There’s a reason they say January feels like the longest month of the year. Not only is it cold and dark, but we’re left with the financial (and very often literal!) hangover from our Christmas and New Year celebrations.
It can be a tough time to stick to an already strict budget, but it’s important that you don’t let your DMP fail.
Here are three ways you can help things go to plan. You might already know some of them, but we want to do everything we can to help you succeed with your DMP!
1. Keep on top of your payments
One of the questions our clients often ask us is if they can reduce or skip a DMP payment, and with all the extra financial pressure January brings this might seem like a tempting idea. However in general this is something we would advise against.
First of all, you’re on a roll! Think about how far you’ve come since you first started your DMP with us. Our clients often tell us being on a DMP makes them feel more in control of their money, and that they feel great when they can see their debt balances going down.
If you miss or reduce your payment to us your creditors might see this as you breaking the agreement, which means they may restart their debt collection process. Your creditors may agree to continue the arrangement after a missed payment, but this isn’t something we can guarantee.
2. Stick to your budget
When you had your first debt advice session with us, we put together a budget to show where your money goes each month. We update your budget on a regular basis, at annual reviews or whenever you experience a change in circumstances to make sure it still works for you.
Your budget’s what we use to help us work out your monthly DMP payment, so it’s important to stick with it to keep things running smoothly. This can be especially hard at Christmas and the New Year, when there are things to do, people to see and presents to give.
The MoneyAware team is always on hand with tips to help you maximise your budget, and we’ve got plenty of frugal festive ideas at the ready, from making Christmas magic on a budget to using up Christmas leftovers! To help with the January blues, we’ve also got a handy list of 10 money-saving resolutions you should be making for 2016.
And if you fancy a natter with people in similar situations, feel low or under pressure to spend, you can find some great community spirit over on MoneySavingExpert.com’s DMP and Mutual Support thread.
3. Ask for help if you need it!
We understand that sometimes things change or don’t turn out as expected. If that happens and your DMP isn’t working for you any more, please get in touch with us.
We can talk to you in more detail about how your circumstances have changed, review your budget and discuss how we can support you. The most important thing is that you’re dealing with your debts in the way that works best for you.
And if you feel under pressure to spend then look at MoneySavingExpert.com’s ‘Debt Free Roll Of Honour’ forum thread, updated each year. It’s a list of forum members who became debt free throughout the last 9+ years – people are welcome to post up with their story about how they overcame debt. There’s been 102 new enrolls in 2015!
And don’t forget that we’ve helped thousands upon thousands of people pay off their debts over the years. If you’re thinking about spending your January payment elsewhere think about on your long-term goal – to be “debt free”.
Got more questions about your DMP? We’ve got plenty of information for DMP clients on our website.