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What are the early warning signs?

Recognising when you could get into trouble with your finances allows you to avoid any difficulties before they become bigger problems.

If you think any of the warning signs below apply to you, it may mean that you are financially stretched or in financial hardship.

If you are feeling financially stretched or under pressure – don’t panic. Use the information on the website to see what you can do to take control and how your bank help. You should firstly do a budget to see what your income and expenditure is, to help you get a bigger picture of your actual financial position – don’t bury your head in the sand.

If you are in financial hardship, for example, you can’t meet repayments or are having to go without essential items to save money you should call your bank and discuss your financial situation. There are also other steps you can take – see the information on this website about Financial Hardship.

Do any of the warning signs apply to you?

  • Loan and credit card repayments (apart from my mortgage) take up more than 20% of my disposable income (i.e. your spending money)
  • I usually only pay the minimum payment on my credit card each month
  • I am generally at – or very close to – the limit on my credit card(s)
  • I often pretend bills and reminder notices are not there or I’ve skipped repayments hoping I’ll make it up next time
  • I’ve applied for credit cards just to pay other household or credit card bills
  • I accept offers to increase the limit on my credit card without considering my financial position
  • I often struggle to make the rent/loan repayments each month or if I do make them, I struggle to pay for essential items such as food, clothes and medical bills
  • I haven’t been able to pay the water/gas/electricity bill recently
  • I use my credit card to buy food or other essential items because I just don’t have the cash
  • I sometimes have to go without meals or go without heating to save money
  • I don’t have car insurance or home contents insurance because I can’t afford it
  • I borrow money from friends, family, community or welfare organisations to manage my expenses, bills and debts
  • I have got or thought about a loan from a payday lender
  • I have had to sell or pawn possessions to make ends meet
  • I don’t have a budget or money management plan
  • I don’t know how much debt I owe in total
  • I lose sleep worrying about how I will repay all my debts
  • I have received a letter, default notice or phone call from my utility or phone provider, credit provider or debt collector about outstanding bills and debt repayments.