Golden rules

​If you follow these golden rules, you won't go far wrong.


if in doubt - get advice

We are here to help and you are not alone.

  • It is never too late to get advice.
  • Don’t borrow money to pay off your debts without thinking carefully. Get advice first. If you own your home, this kind of borrowing could lead to you losing your home.


don't ignore the problem

It won't go away and the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.

  • If you have lost your job, closed your business or are off work because of illness, check whether the payments you need to make are covered by payment protection insurance. Check your credit agreement. Contact the insurance company or your lender to find out more details about how to claim.
  • Check you are claiming all the benefits and tax credits you can.

Benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit

  • Check your business status. This will help you decide which budget you should be using and what debts you are responsible for.

Business status

  • If you are a sole trader, a partner in a partnership or a director of a limited company you can use Your budget to work out which is the right budget for your business status.
  • Your budget is an essential tool when dealing with your debts. It will help explain your financial situation to your creditors.
  • Once you have finished Your budget use Step 3 and Step 4 to work out the best way to deal with your business and personal debts. Your budget can also help you work out the best way to manage your business. If you are unsure, contact us for advice.
  • Make sure that any money you receive (for example, business income, wages or benefits) goes into an account at a bank or building society that you don’t owe any money to. This means the bank or building society will not be able to take any of your income to repay your debt to them.

Opening a bank account

  • Make sure you tackle your priority debts first – for example, debts which could mean closing your business, losing your home or having your gas or electricity cut off.

Dealing with your priority debts

Working out offers of payment to non-priority creditors

  • If you decide that it is the best option for you to try and come to a payment arrangement with your creditors yourself, Your budget, our budget tool, will work out reasonable repayment offers to repay the money you owe.
  • Make sure you use one of our sample letters when you write to your creditors with a payment offer.
  • Contact everyone you owe money to. If you make arrangements to pay some creditors but not others, you could run into difficulties again.
  • If the first person you speak to is unhelpful, ask to speak to somebody more senior who may be able to agree to what you want.
  • Don’t give up trying to reach an agreement, even if creditors are difficult.
  • If a creditor takes court action, don’t panic. Fill in the reply forms to court papers and let the court have all the facts. The court will use this information to decide if you owe the money and what instalments you should pay.


court action and extra help

We are always here to give advice about letters and forms. We can explain what you need to do if you asked to go to court.

  • Always go to court hearings. Take a copy of your budget with you. Don’t think that going to the sheriff court makes you a criminal. It’s not that kind of court. They will not send you to prison and there is no jury. There are money advisers who may be able to represent you in court. Check the Money Advice Scotland's website for details of agencies providing advice in your area.
  • Always keep copies of any letters or court forms you send or receive.