Expert advice for Fifers on dealing with post-festive debts

Many Fifers will be facing debt worries this new year.
Many Fifers will be facing debt worries this new year.

Many Fifers will be feeling the pinch after Christmas after spending money on food, drink and presents for loved ones.

But, for some, the festive period may have brought additional stress if they are already struggling with debt and money problems.

Advice and support is available for those who have financial worries after Christmas.

Advice and support is available for those who have financial worries after Christmas.

However, there are local organisations on hand to help anyone who might be worrying about their finances and how they are going to manage their bills after the festive season.

Every year, Christmas involves a lot of pressure to spend and with modern day traditions like the Black Friday sales and its offshoots, including Cyber Monday, the push to spend, spend, spend, has never been greater.

But there is help at hand for anyone needing advice about how to manage debt.

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Doug Drysdale, CAP debt centre manager.

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Christians Against Poverty is an award-winning national charity that provides a face-to-face debt counselling service and the Kirkcaldy and Burntisland Centre is a project run and supported by Burntisland Parish Church as part of its care of the local community.

Drawing up a budget.

Drawing up a budget.

Doug Drysdale, who is CAP debt centre manager for Burntisland and Kirkcaldy, said many individuals and families struggle to make ends meet and, for some, their debts may reach a level beyond what they can realistically pay back. He explained: “Many people really struggle through these first months of the year and commonly people feel they should be able to sort out their own debt problems, but for some people the stress and anxiety caused by debt is just too much, creating fear, loneliness and often leading to depression.

“People are embarrassed and often bury the problem for years before seeking help.

“If you’re unable to sleep at night, worrying about money for food or receiving too many calls and letters from people wanting money, we are here for you.

“Please remember there is always hope. CAP enables more than 20,000 people to go debt free every year.

“And making the first call can be hard but the sooner you ring, the sooner you will find peace of mind. We will provide you with face-to-face, in-depth and long-term debt help, and it’s completely free of charge.”

If you live or work in the Kingdom, whoever you are and whatever the problem is, another organisation which is there to offer support is Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF).

It provides free information and advice on a wide range of subjects, including debt and money advice. There are a number of different ways that the team at CARF can help you solve your problems.

The staff won’t tell you what to do, as they leave the choice up to you, but they will explain your options and what the possible outcomes you might expect if you choose a particular course of action. They want to empower you to take control of your situation.

CARF’s money advice unit has a team of specialist advisers who provide free, confidential, independent money advice and debt management services. The unit deals with over 2000 enquiries each year and employs fully trained advisers to assist with all sorts of financial issues, from repossession to bankruptcy.

Other areas where CARF can offer money advice include opening a bank account (especially if you’ve had credit problems); payday loans, which can be easy to sign up for but are harder to pay back; applying to a Debt Arrangement Scheme, if this is appropriate to the person’s circumstances; threatened evictions and/or repossessions due to debt and making referrals to other agencies for further assistance.

Anyone looking for debt help can contact the CARF money advice line on 0345 1400 094, from 8.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

On contacting the CARF Money Advice Helpline, people will receive immediate advice and, where appropriate, they will be given details on how to obtain a face to face appointment with an adviser. People can also contact CARF via its website at www.cabfife.org.uk and follow the service on Facebook and Twitter @cabfife. Alternatively people can call the CAP new enquiries team on 0800 328 0006, calls are free, or go to capdebthelp.org

For more information about the Kirkcaldy and Burntisland CAP debt centre call Doug Drysdale on 07956 608157 or email; dougdrysdale@capuk.org

Tips to help ease money worries

Here are a few easy steps from StepChange Debt Charity to clearing your post-Christmas debt.

Do a budget: Write down all your income – including wages and pensions – and everything you’ll have to pay out during January. Once your budget is complete, then subtract your estimated outgoings. This is your ‘disposable income,’ and it’s what you’ll have available to clear your debt. Also perhaps you can make extra cash by selling unwanted Christmas presents, using cashback websites or doing extra hours at work. And can you make any savings, by switching to a cheaper supermarket, or taking journeys on foot instead of by car?