This is the time of year when recent excessive spending can catch up with us. For most of us, at worst, it just results in a modest tightening of belts, but for some it can lead to anxiety, depression and worse.
I’ve just read this story on the BBC website. It’s a common enough story these days: a single mother with three children living a hand-to-mouth existence but keeping head above water when, through no fault of her own, her circumstances change and she starts to sink. With just a smattering of financial nous picked up over the years (personal finance is still not taught in schools as a matter of course) she is ill-equipped to deal with her money problems and sinks fast.
Fortunately her local council had started a new community service – ‘I’ve Been There’ – a network of local people who have experienced debt, and who are willing to coach others, informally on how to get out of it.
It’s not the sort of thing that our local council is likely to introduce anytime soon, but at the end of the story there was a list of useful organisations that offer free advice. I reproduce that list below :
The Money Advice Service provides free and impartial money advice. An independent service originally set up by government.
Phone 0800 138 7777 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm)
Visit the Money Advice Service website
National Debtline offers free, impartial, debt advice.
Phone: 0808 808 4000 (Mon-Fri 9am- 8pm Sat 9am-1pm)
Visit the National Debtline website
My Money Steps is a free, interactive online debt advice service, which provides a personalised action plan for dealing with your debts.
Visit the My Money Steps website
Citizens Advice Service provides information on benefits, employment and housing and help on debt, credit and legal issues.
Visit the Citizens Advice Service website
StepChange Debt Charity helps people in financial difficulty by providing free, confidential, independent and realistic debt advice.
Helpline: 0800 138 1111
Visit the StepChange Debt Charity website