I’ve fallen behind on my bills and the debts are building up and I don’t know where to start?

Date published: 07 November 2021


Citizen’s Advice Oldham is a local charity that provides free, independent, impartial, confidential advice to Oldham residents.  Each month they share advice around a key issue for Oldhamers.


I’ve fallen behind on my bills and the debts are building up, and there’s Christmas on top of this. I don’t know where to start?


You’ve already taken a great first step by asking for help, and it’s important to know you don’t need to face this alone. You can contact Citizens Advice Oldham for help. 

In the meantime here are four steps you can take to get started:

Work out how much you owe - Make a list of whom 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.

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. Separate these and work out how much you owe. Again, you can ask the companies or council what support might be available to you.

Work out how much you can pay - Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking these away from your income. The Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help.

Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts, starting with the priority debts first. If you have any money left after paying priority debts, but not enough to make your usual payments on other debts, consider getting advice on the best way for you to start getting on top of them. Or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.

If you can’t pay your debts - If you’ve got little or no money spare to pay your priority debts, seek advice from Citizens Advice straight away. If you’re struggling to pay for basics like food, seek help immediately to see what support might be available to you. If you can’t pay off other debts, such as credit cards and loans, it would also be worth contacting your nearest Citizens Advice.

We know it can feel very daunting to deal with debt, but having a plan really helps and our team will be here to help you each step of the way. 


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