Advice on dealing with debt.

I’ve got three kids, and I’m on a low income.

I’ve been trying to pay off my credit card but I’m already behind on other
bills. I haven’t been able to pay my council tax in three months and
received payment reminders from my energy provider. What should I
do?

First work out how much you owe – make a list of who you need to pay each
month and how much. Make sure you are getting all the income and benefits
that you are entitled to, including help with child care or school meals.
Add up your essential living costs and take these away from your income. Any
money you have spare can be put towards your debts. Citizens Advice’s
budgeting tool, found on its website, can help.

Your council tax, rent or mortgage, and energy are priority debts as there can
be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. These must be paid first. Act
quickly – contact your council to arrange an affordable council tax payment
plan, and your landlord or mortgage provider and energy supplier to help you
sort out payment plans that work for you. To cut your future bills you should
make sure you’re on the best deal you can get.

For further help working out your budget, negotiating with creditors or
checking which benefits you’re entitled to, contact your nearest Citizens
Advice.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens
Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing,
employment or any other problems. We have various outlets across
South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone – telephone
03444 111 444 for an appointment and help, 015394 46464 for debt and
on-going enquiries. Please note the opening hours at Windermere have
been reduced, but contact details remain the same.

South Lakes Citizens Advice is a registered charity,
No: 1118656 and company limited by guarantee, No: 6113551.

FRN: 617574