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Helping you manage your debt

No matter how well you plan, circumstances can change. You could find yourself in a position where debts that were previously manageable have become more difficult to maintain.

That’s especially true if your debt is spread over a number of sources – store cards, credit cards, an overdraft, a bank loan. Different payment dates and interest rates may result in stressful financial juggling where it wasn’t necessary before.

There are a few simple things you can do to help yourself.

Take charge of your finances

Sit down and work out your incomings and outgoings and produce a debt management plan. How much do you earn, versus how much you spend on debt. Include everything, from mortgage payments to electricity bills, from child support to your TV licence.

Put the most important first. For example, you could lose your home if you don’t pay your mortgage or rent. So that’s high on the list.

Next, look at ways to reduce any repayments or pay off a credit or store card to reduce the overall interest you owe. Think about each debt and realistic ways you could work with the creditor to manage the repayments.

Check your account balances

Is there enough money in your current or savings accounts to pay off one or more of your debts in one go? That could be enough to make the difference between struggling and managing debt more easily. Getting rid of one or two key payments could be all it takes to get you back on an even financial keel.

Set yourself a budget

You’ve looked at how much is coming in, and what’s going out in terms of debt. What’s left over is your budget. That could mean you need to make savings. It might be something as simple as switching to a different supermarket. It might take a little more than that. Sticking within the budget you’ve set, however, could prevent your financial situation from getting worse.

Talk to someone

If you find you really can’t make ends meet, don’t wait for things to get better – or worse – by themselves. Get some solid financial advice as soon as you feel yourself starting to struggle. You’ll find independent, impartial, confidential advice from organisations like StepChange, the Citizens Advice Bureau or National Debtline. Or you can speak to your bank. The earlier you take action, the easier it is to get the situation under control.

Take control

In some cases, a new loan could be the answer. Add up all your current monthly payments. Now consider whether you could borrow that amount, clear your debts and have just one monthly repayment to manage.

There’s a few things you need to think about before taking this option:

  • Your credit rating will affect the kind of loan you can take out, and the amount of interest you might have to repay.
  • Interest on existing debt. Make sure you’ve calculated these accurately. If you’re not going to be better off with a new loan, there’s no point in progressing this option.
  • How much do you need? Don’t be tempted to borrow more than you need to. This is about managing and reducing your debt, not increasing it.

This article is intended as general advice only which is not intended to cover specific circumstances and needs. The information in this article is also not linked to any of the products offered by Clydesdale Bank PLC

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