Dealing with debt Top Tips

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1 Dealing with debt Top Tips Don t ignore the problem it won t go away. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get. Get advice from the Student Advice Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau or other independent advice service. Make the most of your income check you have received all of the student loan/grant you are entitled to. Can you maximise your income e.g. by getting a job or by selling any possessions? Always open correspondence relating to debts ignoring letters won t make the problem go away. Tackle your priority debts first e.g. debts that could mean losing your home or having your gas or electricity cut off. Work out a personal budget show it to your creditors straight away. Make sure that you contact all of your creditors. Work out a reasonable offer to each creditor. Don t worry if the offer seems small. It is better to offer a regular small amount you can afford rather than a larger offer you won t be able to keep paying. Don t give up trying to agree an offer even if creditors are difficult. Always keep copies of letters and papers you send or receive. Don t borrow money to pay off your bills without thinking carefully. Always get advice first.

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3 BUDGETING Spending decisions you make now will have an impact on you several years after you graduate. Don t assume that you ll automatically land a great job with loads of money as soon as you graduate. You might do, but many people don t and you don t want to be lumbered with loads of debt when you re just starting out. There are hundreds of well paid graduate jobs, but even more very well qualified graduates applying for them. Bear this in mind when you re spending money that you ve not got! To p T i p s Use the budget planner overleaf to work out your budget. Yes, it s boring, but half an hours effort now, will save you loads of stress later in term. Look at the Money Doctors Website for more tips: Keep track of your bank account. Use internet banking if possible and check your balance regularly. You ll become more conscious about your spending patterns and have the power to make changes if you find you ve got less money than you thought. Get a part time job early on in term. You re less likely to have money problems later in the year when it could affect your exams. A job will also help you make more friends and look good on your CV. The Careers Service can help you find a part-time job. Save on travelling. - Buy an annual (term-time) bus pass covering the whole city. - If you use the train, a railcard will save you 1/3 off the ticket price Always ask for Student Discount. Manchester thrives on students and many places offer a discount, some don t advertise it, so it is always worth asking, they can only say no! Be a model! If you want a funky new hairstyle, you can be a model for trained hair stylists doing fashion courses at the Wella Studios ( ) or at L Oreal Academy ( ). You can get colour for around 15 and a cut for around 5. Most hair salons also advertise for models, but remember these are usually for students who are still training.

4 DEBT ADVICE Don t make yourself ill worrying about financial problems. If you re having difficulties, speak to someone who can help. The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem, it won t go away. The quicker you get help, the easier it will be to sort out. Top Tips Act quickly. As soon as you realise you can t make a payment, seek help and tell the person you owe money to. If you let them know why you can t pay, they might be able to help. Cancel direct debits and standing orders. If you can t afford to pay them, cancel payments with the bank. This way, you will only get charged by the people you should be paying. Apply to the Access to Learning Fund. If you re having difficulties and are a home, UK student, you may be eligible for help from the Access to Learning Fund. Pick up an application form from the Student Services Centre, or visit USEFUL INFORMATION To contact the Money Doctors Budgeting w w w.moneysavingexpert.com Money saving and consumer revenge w w w.studentmoney.org Calculators for loan repayments etc. and sources of funding w w w.support4learning.org.uk/money Info on funding and student money w w w.channel4.com/4money/smartmoney Click on the link for students for hints and tips Debt w w w.advicekit.info advice and online debt advisors w w w.nationaldebtline.co.uk Free help and advice on debt w w w.cccs.co.uk Charity offering debt counselling for people with credit debt w w w.citizensadvice.org.uk Citizens Advice

5 INCOME Fill in the boxes with your own amounts. INCOME Student Maintenance Loan Local Authority Grant (HE Grant or Maintenance Grant) Career Development Loan If you go home over summer, divide total loan amount by 9 for number of months you need it for. Scholarship / Bursary Earnings (net) Household contribution (eg parents, partner) How can you increase your income? eg you could take on part-time work, sell some unwanted items or sign up with a market research company to get one-off jobs. Benefits / pension Savings (total divided by 12) Partner s income (if share costs) Other TOTAL INCOME

6 FIXED COSTS EXPENDITURE Tuition Fees (including Bench Feesonly the portion you pay yourself) Rent / mortgage How can you reduce your expenditure? eg you could use your mobile phone less, make your lunch instead of buying it, and get food from cheaper shops or markets (where it s often much fresher!) Over a year you would be surprised how much this could save e.g. if you buy your lunch at Uni every weekday at 3 a day, over a 39 week term you have spent 585! Just think what else you could have bought with that money. Electricity Gas Water Insurance Loan repayment Other (eg rentals) TOTAL FIXED These are variable costs as you pay for what you use, however, it s usually better to set up monthly direct debits for a fixed amount to help you plan ahead. Some companies give a discount for this as well.

7 VARIABLE COSTS VARIABLE Groceries / housekeeping Telephone landline Mobile telephone TV subscriptions Prescriptions / healthcare Clothes and shoes Haircuts Travel / car costs Laundry Course costs (eg books, field trips etc.) Child related costs Sport and social costs Newspapers / magazines Credit card payment Daily costs (eg coffee, sandwiches) One-off costs (eg birthdays, travel home) TOTAL VARIABLE TOTAL COSTS SHORTFALL / SURPLUS If you have a shortfall don t panic you re not alone. Now you know your financial reality you have the power to do something about it and keep your debt low. Look at the budgeting, income and fixed costs pages for ideas on how to reduce the shortfall.

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