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    • Section Leader
    • Thread Starter

    Section Leader
    If you find yourself in debt, it can be tempting to borrow money from elsewhere to cover repayments, but this often makes things worse in the long term. :sadnod: There are other options for managing debts, and plenty of organisations that can help you do so.

    If you're a student, it is worth speaking to your student union or student services, as they can advise you on any financial assistance you could apply for to help with costs such as food and living expenses.

    If you are not a student, or require further assistance, charities such as Citizens Advice or StepChange are able to provide free advice, and can negotiate with your creditors on your behalf. The CAB can also advise on what do do if you don't think you should be liable for a debt, e.g. because it's not in your name or you didn't sign a credit agreement.

    If you struggle with budgeting, the Money Advice Service website has some helpful tips to ensure your income covers your expenditure. Or check out TSR's own budgeting spreadsheets!

    Important things to remember:

    Make sure you don't ignore 'priority debts' – these include council tax, rent, electricity or gas bills, child maintenance, court fines and TV license payments. Though non-priority debts such as credit card or phone companies may shout the loudest with more regular, threatening letters, it is the priority debts that could get you evicted, cut off your power supply, or even land you in prison if unpaid. (more info on priority debts from the Money Advice Service)

    Seek debt advice immediately if threatened with court action, bailiffs, eviction or disconnection.

    Negotiating with creditors yourself is always an option – they may agree to a payment plan that is more affordable to you, or put any action on hold to give you time to seek advice.
    • Very Important Poster

    Very Important Poster
    Going to move this one to Money and Finance where it's better suited.
    • Section Leader

    Section Leader
    I think often people are too scared or embarrassed to go to their family and friends for help too. Chances are, someone will be able to help you out, and you can set up payments back to them without the insane interest that loans have. I'm sure if you were in that situation, you'd want to help someone you love, so please don't be afraid to ask for help in this way too, this should be the first port of call really.
    • Community Assistant

    Community Assistant
    While I don't disagree (especially about dealing with high priority debt first), it's a method of dealing with the symptom, not the problem.

    A lot of people look at debt as a problem. Debt is not the issue (although it will cause issues). Debt is a sympton of some other problem and in most cases this problem is an inability to manage money, spending when you don't have and so on. There are very few scenarios where debt in itself is the problem. 99.9% of the time something causes the debt.

    You hear things like:
    My student loan barely pays my accommodation
    I lost my job and can't afford to pay my credit cards

    These are perfectly avoidable situations though. If your loan can't pay for uni then don't go to uni yet. Go when you are financially able. Don't buy things on the assumption you'll still have a job in 6 months to pay them off.

    If you are in debt then yes, you need to do things to deal with that. However you also need to identify what got you into debt in the first place. If you don't then the same thing will happen again. Getting out of debt solves the sympton but does not solve the root cause of the problem.

    Ultimately it remains true that you shouldn't get into debt in the first place. I fully expect people to say things like "it isn't that simple" and "you might not have a choice" but the simple fact is it is your choices that get you into debt in the first place.

    Every time you want to buy something that could put you in debt ask yourself one question: How can I guarantee that this will get paid? If you answer is something like "I'll pay off X amount per month from money earned at work" then you've got a faulty thought process that may one day land you in debt. Your job is not secure and there's no guarantee it'll pay off a debt, so don't make that assumption in the first place. The risk associated with losing your job may be low, making it unlikely but the ramifications of being in debt may end up to be huge.

    One other thing to keep in mind: If you have to ask whether you can afford it then you probably can't. When was the last time you had to think about being able to afford a pack of gum, or a bottle of water? You don't think about buying things because they are well within your means. Hopefully when you make any expensive purchases you do actually work out if you can afford it though. If you find yourself purchasing often without asking if you can afford it then odds are you are in debt (or on your way to being in debt). You may of course be quite rich but if you were I doubt you'd be reading this thread.
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