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MNHQ here. Sign in for FREE debt advice from Stepchange debt charity

(54 Posts)
AnnaCMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-May-19 14:58:12


Mumsnet and StepChange Debt Charity are teaming up to provide a free online debt help clinic all week. They’ll be offering information and advice on all aspects of personal debt.

StepChange is the largest debt charity in the UK, and over the last 26 years they’ve helped well over 5 million people with debt. They recently reported that 2018 was their busiest year ever, with over 650,000 new clients contacting them for help, and they’re even busier so far this year.

And as part of their work for the National Numeracy campaign to highlight that a key to overcoming debt is putting together a sustainable budget, StepChange want to help Mumsnetters with anything they’re experiencing because of money worries. So if you’re getting letters from the bank, struggling to afford to pay a debt, or you’ve been threatened with court action, or anything else around debt, post up a question.

The clinic will take place on this thread from Monday 13th May, all week. If you’re dealing with debt, post an outline of your experience here. Please don’t include identifying details: a specialist debt advisor will follow up with you via PM if they need to know more.

Answers from the specialist debt advisor will be posted up on this thread. The clinic will run for a week; we’ll do our best to provide all answers during the week but, at the latest, by the end of the
following week. You can find information on where to go for more help once the clinic has ended here.

Unsure whether or not you need debt advice? Try the 60-second debt test on the StepChange website. By answering a few simple questions, you’ll quickly find out if you’d benefit from free and confidential debt advice.

Important: The advice provided to an individual poster is based only on the information provided by that poster. Advice on this thread is also particular to the individual who has asked for it and is likely to be specific to that person’s situation. A poster may have provided further relevant information by private message which will not appear on this thread.

Important: FCA regulations mean that StepChange is unable to give full debt advice or recommend any debt solutions through the Mumsnet forum. If they feel you’d help from getting a full debt advice session, they’ll mention that in the reply.

Additionally, StepChange can’t give advice on self-employed or business debts. For more help with these, you can talk to fellow charity Business Debtline.

Please feel free to post your questions for the advisor.



Prequelle Thu 09-May-19 15:36:52

I think maybe that title needs changing, I don't want free debt ha

minisoksmakehardwork Thu 09-May-19 15:47:28

Ha ha @Prequelle I thought exactly the same thing. Mind, I wonder if I can swap some of my costly debt for the free one?

AnnaCMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-May-19 15:57:35

Oops! So sorry, I've edited it now. @Prequelle @minisoksmakehardwork I don't want free debt either. It's definitely free advice.

dontlikebeards Thu 09-May-19 18:04:03

Step change are amazing, they helped us and changed our lives. If you are nervous about asking for help, please give them a try, they won't judge and can help so much. I was having sleepless nights before turning to step change but there help changed all of that.

Justme1981 Thu 09-May-19 20:02:34

Ive recently separated have just under 14000 debit, a 2 year old, receive no maintenance, work full time. Really need some help to reduce/pay off debit so i can afford a divorce!

ShePersisted Thu 09-May-19 20:11:39

This might be a bit silly to ask, but I wondered if you might provide the average amount of debt per house hold by age profile. I have a bit of managed credit card debt on an interest free card, but I expect that we must be well in the range for a young family with two under 5. Thanks!

blamethecat Thu 09-May-19 20:46:00

If anyone is worried or embarrassed about dealing with stepchange please don't be, I have been dealing with them for around 4 years to pay of a stupid amount of debt I had got into, (my own fault, I was naive and buried my head in the sand), with their help I only have a few months left to be debt free. No judgement from them just help. The weight lifted from my shoulders and reduction in stress and anxiety changed our lives.

MelanieCheeks Thu 09-May-19 22:49:25

I've got my credit card debt down from 24k to just under 16k, but I'm open to help in speeding up paying it down.

BollocksIsTheWord Fri 10-May-19 06:52:51

Hi I was left with £3k of debt from an ex boyfriend as I was stupid enough to take out credit for him in my name🙄 I know I will have to pay it back, but as it has now been passed to a collection agency do you think you could get the debt reduced and I will set up an arrangement?

Justme1981 Fri 10-May-19 07:04:26

@Melaniecheeks thats amazing! How did you manage to get your debit down so much? Any tips?

MelanieCheeks Fri 10-May-19 07:49:56

Step one was to stop ignoring the problem, admit to myself it was an issue, and draw up a spreadsheet. Noted when each interest free period was ending. Prioritised paying off over buying mew frocks! Increased the monthly repaymnets from the minimum to a fixed sum.

Thattwatoverthere Fri 10-May-19 11:45:25

I've built up debt over the last 2 years after being almost debt free thanks due to stepchanges help. This extra debt was due to a maternity leave paying only SMP and issues with my partner's job and bad health. And burying my head in the sand.

My question would be if I can go to Stepchange again to set up a new repayment plan even though my earnings are so low at the moment. I'm scared to make the call even though I know how helpful people have been when I called before.

I'm feeling really anxious and trying to get on top of the total amount I owe but with 2 babies under 2 and an ill partner it's not quick or easy to make all of the calls. I'd estimate about £5k overall...

shitwithsugaron Fri 10-May-19 12:53:49

Another one chiming to say, Stepchange are amazing people and I'm forever grateful to them for their debt advice. If anyone reading this is feeling unsure of whether to ask for help, it'll be the best thing you ever do.

Iamnotagoddess Fri 10-May-19 17:32:48

Step Change are fantastic 👍🏻

WhatthehellisplanB Sat 11-May-19 06:56:21

Thanks for this mnhq! I definitely need help with our debt! Do I just email them and ask for help?

Bluffinwithmymuffin Sat 11-May-19 07:57:35

When I needed help temporarily a few years ago, the woman I spoke to from Stepchange was rude, judgemental and extremely unhelpful. Perhaps I was just unlucky, I don’t know, but I went to PayPlan and had a completely different experience. They were great.

MynameisMaximus Sat 11-May-19 09:47:38

I've been trying to work up to calling Stepchange for at least 2 months - so anxious about the whole situation but I know I need to get on with it. One of the questions I have is if you enter a debt management plan, does this have a detrimental effect on credit checks for things like renting a home? I know I would no longer be able to get credit, but am worried what happens with renting. Thanks.

goose1964 Sat 11-May-19 10:51:18

The only problem we've had is phoning them. Their lines seem to be permanently busy.

blamethecat Sat 11-May-19 12:46:27

MynameisMaximus Both myself and DP had a dmp with them and have moved rentals during it I wouldn't want to promise you would be ok, but we have been (in fact I am still on mine and we have moved for a second time now). It will affect your credit but being in debt and not managing the debt will too, my view was to just bite the bullet get on with it knowing I will take a hit short term (Well medium term for me) but knowing that a plan is in place with an end date.
Good luck with it.
goose I think I did mine online initially ? (I hate phoning people so I would have tried to avoid it if possible)

MynameisMaximus Sat 11-May-19 16:13:04

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and thoughts blamethecat, that's reassuring to hear.

galletygalletygael Sat 11-May-19 23:28:57

I've currently got £15K of debt that I've managed to bring down from £20 in 15months.

However, two of my children begin apprenticeships after the summer and so my tax credits, child benefit and housing benefit will be affected. They will be earning a pittance with high commuting costs so will be unable to contribute much (if any). I'm worried my current DMP will no longer be feasible. If an insolvency practitioner becomes involved what kind of information will they need, how far back through my banking will they go etc? I'd like to get my documents in order just in case.

ilovesooty Sun 12-May-19 00:10:44

Taking out a DMP with Stepchange was the best thing I ever did. I owed a lot more than the sums mentioned here and my only regret is that I didn't act sooner. I couldn't take out an IVA as it would have affected my job at the time. It took years but I paid it all off.

Stepchange were incredibly helpful and I'd encourage anyone to use their services.

BusterGonad Sun 12-May-19 04:36:00

I need help but don't want to disclose it on here. How do I get help?

SarahAndQuack Sun 12-May-19 13:15:04

myname, FWIW DP has debt management with Stepchange and it has caused us major problems renting. We had to have a guarantor (!), which is bloody embarrassing in your 30s, and we had to pay a year's rent up front. Luckily I can do that, but on her own I don't know what DP would be able to do.

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