Advice for young people

If you are between 16 – 24 and in debt, your aren’t alone.

Last year over 50,000 under-25s visited their local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) to get help on debt. Young people’s charity YouthNet says that a quarter of 16-24 year olds have suffered mental health issues because of their finances.

Two 22-year olds, Scooby and Adila, have tackled their debt problems with the help of Citizen’s Advice and have featured in videos about what happened to them. Scooby’s problems began when he withdrew £10 from his current account, but only had £9 in his account. Going £1 overdrawn ended up in him racking up monthly overdraft charges, which he couldn’t repay. The charges spiralled to £600. In the short film Scooby talks about how important it is not to ignore your debts and to get help.

“I was getting loads of letters telling me to pay the money, but I just ignored them and put them in my drawer,” Scooby says. “I knew I needed to get help and thought, ‘I’ve got nothing to lose’ so I went down to my local CAB. Within four months they’d helped me clear my debts. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

You can watch the films online at citizensadvice.org.uk and get more money advice for 16-25s at TheSite.org, run by young people’s charity YouthNet.

Other top tips for avoiding debt include:

  • Work out what you need to spend for the week and take this money out as cash, don’t spend any money on top of this.
  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry or under the influence of alcohol as you’ll likely buy items that you don’t need, as well as forgetting things that you do need, resulting in a return trip to the shops.
  • Take advantage of a 16-25 Railcard for a third off the cost of train journeys, and for further savings, try and book off-peak tickets.
  • Get another job such as bar work in the evenings, or working at your university shop in your spare time.
  • Don’t get encouraged into bad habits, such as smoking and drinking, which are costly and come with a high price tag.

Above all, if you are in debt, get help!