It’s the classic scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere gives Julia Roberts his credit card and the chance to rack up a small fortune on shoes and clothes. He even went along to watch the shopping.
But closer to home (and reality) the lure of easy credit is trapping millions of women in perpetual debt. Women are more likely to use credit than men, with one in ten using over half their monthly pay packet to pay off debt.
New research from MoneyExpert.com reveals that one in every 14 women has missed a credit card bill in the past six months. That’s around 1.6 million credit-happy people each being charged around £12 for every time they don’t pay a bill on time.
The figures also show that women are more likely to miss a council tax bill than men, with five per cent saying they missed their monthly bill to the council on at least one occasion in the past six months.
It all adds up to a worrying statistic: almost one in six women have missed an important bill in the past six months, from credit cards to loans, mobile phones or even mortgage repayments. Missing bills can lead to serious consequences from losing a service to being taken to court.
If you’re struggling to pay the bills, you need to take advice now on how to cut your monthly expenditure. There are ways to reorganise your finances but missing bills and hoping for the best is not a good strategy.
If you’re looking to break the cycle of debt and sort out your finances, here are some top tips:
Taking control of your debts
- Don’t dwell on it – things will only get worse unless you take action
- Draw up a list of priorities for your spending and your debts – what are you really spending your money on?
- Your mortgage or rent payments should be your main priority – we all need a roof over our heads so make sure this is covered first by your monthly income
- If you’re entitled to benefits, don’t forget to claim them!
- Consolidating your debts into one loan can help you to cut monthly repayments and boost your wealth. MoneyExpert.com has a Debt Consolidation calculator [insert link] to see what you can save.
- If you’re not sure where to turn for advice, a good place to start is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
- Beyond that, you may need to take professional advice. Make sure you find someone independent.
Remember, you should wherever possible look to pay your debts off as quickly as you can. The longer you borrow money for the more interest you will pay.
Click through to MoneyExpert for money saving tips