If you are worried about debt, we can help you.

Citizens Advice offers free and independent information and regulated debt advice via Telephone, email or webchat.  You may be able to visit one of our offices for face to face support.

Freephone 0808 278 7969 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

We can help with urgent debt problems and find solutions to your debt problems and worries.

We can help to maximise your income and give tips on budgeting.


Follow these simple steps in order to deal with your debt problems:

  • Deal with any ‘debt emergencies’ or urgent debt issues:

You may be threatened with losing your home, having your energy supply cut off, losing essential goods or threatened with prison if you don’t pay.

An urgent debt problem could be, for example:

  • bailiffs are coming round
  • you’re being evicted for rent arrears
  • you’re being evicted for mortgage arrears
  • you’re being taken to court for a debt
  • your gas or electricity company is threatening to cut you off

If you need help for an urgent debt problem contact Citizens Advice straight away

  • Prioritise debts and bills:

You should deal with the most important debts first – these are called ‘priority debts’ like:

  • rent and mortgage
  • gas and electricity
  • council tax
  • court fine


  • Deal with ‘Non priority’ debts:

Are you struggling to pay debts like:

  • credit cards,
  • store cards
  • payday loans

You can ask your creditor if you can make lower monthly repayments as you are struggling financially.

But, be aware that paying less than it says you have to in your contract might make it harder for you to get credit in the future.



  • Check if you can increase your income:

You might be able to increase your income by doing things like:

  • claiming benefits or government grants
  • checking you’re being paid the right wage
  • getting help from charities
  • renting out a room
  • getting child maintenance


  • Check if you can claim benefits:

You might be able to claim benefits if you’re either:

  • on a low income
  • looking for work
  • sick or disabled
  • a carer
  • a parent or guardian
  • pregnant

Check your entitlement to benefits using our benefit checker: https://advicewestsussex.entitledto.co.uk/home/start

  • Save money on regular outgoings:

You might be able to save money by:

  • getting a discount on your council tax
  • getting a water meter fitted
  • switching to a cheaper broadband, TV, or phone deal
  • getting cheaper travel
  • paying for your prescriptions in advance


  • Work out what you can afford to pay:

Work out a budget so you know how much you have left each month after paying your essential bills and priority debts. This is called ‘available income’.

Make sure you save a copy of your budget – you’ll need to refer to this later. You’ll also need to send a copy to your creditors when you ask to make lower payments. It will show them that what you’re offering to pay is fair.

Try and be as accurate as you can. Before you start, find your most recent:

  • bank statements
  • payslips
  • debit and credit card statements and bills
  • receipts for things you pay for in cash

Try this helpful budget planner tool:



  • Check your options for getting out of debt

Before you make a final decision, contact Citizens Advice.  We provide FREE and REGULATED debt advice and can tell you about other free and regulated sources of debt advice.

If you have lots of debts and are struggling to pay, there are things you can do to help you get out of debt.

You might be able to talk to your creditors and arrange a way to pay them, or make a formal agreement called a ‘debt solution’.

You’ll need to decide what the best solution is for your situation. It’ll depend on things like:

  • the type of debts you have
  • the total amount of debt you have
  • how much money you can pay towards your debts

If you have some money to pay your debts, you could arrange to pay off your debts over a few years. You might be able to get a debt management plan, an administration order or an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA).

If you don’t have any money to pay your debts there are still options that could help you. If you owe less than £30,000, you might be able to apply for a Debt Relief Order (DRO). If you owe more than £30,000 applying for bankruptcy might be an option.

There may be a fee to pay for some debt solutions.

Different debt solutions can affect your life in different ways. For example, they might affect your credit rating, mortgage or savings, or restrict the work you can do. Make sure you understand how you’ll be affected before you apply for a debt solution.



We are here for you when you need help