Being in debt can be a stressful experience but recognising the warning signs and knowing where to find a solution can help ease the strain.
As a first step, ask yourself if any of the following apply to you:
• Do you seem to spend more than you have coming in each month?
• Do you find difficulty in sleeping with worry?
• Do you have increased tension with your spouse or partner, arguing over money issues?
• Do you fear your property may be repossessed?
• Do you ignore bank or credit card statements?
• Do you regularly ask family and friends for loans to help out?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is ‘yes’, it’s worth starting to think about taking back control of your finances.
When you’re struggling with money, it’s important to remember you are not alone and that impartial, tailored financial help and information is out there.
Contact the following organisations if you feel you need some advice:
They are an independent charity dedicated to overcoming problem debt, and provide free and impartial help to people all over Scotland. The StepChange Debt Charity Helpline is 0800 138 1111. It’s free, and open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday. Free and anonymous advice is also available online, with StepChange Debt Remedy, and takes just 20 minutes.
Citizens Advice Scotland has 61 bureaux countrywide and together with their consumer helpline forms Scotland’s largest independent advice network. Citizen advice bureaux help hundreds of thousands of people deal with a range of issues, including money, benefits, housing, and legal. They provide free, confidential and impartial advice to everybody regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief and sexual orientation. Citizens advice bureaux offer a comprehensive range of options for dealing with money problems and holistic advice on any other issues that a person might be
Citizens Advice Direct deal with over 400,000 Scottish citizens every year by phone, email, online and social media. Their service is Scotland wide, and they are named as one of the main national providers of telephone advice across Scotland in The Improvement Service’s ‘Money advice services across Scotland’s local authorities’ report. They are a member organisation of Citizens Advice Scotland but are funded by the Scottish Government with a national rather than a local remit.
All calls to their lines are free from mobiles and landlines, and they are open from 9.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday, and between 10.00am and 2.00pm on Saturdays.
National Debtline provides free, confidential and independent advice for people with debt problems in Scotland, England and Wales. They give expert help via phone, email and in writing or can send you a free information pack. The National Debtline website includes a fully interactive online advice tool called My Money Steps which is available for use 24/7.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has 20 debt centres set up in local communities all across Scotland. They also run free money management courses that teach basic budgeting skills and how to prevent debt.
Throughout the UK, CAP have been recognised for helping over 27,500 people a year to find a way out of debt through their renown services. Over 10,000 people a year also benefited from attending a free CAP money course.
However bad your debts are, there is hope. CAP's professional and friendly approach means they can visit you in your own home and give you a solution that will see you out of debt. They will negotiate with your creditors, set up a budget and then support you to either repay your debt through a debt management plan or help you apply for DAS, sequestration or trust deed.
The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation, set up by the UK government. They provide free, independent and unbiased money advice to build on people’s knowledge and understanding of money matters and to improve people’s ability to manage their money well. Their free and impartial money advice is available online, over the phone (0300 500 5000) and by web-chat, in printed guides, and face-to-face through a UK-wide network of Money Advisers. They have over 500 resources including articles and interactive tools such as the Budget planner and Cut back calculator for you to use. Subjects range from everyday budgeting to savings, buying a car, insurance, pensions, mortgages and investments. They also work with partners to make debt advice easier and quicker to access and to improve standards and quality across the sector. They are a major funder of free face-to-face debt advice across the UK
SAMH is the Scottish Association for Mental Health.
One in four people in Scotland will have a mental health problem at some point in their life. This means that you may know someone with a mental health problem, or maybe you're worried about your own mental health.
At SAMH they believe there is no health without mental health. They're there to provide help, information and support; to campaign on behalf of people with mental health problems and to raise money to fund our vital work. There're there for everyone, and there're there for you.
The Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health. With prevention at the heart of what they do, they aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems.