With essential bills soaring, Debt Advice Now urges households to take steps to make sure they can keep on top of their important monthly outgoings.
Leeds, West Yorkshire -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/23/2011 --Debt Advice Now is urging households to take steps to budget for their monthly bills and other essential outgoings, in light of rising living costs and increased financial pressure for many.
The comments follow research from MoneySupermarket.com revealing that the high cost of living is squeezing many households' budgets - leading to families spending on average over 25% of their monthly income on essential bills, such as utilities, phone bills and insurance.
Furthermore, the research revealed that many lower-income households are spending around half their monthly incomes on essential bills alone - and that's before their mortgage, rent or debt repayments have been taken into account.
Despite inflation falling slightly to 5% this month, there are concerns that families feeling the pinch with their finances may struggle to cover their bills - and could face debt problems as a result - if they don't take measures to ensure they can safely cover all their essential outgoings.
A spokesperson for Debt Advice Now commented:
"Many households across the UK are finding keeping on top of their finances increasingly hard work. With energy companies recently announcing price hikes, rising living costs and an uncertain job market, many people are feeling under pressure just covering essential costs.
"Some households repaying debts could feel even more pressure on their finances, and may really benefit from taking steps to ensure their budget can stretch to safely cover all their outgoings - and reduce the risk of facing debt problems.
"Whatever your situation, drawing up a realistic family budget could help your whole household to keep on top of costs and improve your long-term financial security. You could start by drawing up a list of all your important monthly bills, such as gas & electricity, water, Council Tax, phone & internet, along with all your other essential outgoings.
"If you're concerned about missing any of your bills, setting up Direct Debits should guarantee the payments leave your account on time every month - and some suppliers may offer discounts if you do this. Furthermore, check if you're with the most affordable supplier: comparison websites could help you compare different tariffs, and switching if necessary could reduce the cost of your bills.
"What's more, if you're concerned about the size of your bills, there are some practical steps you could take to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Avoid leaving lights on if you leave the room, turn your thermostat down by just one degree, and/or consider investing in a water-saving shower head.
"For people with manageable debts who want to reduce their monthly outgoings, taking out a debt consolidation loan may be a good idea. Reducing multiple debts into a single one could make your finances simpler to manage, and agreeing to repay the loan over a longer period would reduce the size of your monthly repayments. However, as this could cost you more overall and it requires regular payments - and you need to think carefully if you're planning to secure other debts against your home - it's important to get professional advice first to find out if debt consolidation is a suitable approach for you to take."
Notes to Editors
Debt Advice Now provides debt help and advice to UK residents. It's part of the Think Money Group, which is one of the UK's leading financial solutions providers and delivers a comprehensive range of financial services, including debt, insurance and banking solutions.
For more information, visit the Debt Advice Now website at: http://www.debtadvicenow.co.uk