Brighton & Hove CAP Debt Centre

Brighton Light Trust: “Bringing freedom from debt”

Author: Neil Avard

10 Ways to Manage Your Finances

NeilAvard

We all enjoy the good things in life, from treating ourselves or the ones we love. But as we look forward to a brighter 2021 and beyond you don’t want to start the end of lockdown with bills and debts you can’t afford. It’s all too easy to get carried away and overspend a Christmas – there are many tempting offers and pressures to buy particularly at this time of year. It is important to decide how much you can afford before you start spending.

Here are 10 ways to get to grips with your spending and managing your finances.

  1. Plan for special events  – Be realistic and budget accordingly for these events such as birthdays, Christmas or weddings.  Work out how much you are going to spend and stick to it.  Manage others expectations if possible.
  2. Don’t forget the day-to-day expenses – Remember that rent, the mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts still have to be paid  – and the consequences can be severe if they’re not. Try to prioritise and stick to them!
  3. Don’t rely on an overdraft –  If you do need more money, don’t just run up an overdraft without talking to your bank first – it will work out more expensive in the end.
  4. Keep things simple –  If you can afford to pay for your goods outright by cash, cheque or debit card, don’t be persuaded to put off paying for items by using credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper.
  5. Shop around – Try as many different places as possible to find the best price,  you could use price comparison websites for example such as MysupermarketMegashopbot or shop on the high street. But remember buy what you need, not what some clever marketing says that you need. Be wary of extended warranties; the cost of a repair could be less than the cost of the warranty.
  6. Buy safe to be safe –  Whatever the deal, whatever the temptation, don’t buy from un-authorised traders or borrow from unauthorised lenders. The initial savings and convenience may prove to be more costly.
  7. Read the small print – Check for any hidden extras in a credit agreement. Work out the total amount payable over the course of the agreement and make sure that you can afford the monthly installments before signing. While interest free credit may seem attractive, you may have to pay a lot more if you don’t pay on time, or miss a payment.
  8. Check the details of any credit card repayments – If you are going to use a credit card, shop around and compare terms. Some cards charge high interest rates, but offer interest free periods or discounts. Budget for all these costs and make sure that you know the payment dates.
  9. Be organised – In life there’s always a lot to remember. If you’ve borrowed money don’t forget that it won’t be long before you have to make a payment. Make sure you pay on time, even if it is only the minimum, or you will be faced with additional charges.
  10. Review your spending/budgeting and learn from it – It’s worth looking at what you did well and what you didn’t. Learn from your mistakes and start planning how you will do things differently in the future. This might also be a good time to start saving for next Christmas!

Why not attend one of our CAP Money courses and find out more on how you can learn to better manage your finances. I’m sure that you won’t regret it!

St Cuthman’s Drop-In Centre

BeckyBridgeBecky Atkins

Every Wednesday during term time a group of brilliant volunteers gather together at St Cuthman’s Church, situated at the heart of the Whitehawk estate, to run a community drop-in.

There are so many needs in the area but the aim of the drop-in is to offer debt help by sign-posting people to the work of CAP. In reality this takes time and since the summer the team have been building relationships, going out on the streets with sweets and hot chocolate, talking to people, praying for people and then where appropriate sign-posting them to the financial help they can access through CAP.

There have been numerous exciting conversations, people coming into the church for the first time in their lives, people being willing to be prayed for, and also those who have expressed interest in starting a journey to get out of debt. For me it is an incredible privilege spending time with these volunteers who have a genuine love for the people of Whitehawk and want to see lives turned around, not only to see them released from debt but far more importantly come to know Jesus and real freedom in their lives.

But that isn’t it – even more excitingly the drop-in is going to grow from the middle of March when St Cuthman’s is launching a food bank in partnership with the Trussell Trust. CAP will be one of the referral agencies and the idea is that during the drop-in on a Wednesday people will be able to access food from the food bank, talk to the team about getting out of debt with CAP’s help and have any benefit questions answered by another local charity. I’m really expectant about how God is going to grow this work on the estate and I look forward to being able to feed back many stories of lives impacted in the months to come.

We have also have a second drop-in centre situated at  Holland Road Baptist Church in Hove. you can drop in at any time between 12.30 and 2.30pm and have a chat with one of our CAP advisers. It will be informal but confidential and we will even make you a cup of tea!

National News

2021 is proving to be an amazing year for the work of Christians Against Poverty in the UK.

Here  are some headlines to encourage and spur you on in 2021.

Growth

  • Centre network increased by 28 centres, with a total of 50 being opened!
  • 61 Job Clubs added taking us to a total of 101 truly active clubs
  • 294 new churches to train CAP Money, and 910 new coaches
  • A brand new service launched – Release groups – with 27 churches and 45 coaches trained – read more on this exciting new ministry in the coming months

Impact

  • Number of new debt clients seen and helped was around the 6400 mark for this year
  • Over 2500 debt free – a 26% increase on 2017! (bear in mind we had already seen a 20% increase in 2016!)
  • Over 12,000 people have done a CAP Money Course
  • 1400 people helped by a Job Club
  • Around 180 people have found work this year
  • Release Groups – stories already coming in of people finding freedom!

CAP case study

NeilAvardNeil Avard, our Debt Centre Manager, shares another story of how lives are being changed by God and the work of the centre.

From a young age one client was so badly abused by his father (on one occasion he was repeatedly shot in the leg with an air rifle) that he ran away from home and lived wild on the streets of a major city. Mixing with the homeless and gangs he became a useful pawn in criminal activities and from the age of 12 had little education. After becoming addicted to drugs he was put into care.

For his own safety he moved to Brighton where he lived on the streets for a number of years falling into alcoholism. Following help from the Brighton Housing Trust he was housed, but his health continued to be a serious concern and he was left unable to work. He began to fall into debt when his benefits where disputed and he was unable to pay any of his bills. The safe home that he had found was in jeopardy.

CAP was recommended to him and since June we have been involved in helping him turn his life around. Thanks to the generosity of Holland Road members he now has a microwave, a phone and regular food. CAP has taken over his bills and he is now paying off slowly some of the other debts incurred. The team continued to challenge the Department of Work and Pensions and now full disability benefits have been restored. Our support team visit him regularly and he now prays for his continued improvement with us. His health has visibly improved and he is actually saving so that he can buy presents for his 2 children. There’s a long way to go but there is no doubt that his life has already changed for the better thanks to CAP.

Would you like to get involved in supporting the Brighton & Hove CAP Debt Centre? If so please email us.