Are you struggling to pay the bills? Are money problems keeping you awake at night? Are you constantly worrying about money? You're not alone.

More than 14 million people have seen their income fall at some point in the past two years, while more than 6 million people have experienced money problems such as struggling to pay the bills.

Nearly three million people have used high-cost credit cards to make ends meet - and this is all due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most debt issues can be easily sorted out if you just reach out for help.

For support and advice when it comes to managing your money, visit Debt and money - Citizens Advice (opens in a new window)

Ways to make your money go further

  • Maximise your income - you may be entitled to benefits (opens in a new window) you didn't realise you were entitled to.
  • Apply for a Warm Home Discount (opens in a new window).
  • Use your local foodbanks - they are there to support you. This then frees up money for rent, gas, electric and other essential bills.
  • Try to budget your income - break down a monthly income into weekly amounts, use envelopes/jam jars to add money in each week towards larger costs.
  • Buy marked down food at the end of the day in supermarkets and batch cook and freeze for days later in the month when money is tight.
  • Turn your thermostat down just a few degrees - this saves money when using a meter.
  • Consider investing in a heated blanket - easier and cheaper to keep warm for pence instead of pounds.
  • On the day you get paid, fill up the car with fuel, top up meters, buy a large food shop and batch cook. Pay any outstanding priorities before paying anything else. If you run out of money then at least you have the essentials your family needs.
Emma Sylvester is a Debt Services Manager at Citizens Advice

Avoiding debt this Christmas

After spending last Christmas in lockdown, you may want to treat your family and friends even more than usual this year, but you definitely don’t want to start 2023 with a financial hangover.

Planning, budgeting and keeping an eye on your spending is the best way to have a brilliant time without facing money worries in the New Year.

If 2020 taught us anything, surely, it’s that being together is what matters the most.

Click on the tab below for some tips to help you plan a fabulous Christmas, without having to worry about how you’ll pay the bills in the New Year.

1. Plan before you spend

Don't rely on credit cards – make a list of everyone you are buying for and how much you can afford to spend on each person after your bills and essentials are covered.

2. Stick to your budget

Once you've set a budget, keep track of your spending and you're less likely to overspend.

3. Do ‘family gifts’ or a Secret Santa

If you've got a lot of people to buy for, such as extended family and friend groups, this is a great way to keep the costs down.

4. Avoid 'buy now, pay later'

Tempting as they are, try to avoid these offers from retailers unless you have a plan in place and are confident you can repay the loan within the interest free period. Otherwise, after the 0% phase ends, those gifts could end up costing you far more.

5. Before borrowing, look at where you can cut costs

Be honest with yourself and your family and friends. If you think you’ll struggle to make ends meet this Christmas, let those closest to you know, they will be happy to take a rain check on presents or plan something special together at a later time.

 

Money problems are nothing to be embarrassed about and they’re more common than you think. Let’s keep talking.

For more tips to avoid a Christmas hangover visit Top tips for Christmas - Citizens Advice (opens in a new window)

Click on the tabs below for more debt advice and support in your area

Bankruptcy Advice Online

Provider of information and guidance on bankruptcy, debt and debt solutions.

Contact number: 0800 564 2211

Bankruptcy Advice Online website (opens in a new window) 

Email Bankruptcy Advice Online 

Citizens Advice

Telephone and face to face support for Signposting, debt, welfare. 

Contact number: 03444 111 444

Citizens Advice Website (opens in a new window)

IVAorg CIC (not-for-profit, free debt help and advice)

Advice, help and support to complete an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) to reduce debt. 

Contact number: 0800 856 8569

IVAorg CIC website (opens in a new window)

Email IVAorg CIC

Mortgage Advice

A guide to mortgage payment holidays during the effects of coronavirus

Mortgage Advice website (opens in a new window) 

National Debt Line 

Debt advice and support. 

Contact number: 0808 808 4000

National Debt Line website (opens in a new window).

Christians Against Poverty

Support and Advice

Contact number: 0800 328 0006

Christians Against Poverty website (opens in a new window) 

Shelter - Blackburn debt project

Debt and Welfare support. 

Contact number: 0344 515 1831

Shelter Blackburn website (opens in a new window)

West Lancashire Debt Advice

Free, face to face (currently only accepting phone, email and text enquiries due to Covid) debt advice service set up by Churches Together in Ormskirk.

Contact number: 07731 482120

West Lancashire Debt Advice website (opens in a new window)

Email West Lancashire Debt Advice.

Barrow Citizens Advice Bureau

Debt support. 

Contact number: 01229 830367

Barrow Citiziens Advice Bureau website (opens in a new window)

Benefit Advice Service 

For residents of Carlisle and District requiring welfare and benefit advice. 

Contact number: 01228 817400

Benefit Advice Service website (opens in a new window) 

Email Benefit Advice Service 

​​​​South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau

Debt Support. 

Contact number: 03444 111 444

South Lakes Citizens Advice Bureau website (opens in a new window).

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