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There are a lot of organisations who can help you if you have outstanding debts. It doesn’t matter if these are prior to University of if you’ve ended up with unmanageable debts since starting your course. There are virtually no circumstances under which a private individual should feel that they have no choice but to turn to payday lenders or loan sharks which invariably leads to people becoming stuck deeper in the debt cycle. Other, more positive options do exist.  

Credit Unions - a better alternative than pay day loans     

Credit Unions are not-for-profit community based organisations, the purpose of which is to offer basic financial services (bank & savings accounts, small loans etc) to the members of a specific region who have pre-existing financial problems which often mean they cannot operate a high street bank account. As a charitable body Credit Unions also offer advice and guidance to their members on how to escape the cycle of debt, manage their money and establish healthy spending and saving habits.

Carlisle Credit Union

London Community Credit Union 

Morecambe Bay Credit Union

Citizens Advice – free impartial advice and guidance

Citizens Advice is another not-for-profit national organisation which offers free and impartial advice on a wide range of issues from benefits, legal representation and housing through to debt and money management. They operate a drop-in service in most major towns and cities and also have a strong online presence which is full of well researched and factually excellent information. For debt advice and other issues such as consumer credit, payday lenders, loan sharks the Citizens advice has a great advice page with live chat.

The Money Advice Service - National personal finance advice service

The Money Advice Service is a specialist charity backed by the Government that offers advice, support and guidance specifically on personal finance and money related issues. As the leading organisation offering free specialist advice there are a wealth of resources offering free and impartial advice covering everything from debt, borrowing, benefits and pensions. Like the Citizens Advice Service they also offer an online chat function that connects to their specialist advisors. The website has lots of useful information including specific pages for students and tools, some of which are linked to below.   These include a cut back calculator, money saving tips regular email, Budgeting tips for those on a low income, budget planner, a money health check.  

Money Advice Service Budget Planner – this page includes a brief 5 minute ‘how much do I have left after paying bills’ calculator and a longer ‘detailed spending breakdown’ calculator

Money Advice Service Money Health Check – this online tool will help you find out where you stand with money, what areas to focus on and practical ways to improve your situation. 

Debt Advice – The Money Advice Service offers links to free and confidential services which hold accreditation and can provide expert support to those struggling with debt. You should always check if a debt advisor has a Financial Conduct Authority certificate before allowing them to negotiate with your creditors (people you owe money to) or take recommended action such as consolidating your debts: 

The Money Advice Service website also have a wide range of pages offering advice on how to minimise your expenditure on household bills (such as gas and electricity), mobile phone and broadband, insurance, accommodation, car and transport costs and also provide a comprehensive guide to benefits that you may be eligible for.

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