A local free debt help charity is offering support to those who are struggling financially at the start of 2022
Fountain of Life church in Ashill, which partners with national charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), has been providing a free debt help service in the Mid-Norfolk area since April 2014
CAP’s Mid-Norfolk Debt Centre Manager, Heather Nunn says, “Christmas is often an expensive time of year, so it’s common for us to see a rise in people who are struggling with their finances in January and February, as the credit card bills land. This year we expect things will be an even bigger struggle for many people in Mid-Norfolk.
“When you consider that the cost of living has gone up, energy bills are continuing to rise, people have been impacted by the pandemic – and that has led to a drop in income for many – plus the Universal Credit £20 uplift has also ended. All these things are adding further financial pressure, stress and anxiety to many households in our area.
“We want to help and hope that these five steps will be helpful to those who are coming into this year in debt or financial struggle. We want them to know we are here to offer free debt help if they feel they need it.”
Heather’s five steps to help deal with debt in 2022:
- Don’t be afraid to face your debt
“It’s very challenging when you’re in debt to face the issue or even to talk about it. When you’re in debt you can feel embarrassed, scared, and ashamed but the reality is it’s a problem that millions of people face, for a variety of reasons, so you’re certainly not alone.“There’s often a temptation to hide away from the problem but talking about it can be the first step to dealing with it. Some people might choose to tell a loved one or a close friend first, others may prefer to call a free debt help charity, like CAP, so they can begin to get help with the problem. We want to encourage you. Deciding to face your debt is hard, so you’re very courageous and brave for doing so.”
- Speak to service providers
“If you are struggling to pay your bills while also trying to pay off your debts, we’d strongly advise you to speak to your service providers, like the council or your energy company or the bank, so they understand the difficulties you’re experiencing. They speak to millions of people who are struggling with all kinds of things, aside from debt, and will often be understanding of your situation and point you in the right direction. The more information they have, the more they can try to help you.“
- Seek free debt help
“People sometimes don’t realise it, but there are free, non judgemental debt help services, based here in Mid-Norfolk waiting to help you and there’s no shame in receiving a bit of help. They can help you prioritise your debts and take steps towards becoming debt free. You don’t need to feel like you have to tackle this problem all on your own.
“If you’re in debt, contact Christians Against Poverty (CAP) or another free debt help service, for support. They won’t judge you, they just want to help you. Get in contact with our friendly team at CAP on 0800 328 0006 for a chat about your situation or visit capuk.org to find out more.”
- Create a New Year budget for 2022!
“It sounds simple, but making a budget and keeping track of how much you spend each month can help you feel in control of your finances and can help protect you from getting into debt again in the future. Just write down everything you spend in an average month, see what you can cut back on a little, and keep updating it as your circumstances change. Hopefully by doing this you’ll also find ways to save a bit of money, by removing things from your budget that you don’t need, or that you can replace with a cheaper alternative.
“Creating an emergency savings pot is also a really simple tip but such an important one for easing financial pressure and staying out of debt. Even if you can only save a little, that can help when some unexpected expense crops up out of nowhere. You could use that cash if your car breaks down, your boiler suddenly decides to stop working or if a sudden change in circumstance leads to a drop in your income. Maybe put your savings pot in a separate bank account so there’s less temptation to dip into it unless it’s an absolute financial emergency.”
- Avoid using credit or borrowing more if you can
“It’s not always easy but a great approach is to only buy what you can afford to buy, according to your budget. If you really have to make use of credit or buy-now-pay-later deals, always check the interest rates and terms and conditions first to make sure you fully understand what you’ll have to pay back in the long run.”