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Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk says last day of January is expected to be busiest day of year for debt advice

PUBLISHED: 18:54 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:54 11 January 2018

Carol Eagles at Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk. Picture: CITIZENS ADVICE MID SUFFOLK

Carol Eagles at Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk. Picture: CITIZENS ADVICE MID SUFFOLK

Archant

The last day of January is expected to be the busiest day of the year for people seeking help with their debts, according to Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk.

The organisation, based in Milton Road, Stowmarket, is expecting 100 people to seek advice on debt throughout the first month of the year, with a surge in demand towards the second half of January.

Analysis of national data from the past 12 months revealed that on January 31, Citizens Advice helped 2,800 people – 30 per cent above the daily average.

This means one person sought help from Citizens Advice every 10 seconds.

January 30 was the most popular day for seeking advice online, with twice as many page views as average for the rest of the year.

Carol Eagles, manager of Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk, said: “There is a surge in demand for our debt advice towards the second half of January.

“Christmas in particular can take a heavy toll on people already struggling to make their money last and leave them with a debt burden in the new year. But this needn’t become a crisis - problems can be taken care of if you seek advice early.

“The new year is a good time to get on top of your debts, cut your costs or budget better. Citizens Advice can help you review your situation so you can make decisions that improve your financial security.”

Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk provided assistance to people seeking help for a wide variety of debt concerns, including council tax arrears, unsecured personal loans and credit card debt.

To help people kick off 2018 on a stronger financial footing, the organisation is sharing its six top tips to help people get their finances in order for the new year:

1. Work out how much you owe - Make a list of who you owe money to and add up how much you need to pay each month. If you don’t have your most recent statements, contact your creditor to find out what you owe.

2. Prioritise your debts - Your rent or mortgage, energy and council tax are called priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. These should always be paid first. Separate these and work out how much you owe.

3. Work out how much you can pay - Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking away these from your income. Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts. Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help.

4. Paying urgent debts - You may have several priority debts and can’t pay them all. Contact all your creditors to find out if you can negotiate on how much you pay, or when you pay them. Always pay first priority creditors who are taking action against you.

5. Paying non-urgent debts - If you have any money left after paying priority debts, consider getting a free debt-management plan. You’ll make one monthly payment to the plan provider, who will handle paying your creditors. Or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.

6. If you can’t pay your debts - If you’ve got little or no money spare to pay your priority debts seek advice from us straight away.

For information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk on 01449 676060.

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