Monthly Advice Column - Issue I -Debt Advice - Christians Against Poverty

Monthly Advice Column - Issue I -Debt Advice - Christians Against Poverty

By Christians Against Poverty on 18/11/2020

Debt Advice by Miles Picknell

Manager of the Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre, Upminster

We’ve all been talking about COVID-19 all year. In that time we’ve coined some new phrases like social distancing, self-isolation and support bubbles. We’ve gained a new appreciation for aisles full of toilet roll and we all know someone who’s made a loaf of sourdough. Some of us have experienced a slower pace of life, whether it’s reduced social calendars or not having to commute into work. Others have been rushed off their feet, for example those trying to juggle work and home schooling. Some have been able to save more, or pay off that credit card, whereas others have struggled to get by on an 80% wage, or really felt the extra costs of being at home all the time.


As we continue to battle the pandemic many people have had their finances affected, and find themselves in positions they haven't been in before or didn't expect. Having worked for over 24 years in the banking industry I know all too well the impact that severe financial difficulties can have. If you're suddenly struggling, or have existing financial concerns, if you are feeling weighed down by debt, then we can help. You may think your situation is impossible, but there is hope. Our friendly team will give you a listening ear and provide a real solution to your debts. Since we started helping people out of debt in 1996, we’ve helped thousands through our professional service offered by over 300 CAP Debt Centres and you can still access our full CAP Debt Help service as usual with some slight changes we have made due to current COVID-19 Government guidelines.


‘ CAP are unsurpassed when it comes to the debt help they give people across the country.

There’s nothing better to start you on the path to having more money in your pocket. ‘

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert



‘ CAP is fantastic, I came across its work a few years ago and what they have done is


Prince Charles, HRH the Prince of Wales


Helpful tips to Eat well this autumn..

November has arrived with its colder weather and darker nights, it can feel hard to see the positives, especially when money’s tight. This is the perfect season for meals that are comforting, filling and cheap. That’s not to say they can’t be healthy! With a bit of time and planning, your family can enjoy amazing, nutritious comfort food without breaking the bank. We know this because part of our work here at Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is to create budgets that prioritise food and household bills for people struggling to make ends meet.


Firstly, raid your cupboards.

It can be hard to find inspiration for a meal when looking into an empty

cupboard, so here’s a tip: each week or month, stock up on one or two

handy basics to keep in the cupboard, such as a tin of chopped tomatoes or some herbs and spices. Most will last for a few months so can work out as good value for money in the long-run. With a well-stocked cupboard, you’re less likely to reach for a ready meal when you’re craving something quick and filling. Search ‘What you need in your store cupboard’ to get started.


Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Experts suggest that creating a meal plan before you go shopping can help keep costs low. Before you head out to the supermarket, decide on your meals for the next week and what you need to buy, bearing in mind what you’ve already got in your store cupboard.


Stick to your list while shopping to avoid unnecessary impulse buys.

Spotted something in the reduced section or an offer? Ask yourself:

• Is it on my list?

• Is it a genuine bargain?

• Am I going to use it straight away or can I freeze it?

If it’s ‘yes’ to all three, then pop it in the trolley.


Get excited about cooking.

Cooking doesn’t have to be repetitive and boring. Check out or for some fantastic meal ideas designed for people on a budget. No internet access? See if your local supermarket offers a free magazine – these often include a range of seasonal recipes to suit all kinds of budgets. You could even start making a scrapbook or binder of your family’s favourite go-to recipes.


Here’s a recipe for you to try that’s comforting, filling and easy:

Fish pie (serves six)

(Prices from a leading supermarket, correct at time of writing)

1. Use a fish pie mix from the supermarket (£4)

2. Add mash (loose jacket potatoes: 83p per kilo) and a nice creamy sauce (£2)

3. For extra protein, add in a boiled egg for each person (half a dozen eggs: 89p)

4. Serve with frozen veg like peas, broccoli or sweetcorn (£1 for a bag)



If you’re struggling with debt and are worried about affording food for

yourself and your family, please get help as quickly as possible from a FREE debt counselling service like CAP. You can contact CAP free of charge on

0800 328 0006.


Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity with over 580 services

across the country delivering debt counselling, money management, job

clubs, life skills groups, and support for people breaking habitual



Visit to find out more.


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