Debt Management Consultants Share 8 Secrets To Saving Money, Including Lowering Grocery Bills
Debt Counselors help thousands of people get back on track with their finances.
Instead of telling people what to do, they’ll try to carefully assess how you can cut your spending, as well as give you practical advice on what to do about your debt.
Along the way, they’ve gathered the best tips on how to manage their own finances.
We spoke to Stepchange debt counselors Catherine Cooper, 27, from Wakefield and Samantha Carter, 27, who lives in Bradford, about their secrets to saving money, in the next installment of the Fix series. Your Finances from our consumer team.
The free debt counseling service Stepchange estimates that 2.5 million people are now facing a financial crisis – double the number before the pandemic – and there are now around £ 10 billion in debt and debt. arrears that have accumulated since March.
That’s why we want to help you manage your money – and our goal is to make you richer in 2021.
We share Samatha and Catherine’s top tips:
ALWAYS PAY YOUR PRIORITY DEBTS FIRST
If you don’t pay off your priority debts, you could end up losing your home or going to jail.
Samantha says, “Credit card companies usually scream the loudest.
“But your senior debt is really your mortgage, your rent, and things like your housing tax.
“If you’re not sure, a debt counselor will walk you through making calls and tell you what to tell creditors if you’re in trouble.
“They can arrange to take over this process for you – but it could affect your credit score.”
DON’T GET TROUBLED BY THE ADMINISTRATION TAX
If you are behind on your council tax, you will be told that you are no longer allowed to pay in installments and will be asked to pay the entire amount in one go.
But there is an alternative that many are unaware of.
Catherine says, “It’s the last thing you need when you’re already struggling to keep household bills under control.
“It can be very disturbing, but don’t panic.
“Tell your board you’re having trouble and ask to put in place a repayment plan that you can afford. “
Remember to check if you can benefit from a municipal tax advantage or if you benefit from a reduction, for example if you live alone.
BE DELIVERED TO LOYALTY CARDS
Don’t let the reason you shop at a particular supermarket or store be because you want to collect more loyalty points. Always look for the cheapest prices.
Samantha says, “There are a lot of benefits to using a loyalty card, but you don’t have to stay in the same supermarket all the time.
“Make a habit of shopping, both online and offline.”
TRY AN “EAT THE KITCHEN” CHALLENGE
Try to use whatever you already have in your kitchen before you make your next “big grocery store”.
Catherine says, “Take a look at the cans and jars in your cupboard as well as your fridge and freezer.
SECURE YOUR FINANCES
THE SUN’S Consumer Crew Series is here to help you fix your finances.
We want to help you get rich in 2021 by transforming your finances.
As always, we will fight your corner. Next week, our Consumer Crew panel will also be available to help you with any questions or money issues.
Send your questions to: [email protected]
“Make a list of everything you find and sort it by type of food, for example: fruits and vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, etc.
“It should help you think more creatively about what dishes you can cook without buying more ingredients. ”
DEBT ADVISORS ALSO STRUGGLE
Before Catherine started working for Stepchange in November 2018, she was working in a gym and had racked up £ 5,000 in credit card debt and payday loans.
“I think it was a matter of growing up a bit,” she says.
“I was 23, left home and ended up using credit cards and payday loans to make ends meet.
“I was like our callers, terrified of letters or of talking to creditors.
“That’s why I can completely understand people who are afraid or afraid to look at their message or take a phone call because that’s how I felt before.”
She returned to live with her parents and paid off her debts in two years. Now she is debt free and is saving to buy a house while living with her parents.
CLEAN FOR CHEAP
Households spend an average of £ 130 a year on cleaning products – and one of the most expensive is laundry detergent.
But there is a way to cut the costs in half.
Samantha says, “Most of us obediently use the recommended amount, but it’s not always necessary.
“Unless you’re dealing with stubborn spots, you can use half or one tablet instead of two.
“You’ll also get better results if you soak stubborn stains overnight before washing them.
“I like to add baking soda to my laundry so that it goes a bit deeper too.”
YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATORY TO ENTRY THE Bailiffs
Before the pandemic, it was common for Samantha and Catherine to receive a phone call from someone with an usher knocking on their door.
It can be overwhelming and distressing, and with bailiff visits now allowed, debt counselors are urging people to know their rights.
Catherine says, “You don’t have to let them in. They should always send you a letter before their visit to check if you are isolating yourself or if you are vulnerable.
How to reduce the cost of your debt
IF you are in debt it can be very worrying. Here are some tips from Citizens Advice on how you can take action.
Check your bank balance regularly – knowing your spending habits is the first step in managing your money
Calculate your budget – by writing down your income and removing your essential bills such as food and transportation
If you have money left over, plan ahead what to spend or save. If you don’t, look for ways to cut your costs.
Repay more than the minimum – If you have credit card debt, try to pay off more than your minimum credit card amount each month to lower your bill faster.
Pay your most expensive credit card sooner – If you have multiple credit cards and can’t pay them off in full each month, go for the more expensive card (the one with the highest interest rate)
Prioritize your debts – If you have several debts and you cannot afford to pay them all, it is important to prioritize them
Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills must be paid first as the consequences can be more serious if you don’t pay
Take advice – If you are struggling to pay off your debts month after month, it is important that you get advice as early as possible, before it accumulates even more
Groups like Citizens Advice and National Debtline can help you prioritize and negotiate with your creditors for more affordable repayment plans.
“If they come, you can ask to speak to them outside. ”
They should only visit between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. You should ask them for proof of who they are.
Ask them for a full breakdown of what they collect.
They should leave if you refuse to let them in – but it’s important to seek help as soon as possible, otherwise your fees could go up.
Find out more about your rights via Citizen’s Advice.
GETTING HELP COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE
If you’re still having trouble, get help from a free charity like Stepchange, National Debtline, or Citizens Advice.
Samantha says, “If you’re worried, pick up the phone and we’ll help you.
“Get help as soon as you can, but just know it’s never too late.
“We are free, impartial and there is no obligation to take advice. “
Catherine said, “I beg you to get some help, whether it’s talking to a friend or picking up the phone. Don’t keep it to yourself.
“It could lead you to a different life where things are getting a lot better.”
Yesterday, we shared our top 11 tips for sorting out your finances while in lockdown.