Mornin’ Y’all! Happy Monday 🙂
Thought I’d share a few financial sites and how they help…..so let’s do this.
First and foremost if you are in debt and struggling, try these…..
- National Debtline These people are heroes. They are completely impartial and give you straightforward facts. You can ring and talk to someone (get all your outgoings and debt info together first) or you can do one of their budget sheets online. (These are awesome and calculate repayments automatically!) There are fact sheets on their site too about different types of debt and collectors…..and template letters to send them! We love these guys and wouldn’t know half of the stuff we do without them…God Bless Them!
- Citizens Advice (CAB) are like National Debtline but you go in and see them face to face in a local office. Nice people, very helpful, but sadly the demand is high so may take a while to get an appointment. They can legally act on your behalf and talk to debts too.
- The Money Advice Service (MAS) is government founded and has some useful tools on their website, but are not adverse to credit and consolidation, so if you’re stopping credit altogether, just be aware of this.
These are more consumer-based, but you can often find debt advice or advice to deal with a particular company on their forums….
- Money Saving Expert is TV’s Martin Lewis’ creation and has some excellent advice for dealing with finance companies and services and saving money on bills. Definitely the best forum out there. Remember though this is another not adverse to credit itself.
- Google Harry Wallop and you’ll find dozens of tips and shows…he recently did his own show, writes regularly for the papers and is often found doing consumer advice or exposing companies on Channel 4’s dispatches.
Please remember all these services and websites are free, you do not need to pay someone to deal with your debt! Believe me there are plenty of them out there!
If You want to get out of debt fast; Dave Ramsey shows you in 7 baby steps. What is different about Dave’s approach (but not unique, I have seen it elsewhere) compared to that of TV consumer programmes is the order you pay off debts…. All the debt advice companies suggest you pay a proportion of the money you have left for debt to each one (pro rata) every month until they’re gone. If you have any extra then put it in highest interest one first.
Ramsey doesn’t do that. Instead he says pay the minimum into each then pay off smallest as quickly as possible with any extra income, then next biggest and so on. Doubters argue this doesn’t make mathematical sense, but I have 2 arguments for that:
- You can use a National Debtline letter to ask the companies to halt interest and charges while you pay it off (all of ours, except 1, did).
- The emotional reward when you pay off the first little one really quickly spurs you on to pay the next, you just don’t get that with the traditional route.
Dave Ramsey always says that if they were doing it mathematically they wouldn’t be in debt in the first place….he’s not always subtle, but he makes a good point.
This method is called snowballing and we found a website where it calculates payments for you…here The website also has other calculators like ‘how much would I save if I gave up Smoking’…very interesting. (Note: they don’t always let you edit after saving, so I recommend you print a copy)
If you’re not struggling with debt, the budget sheets and calculators are still really useful. But if you are, I hope this helps. Please don’t be scared to ask for support if you’re struggling.