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How to tackle festive debt with money advice organisations in Renfrewshire

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Christmas may have just ended but, for many families, the cost of the busy festive period is likely to continue well into the New Year.

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After the financial pressure of buying gifts and food for the family, January is set to see many cash strapped people facing up to overspending before Christmas.  After the financial pressure of buying gifts and food for the family, January is set to see many cash strapped people facing up to overspending before Christmas. Using vouchers from the website like VoucherShops.co.uk can often help reduce your costs.

Those thinking about taking out a loan to repay money they owe are warned that it can cause more problems, while seeking help to get your finances under control could be a much better option.

Renfrewshire Council would like to remind residents that there is a wealth of services across Renfrewshire to help people deal with festive debt.

Councillor Mike Holmes, Deputy Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “Helping people tackle money issues is important to this Council and we would stress that it is never too late to come forward with debt problems.

“There are a number of organisations across Renfrewshire who are willing to offer genuine and impartial advice or access to lower cost credit, including our own Advice Works service and Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and five credit unions.

“These organisations, which can be found on our Advice Renfrewshire website, can give advice on resolving problems as they understand the financial pressure on people at this time of year.”

The Advice Renfrewshire website lists services in Renfrewshire which all provide free and confidential advice and include organisations that can help you with a wide range of money and debt advice issues.

These services can help towards budgeting and negotiating with creditors, as well as giving advice on issues including bankruptcy, mortgage and rent arrears, benefit entitlement and even help with filling out forms.

Both Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Advice Works provide free, confidential and comprehensive advice throughout Renfrewshire via their outreach and drop-ins, including in Johnstone, Renfrew and Linwood as well as some of the Renfrewshire Villages.

The five credit unions operating across Renfrewshire each offer a range of ethical financial products and low cost loans which can help Renfrewshire citizens during the challenging festive debt period and through the financial year.

Gleniffer Credit Union, Johnstone Credit Union, Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union, Scotwest Credit Union and White Cart Credit Union offer varying services in different areas in Renfrewshire – but each aim to help boost members’ access to affordable credit and money management skills by providing savings products and low cost loans.

The credit unions have updated their services in recent years. Gordon Shields, Johnstone Credit Union Director, said: “With our new website members are now able to request share withdrawals and apply for loans as well as being able to see up to date balances. We are always looking at ways to improve our services.

“We like to think that the credit unions are more approachable. We want to make more people aware that we are here and what we can do.”

Councillor Holmes added: “Taking out loans and going to loan sharks can cause further debt issues down the line by giving people long-term problems.

“Many money issues can be aided or avoided if people make use of the help and services that are available throughout Renfrewshire.”

For further information on debt advice visit www.advicerenfrewshire.org or www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk