I’m in serious debt – help!

Dear Suzie, im a 18 year old female, not working, claiming benefits and i am in serious debt, i took out 2 store cards and i am in now just under 500 pounds worth of debt i am losing sleep i really dont know how to go about getting it sorted please can you help?

For a start, cut up those cards and don’t use them again. Make yourself a promise; never, ever use a credit or store card unless you can pay off the full amount at the end of the month or at the most over a couple of months. The amount you have to pay in interest when you only pay off a small amount each month makes these cards a very bad way of borrowing money.

Okay – that’s for the future. What about now? There is help, from the National Debtline. Follow the link to their website or call the free confidential helpline, open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm and Saturday 9.30am to 1pm, on 0808 808 4000.

They will help you work out a plan. You can ask the stores to give you time to pay, and you can then put aside a small amount every week to gradually work off this debt in a way that doesn’t put you at risk.

But it’s a lesson, isn’t it? If you want nice things – and don’t we all? – there are no short cuts. You have to earn the money to pay for them. You’re not working? Why not? No jobs in your area, no training to get the jobs there are, family to care for? Contact your local Jobcentre Plus about what’s available – jobs, training and support, whatever your situation. You can do it – and then one day you can take a deep breath,debt free, and think about shopping again, but with the cash to back it up! Good luck!

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