Dealing with the financial impact of rising costs of living

If you're experiencing a change in financial circumstances due to the increased costs of living, find out what you can do to help yourself get back on track.

Millions of people access financial help every year and there is a wide range of free services available to you, as well as tailored support from your lender.

Find out more about:

Managing your financial situation

If you are struggling with your finances, there are a number of steps you can take to start managing your situation.

Make a list of the organisations that you need to make a payment to. 

Note down how much you pay and whether you are behind on any payments. This includes essential household bills such as electricity and gas, as well as loans and any other debts or repayments you have.

If you find this too difficult, a debt adviser can help you for free.

The MoneyHelper Debt Advice Locator tool can help you find out where to access free debt advice near you.

It’s important you prioritise your debts. Some debts will be more urgent than others, because the consequences of not paying them can be more serious. These may include your:

  • mortgage or rent 
  • council tax /rates 
  • gas or electricity bills

MoneyHelper has useful information on how to prioritise your debts

Working out a budget

Once you know which debts are priority, you can work out a budget.  

This will help you understand how much money you have to pay your commitments as you go forward.  

You might want to use a budget tool, such as the MoneyHelper online budget planner, or a tool provided by a debt adviser to help you.

If you're worried about not being able to make future payments, it’s important to contact the organisations you make payments to and let them know. They may be able to talk to you about options for changing how or when you pay.

Tailored support from your lender

If you’re finding it difficult to pay your mortgage, credit card or personal loan, your lender should provide you with support tailored to your individual circumstances. This support will be available if you’re struggling for the first time or if you’ve already had help.   

Your options could include: 

  • making reduced payments for a temporary period 
  • changing your mortgage or other loan term to make your payments more affordable  
  • making no payments for a temporary period 
  • being directed to sources of free debt advice 

Contact your lender as soon as possible if you’re finding it difficult to make payments.  

Just talking to your lender will not affect your credit file, and they can help you. If you agree an arrangement with them, that will be reflected on your file but this would also be the case with any missed payments.

If your lender isn’t treating you fairly, you have the right to complain directly to them. If you aren’t satisfied with their response, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Organisations that offer help and advice

If you’re finding it hard to keep up with payments, or if you’re having trouble managing your debts, the government-backed MoneyHelper service can help you find a way forward. Whether it’s living on a squeezed income, working out how to prioritise your bills and payments, or access to free, expert debt advice, they can help you take the first step towards getting on top of things.

You can contact these organisations for free, confidential and impartial money guidance and debt advice.

MoneyHelper: Free, easy-to-use money tools, information and advice. You can also phone 0800 138 7777 to speak to a money expert, use typetalk at 18001 0800 915 4622, or add +44 7701 342744 to your WhatsApp to send a message.

Citizens Advice: Advice and information on debt and other topics.

AdviceUK: Member centres offer debt advice, including specialist advice for minority communities and people with disabilities. 

Christians Against Poverty: Free debt advice for people of any faith or none. To check if they cover your postcode call 0800 328 0006.

National Debtline: If you live in England, Wales or Scotland phone 0808 808 4000 or visit its website for debt advice and information.

StepChange Debt Charity: Free debt advice throughout the UK phone 0800 138 1111 or visit the website.

Money Advice Scotland: If you live in Scotland. You can use webchat to speak to an adviser, or email [email protected].

Citizens Advice Scotland: For advice and information on debt and other topics, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or call the helpline on 0800 028 1456.

Advice NI: If you live in Northern Ireland, phone 0800 915 4604, email [email protected] or visit the website. 

Citizens Advice Wales: If you live in Wales, visit the website, or call Advicelink on 03444 77 20 20 if you want to speak to someone about your debts. Calls cost the same as calls to landline numbers.

Business Debtline: If you are self-employed or a small business owner, phone 0800 197 6026 or visit the website for debt advice and information.

Other useful organisations

Legal Aid advice: You may get legal aid if your home is at risk. Check the website or phone 0845 345 4345. 

Financial Ombudsman Service: If you have a complaint about a loan that you can’t resolve with your lender, the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help. Visit its website or phone 0300 123 9123 or 0800 023 4567.

Page updates

30/06/2022: Information added Speaking to your lender and your credit file.
16/06/2022: Information changed page updated to cover rising costs of living
19/07/2021: Information changed MoneyHelper has replaced Money Advice Service
14/09/2020: Editorial amendment Style changes in the introduction and links included