Personal Debt in 2015: The Forecast

As the dust settles on yet another expensive Christmas period, many people across Britain are finally waking up to the harsh realities of their financial situations. While it is easy to put these problems to the back of our minds in the run up towards the festival period – an extra payday loan here, a missed credit payment there – as we look to sacrifice our own worries for the enjoyment of our families, the first two months of the year are always the hardest for people across the UK.

This isn’t just a question of being ‘a bit skint’ until January payday. Unfortunately, this is about failing to keep on top of finances in an almost fatal manner. As one, two, three missed bills start to hit us, the fear of debt becomes inescapable but many of us still refuse to manage to seek help in time. It appears that, even in 2015, the old stigma attached to financial difficulty that has been perpetrated by those in power for decades is something deeply rooted in the British disposition. The question is, can we finally get the courage to seek out the help that we need and deserve?

The figures, tellingly, speak for themselves. Before the figures for December are even finished being compiled, those for November cement what we already know – the average Briton is struggling with repaying their debts. November 2014 showed that people in the UK managed to drum up the highest level of new debt in seven years. Whether it’s through credit cards, loans or overdrafts, it seems our reliance on credit-based schemes is greater than ever, with the total figure estimated at over £1.25bn.

While the country isn’t yet at crisis point, we are hardly a nation in rude financial health. The Bank of England figures make for troubling reading, but there is also a growing feeling that this may be the year where people in need of support actively seek it out as soon as the first bills of 2015 begin to come in. With the credit card industry under increasing scrutiny from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) due to their ‘aggressive’ marketing campaigns, advice organisations such as us here at Council Tax Advisors believe that the trust in credit companies is dwindling and as a result people are going to want to seek support in their efforts to resolve their financial difficulties.

Of course, this is something easier said than done. A report in The Guardian recently highlighted the extent of the increase of personal debt, and there is a worry that many people do not realise how bad their problems actually are. At CTACIC our services are designed to help at any point of financial difficulty, whether it’s a worry that a council tax bill may not be able to be paid this month or providing you with a detailed list of your rights if your faced with bailiff intervention. The important thing is to not sleepwalk into problems that can be easily avoided with the right guidance.

If these issues of personal debt or missed payments seem to be an unwanted reoccurrence in your life, it’s important to realise what kind of help is available for you to work with. By contacting one of our skilled personal debt experts here at CTACIC, you are giving yourself a huge advantage in the battle to get out of the red and back into the black. For more information on the services we offer, or to explain your issues in more detail, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

5 Tips for Dealing with Credit Card Debt

It can be easy for debt to pile up and get out of hand, and by not addressing it the problem could end up getting even worse. If you’re struggling to pay your bills or find yourself getting into more debt with your credit card then changes might need to be made. Sometimes debt might seem like an overwhelming problem, but with these tips you should be able to help the issue and be on the way to managing your money more effectively.

Say no to an increase in credit card APR

Your card company could tell you it plans to push up the interest rate on your credit card if you owe a certain amount of money. However you don’t have to take this increase lying down, and you have 60 days to contact the company to put a rejection in. After this you won’t be able to use the card anymore for spending, but you can repay anything you owe at the older, lower rate you were accustomed to.

Change to a 0% balance transfer credit card

The average credit card rates in the UK have now reached a whopping 18%. But there are alternatives, and you could switch to a 0% balance transfer card for better savings. There are deals that offer up to 28 months interest free, so try to shop around for the best ones.

Pay more than the minimum

It will take you years to repay the full balance if you’re only making the minimum payments on your credit card. It could also end up damaging your credit score if you do this persistently for a long time. By paying more than the minimum on your credit card it’ll also encourage potential future lenders to do business with you, as it suggests you have a better hold on your finances.

Choose to pay off debt before saving

Some people choose to save up money over paying off their debt, but it’ll be much better in the long run if you just focus on sorting your credit card finances out. You’ll end up saving a significant amount in interest rates if you use your savings to pay off the debt.

Get impartial, free debt advice

Trying to work out how to deal with debt on your own can be a tough ask. But there is help out there, and you should seek advice from a free, impartial service that knows exactly how to manage personal finances. Don’t continue to struggle with debt and get information from a company who can give you guidance.

Council Tax Advisors offers free advice to people struggling with council tax debt related issues and problems with bailiffs, but we also help to solve any problems you might be having with creditors and other types of debt problems. We aim to ease people’s worries and have them back on their feet again. Contact a member of Council Tax Advisors today for more information.

Housing Debt: Britain’s Main Concern for 2015

As the dust settles on yet another enjoyable but expensive Christmas period, the harsh realities of the current financial situation of the British population become apparent once again. While many of us can admit taking short term loans out to fund a festive period with our loved ones, very few of us admit to having money troubles at the start of a new year.

Much of this is brushed off and lumped in with a general feeling of over-indulgence that is felt by the whole nation, but unfortunately for many of us it is much more serious than that. With the ease that we can now obtain money through payday lenders, they often act as a quick fix – meaning the headache later down the line is forgotten about, albeit temporarily.

However, the high interest rates of these loans mean that the need to pay them back is much greater than many of our other bills and in many cases we end up treating them with a greater priority. This means that when we look out into 2015 and picture our financial health, it isn’t these short-term borrowings that plague our thoughts the most; it is our long-standing, ever-present bills that cause the most alarm.

A recent study published in local Scottish news outlet the Forfar Dispatch highlighted the mood of the country, and indeed much of Great Britain, perfectly. According to housing and homelessness charity Shelter, an organisation that deal with the welfare and support of those in residential difficulty, one in four members of the Scottish public are living with a fear that they may not be able to  meet their rent or mortgage payments at some point this year. Through a variety of case studies and surveys, the charity have also determined that, on average, almost six in ten people feel they are already struggling with housing costs.

One of the main contributing factors to these spiralling debts, alongside the freeze of wages and the rise in the cost of living, is the fact that many people are reluctant to seek help when they need it the most. Advice and help services, like us here at Council Tax Advisors, are constantly advocating the belief that the sooner these problems are confronted, they can be tackled accordingly. Despite many people falling into further difficulties year upon year, there appears that even in 2015 there is a stigma regarding debt.

It isn’t just a problem in Scotland, either. When they investigated cases of households across the United Kingdom, 26 per cent of 4,150 people stated they would ‘feel ashamed’ to seek professional help if housing payments become too great a burden. When coupled with another figure from a separate Shelter survey, showing that one in four adults out of 1,038 that were asked believed they would need to use the services of organisations such as us at some point during 2015.

The importance of using the help and support that is available is something that will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable later down the line. With professional debt experts, well versed in the ins and outs of housing policy and the more specific aspects of things such as bailiff rights, here at CTACIC we are perfectly placed to get you set up on the road to financial stability.

The figures shown in reports such as the one published in the Forfar dispatch do much to highlight the current climate of the average citizen in the United Kingdom, but without the right guidance it is difficult to imagine how we expect it to change. If you feel like these situations apply to you, if worries regarding your housing payments – whether that is rent, mortgage or council tax – do not ignore them. Contact CTACIC today.

Ways to combat decreasing local government support for council tax

After a hectic, but largely enjoyable period celebrating the festivities of Christmas and the beginning of a new year numerous people will have difficulties paying their upcoming bills. Although falling into debt can be a dark time, help is at hand here at Council Tax Advisors from our friendly team who have experienced falling behind on their property tax payments.

As local government resources become even more stretched after funding cuts the financial support for those who require it the most is limited consequently. Councils across the UK have already announced that there will be significant cutbacks in the crucial Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) which gives discounts for the poorest residents and families in particular areas.

With Britain’s economy making tiny progress over the last year, more financial strain has been placed on local authorities, and, as a result, people’s finances. Worrying figures released by the Local Government Association showed that just 45 councils are investing the same money into council tax benefit as they were in 2013, before this support stream was reduced. Although the tough economic times appear to be unlikely to change any time soon, there are some helpful tips which will save you and your family vital cash.

Pay your bill by direct debit

Rather than manually sending money to the council each month, setting up a direct debit payment plan could save you some money over the annual cost of this property tax. This means that your bank will make regular monthly council tax payments without you lifting a finger, which can also be advantageous as it gives you one less job to do. This adds simplicity and everyone can use this method, whether or not you have a bank account. In December, changes meant that every British adult could have a bank account, regardless of their credit rating, without being charged.

It is advisable not to use a direct debit plan if you are close to your overdraft limit as banks will fine you for doing so, but worry not as our helpful team at CTACIC are more than willing to find affordable solutions should you fall into debt. We also hold a monthly prize for one lucky person to have their yearly council tax bill paid for free.

Ask for a reassessment

The last time properties were valued by bands was nearly 25 years ago in 1991, so it is possible you are paying too much for your council tax bill because the Valuation Office Agency have not done a nationwide assessment in quite a while. To enquire about the band your property is in you should research how much your home was valued in 1991 as well as checking what your neighbour’s property is worth. Getting the band of your property changed could save you hundreds of pounds, so it is definitely worth considering.

Enquire about council support

Another way you can reduce the amount you spend on your bill is by contacting your local council about possible support schemes they implement for residents in hardship. Around half of councils have provided funding for those who need it the most in terms of paying their council tax.  If your council believes you are entitled to receive financial support it is highly likely you will get it as long as money is reserved for this help.

If you are still struggling to pay your council tax or any other bills, then please do not hesitate in contacting us today. We give free and impartial advice to everyone who asks for our help and we have experienced dealing with bailiffs through our own troubles.

The 12 Debt Myths of Christmas

It’s the season to be jolly, but unfortunately there can be reasons to not be so cheerful at this time of year. Financial problems seem to mount up in the lead up to Christmas, and sometimes it can all start to feel a bit much. However there’s plenty of rumour and speculation when it comes to debt problems, and it can leave people feeling confused and lost in the dark. We’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest debt myths out there so that you can stay informed and ahead of the game.

Bailiffs forcing entry into your home

Plenty of people grow worried at the thought of bailiffs forcing their way into the home to make a collection. However they aren’t allowed to do this and they must be invited in by you first. If you do decide to let them in then they could start reclaiming possessions to offset a debt. After granting a bailiff entry to your home once then they are allowed to re-enter should they return, so think carefully before letting them in. You’re not obliged to open the door and you can even communicate through a chained door or even letterbox. Occasionally bailiffs can apply “reasonable force”, for instance if they have a court order or have been invited in previously, but they can never do things like push you or break in.

Bailiffs taking items from the home

The bailiff will only be able take items that belong to the person who owes them money, not belongings of families or kids. You may need to provide proof that the items don’t belong to you. Items including bedding, clothing, household equipment and anything that’s needed for domestic use cannot be taken.

Bailiffs and enforcement agents

Bailiffs and enforcement agents are essentially the same thing, and they’ve been given a set of rules and regulations that they have to follow. These guidelines include details about what they can and can’t do when making a visit to your home, and the fees that are applied at different stages of the process.

How often debt collectors can contact you

According to the Administration of Justice 1970 and the Office of Fair Trading, debt collectors and creditors are forbidden to make excessive contact with you as it could be regarded as harassment. If you feel uncomfortable with debt collectors pestering you then report them to the Office of Fair Trading.

Where debt goes when you die

When you pass away, as long as you have no other assets to sell or savings, the debt will pass on with you instead of having to be paid by family. However your family may be forced to sell your home or other assets you might have had to release money to pay creditors.

When you can go to prison for debt

Creditors don’t have the power to send you to prison for defaulting on credit card payments or personal loans. If this happens you could be issued with a CCJ so you have to pay a certain amount towards the debt. You can be sent to prison for not paying council tax, however this usually only happens if you don’t make your payments due to neglect or refusal, not just because you’re struggling with the financial aspect.

Who your bad credit rating effects

A credit rating is personal solely to one person, not additional card holders or people that you live with. Additional card holders are not liable for any debt built up on a credit card.

Losing your home after missing mortgage repayments

You could eventually lose your home if you fail to keep up with the mortgage repayments, but mortgage lenders do have a code of conduct they have to abide by. This means they have to treat you fairly and can only repossess the home as a last resort. Contacting the mortgage lender and coming up with an agreement is always the best course of action.

When the bank can help with debt

If the repayments on credit cards are piling up, letting the creditor know as soon as possible could see them freezing the interest, reducing it temporarily or sometimes giving you a break from it altogether. Don’t be afraid of your creditor, get in touch with them and they may be able to provide a helping hand.

How expensive overdrafts are

A lot of the time overdrafts can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. There are some banks with current accounts that offer fairly low fees for overdrafts, and it’s best to shop around to see which one offers you the best deal.

When debt doesn’t have to be bad

Of course, high interest rates on things such as credit cards is obviously bad debt. However debt can also be used to be turned into a positive, as a good credit history and credit score can be built up if you manage it correctly. It can be hard to find credit for things such as mortgages if you have no credit history.

Having to pay for debt advice

If you’re struggling with debt problems and want someone to turn to then free, professional and impartial advice is available for you. Council Tax Advisors can give you information on all manner of debt, easing your worries and helping you figure out how to get rid of your problems. Contact us today for more details.

Cutting Down on Your Energy Bills

We’re always looking for ways to cut down on our monthly bills, whether it’s by spending less on food, clothes, or entertainment. However there are also different tricks you can use to lower the cost of your monthly outgoings, namely your energy bills. Electricity and gas are necessities in the home, but hopefully these tips could keep your bills from hitting the roof and maybe even free up some cash for you to spend on the fun things in life.

Replace light bulbs

Replacing old light bulbs with energy saving ones could cut your bills massively, by £60 a year in some cases. Energy saving bulbs even last longer than traditional ones, with around 10 years of life on average compared to one year for a normal bulb. LED bulbs can even last for an impressive 25 years. When you’re not using a room remember to turn your lights off.

Insulating the home

Splashing out on insulation could save you massive amounts of money in the long run. Insulating loft and cavity walls can take over £200 off your bills every year. Loft insulation is recommended to have a thickness of at least 270mm if you want to stop a good amount of heat leaving the house, thus cutting those energy bills.

Change supplier

Changing your energy supplier is often a very good way of slashing your bills. If it’s been a few years since you last switched then it’s definitely worth having a look at what a different company could be charging you. The whole idea of switching might be enough to put you off, but the process is often a lot simpler than you imagine. Check out a price comparison site and start saving money today.

Turn the thermostat down

Studies have shown that turning the room temperature down even just slightly could save you around £75 on your heating bills every year. This means it might be worth putting that jumper on when you’re cold instead of turning up the temperature. Turning down radiators in rooms that are rarely used is also a good way of saving.

Buy energy efficient gadgets

Checking to see if that washing machine is an energy efficient model could be saving you an extra £40 a year. Tumble dryers and fridge freezers are also notorious for using up lots of energy and adding to your bills, so make sure you’ve got ones that don’t cost so much to run.

Stop draughts

Homes with draughts waste lots of energy, with windows and doors being the cause of a lot of lost heat. DIY stores have a large range of equipment which can protect against draughts, but if you’d rather leave it to an expert then they can make sure any gaps in a room are taken care of. Double glazing is also a great way of saving on your bills.

Hopefully these tips can help to keep your home more energy efficient and leave you with a bit more money towards the end of the month. Many people go years without trying to cut down on their bills, when they could easily be saving cash and putting it towards better things. If you ever want to pick up more tips for saving on your energy bills then Utility Saving Expert provides great information all year round.

However there are some money problems which are a bit more complicated. If you’re struggling with money problems due to council tax issues or any other forms of debt then Council Tax Advisors are experts at providing free and impartial advice. Get in touch with a member of their team today to find out more and let them put your mind at ease.

Credit Cards and their Christmas Love Affair

There are many things we won’t be able to predict this Christmas. First, of course, there’s the weather – will we be treated to a white Christmas or will it be the now-customary grey skies that greet us on Christmas morning? Then there are our favourite programmes’ Christmas specials – will they live up to the hype, or will we be left disappointed at cheap gimmicks and rushed storylines? And for those so inclined to be following the football, will the onslaught of December fixtures make or break our team’s season?

While the answers to those perennial questions will only become apparent as we stride further into the festive season, there is one thing that is much clearer cut when it comes to Christmas. According to figures released by the building society Nationwide have highlighted that yet another steep incline in credit card usage is occurring as we speak – something they believe will continue to surge until the night of the 23rd, when many of us are contented with our haul (or simply admit defeat).

Last year, the 23rd accounted for £4.2m in credit card sales alone, with each transaction averaging at almost £60 a time. It appears that it isn’t just our waistline that gets piled on with pounds but our outstanding balances, too. Supermarkets accounted for £170 per customer on average during last December, 26 per cent more than the usual average, highlighting the extent of the gold rush that retailers experience during the final month of the year.

The ease that we seem to part with money over Christmas is something that ultimately leaves many of us with serious amounts of outstanding credit to pay and very little money to repay it with. While overbuying food and overspending on gifts may seem like part and parcel of the Christmas spirit, it is this hyper-consumerism that is hugely damaging to a large portion of our society. Credit cards, although extremely useful in getting us out of tight spots or providing security when using them online, can quickly turn into nightmares before the tree has even been taken down.

A common misconception is that these types of credit and debt problems are reserved for those of us in the lowest income brackets, but in 2014 (and 2015) these problems are non-discriminatory. Spending outside of our means is not something exclusive to those who do not have much of it; in reality, it is actually quite the opposite. It is important not to let the stigma of financial difficulty prevent you from seeking help and advice when you really need it.

It’s inevitable that we’ll overspend during this time of year and equally inevitable that much of this will be using credit cards, but staying within some sort of manageable budget is necessary to avoid serious trouble in the New Year. Here at Council Tax Advisors we are all too familiar with how badly these types of issues can affect people – the psychological blow of starting a new year on a financial low is a lot more serious than people may realise.

For more information on the risks of high credit card spending this Christmas, or to seek advice on how to combat your existing debt issues, contact one of our team of experienced advisors today.

The English and Scottish Campaign Against Council Tax

Britain’s property tax has been unpopular for decades, even before council tax replaced the community charge (poll tax) in 1993. Ahead of this summer’s General Election the relatively new leader of the SNP wants there to be review on other systems to replace council tax. Nicola Sturgeon – who succeeded Alex Salmond in November – has asked a commission to suggest alternatives because of the party’s consistent wish for a different way of taxing home owners. They have been able to implement this desired change in Scottish Parliament because of minority administration at Holyrood.

In a Scottish Parliament speech, Scotland’s First Minister said: “These plans aim to build a sense of shared endeavour about how we create a wealthier and more equal society. It is founded on three key priorities – participation, prosperity and fairness.”

Their bid to change Scotland’s property tax remains an aim for the SNP and has been argued by Liberal Democrat MPs and councillors in England. They are adamant council tax charges do not take into account salaries and is an outdated system which urgently needs replacing after bills have soared since its introduction over 20 years ago. After 10 years of the change in property tax billing, charges had increased by 70 per cent with the Liberal Democrats believing these hit the poorest the hardest and richer citizens were not paying enough in comparison.

They still passionately feel that this is a regressive tax and needs to be changed. The SNP wanted council tax to be replaced with a local income tax in 2007 and this is the same wording Liberal Democrat representatives use when suggesting a system to succeed the charge. This aims to divert more financial support to the most deprived areas. The fact council tax is based on property value rather than a person’s salary meant that numerous member of the public ended up having higher council tax bills than Tony Blair had as Prime Minister.

Another reason the Liberal Democrats oppose council tax is because of how inefficient they believe it is. They claim it costs around £600 million each year to collect and administer this charge, but, most importantly, council tax causes problems for pensioners and those on lower incomes. Therefore, they propose a local income tax system – which would be collected the same way national income tax is in order to reduce administration costs.

The Liberal Democrats’ ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign has not generated much recent momentum in the Houses of Parliament with much more focus on Labour’s plan to introduce a mansion tax. However, the issue of council tax rises adversely affecting home owners and families remains a big talking point among councillors as well as MPs. Council Tax Benefit Reduction Schemes have been significantly cut as a result of financial strain on local government resources, with less support expected in Wolverhampton from April.

Low-income families are expected to be hit by a 10 per cent reduction in support, resulting in larger council tax bills. At Council Tax Advisors we give everyone free and impartial advice on their debts from council tax charges and many other types of payments. We work with councils and bailiffs to give you affordable repayments to reduce the stresses of owing money. Our company was set up after our experiences of dealing with bailiffs so we know what pressures you are facing and are here to help.

Why Bankruptcy Should Always be a Last Resort

The dangers of bankruptcy are continuously looming for people up and down the country, as they struggle to deal with debt and feel like they’re running out of alternatives. Declaring yourself bankrupt is a viable option if the problems appear to be insurmountable, but it should always only be considered as the last resort after all other options have been exhausted. That’s because bankruptcy comes with a range of restrictions that’ll be imposed on you following the ruling, which could cause you some problems further down the line.

Applying for bankruptcy can be done in court by yourself, or your creditors could apply for it on your behalf if they’re not being paid what they are owed. However even the application for bankruptcy is a hefty one, costing £700, which includes a £525 deposit for the official receiver and a £175 court fee. The court fee can occasionally be waived for lower earners.

After being declared bankrupt the restraints last for 12 months. Following that period the bankrupt is ‘discharged’ from the remaining debts, but it can be very difficult to get even basic bank accounts during that time. There are also some other constraints imposed on you in the 12 month period that could make life tricky.

You won’t be permitted to borrow more than £500 without telling the lender about your bankruptcy status, which could put them off from letting you borrow money. There’s also a lot of business based limitations, including the rules that you won’t be allowed to act as a director of a company, manage a business with a different name without telling people you’re bankrupt or create and manage a company without the court’s permission. You won’t be able to work as an insolvency specialist, either.

These legally binding rules are all set out in the Bankruptcy Restrictions, and breaking them is regarded as a criminal offence. Declaring bankruptcy is a possible option for those with no income, no assets and large debts that they just can’t pay off. It isn’t such a good option for property owners, who could end up having to sell their home to pay off the debt. People with professional qualifications, such as solicitors, can also be barred from practicing their career if they are made bankrupt.

Upon being declared bankrupt you will be appointed a trustee who will review your assets with a view to selling them on to pay off the debt. These assets generally don’t include essential items such as clothing or things you need for the house like furniture, but if you have a particularly large debt then the trustees could seek to reclaim the home.

Bankruptcy should always be the last resort, as the consequences of declaring yourself bankrupt could be dreadful and limit your options further down the line. If you feel like debt is piling up and you have nowhere to turn, then get in touch with us. We provide free financial advice across all types of issues, including bankruptcy. Speak to specialists today and we can help you figure out how to manage that debt.

Post-Christmas Money Management

They say Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year.  Well, now the actual day is only around the corner, here at CTACIC we decided right about now is the perfect time to start preparing your post-Christmas money management scheme. It can be all too easy to stick your head in the sand during the festive season and simply spend, spend, spend. However, if you are already in a sticky financial situation (or you think you will when January 1st comes around) ignoring your money is the last thing you should be doing.

Naturally, Christmas will be a little more indulgent in comparison to the other months of the year. But it’s important that you keep a level head in order to avoid a full-blow financial hangover. Thinking proactively about your finances and planning how you are going to meet your repayments come January will prove incredibly beneficial when the time arrives. So, here is our week-by-week guide to help you drag yourself out of post-Christmas debt.

Week One – Making a Start

Getting started is always the hard part, but once you’ve got your bearings about where you stand with your debt you can begin to make productive steps forward. You need to work out exactly how much you owe, who you owe to and when you have to pay it off by. It all sounds relatively simple – however drawing up a budget is likely to be the really difficult part. If you are looking at a figure of more than 20 per cent of your monthly earnings going towards debt repayment, you may have entered a serious level of debt. At this stage, cutbacks and changes need to be made and fast.

Scheduling when you are going to repay your debts is crucial. You need ensure high-priority debts are paid first in order to avoid the loss of your home or essential services. After those are out of the way, focus on the debts with the highest interest rates as these can grow quickly when you aren’t looking.

Week Two – Credit Cards

Your credit card may have been your best friend over the Christmas period, but come January your trusty partner may quickly turn into your worst enemy. Many people rely on their credit cards to see them through the expensive festive season. A lucky few will have found 0 per cent introductory deals, but many will not. For the majority steep interest rates will be slowly increasing your Christmas debt.

A balance transfer card may be an excellent way to get a handle on your credit cards. Often banks offer 0 per cent interest periods on transfer amount of for up to 29 months, in exchange for a transfer fee between 1 and 3 per cent. If your credit card debt really is too much to handle, a consolidating loan may be your best option. From here, you will have to figure out whether your credit card debts would be best paid off either via balance or transfer card.

If you have any store cards or payday loans it is imperative you pay these off and get rid of them immediately. These are both hugely expensive outgoings and your debt will only snowball if left for long periods of time. If you find yourself in what seems like an unmanageable credit card debt situation, you can always seek free debt advice from CTACIC.

Week Three – Outgoing Cutbacks

By week three you should be looking at your outgoings to ensure you are not paying out extra cash for no real reason. Keeping a keen eye on your spending can help you to save money not just in January either, so when better than the New Year to implement a money saving ethic to your finances.

Simple changes to your routine can be made to your routing to make outgoing cutbacks. Making sure your utility bills are being paid by direct debit will cut your bills drastically. Also keeping on top of your energy bills by regularly reporting meter reading to supplier will provide with you a more accurate bill and help you to avoid one-off bill errors. If you feel that you are paying above and beyond what you use, consider switching in order to save money.

Living in your overdraft is a habit best given up in order to adopt a better finance focused attitude. You may be being hit by high interest rates and big bank charges for straying over your pre-agreed overdraft limits. This issue needs to stop as soon as possible, so switching to a current account may gain you a much lower overdraft rate.

Even your insurance policies could be trickling away your cash behind your back. Finding cheaper car cover, contents insurance or mortgage protection could save you huge amounts of cash in total.

Week Four – Mortgage & Rent

If you are the current owner of a mortgage, this is likely to be your biggest expense this month, so ensuring you have the best deal could really come in handy. Cast an eye over your mortgage rate and conditions to find out what rate you are on, whether it is fixed or a tracker rate deal, or your lender’s standard variable rate. You also need double check is there are any early repayment charges you may face. If your mortgage is really weighing you down financially, you may need to consider re-mortgaging.

For those who rent however, one of the most efficient ways to pay down debt would be to move to a cheaper home. If you have the opportunity to move to a cheaper or smaller property, it may be worth taking the hit of living somewhere else in order to pay off your Christmas debts quicker. You should at least set up a direct debt so they you never have to pay a late payment for not paying your rent on time.

If you are unsure about cutting your post-Christmas debts and need professional advice then call us. You can receive free advice from our personable and friendly team, who will guide you towards the best financial solutions.

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