“Struggling” is such a subjective term; one person’s definition of struggling could be wildly different to another’s and spiralling debt problems may depend on the individual and their ability to repay within their means..
Where one person avoids going to a restaurant for dinner because they can’t afford it, another person may avoid going to the dentist for the same reason. Which of the two will think that they’re struggling with debt – the first or the second? Both? Neither?
What they say is true – the first step is admitting that you’re struggling. Trust Deed Scotland® is here to help if you’re struggling with debt in Scotland, and the first thing we can do is help you identify whether or not your debts are spiralling out of control. Here are some of the warning lights that should be flashing to let you know you that you are, in fact, struggling.
Do you panic at the thought of going out with friends?
Some people don’t like large get-togethers for a variety of reasons. If the thought of going out for a meal with your friends makes you break out in a cold sweat because of the thought of paying, that’s a big sign that your debt is getting out of control.
This may be the occasional one-off where money is a little tight due to an unforeseen bill or because that’s a particularly decadent restaurant, in which case that’s probably OK.
However, if this becomes a recurring incidence and you see a pattern emerging, it may be time to admit that you are struggling with spiralling debt problems and seek debt help and advice.
Do you get uncomfortable at the thought of money?
If the thought of money makes you uncomfortable, even at home, the chances are that something is going wrong.
If you find yourself becoming defensive or cagey when a friend mentions money, make sure you seek independent help and advice. It could be a temporary thing, or it could be a real sign that your debts are spiralling out of control.
Do you avoid picking up the phone?
Granted that there is a chance that you may be doing this to avoid talking to an ex-partner or even your in-laws, consider the possibility that you’re really doing this to avoid talking to debt collection agencies or your credit card companies.
If this is the case your ring tone should be the alarm bell telling you that you need to get independent debt advice, and you need to get it now to avoid spiralling debt problems worsening.
Do you have unpaid bills from last month?
What about the month before? If your bills are piling up faster than you can pay them off, this means that you have more money going out than you have coming in.
This is not a good position to be in, and the sooner you address this, the better, as you can avoid incurring interest on your debts with the right help and advice. Remember, debt is a problem which most of us face at one point or another – you don’t have to struggle alone.
Do your credit cards have high balances or savings with low balances?
If your credit cards have persistently high balances, your creditors may take this as a sign that you have uncontrollable debt.
This may even affect your credit rating, even if you aren’t in debt. On the flip side, if your savings accounts have persistently low balances and you aren’t putting any money away at the end of each month, the chances are that there’s either a problem or that you aren’t managing your finances efficiently. If you think that you have a problem with your spending, make sure you seek independent advice as soon as possible.
Do you know how much money you owe?
This is a very simple test. How much money do you owe? If you don’t know, you have a debt problem. If you answered “only a couple thousand,” you have a very real debt problem.
How much is a couple thousand? Is that £2,000 or £20,000? If you don’t even have a rough idea, that’s not a good enough answer.
If any of your answers were yes, with the exception of that last question, you should sit down and consider your level of debt. Put your optimism to one side for a moment, and look at your situation as objectively as possible. If your brother, sister or best friend was in the position you’re in, would you tell them to seek independent, expert help and advice?