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The best tools to help manage your personal debt

Levels of personal debt are rising. Borrowing on credit cards, loans and other elements of unsecured finance such as car finance deals is on the increase and experts are warning that for some, the rising debt could be unsustainable.

The Bank of England’s policy committee expressed particular concern about a small but rising number of heavily indebted households.

When you are accumulating debt, it can be difficult to know if you should be worried. After all, personal finance experts tell us that a certain level of debt is healthy. If you are already in debt, then escaping it can seem like a mammoth task.

Fortunately, in this technological age, there are lots of great tools available to help you explore, mitigate and combat debt.

In this blog post, we explore some of the best that you can get started with.

BBC Debt Test

If you are not sure whether you should be worried about your debt, this is the first port of call.

It is a very quick survey asking about all your debt and can tell you whether you are likely to be in trouble in the next year or so.

Stepchange Debt Remedy Tool

https://www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy.aspx

Stepchange is a popular debt charity that offers free debt advice. Their Debt Remedy Tool is a little more in-depth and can help you build up a clearer picture of your debt situation and where your money goes every month.

It can also help you work out how to tackle your debt and you can get free advice from a real person if you wish.

Natwest Debt Calculator

http://personal.natwest.com/personal/life-moments/managing-your-money/debt-calculator.html

If you are already committed to paying back all your debt, then Natwest’s Debt Calculator is a fantastic tool that allows you to calculate your total debt and how long it will take you to get debt-free.

It can help you appreciate the affordability of your debt and think about how much you can pay off each month.

Budgeting apps

Budgeting apps are great for reducing spending. If you are trying to escape less serious debts or just trying to stop yourself from slipping into debt, then a concrete budget THAT YOU STICK TO is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.

There are lots of good apps for smartphones and computers. Some you have to pay for (like You Need A Budget and Goodbudget) and others that you don’t (such as Wally, Money Dashboard).

Money Saving Expert Budget Planner

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/Budget-planning

Alternatively, if you prefer an online or spreadsheet budget planner that is completely free, then Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert Budget Planner is a great way to go.

This budget planning tool is very thorough and can take a while to fill in, but if you bear with it then it can help you get a good idea of your finances for a whole year.

If you have a debt problem, contact a member of our debt advice team and learn about the options that are available to you. Call: 0800 611 8888 or visit www.umbrella.uk