Your Debt Priorities

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Very few people are not in debt of some kind. Although servicing debt may be irritating at times, it can be managed by careful budgeting of household income. That being said, anyone can get into problems with their debts through no fault of their own. Being made redundant and taking some time to find a new job, or losing a second income to the household through illness or disability are just two examples of how things can become difficult.

If you find yourself having problems with managing your debts, the first thing to do is not to ignore it. Your debts won’t go away so you need to deal with them. Get debt advice to start with. There are a number of websites that can help you get to grips with the problem and they can also steer you towards telephone help lines. You should also talk to the organisations to which you owe money to see if they can help themselves; you may be surprised.

Next, prioritise your debts. Some are more important than others and should be paid first. If you have a mortgage and get into arrears, your home is at risk, as is the possibility of eviction if you build up rent arrears, so make sure these are absolute priorities.

Your council tax and utility bills – gas, electricity and water – should also be priorities, and if you pay child maintenance you ought to treat that as a priority as well. Currently, if you fail to pay your TV licence you can be prosecuted, though there has recently been talk about the possibility of decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee.

Getting your priorities straight will help you to focus on what has to be done, allowing you to move on to dealing with aspects of debt, such as credit cards, that are next in line.

For help with debts, please visit Stepchange for free and confidential support