How to reduce your debts and save money

How to reduce your debts and save money
Written by Tara Flynn
Published on 27th November 2023
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Choose Wisely knows debt isn’t just caused by reckless spending. Over 34% of Brits admit using credit for damaging life events or emergencies, which can cause anyone to fall into a debt cycle. It’s time to take back control.


Make sure you know where you stand before you get going. Record how much you’re spending compared to your income. Write down all the credit repayments you make each month, the amount you pay and how much interest is charged. Use our budget planner to get going with this.


Once you’ve got a good look at your budget, you can now see if you’re over spending or if you’ve got some cash to spare each month. Start putting a certain portion of this spare cash towards your debts, focusing on your more expensive or priority debts and another portion towards a financial safety net.

Usually, overpayment will save you money in the long run but make sure there are no charges or fees for making early repayments, you can find these details in your loan agreement. If the fees cost more than the savings you’ll make, it might not be worth it.

Contact your credit card provider and ask them to put a spending limit on your account. This way, you can’t spend outside your means and run up more debt.


It sounds scary but approaching your lenders and negotiating a better deal could save you serious money. Jump on the phone and tell them you’re looking to start decreasing your debts. If you’ve got a lump sum or a little extra money coming in each month, you could pay this against your debt, saving you some cash!

It often helps if you target one particular debt to start paying off and then start paying the other loans. For example, you may have a high cost short term loan you want gone so try to make payments on this before tackling your cheaper debts.


There are multiple debt charities and free financial advisors in the UK who can help you on your journey to becoming debt free.

Get in touch with the charities below if you’re struggling with contacting your creditors, budgeting your money or even getting started on reviewing your debts. They can also help you decide if a debt management plan is an appropriate option for you.

DO NOT pay anyone to ‘deal with your debts’ or ‘sort out your credit score’. This can be expensive and you can get the exact same service for free.


Choose Wisely offers plenty of guides on how to cut down costs on your "household bills, family, home and pet costs, travel and general spending. Here’s a few tips to get started:


There are essentials we need to fork out for each month but that doesn’t mean we should pay more than necessary. Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on everything from insurance, bills, food and travel.

Cut out the non-essentials

No one wants to hear it! But if you’re struggling financially, cancelling your entertainment subscriptions or cutting down on tobacco and alcohol could make a vast improvement on your monthly cash flow.

Get organised

Avoid paying the premium price for convenience by being more organised and planning out your spending. Packed lunches for work and planning meals can make all the difference to your back pocket.

The first place to start when you’re looking to cut down on your spending is a budget. Check out the Choose Wisely Budget Planner.


Get yourself a side job and you could start making serious contributions to your repayments. Even if you only make an extra £50 a month, that’s £600 a year you’ve earned to pay towards your debt!

You don’t necessarily have to find another job. You can sell unwanted items on eBay,Gumtree or local Facebook groups to clear your clutter and boost your income. Keep your extra earnings so you know how well you’re doing.

You could also be entitled to benefits you’re not claiming yet.


You can opt for a debt consolidation loan which is a larger loan used to pay off all your current debts so you only have one loan repayment to make each month, which often works out cheaper. However, if you have missed or made late payments before, this may have had a negative effect on your credit score.

If you have a poor or fair credit score, you might not save any money compared to continuing with your current individual loans. You should compare your options or contact the Money Helper if you’re unsure.

Use our debt consolidation guide to find out if this is a likely choice for you.

If you think you won’t be able to make a loan repayment on time, contact your credit provider and see if they will give you an extension on your repayment date or lower the late payment fees.


The sooner you start to cut down debt, the more you will save. It may feel like you’re making a lot of sacrifices at the moment but think about how great it will feel to be debt free or to feel like you’ve got control of your situation. Focus on your goals and get started!


Get started on your Take Control journey.

Tara Flynn
Written by
Tara Flynn
COO, Co-Founder & Take Control Author at Choose Wisely

Tara started working in consumer finance in 2008, and then went on to co-found Choose Wisely back in 2011.