#Debtember is a campaign message run by the Money Advice Hub.
In any typical year, December is often a tough month for people with unaffordable debts in Scotland, a month that creates extra pressure for households to spend money on Christmas gifts.
With 2020 being an exceptional year, with us being in the middle of a pandemic, many money advisory groups and debt charities are concerned about those who are already living with unaffordable debt at this time of year ending up in a worse position in 2021 and beyond.
Added to this are fears around the increase in both the usage and promotion of buy now, pay later loan arrangements offered by the likes of Klarna, Clearpay and Paypal with increased online shopping activity overall leading to more impulse purchases.
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:
“Online retail can be a lifeline for people living with mental health problems who may struggle to leave the house, especially during the pandemic.
But pushy sites and tempting buy now, pay later offers can cause people to spend more than they can afford, risking both their financial and mental health.”
Britons collectively spend up to £1bn every month on impulse buys, according to a survey last year by 118 118 Money. While mental health, mood and personality all play a role in that, consumer psychology is increasingly being used to shape our choices online reports the Guardian.
If you are struggling to repay your debts, we would advise you to seek help as soon as possible. However, the #Debtember guide is a really useful starting point to help you consider what your options are before you explore more formal debt solutions in Scotland such as Trust Deeds and the Debt Arrangement Scheme.
Stage 1: Explain your financial situation
- Start with your personal household details.
- The types of debt, how & when they started?
- Any emergency debts you have?
- Let your creditors know you are getting help.
Stage 2: Draw up a detailed budget
- Check your income less essential living costs.
- Identify any priority debt you must pay.
- Discuss budgeting & income maximisation tips.
- Consider any essential assets you own.
Stage 3: Find out your debt options
- Discuss any entitlement to charitable help.
- Check your liability for debt.
- Compare formal & informal debt solutions.
- Confirm any eligibility criteria.
Stage 4: Choose a suitable debt solution
- Consider any application fees involved.
- Do you need to protect any essential assets?
- How long will the debt solution last?
- Pick an affordable, maintainable debt solution.
Stage 5: Organise your future finances
- Make sure you have a basic, safe bank account.
- Set up any debt repayments you need to make.
- Plan for future life events affecting your money.
- Think about budgeting & savings longer term.
Trust Deed Scotland® said:
“We think that following the #Debtember guide is a worthwhile exercise for anyone who feels that they are troubled by debt.
Should an individual be able to follow this guide and resolve their finances with their creditors by themselves, then we welcome that.
If anyone doesn’t feel like they are able to face their debts alone, we would advise them that we’re here for them and that they shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with us should they have any concerns over their debts.
The worse thing that anyone with unaffordable debts can do is to ignore them.”
You can get more information on #Debtember by following the #Debtember hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Check the Money Advice Hub website for more information also. Money Advice Hub is a not for profit community interest company providing free debt advice and other related advice topics.
New Year, New You?
Making a New Year’s resolution to do something about your debt may seem like an excellent starting point.
However, if you have unaffordable debts then you really should weigh up any perceived advantages of waiting for a few weeks, versus the actual advantages of asking for help sooner.
In recent radio awareness campaigns, we’ve previously said that ‘If you do something about your debt today, you can stop worrying about it tomorrow.’
Depending on the severity of your situation and the potential action that may have already begun against you, perhaps this wait is too long for you. Are there any pending wage arrestments for example? Or, perhaps you have fallen behind on a few bills which can be resolved amicably with your creditors before any such action takes place.
Get help with unaffordable debts today
You can get Scottish debt advice today by calling Trust Deed Scotland® on 0141 221 0999 or by completing our Trust Deed Wizard® form.
Our experienced advisors give friendly, confidential and non-judgemental debt advice that covers the advantages and disadvantages of all formal debt solutions open to Scottish residents.
Over 97% of reviewers gave Trust Deed Scotland® a rating of 5/5 on Trustpilot, based on over 4,000 reviews.
Since 2009, we’ve helped over 25,000 people in Scotland on their way to a debt free future.