Dealing with Debt

The Debt Handbook

Most people accept a certain level of debt as a condition of living in a society which seems to run on credit. However, debts can easily begin to slide beyond your control and you may have concerns about how much you owe and your ability to manage the repayments. If you do find yourself in serious debt, it’s important not to bury your head in the sand or things will only get worse. It can be difficult to know where to start when facing up to debt problems so our Debt Handbook talks you through how to work out what you owe and what you can afford to pay back.

Types of Debt

Different types of debt have different consequences if you don’t keep up with payments. If you find yourself struggling to meet all your commitments it may be hard to know where to turn and which payments you should prioritise. This guide details what can happen if you do not pay certain ‘priority’ debts so you can work out which debts you need to meet first.

What Are My Options?

Although it can feel like there is no way out of debt problems, this is not the case. There are lots of different options for dealing with debt depending on your individual circumstances. This section talks you through the different alternatives so you can begin to see what might be right for you.

Who Can Help?

Sometimes when you find yourself in debt it can seem like there is nowhere to turn and you feel as if you’re on your own. This section provides details of different organisations who can offer free help and advice, whether face-to-face, over the phone or in person.

Trust Funds

If you’ve not been able to get the help and support you need through conventional channels (such as claiming welfare benefits) and are struggling financially, particularly if you owe money for energy bills, you might want to look into applying for help from a charity or trust fund. This section contains all the information you need on what help there is available and how to go about getting it.

Managing Stress

Feeling under pressure due to money worries can be extremely stressful and have a really negative effect on your mental wellbeing. It’s important that you take time to look after yourself, and these tips can not only help you remain fit and well, but some could even help out with your bank balance too!

Loan Sharks

Loan sharks are dangerous and what they are doing is illegal. Often they prey on the most vulnerable in society, using intimidation and violence to extort money. This section gives information on how to spot a loan shark and what to do if you think you’ve borrowed money from an illegal lender.


If you have recently been visited by bailiffs, or been threatened with a visit in the near future, you’ll probably have lots of questions and concerns about what is going to happen and what you should do. This section tries to answer some of the most common queries and directs you to where you can go to complain about the way the bailiffs have behaved.

Legal Advice

If you need legal assistance, for instance if you are being taken to court over unpaid debts, this section explains what help is available. You might be eligible for free help through legal aid if you can’t afford to pay for assistance, and this section also explains how you can represent yourself if you choose.