If you’ve been avoiding opening bills, it could add to your stress and worry. And while it might feel scary to face the truth, ignoring it could also lead to more financial problems further down the line.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Whatever your situation, you can access free, confidential help and advice on a range of money-related matters at the Money Information Centre for Leeds.

Priority bills

Priority bills include mortgage repayments, rent, energy bills or council tax. It is important to identify payments that need immediate or short-term action.

If you are struggling to pay your bills, you can seek help from a free debt advice service.

Financial services and utility companies can provide additional support to help customers experiencing financial and mental health problems.

Most utility companies and the people who answer the phone to customers want to try and help find a solution. They should listen without judgment and explain what options are available to you.

If you can’t afford to pay your bills or think you will miss a payment, it’s much better to call the customer helpline and see what can be done to help.

Energy bills

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, you can access the free Money Buddy energy advice service for Leeds. Money Buddies also offer face-to-face help at various locations around Leeds. They will do their best to arrange for an interpreter or translation service if English is not your main language.

Or visit the Citizen’s Advice website for information, including how to contact your energy supplier, how to read your smart meter and grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills.

If your energy provider asks you to move onto a prepayment meter, you may wish to seek advice or check the prepayment meter rules your supplier has to follow.

There is also helpful information on the Money Saving Expert website, including hardship grants offered by energy suppliers and how to apply.

Non-priority bills

Non-priority bills include overdrafts and loans from family members. If these bills are not paid, you will usually face fewer consequences. But, as they will continue to increase if left, non-priority bills still need to be managed and paid when you can.