Your credit record is your best starting point before applying for any new account and that includes current accounts, savings, and pensions. Learn how to manage yours.
Lending to a debtor may seem
like throwing good money after bad, but if it's such a terrible idea why are there so many loan deals? In an emergency you cannot yet afford, take your time to choose a solution and stay safe.
Realise your assets
In tough times, the charity and second hand shops are awash with people buying and selling goods. If you are selling, make sure you shop around for the best offer.
Keeping a current account to manage day to day money is critical to anyone in financial difficulty. Forget the scare mongering, there are plenty out there to choose from, and the more basic the better!
When all else fails, managed accounts, with fees, are aimed at people who have failed to manage money using other accounts. It's a good safety net, but you will quite literally be paying for your mistakes.
When you complete a budget it's clear that funds for one off expenses like vehicle repairs need to be saved over a year. Some Credit Unions allow debtors to keep a small savings account for emergencies.
Part of Elizabeth Finn Care charity, Turn2Us offers an online benefits checker, helping ordinary people find out what help and support they are entitled to. Well worth a look while waiting for appointments.
Whether you're changing job, cutting your hours, or simply trying to work out take home pay, ListentoTaxman is the best UK PAYE calculator we've come across.
Not just for families! If you are self-employed or on a low income, it is really important not only to claim every penny, but also to know how much you can expect.
If you are facing job loss, you may be entitled to statutory redundancy pay, at the very least. This tool from The Guardian is simple to use and gives results that are easy to understand.
Some energy suppliers offer hardship grants and if you have an account with a Mutual or Friendly Society, or are Union Member, ask about help with a change in circumstances.
One for the kids
Perhaps the hardest part of having money worries is explaining your circumstances to younger members of the family. Owned by YouthNet UK, The Site provides advice on a vast array of issues facing youngsters of which money is but one.
Last but not least
Don't assume bankruptcy is your only option, it's just the best known. Check this guide from the Insolvency Service first.
Totting up your income and outgoings can help to manage where your money goes. Try this budget tool online or printed out, from Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis.
Online budgeting, with options to plan weekly or monthly from the charity, Credit Action. It also works with information from several bank accounts, helping you "rob Peter to pay Paul" safely.
If you're a mobile web user, you may prefer to keep track of spending with the Moneybasics Spendometer. This is a joint initiative from Credit Action and GE Money.
Available through iTunes the app has 7 stages: set-up questions, enter income, then essential expenditure, analysing priority, then secondary debts, giving a financial summary and recommendations. Costs £1.49.
My Money Steps
The advice charity National Debtline offers this online tool to help improve your debt situation. You can return at any time to update your details, and ask creditors for breathing space when you start using it.
DIY Debt Help
An excellent self-help tool that also explains what to look out for when shopping around for advice. Remember that price is not the only consideration - check the standards of any fee charger before getting a quote.