Debt & Budgeting
If you are in debt, you should seek advice sooner rather than later to stop the situation getting worse. The Welfare Advisers in the Student Advice Centre can advise and assist you in dealing with your debts.
As well as contacting a Welfare Adviser, we would recommend you looked at the Money Advice Trust's 'Dealing with your debts' self help pack and a 'your personal budget sheet'. Hard copies of these are available from the Student Advice Centre.
Working out your income
The first step you need to take is to make a list of your income; identifying how much money you are getting from different sources. Then look into whether there are other possible sources of income you could apply for – the Student Advice Centre can advise you on this.
Working out your spending
You will need to make a list of your expenses to identify how much you spend on priorities and non-priorities, and what you are paying towards any debts you may have. As well as food and housekeeping, you may have other outgoings which you must treat as a priority such as rent/mortgage; fuel (gas & electricity); water; television licence; council tax (if liable); insurance; books and other course-related costs/equipment; essential travel.
Draw up a budget
The next thing to do is to draw up a budget using the information you have already listed about your income and expenditure. Hopefully, by having an accurate budget, this should help you manage your money and you will be able to cut out any unnecessary expenses and save money, or stop running up big debts. To do this, you should find this Personal Budget Sheet useful.
Dealing with your debts
If you are in debt, you will need to sort out how much money you owe and to whom. By drawing up a budget sheet, you should be able to work out if you've got any money to pay your debts off and, if so, how much.
Once you have made a list of creditors, you will need to work out which are the most urgent debts for you to pay off, and deal with the most urgent debts as a matter of priority. Some debts are more important that others, these include rent and mortgage arrears, gas and electricity and council tax.
Once you have looked at your priority debts, you will need to look at your options for dealing with the less urgent debts. Less urgent debts are also known as credit debts and include credit card debts, personal loans, bank and building society loans, charge cards and catalogues.
There are different options for dealing with your credit debts, depending on your circumstances. Your arrangements for dealing with your debts will depend on whether you have any money left to pay your creditors or not. It will also depend on what action your creditors may also have taken i.e. they may have already taken you to county court.
For help at any stage with dealing with your debts, please contact the Student Advice Centre. The Welfare Advisers can actively help you deal with your debts in an informed way.
National Debtline – information on dealing with debt problems:
Directgov – information on dealing with debt problems:
Citizens Advice – information on help with debt:
Credit Action – advice on budgeting:
The Money Advice Service – information on managing your money:
Consumer Credit Counselling Service – advice on budgeting:
Money Saving Expert – budget planner: