As someone who has been involved over several years with helping people who have severe debt problems it comes as no surprise to me to read in the Wigan Reporter that personal debt in the area will rise to £9 million next year. January is a particularly bad time in a lot of households as the full extent of the Christmas spending spree hits home. There are many reasons why people get into debt. It could be borrowing a large amount of money and then being made redundant or falling ill, the lack of budgeting skills, the inability to say no to the many offers of credit that come in the post every day or higher than expected household bills. I also read that more than 10,000 people a month are expected to declare themselves bankrupt this year in this country as a culture of unsustainable debt grows among the' buy now, pay never' generation.
Getting into serious debt can have a devastating effect upon individuals and families. In my experience one of the most common reactions to debt is pretending that it does not exist - which of course will eventually make things much worse. People will also pay money to the creditors that shout the loudest and stop making priority payments such as the rent or mortgage or council tax.
My advice to anyone who is in debt is as follows:
1 make a personal budget and stick to it
2. don't over commit yourself - remember interest rates can go up as can household bills
3. if you get into serious debt don't bury your head in the sand - seek help.
4. always make priority payments such as rent or mortgage, council tax, utility bills.
If you are worried about debt and need to talk to someone you can contact Wigan CAB on 0870 126 4459, visit www.wigancab.org or call into the CAB office in Gerrard Winstanley House, Crawford Street, Wigan.