PEOPLE suffering from a New Year debt hangover are being given advice from South Staffordshire Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Paying for Christmas on credit cards becoming an automatic option can spell debt problems for some, so the local CAB wants to help Kinver parish residents avoid spending 2016 in the red.

David Barnes, money adviser at the bureau, said: “The months after Christmas can be particularly tough with extra expenses incurred over the festive period putting even more pressure on household budgets.

“If you are facing New Year debts, don’t panic. With the right help there are ways to get on top of your outstanding bills.”

South Staffs CAB has come up with four top tips to help people who may have gone beyond their means get back into the black:

  • Get help as soon as possible

The earlier you get help with debt problems the easier it is to get them sorted. Trying to carry on as if everything is normal can make things worse, as debts can pile up quickly. Letting your creditors, like your mortgage company or local council, know if you will be unable to pay them is key. Creditors should consider reasonable repayment plans and may be able to offer you more time to pay.

  • Prioritise paying certain debts

It is important that you prioritise debts such as the rent, mortgage or energy bills first to keep a roof over your head and the heating on.

  • Check benefit support available

Depending on your circumstances you may be able to get support through benefits, so it is worth checking this with the Department for Work and Pensions. If you are unable to pay your council tax debt the local authority may agree to let you pay a reduced payment over a longer period or even in exceptional circumstances write off the debt, but you will have to keep paying your ongoing bill going forward.

  • Draw up a budget

Drawing up a proper budget of your expenses can help identify areas you can cut down on. Before you turn to a loan to cover costs, think carefully and find out what this means for any future repayments and interest that will be due on the loan.

For more information on the free, confidential and independent advice from South Staffs CAB, visit, or to arrange an appointment email, or call 01902 896054.