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Dealing with Debt

Apart from student loans, many students will have some sort of debt such as a bank account overdraft, a buy now pay later deal, a mobile phone contract or paying for insurance through a monthly credit agreement.  

In theory, having a certain amount of debt may not be a bad thing and may even help boost your credit score providing you don’t over commit and easily keep up to date with payments.   The Blackbullion Debt pathway is a great starting point to understand more about borrowing money and distinguish good debt from bad debt (to access the Blackbullion platform, register using your Queen's email and as a student of Queen’s Students’ Union).

However, having too much debt can soon become a problem and spiral out of control. When this happens, the sooner you act the better. 

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  • Look out for the Warning Signs

    There are a few warning signs to look out for:

    • If you are struggling to make regular repayments to credit accounts and/or missing payments
    • If you have debt that you can’t pinpoint what it was for.
    • If you are paying debt with another source of credit.  For example, using a credit card to make the minimum payment to another debt.
    • If you are regularly spending more than your income allows

    If any of the above sounds familiar, then it is important to act. This can be difficult, but ignoring the problem is not the solution.

  • Get Advice

    No one becomes debt free overnight. You have to plan ahead, work your repayments into your budget, and keep at it until you’re done.  However, if you have multiple debts, it can seem like an uphill battle to get them all under control.  We know that having a debt problem is really stressful. It is also very scary to tell your family or friends. Try not to worry. There is always a solution.

    Blackbullion, offers some great advice on how to tackle debt. Find out more here

    However, if your debts have become unmanageable or are having a negative impact upon your own wellbeing or studies, you may want to consider contacting a debt advice organisation.  There is lots of self-help support and guidance out there, but it is important to make sure you are accessing information provided by a using a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated free debt advice charity such as

    You should avoid using any company which charges a fee for its debt advice service or to manage a debt repayment plan for you.

    If you’re thinking about using a formal debt repayment method, like a debt repayment plan or bankruptcy, it’s always best to talk things through with an experienced debt adviser before you decide. The thought of talking to a complete stranger about your money problems may not be something you want to consider, but it can be the best thing you can do. This is because there are many ways to deal with debts and you might not be aware of all the options that are available, or which is right for you.

    A debt adviser will:

    • treat everything you say in confidence
    • never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation
    • suggest ways of dealing with debts that you might not know about
    • check you’ve applied for all the benefits and entitlements available to you

    In Northern Ireland, Advice NI offers debt advice by phone on 0800915 4604, or you can search for your nearest local Advice NI Debt Service here

    The organisations listed above also offer telephone helplines and online resources.