Citizens Advice Sutton is concerned that increased numbers of residents will experience a Christmas debt hangover. The local charity’s specialist debt team who provides face to face, specialist debt advice to over 1000 clients a year have provided some tips for keeping out of debt.
Citizens Advice Sutton’s tips to avoid a post -Christmas debt hangover
- Work out a budget and stick to it.
- Many people will be paid early just before Christmas –remember that those December wages will have to cover everyday bills and last longer than a month.
- Watch your bank balance –exceeding your overdraft limit can be expensive and even authorised overdrafts can cost over a hundred pounds a year in charges.
- Check the dates of standing orders / direct debits as it can be expensive if they are refused or push you over the overdraft limit.
- Don’t take out extended credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper and you are confident you will have sufficient income to cover the payments
- Be wary of extended warranties; remember you have consumer rights to reject goods that are faulty
- Short term credit is expensive. A typical pay day lender will charge £50 for borrowing £100 for three months. Never borrow from unauthorised lenders (loan sharks)
Members of the specialist team have undergone accredited training and are members of the Institute of Money Advisers. Citizens Advice Sutton is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide debt advice.
The specialist debt advice team working at Citizens Advice Sutton includes ‘approved intermediaries’ for Debt Relief Orders. Meera Bhatt, the debt team manager explains that “a DRO can be appropriate for people with less than £20,000 in debt, no significant assets and unable to pay more than £50 per month towards their creditors. It offers a fresh start to people who would otherwise be trapped by debt.” In the last year, Meera’s team have helped 47 clients – more people than ever – with this low cost insolvency procedure.
|Citizens Advice Sutton is a part of the Sutton Advice Link Partnership (ALPS) service. If you are worried about debt you can contact the Citizens Advice debt team online at http://www.suttonalps.org.uk.
You can phone the debt team on 020 8405 3552.
Steve Triner, the Local Citizens Advice Chief Executive says “the demand for debt advice remains high and we are seeing high numbers of people with priority debts. 32% of our clients have rent arrears and 41% have council tax arrears. Universal Credit has, due to the current waiting period of at least six weeks before the first payment, pushed some Sutton residents into debt. We see a lot of people whose incomes are simply inadequate for their essential outgoings.”