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Day 1: How much debt do you have?

Before you can look at finding a solution to your debt problem, you need to have a clear picture of how much debt you are dealing with.

This is not just the total number of debts. You need to be clear about what is owed on each one. That includes the interest you have to pay back.

Many people find this part of getting debt advice daunting. We know how hard it can be, but you are taking a huge step. So please keep going.

Today's tasks...

  1. Go through your bills and statements. Find the most recent balances, and write them down
  2. Deal with any emergencies. Such as court papers or fines

Task 1: Now it is time to open ALL your statements

Look through letters and emails for your most recent statements. We will look at them one by one.

With your online statements, you can:

  • Print them
  • Create a folder to save screenshots

At this point, we are just looking at what you owe and who you owe the money to. We will come back to how to deal with these debts later. So forget about that for now.

I can’t bring myself to face my debts!

We know, we do know. Ignoring your debt and hoping it goes away will not fix the problem. It could make things worse.

Our clients tell us they felt better after they did this.

Come on, you can do it.

If you need someone with you for moral support, that is fine. Needing support in difficult times is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

Do you want to ask a friend or family member to help you? They can make you a cup of tea while you open your letters at the very least.

I have opened the statements. What next?

Find the balances that show what you owe and write down each amount.

Keep going until you have worked through the whole pile.

If you have old bills or statements for the same debt, write down the balance from the most recent.

I do not have all my statements. What can I do?

That is fine. It is normal for some of them to have gone missing. Maybe you threw them out? Or maybe you have not shared your most recent address with the people you owe money to?

We can still find the missing information. To do this, you need to get in touch with the 'credit reference agencies'. These are companies that keep records of all credit histories, including missed payments.

There are three credit reference agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. They can give you access to this information online.

It is worth checking your credit file with all three credit reference agencies. They keep different records, so this is the best way to check you have covered everything.

You should not have to pay. But keep your card details handy, as this helps them find your record.

Read more about credit files and records.

Task 2: Deal with any emergency paperwork - do it now

You may have found some paperwork about some of things in this list. These will need dealing with and there are things you can do. Read the guides in these links to find out what you need to do next.

Once you have counted all your debt balances, your work for today is done. Good for you!

You covered a lot of important ground today. We know it was not easy.

By sorting out your paperwork, you now have the information you need to build a budget. We will cover this on Day 3 of your 7 Days, 7 Ways journey.

Debt happens. We deal with it.

We have helped millions of people since 1993.

Find out how.

"Trustworthy, friendly and easy to use life-changing service"

"Friendly, comprehensive and life-changing service. They are helping me recover from a rough patch, dealing with my bank directly, and setting everything in place after I had filled out the forms. I definitely recommend to anyone who is struggling with debt, even if just for advice."

Irene, Feefo Review