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Your personal finance questions answered

Handling finances can be tricky at the best of times, but when life throws those extra obstacles in our way, financial circumstances can sometimes get a little harder to handle.

To help you, we’ve put together this personal finance section that offers some great advice on a range of financial situations from dealing with council tax arrears to handling debts as a single parent…

Got bad credit and need debt consolidation?

Making late payments on bills or missing them altogether can really play havoc on your credit score. In fact, having a bad credit rating can be a real hindrance when you’re trying to get on with your life. Read more.

5 signs that say you’re in debt

Debt – it seems to be a prevalent part of modern life for many people around the UK right now – and trying to survive without a credit card, a mortgage or even a small loan now and again is impossible for many. Here are 5 signs that could indicate that you need additional help with your debts…Read more.

If I stop paying debts, will they get written off?

We don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but… no. If you stop paying your debts, they will not get written off. If you do not repay your debts, lenders could take you to court to repay what you owe, pass your debts onto a debt collection agency or… Read more.

Why are lenders still contacting me?

Lenders contact their customers when they are owed money, so if you have missed a payment, lenders will often call or write to you to find out why the bill hasn’t been paid… Read more.

What to do if you’re behind on hire purchase repayments

Borrowing on hire purchase (HP) has different rules attached to it from other types of borrowing, such as taking out an unsecured loan or using a credit card… Read more.

County Court Judgements (CCJ)

Receiving a CCJ can be frightening – especially if you don’t understand what it means or what you have to do next. Find out what you should do if you receive a County Court Judgement… Read more.

Are you hiding debts from your family?

Are you worried about spiralling debts? Are you so concerned that you cannot talk to anyone, even your family?… Read more.

How do I cancel payday loan repayments?

If you’ve taken out a payday loan, you’ll realise that payday loan companies don’t arrange repayments via direct debits like most other lenders; they arrange repayments via Continuous Payment Authority (CPA)… Read more.

What happens to my debts if I’m on long term sick leave?

Being off work due to illness is a stressful experience – especially if your sick pay allowance is being reduced and you’re worried about paying the bills. Unfortunately, lenders will still expect to be paid so the best thing to do is manage your situation as best as you can… Read more.

Who is responsible for marriage debts?

When you took your wedding vows you may well have declared ‘for richer, for poorer…’ but that was before you realised the extent of the debt that your spouse had run up. Many people hide the true extent of their financial problems from their partner for fear of recriminations but if…Read more.

Debt help for single parents

Raising a family on your own has its rewards but it isn’t easy, especially when it comes to managing finances. With no second income to help out when times are tough, many single parents are faced with an endless cycle of juggling their working lives around the needs of their children… Read more.

How bedroom tax could affect you

Though the coalition government’s welfare reform is in full swing, to suggest it is gaining unanimously positive feedback would be far from correct. Almost all proposed changes have met with consternation and one reform in particular has divided opinion: the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ for those in social housing and those who are reliant upon housing benefit… Read more.

How do I lower my gas and electric bills?

Are you looking to lower your gas and electric bills? Do you want to do your bit for the environment? Here are some handy tips that will help to decrease your energy consumption and do both at the same time — put some money back in your pocket and help the planet… Read more.

Should I pay off my debts or save money?

It always feels better to have a bit of money in the bank as an emergency fund, even if you have a long list of debts you are repaying every month. However, with interest rates on savings currently so low, does it make sense to pour any spare money into the… Read more.

Should I get a consolidation loan to clear debt?

If you are struggling to stretch your pay packet far enough to meet your monthly outgoings, the idea of consolidating your debts and benefiting from a lower repayment may seem very attractive. But is debt consolidation loan ever a good way to manage your finances?…Read more.

Can you include council tax in a Debt Management Plan?

Current council tax arrears and payments cannot be included in a Debt Management Plan, however if you have council tax arrears from a previous year or a previous address, then these could be included in a Debt Management Plan… Read more.

Can I take a payment break from a Debt Management Plan?

You may have heard about lenders – such as mortgage providers – offering their customers a payment break, so it’s only natural to wonder if you can do the same while on a Debt Management Plan…Read more.

I still live with my parents, will they be liable for my debts?

With the current state of the housing market and the economic difficulties making it more expensive than ever to move out of home, more and more adult children are opting to live with their parents until much later in life… Read more.

Do I have to go to court over unpaid debts?

If you are struggling to pay your debts, you may be worrying about what possible action could be taken against you. Rogue or irresponsible lenders can sometimes imply that they have greater powers than they do, leaving you fearing the potential outcome. So it’s a good idea to understand what your rights… Read more.

Do I have to tell lenders if I move house?

Moving house usually involves writing a long list of all the parties you need to inform. For most people, the task is a drag but for anyone with debts, it can come with added hassle. So, is there anything to stop you simply moving house without telling your lenders? Read more.

What happens if you don’t pay off debts?

It’s never nice having to constantly struggle to find enough money to pay the bills and it can be tempting to simply stop paying your debts to make life a bit easier. But what is the worst that could happen if you don’t pay your debts? Read more.

Top 10 debt management tips

If you are struggling with your finances, it can be a worrying time and there may seem to be no end to the cycle of debt. Fortunately, however, there are ways that you can start to take control. The following tips should help…Read more.

What is insolvency?

Insolvency basically means that you are unable to make repayments towards your debts.

If you’re really struggling with your debts, and can’t afford to repay your lenders, then you could resolve your debt problems with a Debt Relief Order or Bankruptcy…Read more.

Entertaining your kids on a budget

Families are finding it especially hard during the recession as there are so many child related expenses to meet. With childcare costs, food and transport all increasing, families are having to cut down on luxury items…Read more.

Meeting the costs of university education

It’s a fact that the costs of going on to further education are spiralling and this is a concern for many families with teenage children. With the rules relating to educational finance changing so often it can be difficult to know where you stand…Read more.

Save on car insurance costs

Car insurance is an area where you can make huge savings by spending a little time shopping around. Here are some tips to help reduce your motor insurance costs…Read more.

Finding the best mortgage for you

There are so many mortgages on the market nowadays that it can be difficult to decide the right one for you. Here are some details of the basic differences…Read more.

The dangers of payday loans

Payday loans are becoming increasingly popular. You may have heard them referred to by other names, such as cash loans, payday advances, fast cash, deferred deposit and bad credit loans. Basically, they are a short-term loan, which is intended to tide you over until your next payday…Read more.

Tips for retirement planning

It seems that pensions are constantly in the news causing concern for many of us about how we can provide for our old age. However, there are steps that you can take, which could maximise the amount that you receive on retirement…Read more.

Store card seduction

You don’t have enough cash to buy that new pair of shoes which have been calling out your name from the shop window all week…but you could always take out a store card. You would get 10% off the price and it’s not as if a store card is a credit card, right?…Read more.

Choosing a loan – a guide to the basic types of loan available

It can be confusing applying for a loan since they are referred to by so many different names. The definitions below should help to explain the main types:…Read more.

How to run a car more economically

It’s not cheap to run a car these days, but for many families, a car offers a lifeline when it comes to juggling the commute, school run, shopping and evening activities. There are some simple steps you can take to make car ownership a bit easier on your wallet and implementing even just a few of these suggestions could really make a difference over the course of the year…Read more.

The effects of negative interest rates

The idea of using negative interest rates to help boost the UK’s flailing economy was floated by Paul Tucker, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, to the Government’s Treasury Committee. But how would this work and what impact would it have on the finances of ordinary people and families?…Read more

Business going into administration and what it means for staff

With so many well-known businesses collapsing under the strain of our struggling economy over the last few years, many people have found themselves out of work, working fewer hours, or feeling very concerned about the safety of their job… Read more.

Is travel insurance a waste of money?

It’s common sense, isn’t it? With the risk of something being lost or stolen, a flight cancelled, contracting a strange illness or the dreaded lost passport, so much can go wrong that surely it’s always worth taking out travel insurance to protect that perfect holiday… Read more.

How to find out if I have been blacklisted

Many people speak of being on a credit ‘blacklist’, meaning that your name is down on a list somewhere with a big red cross next to it – a list that lenders look to when they are deciding whether or not to lend someone money. The reality is actually very far from this… Read more.

Should I buy wedding insurance?

Organising a wedding can be an expensive and time-consuming business. It often takes months or even years to plan, so there’s always the possibility that something could go wrong before the big day… Read more.

How welfare cuts could affect you

The government has started implementing a series of planned cuts to the welfare budget, which cover a range of different benefits. How you are affected by these changes will depend on your age and which benefits you’re currently in receipt of… Read more.

How inflation rates could affect you

With the rate of inflation up again in June, how are these price increases affecting household finances? More consumers are facing increased prices and stagnant wages, which is leading to financial difficulties… Read more.

What is a Credit Union account?

With around 450 credit unions operating in the UK, it’s likely that there’s one local to you. They provide an alternative means of saving and borrowing money to traditional high-street banks… Read more.

Smart Student Spending: How to Stay Afloat During Your First Year at Uni

You’ve left home, started university and are now in charge of your own finances. This might seem to be great news, but it means you have to become more mature and learn how to control a budget… Read more.

How to find out if you qualify for a payday loan refund

If you’ve been a customer of a payday loan lender and you feel you might have a case for compensation, how do you find out if you qualify and make a complaint?… Read more.

Should I buy life insurance?

Nobody likes to think about getting old or dying, but it’s important that you plan adequately for the future. Taking out life insurance can be of benefit to some people and provide a secure future for their family… Read more.

What factors could affect your house insurance

When insurers are calculating the cost of house insurance premiums, they consider a number of factors. These include your location, the type of property and your previous claims history… Read more.

Should I buy insurance for my child when they go to university?

Students today have a wealth of gadgets to their name, all of which would cost a substantial amount to replace. Is it worth investing in a specific student policy or would your own house insurance cover them?.. Read more.

What to do if you’ve been refused a loan after paying off a payday loan

Some people have then gone on to have problems when they apply for additional loans or mortgages – even if they have repaid the payday loan on time and in full, so why is this?.. Read more.

What is the help to buy scheme?

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the government’s Help to Buy scheme. As this is available in two different elements, home buyers can get confused over which part applies to them… Read more.

Switching your bank account

Switching bank accounts could be beneficial, but it’s not something that many consumers consider doing. It’s now a much more straightforward process. However, if you’ve got debts with your current bank, what options are available to you?.. Read more.

Could You Reduce Your Household Food Waste?

Most of us have been guilty of throwing away useable food at some point. However, across the country this is now becoming a major issue, with around 4.2 million tonnes of food thrown away by households every year. What could you do to reduce your food waste?.. Read more.

What happens if you miss the child benefit deadline?

At the start of the year, the government introduced changes to Child Benefit for higher earners. This meant that many more parents now have to complete self-assessment tax returns. The deadline for registering for self-assessment has now passed. If you missed the deadline, what can you do to minimise any penalties?.. Read more.

Which banks have the cheapest overdrafts?

Recent research conducted by M&S Bank found that nearly one third of consumers rely on their overdraft. Worryingly, though, around 25% didn’t know how much they were being charged for using it. Here’s a guide to the cheapest overdrafts available at the moment to help you make that all-important decision… Read more.

Could I be sacked from my job if I get a Debt Management Plan?

Financial problems can make life extremely stressful, especially if you’re worried about the impact they might have on your employment… Read more.

I have debts from another country – can I be arrested for them in the UK?

If you have accumulated debts in another country, you may be worried about whether this could have an effect on your life in the UK… Read more.

What is a work place pension and how will it work for me?

There has been a great deal of talk recently about auto-enrolment and workplace pensions. Within the next few years this will affect the majority of workers, so it’s important you understand exactly what is involved… Read more.

I have rent arrears, how can I clear rent debt?

What options are available to you if you need to clear rent arrears? Read more.

I’ve split up with my partner – what happens to our joint Debt Management Plan?

Often partners decide to take out a joint Debt Management Plan to try and resolve their financial problems. However, if the relationship then breaks down, what happens to the plan? Read more.

What questions will I have to answer if I want a mortgage?

New regulations have come into force for lenders that mean homebuyers will now face tougher questioning and background checks to ensure their suitability for a loan… Read more.

Smart internet searching to save money

There are lots of ways that you can save money through the internet on a range of activities and essential services. So rather than paying over the odds, check out some of the great deals you can find online… Read more.

What to do if you fall behind with energy bills

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the average annual household bill for electricity and gas is £1,426… Read more.

10 winter activities for kids that won’t break the bank

With the weather making it more difficult to get out and about, what can those with children do to keep their little ones amused all day? Read more.

The difference between high street supermarkets and budget supermarkets

As the cost of living continues to rise faster than the rate of inflation, we have had to become a nation of savvy shoppers… Read more.

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