Money advice

Information and support for increasing income, reducing costs and dealing with debts.

If you have a number of debts or cannot afford to make payments we suggest using an advice agency. Their staff can help you negotiate with multiple creditors and deal with high levels of interest. They can also advise on debt solutions which may see some or all of your debts written off. Go to Advice agencies.

First steps

  1. Paperwork - Get all bills, demands, court orders etc. together.
  2. Budget plan - Work out your weekly or monthly income and outgoings. Download our simple  budget plan (Excel doc) [19KB] (opens new window)  or take a look at free online budget plans available from Advice agencies. Update your budget plan as your finances change.
  3. Unpaid bills - List all unpaid bills, skipped payments and rent or mortgage arrears. Work out how much is owed to each person or organisation. Check whether interest is being charged on the debt.

What next?

  1. Check your budget plan - does your income cover your expenditure? If so, any surplus income can go towards your debts.
  2. Can you cut costs?
  • Shop around for cheaper deals on expenses such as food, phone, utilities and broadband.
  • See if you could cut any non-essential expenditure.
  • Avoid large bills by using direct debits to spread payments over the year.
  1. Could you increase your income?

Could you increase your income by working extra hours? Are there grown up children at home who could help with bills? Do you qualify for benefits or other help? See Increasing your income.

  1. Professional help

If you feel you need professional help at this point go to Advice agencies

Increase your income

Could you find extra work?

This may affect means tested benefits so check any benefit conditions. You can do this at GOV.UK: Benefits advice.

Consider taking in a lodger

This means sharing your home and doesn't suit everyone. It could affect benefits or insurance. You may need permission from the landlord or mortgage company. There is more information on taking in a lodger here Citizens Advice: Lodging.

Claim benefits

  • Check whether you can claim any benefits. The government website has details of what benefits to claim, how to claim them and what happens if you start work. Go to GOV.UK: Benefits advice.
  • Local welfare provision may provide help in a crisis or with household goods if you are moving into the community. For more information go to Local welfare provision.
  • Discretionary housing payments (DHPs) may help with housing costs. You can apply for these if you receive housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit, and the benefit does not cover your rent.  DHPs can sometimes cover other costs too. Payments are limited. For more information go to extra help with rent.
  • Council tax reductions may be available. For more information go to Council tax reduction.

Practical help

Food banks are available throughout Wiltshire. Find your nearest one at Find a foodbank.

British Legion helps members of the British Army Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families. The Legion can advise on managing money, benefits, housing, finding a job and more.
Website: British Legion
Call 0808 802 8080 - lines are open from 8am to 8pm daily.

Soldiers, Sailors, Airforce and Families Association (SSAFA) supports people who have served in the Armed Forces (British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, including Reserves), or are the immediate family of someone who served. It can help with a rage of problems including dealing with debts, claiming benefits, housing and mobility aids.
Website: SSAFA
Call 0800 220 6767

Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union (WASCU) helps people to get on top of their finances by encouraging them to save when they can and making low cost loans. They also offer money advice courses
Website: WASCU
Call 01722 421 881

Dealing with debts

If you have a number of debts or cannot afford to make payments we recommend using an advice agency. Their staff can help you negotiate with multiple creditors and deal with high levels of interest. They can also advise on debt solutions which may see some or all of your debts written off. Go to Advice agencies.

Consider putting aside any spare income on a weekly or monthly basis and use it to pay off debts in small regular instalments. There are four steps to follow:

  1. Work out how much you can offer each creditor on a regular basis.
  2. Offer to pay each debt through your regular payment + a small additional amount. You may have to negotiate on this and show your budget plan.
  3. Deal with priority debts first - these are rent and mortgage arrears, heat, lighting, council tax, magistrates court fines, maintenance and TV license. They are called priority debts because there could be serious consequences for non-payment such as losing your home because of rent arrears.
  4. Deal with other debts after. If any interest is being charged ask for it to be frozen.

Advice agencies

These agencies are established organisations that offer free, confidential advice and support. 

Please take care when accessing other agencies found online or elsewhere as fraudsters operate in this field.