Managing your money
For information on managing household budgets and tips on saving money visit our managing your money page.
Debt is a big problem in society and it can have serious consequences, so you should not ignore it. The earlier you get advice for your debt problems the better. However, don't worry - there are lots of organisations that can provide free debt advice and they are listed below.
Remember: If you cannot pay all of your bills make sure that you always pay the following bills first: rent, mortgage, gas, electricity, council tax, TV licence, Magistrates Court fines and child support. We call these bills priority debts because the consequences of late payments can be more serious than for other debts: you can lose your home, have your fuel supply cut off or even be sent to prison.
Warning: There are companies who claim they can get your debts written off, or get compensation for you by claiming that your credit agreements are unenforceable. Most of these firms charge up-front fees with no guarantee that they will be successful in challenging your agreements. In most cases you will not get your money back if your claim is not successful.
National phone debt advice services
The Money Advice Service (MAS) are an independent service set up by the government to help people manage their money. They provide accreditation to free debt advice providers that meet their quality standard so that people can be reassured the advice they are receiving is of a high and consistent standard.
For details of trusted national debt advice providers that are accredited by MAS visit their free debt advice and help locator tool. The locator tool lets you search for online and phone advice services, and you can also search for the local face to face services by the postcode.
Payplan is one of the free national debt advice agencies approved by MAS. We are working with Payplan to increase the availability of free debt advice in Newcastle and to develop a coordinated approach to support vulnerable Newcastle residents. To get free debt advice from Payplan phone 0800 280 2816 or 0207 760 8980.
Online debt advice and self-help information
The National Debtline is a national organisation accredited by the Money Advice Service providing free debt advice. It has lots of helpful information on their website including factsheets and template letters. Visit National Debtline and Business Debtline to access their self-help information. To check what debt options may be suitable for you if you can't pay your debts visit www.gov.uk/pay-off-debts .You can also get your own tailored step by step action plan and advice to deal with your debts from the National Debtline's online debt advice service my money steps.
For details of other trusted online debt advice providers that are accredited by the Money Advice Service visit their free debt advice and help locator tool.
Local debt advice services
The following organisations can provide independent debt and money advice in Newcastle:
Newcastle City Council (Money Matters Team)
Phone: 0191 277 1050 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am to 11.30am)
Professionals can access the Money Matters referral form. (pdf, 237kb)
If you are worried about losing your home visit our What to do if you need housing advice or are homeless webpage.
We also have a leaflet which provides information about who can help if you have money worries. You can access our 'Are you worried about money?' leaflet here (pdf, 167kb)