Nobody sets out to get into debt; however, an unforeseen change in your circumstances, unexpected expenses or frivolous spending patterns can send your finances spiralling out of control.
If you spend money you don’t have - and keep on spending it – you will eventually find yourself in debt.
You don’t have to be overspending by much. Debts have a nasty habit of building up slowly, especially if your outgoings are regularly more than your income.
What should you do if you are in debt?
First, take a deep breath and stay calm. Keeping your debt worries to yourself will not help – tell your family and then seek expert help as soon as possible.
Whether you have overspent on your credit card, have taken out a succession of payday loans or are unable to pay your mortgage, rent or utility bills, there are people who can help.
The Money Advice Service in Wales offers free and impartial advice about debt and payday loans. There is also advice about dealing with debt on The Money Saving Expert website.
If your home is at risk
It is particularly important to seek advice if you have fallen behind with your mortgage or rent as you may be at risk of losing your home.
The Housing Debt Helpline Wales provides free, confidential and expert advice to anyone who is struggling to pay their mortgage or rent.
Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who frequently target vulnerable people. They provide little or no paperwork, charge outrageous rates of interest and can get nasty if you miss a payment.
It’s best to steer clear of loan sharks but if it is too late (or you know there is a loan shark operating in your area), contact the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU), anonymously if you prefer. Your information will be treated in confidence and will not be used in court.