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Advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau

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Coping with Debt
Some Tips

You can’t pay the bills and you suddenly realise that things have started to get out of hand. You feel panicky, angry, ashamed, frightened – what can you do?
Here are some ideas on what to do and what not to do.
· Don’t ignore the problem (unopened bills, etc) – it won’t go away.
· Don’t panic but don’t hide your head under the duvet either.
· Don’t be tempted into borrowing more money to pay off your debts
· Avoid “debt management” companies who charge a large fee.
“Four don’ts already,” I hear you grumble. “What about the do’s?”
· Do sort out your priorities – make sure you can pay the rent or mortgage, Council Tax, HP on the car, water, electricity, etc.
· Do work out a budget – find out what you have left after you have paid your priorities as well as paid for food etc. This amount is what you have left to offer the other creditors.
· Do get in touch with your creditors to explain your difficulties. They are more likely to be sympathetic if you do.
· Do make sure you’re getting all the right benefits – Council Tax and Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, Tax Credits, etc.
· Do get help! South Shropshire Citizens Advice Bureau can offer free and independent advice. Appointments can be made in Ludlow, Bucknell, Clun. Please ring 08444 99 11 00 between 10 and 3 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday to arrange one or to discuss your problems.
More CAB information
Bankruptcy rules changed in April 2004. For first timers you are likely to be bankrupt for just one year before being discharged. Unfortunately, the fees have increased to £140 Court fee plus £310 Official Receiver Deposit. You need this money (£450 in total) in cash when you take your bankruptcy forms to court.
The CAB can help you decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you, help you complete the forms and give you ideas on other ways to deal with your debt problems.