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How to help a friend in debt

(15 Posts)
Letmesleepalready Wed 31-Aug-16 09:42:32

I can't afford to help financially, but are there some resources/ideas I could share with them to get themselves sorted?
They are on benefits at the moment, and are in rent arrears with the social/council housing. I'm worried as they have 2 kids, youngest is about to start school, and they are going to be in a mess if they get evicted!
Part of me is thinking it's none of my business, but I still worry about them.

Cindy34 Wed 31-Aug-16 12:43:10

They are a friend. Talk to them, see if they would appreciate help with creating a food plan so they try to avoid impulse buys when shopping. Then progress to budgeting for all expenses. If you are a close enough friend to talk money, then start with the budget but food plan may be a starting point.

Letmesleepalready Wed 31-Aug-16 14:38:21

I'be tried to mention a budget, but they said they used to have one and don't use it anymore. And every time they meet up they want to spend money (ice creams for the park kind of thing) whereas I'd prefer to just bring stuff from home if need be. I can't see how spending something every day helps keep things under control. But I think they are at the phase of thinking "sod it, I'm not going to get out of debt anytime soon, so might as well spend some more "

JigglypuffsCaptor Wed 31-Aug-16 14:40:48

Have they checked they are claiming everything they are entitled to? They could check on the turn2us website of there are any charitable grants in the area?

Sorting out the arrears needs to be the first step imo, have they got a payment plan in place?

MinnowAndTheBear Wed 31-Aug-16 14:43:57

You could recommend a debt counselling charity such as Christians Against Poverty (they will help anyone regardless of faith). A number of my friends have been helped out of debt by CAP and their lives have been changed.

Letmesleepalready Wed 31-Aug-16 14:44:18

I think they are claiming everything, but they didn't say if they had a payment plan for the arrears. Their phone keeps getting cut off due to non payment, so they don't have Internet very regularly.

Letmesleepalready Wed 31-Aug-16 14:48:24

Thanks, will have a look if there's a CAP nearby. I know a local church was offering a budgeting help, but it is such a tricky subject (IMO) to broach. But maybe independent help would be better, and the organisation probably knows more about repayment plans than I do.

Dizzylizzie29 Wed 31-Aug-16 18:45:49

Best thing is for them to contact the housing provider and make an agreement with them to pay back the arrears. This can start at 3.70 a week on top of the current rent. They should also be able to get support to see if they are receiving the right kind of benefits.
They need to do this asap as if it does go to court they will be charged the court fees also.
How much arrears are we talking?

AnotherEmma Wed 31-Aug-16 18:49:15

The best thing you can do for your friend is encourage them to contact a charity that offers free debt help. The options are Citizens Advice (they are one of the few to offer support in person and not just over the phone), National Debtline, StepChange and Pay Plan.

I wouldn't point someone in the direction of Christians Against Poverty, personally, since there are plenty of neutral alternates, but if your friend is Christian it could be a good options.

SillySongsWithLarry Wed 31-Aug-16 18:54:05

Your friend has to want to help themselves before they can be helped. Not having a budget and spending money they don't have on non essentials is going to dig the hole they are in deeper and deeper. Everyone who isn't in debt sticks to a budget and lives within their means, if your friend wants to get out of debt they have to live below their means not above.

Letmesleepalready Wed 31-Aug-16 19:44:43

No idea how much we are talking in arrears, hopefully not too much, but it must be so stressful for them!
I'll mention CAB as they should be able to get an appointment fairly soon.

I think part of the problem is they are tired of feeling they are missing out compared to others, but it's biting them back by not being careful.

Dizzylizzie29 Wed 31-Aug-16 21:13:09

I often go to court for a HA and we normally make agreements on about 2k of arrears there and then if a payment plan is agreed

delilahbucket Thu 01-Sep-16 10:24:42

I have a friend like this. I have given up trying to help. They constantly get takeaways/fast food rather than be bothered to cook, got rid of a dog because they couldn't cope and then spent £450 on another one, the list goes on. They asked to borrow money from me once and it took weeks to get it back despite a promise they would transfer it every single day. I won't be lending again and I certainly won't be helping with advice when they're moaning they've got no money to pay their bills. This type of person has to help themselves and unless they are prepared to do that, nothing you say will make any difference.

19lottie82 Thu 01-Sep-16 15:02:52

The fact they're still still spending money they can't afford on crap, suggests they haven't reached their "light bulb moment" yet, as they say on Money Saving Expert, so you can't help them.

Tiggeryoubastard Thu 01-Sep-16 15:05:13

You can't help someone that won't help themselves. Step back and don't waste your energy.

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