Get #FinanciallyFit in 2020
By Matt Dronfield, Head of Debt Free London
Debt Free London is London’s free face-to-face debt advice service, led by Toynbee Hall, which helps over 24,000 Londoners with their debt and money problems each year.
Our trained and accredited advisors are based across 26 partner debt charities and can help with all types of money worries from rent and council tax arrears to credit card and catalogue debt.
This week sees the start of not just a new year, but a new decade, and for many getting out of debt might be the number one goal – still, It can be hard to know where to start.
January can feel like a long month when you’re trying to make money stretch until payday – an early payday in December, attending festive parties and buying gifts mean that many people struggle to make ends meet at this time of year. Half of those already in debt will be in a worse financial position after Christmas with 20% worried they will be unable to recover, according to research from YouGov.
The key problem, despite our best intentions, we just don’t plan well enough in advance – more than half of people had not saved up for Christmas at all before December, and more than one in three put Christmas on the credit card.
So, what can you do now to stay on top of your bills and how can you prepare to be #FinanciallyFit in 2020?
Be honest with yourself
It can be hard to face your finances if you’re worried about money – this causes many people to ignore the situation, allowing their problems to get worse as time goes by.
The sooner you ask for help, the faster your money worries can be fixed – be brave, be bold and be honest with yourself if you’re concerned about your finances so you can get the help you need.
Make a budget
Start the new decade off on the right foot by getting around to making a budget. It’s not glamourous, but it really is the best way to understand your spending habits, find areas to cut back and stay out of debt.
Total up everything you have coming in from work, benefits and other sources. Then look at everything going out, including utility bills, rent, mortgage, travel and mobile phone.
This will give you a good idea about how much you have left each month and might also highlight some areas you can cut back.
Get help by seeking advice
If you’re already struggling with debt, or are worried about the post-Christmas credit card bill, then you must seek advice as soon as possible.
You might think you have your money under control, even if you do find yourself overstretched at the end of the month. But dealing with your debts head-on at an early stage makes it an easier problem to solve.
We’re here to offer free, expert advice at over 55 locations across London.
To make an appointment call us on freephone 0808 164 2480, we’ll use the information you’ve given us to establish the nature and urgency of your debt.
We’ll book you in for a face-to-face appointment at your nearest centre – or a telephone advice session if required – so we can give you a detailed analysis of the help available to you.
We’ll discuss your options and talk through the pros and cons of each.
We’ll establish the best possible solution and help you to resolve your debt – whether that’s by means of advocacy, representation or negotiation on your behalf, or by helping you write letters and supporting you throughout the process.
Let’s make 2020 the year you get #FinanciallyFit!