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By now, Christmas and Hogmanay are fading to memory.  The corks have popped, the presents are all open, the sales have been done and for most of us it’s at least another two-week limp until payday.With the last-minute shopping frenzy and the nights out and new outfits, lots of us overspend at Christmas, but the fact is this large spend can have an impact on your finances through the rest of the year, especially if you use credit or your spend has affected your ability to pay other bills – like your rent or your mortgage.

You might know that here at Shelter Scotland we help over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness with our free advice helpline, our website advice and our live chat advice.  You might know that we do this by giving advice, information and advocacy to people in housing need, and by campaigning for lasting political change to end the housing crisis for good.

Did you also know that we also give money and debt advice?  In fact there will be at least one money adviser local to you in your closest Shelter Scotland Community Hub.  They can advise you on how to resolve any money issues you are experiencing, how to make sure that you are getting all of the support that you are entitled to, help you understand how you can better heat your home – just for starters!  The first piece of advice that you need though is, start now.  If you recognise there is a problem and you can see an issue looming – call us straight away.

Over the next 4 weeks we will be publishing some tips and blogs from our money and debt advisers to help get you on the right track with your money in 2016.  Our tips for this week are:

Tip 1: Draw up a budget. January is a good time to start afresh, and set yourself spending and saving goals. List your income and outgoings in a spending diary. Be honest with yourself, and include everything.  This will make it easier to see where you can cut back

Tip 2: Don’t use plastic – use cash. It’s harder to part with and can help you keep track of your spending.

Tip 3: Try not to take out budgeting loans as it has a knock on effect for the rest of the year. Choose options like Scotcash or local credit unions – organisations that offer better interest rates.

Tip 4: Make a list of your debts, and prioritise your bills: mortgage/rent, council tax, and gas/electricity – the things that would have the worst consequences if you didn’t pay them.

Tip 5: Visit Get Advice, our online advice resource for information about:

Do you have some Money & Debt tips?  Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter using #TackleMoneyWorries.

However much your debts pile up, your rent or mortgage payments should always be top priority. If you don’t keep up with your rent or mortgage, you could end up homeless.  If you do need help to tackle your debts or you know someone who does, get in touch with us today.  Don’t spend the rest of the year trying to catch up.  Act now.

To get in touch email:
moneydebtadvice@shelter.org.uk

or call our free national helpline:
0808 800 4444.

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