Golden rules...

If you follow these golden rules, you won't go far wrong.



if in doubt - get advice

We are here to help and you are not alone.



don't ignore the problem

It won't go away and the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.

  • It is never too late to get advice.
  • Don’t borrow money to pay off your debts without thinking carefully. Get advice first. If you own your home, this kind of borrowing could lead to you losing your home.
  • If you have lost your job or are off work because of illness, check whether your payments are covered by payment protection insurance. Check your credit agreement. Contact the insurance company or your lender to find out more details about how to claim.
  • Check you are claiming all the benefits and tax credits you can.

Increasing your income

  • A personal budget is an essential tool when dealing with your debts. Use Your budget, our budget tool, to help you work out what you have coming in and going out.
  • Once you have finished Your budget, use Step 3 and Step 4 to work out the best way to deal with your debts. If you are unsure, contact us for advice
  • Make sure that any money you receive (for example, wages or benefits) goes into an account at a bank or building society that you don’t owe any money to. This means the bank or building society will not be able to take any of your income to pay your debt to them.

Debts with your bank - overdrafts, loans and credit cards

  • Make sure you tackle your priority debts first – for example, debts which could mean losing your home or having your gas or electricity cut off.
  • If you decide that it is the best option for you to try to come to a payment arrangement with your creditors yourself,Your budget, our budget tool, will work out reasonable repayment offers to repay the money you owe.
  • If you are going to make offers to your creditors, you will need to send them a budget summary, which is a shorter version of your full budget.  You can create your budget summary using Your budget.
  • Make sure you use one of our sample letters when you write to your creditors with a payment offer.
  • Contact everyone you owe money to. If you make arrangements to pay some creditors but not others, you could run into difficulties again.
  • If the first person you speak to is unhelpful, ask to speak to somebody more senior who maybe able to agree to what you want.
  • Don’t give up trying to reach an agreement, even if creditors are difficult.
  • If a creditor takes court action, don’t panic. Fill in the reply forms to court papers and let the court have all the facts. The court will use this information to decide if you owe the money and what instalments you should pay.
  • Remember:

    court action and extra help

    We are always here to help with letters and forms.  We can explain what you need to do if you are asked to go to court.

  • Always go to court hearings. Take a copy of your budget summary with you. Don’t think that going to the sheriff court makes you a criminal; it’s not that kind of court. They will not send you to prison and there is no jury. There are money advisers who may be able to represent you in court. You can get details of your nearest money adviser from Money Advice Scotland.
  • Always keep copies of any letters or court forms you send or receive.