Being in debt can make you feel helpless, stressed and can cause a lot of emotional turmoil. It may be hard to know where to begin, and if you are struggling to pay for your bills, constant final notice letters just add to the worry.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to bury your head in the sand and try to ignore the mounting envelopes, but this can only lead to a further buildup of debt and if you can’t afford to pay your bills, the services can end up being disconnected.
If you are in debt to one or more of your service providers, then you must take action as soon as possible. Although it can be costly and difficult trying to get out of a contract, it is necessary if you want to reduce outgoings.
Get in touch with said provider as soon as possible. If you have a couple of outstanding bills already, or know that you can’t afford a current or future one, the sooner you act, the better. Telling the provider that you are having financial difficulties can really mean the difference between ending up in major debt and actually staying on top of your finances. Companies would much rather get a little bit of money from you instead of nothing, so see if they would be willing to come up with a payment plan.
Make sure you are fully honest with them about what you can afford, don’t just agree to a figure because you feel embarrassed or upset about having to ask for it in the first place. Although this may mean that in the long run you have to pay more, and it will take you longer to pay off these debts, it is a much better situation to be in.
Is it necessary?
If you have any contracts that you don’t really need, such as a gym membership, or a Sky package, then the best practice would be to cancel it! These are not essentials and can save you a lot of money that you can put towards paying off your debts.
To cancel such services, it is imperative that you really read through your contract. There may be a notice period which you have to pay before you can fully cancel, but it will still save you money in the long run.
Similarly, with mobile phones it’s worth checking if you can downgrade to a cheaper tariff within your network. If you find a much cheaper phone on another network, however, and want to cancel your current agreement, make sure that there aren’t any large fees for doing so. If this is the case, then it may be cheaper to just stick with what you have until your contract ends.
There is also sometimes the option to actually pass your phone contract on to someone else. Not all providers will allow this, but if you are finding it too expensive and can’t keep up with payments, it is definitely worth asking.
If one of the reasons you are struggling with your debts is because a service is increasing its price, you do have the right to cancel the contract without penalty. Anyone who took out a contract on or after January 23rd 2014 is entitled to 30 days’ notice of an increase if it wasn’t made clear to you when you signed the agreement.
Although this doesn’t stand for contracts created prior to January 23rd 2014, if the prices have been unreasonably increased, don’t feel afraid to complain about it. Nothing may come of it, but if you have solid reasons as to why it is unfair then you could have a good case against the provider to reduce the costs or cancel.
It may feel like you won’t get out of the situation you are in any time soon, but by making these changes and seeking help, you should be able to get back in control of your finances.