In so much debt I don't know what to do

(40 Posts)
sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 21:11:20

Don't know if Im posting in the right placed but here goes.
I am in so much debt I feel like it is taking over my life and I don't know what to do.
Simple fact is my outgoings are more than my incoming, Ive robbed Peter to pay Paul and it has snowballed scarily in the last few months.
I owe money for overdrafts, credit cards, payday loans, water rates, council tax.
In fact the only thing Im not behind with is my rent thank god although I got a letter yesterday saying it is being increased from the 1st of April.
I just don't know what to do or who to turn to and I seriously feel like doing something stupid.
I could ramble on but doubt anyone will read it.
I just feel helpless and so ashamed my life has turned out like this

sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 21:13:49

I dont even know what Im asking really just had to let it all out
I have contacted cccs and payplan but I dont have any spare cash at the end of the month to go on a debt management plan and all they recommend is offering token payments of £1 a month but surely these companies will not accept that?
Then what?
Ive got debt collection agencies calling me at home, at work. I cant escape it

IngridFletcher Thu 17-Feb-11 21:18:33

I am really sorry you are in this position. I can't advise but am bumping this in the hope a wiser person will reply.

crystalglasses Thu 17-Feb-11 21:19:13

The companies will just have to accept £1 a month if your financies are in such dire straits. See if the CAB will negotiate on your behalf.

timetosmile Thu 17-Feb-11 21:21:48

First thing to do is get some help! (I guess you know that!)
Whatever you do, don't just sign up to a debt/credit management company who advertise online, for example, because many of them sting you with extraordinary fees and compound interest and are basically there to just make a profit out of people in debt like you.
Can I suggest a fab not-for-profit organisation called 'Christians Against Poverty' (You'll have to google it -sorry)
It's really reputable and has won lots of national awards for its work.
You don't have to be of any faith to use it. They don't work in all areas but if you get in touch I am sure that whoever they recommend in your area will also be reputable.
I have two lots of friends who have worked their way free of debt over 5-10 years via this organisation and it has transformed their lives from the minute they got in touch - they will deal with all the horrible,narky, bullying phone calls too.
Hope this helps - you must be feeling really really desperate and I hope you are able to get some good and kind advice soon

TheSleepFairy Thu 17-Feb-11 21:28:27

Firstly, don't pay any debt management company for help as there are free companys like mentioned above.

You can request no phone contact when they call you & tell them you only want to deal with them through letters - we were in such a mess I ended up changing the phone number.

There is a website that is very helpfull, I think it is cccs.org - they have template letters that you send out along with a £1 postal order, as long as you offer something it shows willing.

Have you looked on moneysavingexprert.com? I gleamed lot's of help & advice from there.

hth's

sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 21:28:51

I might be able to solve the problem temporarily with token payments but long term there is no hope.
I work for a pittance and cant find another job.
I would like to go to college or uni and train to do something better paid but cant afford the fees and cant afford to quit my job to do it.
I have halved what I pay for my weekly food shop, never go out, never go to the hairdressers, never buy new clothes and it is still not enough.
And I work 40 hours a week.
Surely this is not right?
I have suffered with depression since I was a teenager and I often think I would be better off dead. I am not on any medication for it because I don't want to sit looking at the doctors pity for me. I dont deserve it

sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 21:30:12

But apparently I am one of the lucky ones because I have a job hmm

Altaira Thu 17-Feb-11 21:34:25

I would agree with going onto MoneySavingExpert and asking the very friendly people for help.
Lots of people are going through this (and you'll find them on there), please don't feel ashamed for asking for help.
MSE

BeenBeta Thu 17-Feb-11 21:35:42

Do you have any assets?

If you have no significant assets a low income and debts of less than £15k and no significant private pension you should seriously consider going for a Debt Relief Order which is like a bankruptcy but much cheaper to do.

Once you have gone through the DRO process your creditors will no longer be able to pursue you for your debts as long as you comply with the terms of the DRO agreement and you have not taken on debts fraudulently.

You can read about it on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

In my experience it is extremely hard to get out of debt with a debt managment plan. You need to talk to CAB and get their free advice. Do not go to one of the debt management companies who charge you a fee for the same advice.

If you are not eligible for a DRO then bankruptcy is another option with the same outcome but more expensive to do.

Again talk to CAB.

LoveMyGirls Thu 17-Feb-11 21:35:56

I know it feels hopeless right now but it won't be, there will be a way out of this mess.

First thing's first.

Visit the CAB, contact the 'Christians Against Poverty' they sound good then see your GP. At least then you will feel you are doing something about it. Companies WILL accept lower amounts over a longer period, they do it all the time.

The important thing is that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. You have to believe that.

We are in a lot of debt and we are trying to get out of it and it very hard but not impossible.

How much do you owe altogether?

sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 21:40:10

I cant afford bankruptcy. How ironic.
A debt relief order or IVA sounds perfect. There is just one problem - I own a car which is worth over £1000.
I have thought about selling it but the area I live is semi rural and I need it to get to work. Plus Im worried if I sell it and buy a cheaper one it will be less reliable and end up costing me more money long term

sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 21:40:57

Not sure how much I owe. Last time I checked it was around £10,000 but has increased since then.

BeenBeta Thu 17-Feb-11 21:46:02

I would get down to CAB and make an appointment now. It can take a while as they are very busy. Then deal with the car issue after you have seen them.

DRO relies on you having less than £50 disposable income a month. They cost about that to set up then you're clear for a year. Your car is not counted as an asset in money terms, so don't worry about that!

I'm in the process of applying for one after being with Payplan for 4 years and not seeing much difference in the total debt owed.

I think you qualify.

BeenBeta Thu 17-Feb-11 22:00:50

IWillCount - unfortunately your experience is very common on an IVA or debt management plan. IME most people only last 1-2 years.

sosadandashamed Thu 17-Feb-11 22:05:33

What information do I need to give to apply for a DRO? Do I have to do a budget or something or provide bank statements?
I have less than £50 per month disposable income

BeenBeta Thu 17-Feb-11 22:14:23

I dont know exactly. The CAB link I gave has some details but I'm sure you would have to prove what your income and outgoings are.

You have to fill in a form and then the Official Receiver will assess it and take over yor financial affairs. You will not be left destitute and with no money to live on.

KazBarTheFriendlyGhost Thu 17-Feb-11 22:15:52

sosadandashamed - I sent you a PM.

I paid £170 per month for 4 months for some company to arrange an IVA for me, during this time I stopped payments to all creditors, changed telephone numbers, changed bank accounts - as this was the advice given. Also, I was asked to forward all letters chasing payment to them - in prepaid envelopes supplied by them.

IVA company took 1st 3 payments as fees, and after 3 months they approached my creditors requesting meeting. At this meeting they proposed a new payment plan to all creditors - 2 out of 5 creditors rejected the proposal and as those 2 creditors made over 75% of total debt - my proposal was rejected! I was then told, that after paying the 3 months, they could not help me further and suggested I try for bankruptcy!

Fat lot of good that did, because in the 3 months I had accrued late payment fees, interest etc!

Anyway, 3 days before dd was born - I called each creditor individually, explained circumstances and said I intend to pay back money but just cannot at this rate - can we re-negotiate. They accepted my offer, after going through all my income and outgoings, froze all interest and agreed to review every 3 months.

Now, I'm managing finances better, I'm happy and have no one chasing me for money every day of the week.

I'd suggest contacting your creditors directly in the first instance to see what they can do for you..they want the money, they dont want to write this debt off so therefore will be more understanding...although I laid it on thick....I'm due to give birth any day now, I'm stressed out etc etc

Sorry for the long post, but the above helped me immensely

NoMoreChocBiscuits Thu 17-Feb-11 22:18:45

We have some debt trouble and looked at national debt line (our local CAB was so overwhelmed they'd stopped taking on more debt cases at the time), but weren't happy about paying them to sort it out so we did it ourselves.

you must prioritise (sp?) your debts, rent and CT first, utilities next then other debts, such as cc and loans. Contact everyone you are indebt to as they will more willing to deal with you if you do.

So rent's okay (for now) so move onto council tax. Talk to your local council. Can you get help by way of CT benefit? Or arrange a payment plan with the council?

Onto utilities. We pay a set amount for gas and electtric each month. This tackled arrears in managable amounts, while putting something in for new charges. Now that the arrears are cleared, the set amount has dropped and averages out over the year (ie we over pay the gas in summer which helps with the excess in Winter).

The credit cards were the toughest to deal with, but we were persistant and after sending detailed budget sheets in, we now pay a minimal amount each month.

Communication (and sheer bloody persistance sometimes) is the key. If we had just buried our head in the sand we'd have been utterly up sh!t creek and beyond by now. Some of the companies you have to deal with won't like it (mostly the banks), but if you stand firm they will see you are making an effort.

Also don't pay a debt with another debt (not easy I know).

Being in debt sucks the big time. We never planned on ending up like this, but no one can see the future eh?! Deal with it now, before it gets worse, and eventually you will see the debt getting smaller.

Sorry about the long post. Good luck and I hope you get the help you need.

Fizzylemonade Mon 21-Feb-11 21:09:44

Firstly, well done for seeking help, it is too easy to bury your head in the sand.

I second what everyone else has said, check out MoneySavingExpert website and contact a charitable debt management company.

Having worked in Council Tax, I will tell you that if you fall behind with that and don't contact them they can apply to the court and have their money taken directly from your salary. It is a set amount, set by central government and is quite crippling, so please sort this one out first.

Good luck with it all. Post back here and let us know how you get on.

WhatsWrongWithYou Mon 21-Feb-11 21:46:04

Just wanted to point out that some of your debts are more pressing than others (apologies if you already know this).

It might seem that a large amount you owe on, say, a credit or store card, or to a friend, is the most important one to clear, but the debts it's important to prioritise are your rent, council tax and fuel bills.

This doesn't mean you should go straight out and pay them all off somehow, but you need to show these creditors you are taking the matter seriously and intend to do something about it. CAB have some information here.

I would strongly urge you to visit your CAB in the first instance; they will either help you to draw up a budget and make realistic offers, or, as ABD says, advise on bankruptcy/DRO. Or refer you to a reputable debt management company if appropriate.

Try not to dwell on feeling bad and wishing this had never happened; you're doing something about the situation now and that's a positive thing.

feckinpenniless Tue 22-Feb-11 17:19:32

Sosadandashamed - just picking up on what you said about college... someone in your financial position would probably be eligible for a full grant from the Open University. Their website is excellent and there's an eligibility checker for fnancial support here:
www3.open.ac.uk/study/explained/financial-support. shtml

purpleturtle Tue 22-Feb-11 19:17:15

Please go and get yourself some help with it all - you sound totally overwhelmed. If your expenses exceed your income, then your creditors will accept £1 a month, which, although it won't clear your debts in any great hurry, can at least give you a bit of breathing space to work out the best way forward.

LordofthePies Tue 22-Feb-11 21:09:15

Contact your nearest CAB and get an appt asap.Its
free advice and they will be able to look at your whole situation and advise on your best course of action.

They will also be able to do an income maximisation to make sure you are getting all the benefits you're entitled to.

Its tough, but you've already made the first move by posting here.

Good luck

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