How to budget when you’re struggling with debt
If you’re struggling with debt you might not know where to start when it comes to working out how much you can realistically offer your creditors. However, if you can’t afford to meet your regular monthly obligations, it’s time to take action.
Ensure you keep the communication lines open with creditors by telling them you are struggling and ask for some breathing space. This will afford you one month where creditors will put your account on hold and not chase you for payment. You should use this grace period to take the first step to dealing with your debt as it is unlikely you will have another month put on hold.
To help, we have outlined below some practical tips that will help you budget each month:
- Ensure your priority payments are being met. This includes rent or mortgage, gas and electricity, insurances, TV licence, Council Tax, car payments (HP/PCP) and so on. All essential expenditure should take priority over credit card repayments, unsecured loans and catalogues.
- Work out how much you realistically need for food, travel and clothing. If you are struggling to make your income last, be modest with your budget. Limit meals out and impulse buys.
- Set aside a small budget each month for hobbies and leisure, otherwise your budget will become unsustainable and you will be more likely to spend money on purchases you don’t need.
- Save money by taking packed lunches to work and don’t buy a coffee every morning from a shop. This spending quickly adds up and this money could be put towards paying off your debt.
- Maximise your income. If you are the only adult in your house, ensure you apply for the single person’s rebate for Council Tax. Check if you qualify for extra benefits if you believe you are on a low income or are a single parent. You can do this at entitledto.co.uk.
- Once the above is accounted for, your remaining income is what you can afford to pay your creditors. Usually, if you do this yourself, interest and charges won’t be frozen and you will be at risk of legal action. A government-approved Scottish debt solution is the only way to ensure interest and charges are frozen and you are protected from creditor diligence.
Our debt advice is free so if you’re struggling with debt speak to one of our experienced debt experts today for a confidential chat. We can run through an income and expenditure account with you to work out how much you can afford to pay back every month.
You can also use our debt calculator to work out the affordable monthly payments you could be making to help clear your debt.