Debt and borrowing overview

Money matters can seem complicated. This section keeps it simple. It provides basic information that can help you manage common debt problems.

It shows you how to deal with your debts by following a clear, step-by-step process:

  • Step 1: Increase your income.
  • Step 2: Create a financial statement.
  • Step 3: Identify priority debts (debts that need to be paid first and most urgently).
  • Step 4: Negotiate with your creditors (people you owe money to).

Don’t worry if your situation is very complicated, or if you need more help understanding what to do. There are many organisations that offer free, expert advice and support for people with debts. Because they help people deal with their debts every day, the people at these organisations will understand your situation. Some organisations, such as StepChange Debt Charity, also offer free debt management plans.

Although it may feel like a difficult thing to do, it’s best to tell your creditors that you or your partner has been diagnosed with cancer.

Keeping your creditors updated on your circumstances can help them discuss potential problems with you. However, if you have long-standing debt and have not heard from your creditors for a number of years, it may be worth seeking advice prior to contacting them.

In this section you’ll find:

  • basic information about what steps to take and when
  • steps to help you work out your financial statement
  • information to help you identify and prioritise your debts
  • sample letters that you can send to your creditors
  • a case study showing how one couple affected by cancer took control of their debts
  • where to find extra help if you need it.

The best way to use the four steps is to work through them from start to finish, as they will help you sort out the most important problems first. Each step leads on to the next, so if you follow the sections in order, it’ll be easier to keep everything clear.

Back to Managing debt and borrowing

Step 1: Increase your income

Increasing your income is the first step to managing your debts. Check your entitlement to benefits and insurance payouts.

Step 2: Reduce your expenses

Once you have made sure you have as much money coming in as possible, there are ways you can reduce your expenses.