Get help with debt and reducing your spending

If you have problems with debt or financial planning try working through the following topics to see if you can get help to reduce your outgoings. For even more help on debt and other financial issues you can go directly to the Councils main website.

Council Tax Reduction is a means tested reduction to help you pay your Council Tax

You may be able to get this depending on your circumstances.

Get help if you can’t afford the basics like food, gas, electricity and household goods.

We can give you emergency payments, mainly for essentials like food, gas and electricity.  You won’t have to pay this back.

We also help with household goods, for people or families that can’t meet basic living requirements, or who need support to stay in the community.

 

Help with money and debt problems

Information and help if you’re struggling to manage your money or have debt problems.

Preventing money problems

Local services that can give you advice about budgeting and money management:

National websites

If you have problems getting a bank account Bristol Credit Union may be able to help.  Telephone 0117 9247309.

Dealing with debt

To find details of local advice organisations which provide debt advice and  help, see the ACFA website.

National websites

There are many websites offering advice to people struggling with debt, but many of these offer services that you have to pay for. Check whether the information on the websites above can help you, first.

Make an arrangement to pay your council debts (Council Tax, rent and other bills)

If you owe us money it’s best to work out an arrangement to pay. Don’t leave it as it will be harder to deal with later.

You can make an arrangement to pay your council debt online.

Money in an emergency

Local crisis and prevention fund

You may be able to get an emergency payment and help with essential household items.

Find out more about getting an emergency payment or household goods.

Hardship payments

Find out about hardship payments on GOV.UK.

Short term benefit advances

You may be able to get an advance on your first benefit payment if you’re in urgent financial need.

Find out more about short term benefit advances on GOV.UK.

Budgeting loans

Find out about budgeting loans on GOV.UK.

Charitable trusts

Charitable trusts may be able to help with specific needs, or people who have worked in particular jobs.

Find out more on the Turn2us website.

Beware of loan sharks

Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who often charge very high interest rates. You can check if a company is authorised to lend money and report loan sharks anonymously.

Housing Benefit Information on housing benefits from central government

Help with Rent Support and guidance from Citizens Advice

Turn2Us Charitable advice on benefits and grants

Loans calculators. How much are you really paying on the average UK credit card?

Many credit cards are currently offering 0% rates and can be an effective way to reduce debt. We suggest Money Saving Expert and some of it’s links below as a good starting place to find a better deal

At the time of writing (May 2016) there are a great deal of credit cards offering 0% on balance transfers.What this means is you can take an existing debt, possibly from your current credit card and move this to the new deal. You will typically pay a small ‘transfer’ fee to move the money; typically 1-2% and then no interest at all for the duration of the offer.The important things to remember here are:
It’s still a credit card
You must keep paying back at least the minimum payment each month to avoid additional fees
You need to move the money or pay off the debt by the end of the term
If it’s a 30 month term then the bank is hoping you will forget and go on to their much higher rate in month 31. Make a reminder for yourself on your phone to not forge!

 

Don’t use it as a credit card
The cheap rate is often only for the initial debt you transfer, set yourself an amount to pay each month (more than the minimum and hopefully enough to make a dent in the loan) and then forget about it till the end of the term.

Go here for far more information

To quote the excellent information page at MoneySavingExpert:

They’re high cost, short term loans with more tricks than a Crufts show

Payday loans are short-term lending often used by people to tide them over until payday. They’re often very easy to get – some even do it on mobiles while drunk, which makes them feel convenient. But it’s that very ease which is the danger. If you don’t think about what you’re doing, it can be a nightmare. if you are considering a payday loan, please look at the above sections on debt advice or balance transfer loans first rather than risk falling victim to a scam.

Spend smart and save money

One way to spread your money further is reducing what you spend on the items you need. The sections on this page go into detail about the resources available online to cut your costs whilst still keeping essential services

Energy Club Save money by finding the best deals for your Gas & Electricity supplier. you can often save money and the process is very easy once the paperwork is complete

Water advice Could you save a packet by moving to a water meter? Most homes have estimated costs which may be far higher than your actual usage.

Cheap Phones and internet Move your phone provider or ISP to reduce costs. This has become much more painless in the last few years and the best offers are typically for new customers. You can even swap backward and forwards from the same two companies and receive many freebies for being a ‘new’ customer.

HotUKDeals A great website that has been around for years and allows users to submit deals they have found in store or online. It’s often worth a quick search if you are about to make a purchase and it can give you ideas about the best prices for the things you want to buy.

CamelCamelCamel A strange name for a great service. A little fiddly to use but the idea is genius; simply find an Amazon product and you can see it’s historic pricing as well as set an alert. You get an email when it gets to the price you want to pay!

Quidco & Topcashback Ever wondered how advertisers make money online? Probably not, but I’ll tell you anyway. Each time you click on an advert and get taken to a website that sites owners kicks money back to the advertiser. Fancy that money yourself? Simply set up an account for either of these two sites and you can earn as much as 10% of your spending back into your bank. The schemes make their money by keeping a small percentage. It’s win-win!

Shopping tricks  15 tips for high street shopping.

Product testing Get paid or receive freebies for testing product. This isn’t always fun or easy but can be a great way to turn free time into money or new stuff

Your rights It’s always best to know your rights. There is no need to get angry and frequently a polite letter of phone call will sort out many issues.