Finding it difficult to pay your credit card bills? Now is the time to make a resolution to sort out your finances after Christmas spending. When you’re in debt, the future can feel scary. But it doesn’t need to be.
It is an exceptionally challenging time for people. Nationally, Citizens Advice helps two people every minute with crisis support – the scale of this crisis is unlike anything we’ve seen even in the pandemic. Strikingly, we’re helping more people with crisis support like food bank referrals and access to grants because they simply can’t pay their bills or put food on the table. Of course we welcomed the announcement in November’s Autumn Statement that benefits will rise in line with inflation – but this should never have been in doubt.
The cost of living payments will also help people on the lowest income but we know it still won’t be enough for many others. We’re worried about people who might fall through the cracks – people like Jodie, for example, who contacted her local Citizens Advice for help.
Jodie* contacted Citizens Advice for help because, in her words, “I pay off the minimum amount on my credit card but it’s now like trying to hold back the tide with a bucket”.
Jodie explained to our advisers that she been employed as a part-time Assistant in a local care home for 8 years. “I had a small pay increase this year but it’s just not enough to cover the huge rise in my living costs over the past year”, she said. “My rent has increased by £40 a month”. After feeding herself and her two children, Jodie said she usually put £100 a month towards her credit card debt of £3,000. But after all the additional costs of Christmas she was dreading the January bill popping through her letterbox because she knew should could not manage the repayment.
How our advisers helped Jodie
Jodie asked our advisers for a food bank referral because of her money problems. Our adviser explained to Jodie that she was not alone in struggling with debt – and that we would be happy to help her sort out her bills. Our advisers explored Jodie’s financial position and found that Jodie was also behind on her rent and owed money to a catalogue – so we advised her which debts to pay off as a priority. We prepared a financial statement so she knew how much to offer each of her creditors.
In addition, our advisers also carried out a quick benefits check. They found that Jodie had a range of options about how to top up her income including applying for Universal Credit. They explained the range of government and local schemes available to help people during the cost-of-living crisis. Jodie said “I am so relieved that I don’t have to any make any more difficult decisions about what to cut back on”.
*Name changed to preserve client confidentiality
Are you struggling to pay your bills?
Dealing with money issues can be off-putting – but don’t get deeper into debt. It’s important to get help straight away if you are struggling to pay your bills or are worried about money. Contact your local Citizens Advice for help – and you can access online information provided by National Citizens Advice about debt and money issues – visit the website.
Citizens Advice Waverley contact details:
Leave online message
Tel Adviceline 0808 278 7980 (freephone) to speak to an adviser
Self help – search our national site by topic
South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service contact details:
Tel 01483 898884, Email email@example.com
Visit our website
Citizens Advice Mole Valley contact details:
Contact East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services on 01737 771350 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Surrey Domestic Abuse 9am-9pm Helpline – 01483 776822
In an emergency always dial 999
Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead contact details:
Phone Adviceline: 0808 278 7945 (free) to speak to an adviser (Monday – Friday 9.00 – 16.00)
Email: Use an enquiry form
Self help (website)