Many people across the UK are living on a financial cliff edge with increasing debt problems as the cost of living pressures have taken their toll, so where can you go to receive free debt advice to try and ease any increasing money worries? 

More than eight million people now need debt advice and over 12 million are in serious financial trouble, according to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). 

Using a survey that it conducted involving 22,519 adults between July and September last year, MaPS calculated that 15% or 8.1 million needed expert advice on how to cope with the money that they owe. 

Paying off the mortgage or the rent, alongside council tax and utility bill arrears are some of the typical problems that many are facing. 

Some will have seen creditors start enforcement proceedings against them such as contact from bailiffs, legal action being taken or pre-payment tariffs for electricity and gas being implemented. 

Who you can turn to at no charge?

A good place to start would be the Debt Advice Foundation which is a national debt advice service, where it can assist with a debt management plan (DMP), which can be negotiated with your creditors. 

A DMP can allow you to discuss how you can lower repayments, or freeze any interest on payments or the suspension of any legal action that is pending. 

Yet it is important to recognise that any proposals that you make with a creditor are not legally binding, and anyone who you owe money to does not have to agree to any plan. 

The foundation also allows you to download a personal debt analyser tool, which will deliver you information on how much you realistically have to pay off creditors, and how long it will take to pay any unsecured debts. 

Also, there is the National Debtline in England and Wales. 

It has phone and website services where you can speak directly to an expert, and you can fill out an online budget form that can breakdown all of your outgoings. 

There is also a fact sheet library on a wide range of debt issues, plus a sample letter library which provides examples of how to approach creditors by writing to them. 

Citizens Advice is a well-established charity that can provide extensive help with debt problems, and advisers will look to collect information about your debt, then work out which debts to prioritise

If you have any urgent debts for example dealing with council tax payments, then there are services available that will directly attack the most pressing problem. 

Also, you see how you can increase your income and also make cutbacks on your spending. 

PayPlan are another option who have been helping people with debts for 32 years, and offers a wide range of debt services, including in the event of bankruptcy and also has specific support available for self-employed debt help. 

You can apply for a DMP via an online form, and there is a debt settlement service if you have access to a lump sum which is not enough to cover all unsecured debt. 

The Step Change Debt Charity is another long-standing debt advice outlet that has also helped those in need for three decades without a fee, 

There is a three-step plan to receive help, with the first stage to tell an adviser about your debt, income and spending to create a budget. 

The second stage is exploring your options after being given an action plan on how to deal with your debt, and then finally choosing a debt solution where you will be supported through the process. 

Help is around the corner

You can also look a bit closer to home to receive free debt advice, as there are Community Money Advice centres that are open all over the country. 

In total, there are 163 of them who have consultants that can talk over the different options that are available to you, and help you make the best choices in handling debts. 

Online budgeting tips are also offered, it is a wide-ranging facility that looks at how you can boost your income, by for example selling any unwanted items that are cluttering up your living quarters, or advising you to rent out a room if this is possible. 

Money-saving tips include ensuring that you have the cheapest mobile phone or utility provider or whether you can get a cheaper rate mortgage, and also to move to a non-packaged bank account to avoid monthly bank fees. 

Lifestyle advice is also offered like cutting back on shopping for non-essentials, or walking more and not using your car.