Mum explains how she works ‘70 hour’ weeks to make ends meet

Know your dates

People need to be aware of key dates when they are likely to experience a financial shock.

Mr Porter said: “End dates for products such as fixed rate mortgages, introductory rates on credit cards, or if they are one of the few still on fixed energy tariffs. People need to start planning now and researching options to be prepared, or begin putting some money aside so they aren’t caught out.”

Find out what help is available

Families can use services such as Turn2Us or the Government’s Help for Households website to make sure they know what they’re entitled to and that they are receiving what they’re due.

Mr Porter said: “There is £16billion worth of unclaimed benefits in the UK each year and we’ve already seen stories about energy support vouchers for customers on prepayment meters not being claimed this month.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If people aren’t able to keep up with bills or repayments, it’s important to get in touch with lenders and companies sooner rather than later.

Mr Porter said: “Energy companies and financial services firms have a responsibility to help people through difficult times. They may be eligible for reduced payments, repayment plans, payment holidays or accessing support from other sources like hardship funds or grants.”

Consider getting money advice

Help with money is often called debt advice, which can put some people off reaching out.

However, Mr Porter said: “When we’re managing to keep up with bills and repayments, we see ourselves as using credit or making ends meet. We often only consider ourselves to be “in debt” when things start to slip or payments get missed. This often means people avoid getting debt advice until it’s too late.

“There are many great, free sources of money and debt advice in the UK including StepChange and National Debtline that can really help people even before they’ve missed a payment. There’s no need to pay for advice and before paying someone to help with your debts, always think about how those fees could be going to reduce debts.”

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