

» MORE: Loans from family and friends

Join an online community

Online communities and forums can offer support and encouragement as you pay off your debt. For example, Debtors Anonymous UK offers support groups in person and online for people in the process of getting their finances back on track.

There may also be Facebook groups offering debt support online and in your local area too. Connecting with people in a similar situation or who have overcome debt already can help you get tips and advice to use on your journey to becoming debt-free.

Contact a mental health charity

Our finances, particularly dealing with debt, can cause severe stress and affect our mental wellbeing. So taking care of your mental health is a vital part of your financial wellness journey. Several charities including Mind and Mental Health UK offer free advice and resources to help. You can also contact organisations such as Samaritans if you need someone to talk to and offload any worries.

Remember that you don’t have to struggle with managing debt by yourself. And if you’re facing serious difficulty, contact a debt charity as soon as possible to help you find the best way forward.

» MORE: How can mental health affect your finances?

Image source: Getty Images

About the authors:

Hannah is an award-winning journalist with a background in the trade press. She writes about finance, asset management and business for Shares, Citywire, FE Trustnet, and interactive investor. Read more

Brean is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet. She covers a range of financial topics and has written for consumer titles including Which?, Moneywise and The Motley Fool. Read more

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