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Small financial mess

(50 Posts)
AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 12:12:23

Was wondering if any wise people had adivce. Thought it worth a try as i keep reading about the power of mumsnet.

I dont know how to get us out of this financial mess. A few months ago we got in a situation because of extra expense at the time where we really needed a larger overdraft. but we have ended up living in it so that now everytime we get paid the balance bearly returns to zero and of course teh bills have to still be paid so there we are back up to the limit and usualy gettin charged for going over it.

Am in a situation where currently nobody in the family can work (dh had an accident as on long term sick). We have 2 DDs and one is severly disabled so icant go out to work either. Our outgoings are more than our income but we dont go out or live extravagently, its just mail order bills for stuff we have needed and ok a few things we could have managed without. And the girls belong to a few clubs, also not a necesity but i want them to do fun healthy things as its not there fault so they shouldnt suffer. We are paying off one smallish bank loan which i took out last year so we could go on holiday because we really needed one.

Now its got to the point where we cant manage. have struggled along for weeks but now there is no petrol in the car and we dont live in the same town as the kids school and they dont get subsidised transport. (have a good reason why they dont go to the most local school.) Get paid next wkend and altho there is food in the house there are still things that need to be paid for. and the pretol situation is urgent. acccount is about to go over limit and incur charges yet again when another direct debit comes out tomorrow. and when the money goes in at wkend it will still be in minus figures. the overdraft is not HUGE but the problem is relative to our small income.

Have put a few things on ebay but have nothing that is worth anything. the big things are rented.

i would not ask family for money even if they had any (they dont) and would def not ask/take from anyone else.

does anyone have any advice or new ideas at all pls?

throckenholt Mon 23-May-05 12:17:06

go to the cab debt counselling service - they can help you work out budgets and contact creditors for you.

sort it out now before it gets to be a bigger problem.

janinlondon Mon 23-May-05 16:02:18

Agree with the advice below to go to the CAB. The other place that might help is online at - on the discussion board "Dealing with debt". They will suggest that as a first step you make out a statement of affairs - listing all the monthly ins and outs, and then you will be inundated with advice on where you might make some savings. They are really kind people who have generally been there themselves, so give it a go its free!

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 16:07:42

Thank you Throckenholt. thing is I don't really want to go down the route of contacting creditors to authorize non payment or less payment - i dont want to stop paying them. i just want to get them payed off. this is why we are so broke because i wont let the payments for anything be late or get missed. Or am i just being unrealistic? i know food and essentials have to come first but i have never (or very rarely) been late paying anything in my life and have maintained a good credit reference throughout all our financial difficulties. I was brought up by the philosphy 'never a borrower or a lender be' altho i have totally scuppered that in that i DO have credit via overdraft and 2 mail order accounts. But we dont have any credit cards or store cards.

Ihave just put a tenner of petrol in car on order to go collect kids. This will last til about Wednesday - it takes £46 to fill that tank. £5 from DD's purse ( its her pocket money, she offered it this morning will replace at wkend) and a fiver from my neighbour for a cataloge payment. I dont have 'customers' but i let her order urgent things and pay when she can because she is a single mum on really basic benefits.

Just dont know what to do and not sure what the CAB can do. they can only write it all down on paper like we can, cant they?

elsmommy Mon 23-May-05 16:08:19

Give some naughty looking kids a petrol can and tell them if they can fill it you'll give them a fiver

Do you claim all the benefits you're entitled to?

Easy Mon 23-May-05 16:10:59

Just a minor point, it might help a bit.

Do you pay gas, electric or phone on monthly direct debit? If so, look at the bill or contact them to check if you are in credit on any of them. If so you may be able to either get your credit balance back, or go a month or two without making the payment. I discovered that we were about £102 in credit with Gas last January, which helped a bit when we got it refunded, might just give your cash flow a small boost.

horseshoe Mon 23-May-05 16:11:11

the first thing you should do is sit down and work out your expenses. Dont include debts, just include the ness things like water, gas, living costs etc.
Then work out what you have left over and divide that between your creditors concentrating on the ones that charge you the largest interest.

So for example you have £150 left, a bank loan for 1000, catalogue for 1000 and a credit card for 2000. you could pay loan £40, cat £40 and credit card £70

Once you have worked this out, just write to your creditors explaining your current situation and offer to pay a reduced payment of x amount. Also ask that they hold any further interest from accruing on your account.

See what responses you get. in my expierience, a company rarely refuses to accept a decent offer. If they do decline, it would be hard to take you to court for non payment as you can demonstrate an offer of repayment

horseshoe Mon 23-May-05 16:13:14

Sorry just read your post....

By doing it like this, they will set up a new agreed monthly payment and so no default should show your credit rating.

Easy Mon 23-May-05 16:15:25

Is your dh on incapacity benefit? have you contacted the tax office to get childrens tax credit adjusted since he stopped working? also check whether you are entitled to council tax relief if your dh is unable to work.

If dh is on incapcity benefit, are his problems likely to be long-term? Might he be eligible for DLA? do you get DLA for your daughter?

Sorry all questions which might point you in the direction of more income?

expatinscotland Mon 23-May-05 16:18:18


We're in a similar situation and now our tax credits have been cut almost entirely. So we're ending our net/cable/phone package when the contract is up. And our TV license. We'll just have to go w/o. It's an either/or situation - either we don't have a car or we go w/o TV/net/etc. We need the car. I'll still have the net and a phone at work.

Is there anything else you can sell? I've got several things on on Ebay as of today. I also have some jewellry. I was given it by family, and I know it would hurt their feelings to know I sold it, but a) what they don't know won't hurt them b) bills are bills.

Any habits you can give up? We don't drink and DH is going on Zyban/patch to give up smoking (he smoked baccy but it still saves us £40/month if he doesn't). We also don't have mobiles anymore.

We haven't had a holiday. Ever. We don't go out and we don't have any extraneous purchases - our clothes are all given to us, come from Matalan or ASDA, or are charity shop numbers. It's just very expensive to live here and we're low income. We also got hit w/a huge back council tax bill from when I was waiting for an NI number and DH didn't get his working tax/disabled tax persons credits for 9 months.

If you use a dryer for clothes, try line drying or on racks in your home.

How about food budget? We cook EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, from scratch. That means we can all eat on £200/month.

nutcracker Mon 23-May-05 16:25:42

We are a similar situation to you at the mo Auntymable although dp does work he just gets paid low wages.

I am looking for a job but like you I also need to find somethings to cut down on, and can't think of anytihng at the mo, we already don't go out, hardley ever buy clothes etc.

Petrol is a nightmare isn't. We are currently thinking of having our car converted to gas as it is so much cheaper. Luckily my dad is registered to do the conversions too.

The only other things I have done so far is change phone companys, not buy anything else on credit, and have invested in an apparently wonderful cok book so I can start cooking from scrath and hopefuly save a bit that way.

I know what you mean too about not wanting to contact creditors and reduce payments. The stuff never seems to get paid off that way does it.
We are struggling to stick to agreed repayments on debts at the mo but I am going to try and hold out on contacting them because I don't want costs added on for going back on payment agreements.

I have also sold a few things on ebay but found that for me it's just wasn't worth it really.

If i can think of anything else to help me and you, i'll let you know.

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 16:41:19

Thank you folks. I REALLY appreciate the responses even if they only serve to let me know we aren't on our own. (Not saying that they don't help.)

Yes we are getting all benefits we are entitled to and all disability stuff too including DLA and DH is on incapacity and I get carers allowance. We actually do ok benefits-wise and i know we should be able to manage its just we had some unforeseen expenses a while back which was when i had to increase the o/draft which was when everything started to go pear shaped.

first thing we must do is write it all down PROPERLY in the style suggested by horseshoe and will also look at website suggested by JaninLondon.

No, we don't really have anything we can give up, don't smoke or drink. we WERE trying to buy orgnanic every time we saw stuff on offer but thats obviously a mugs game. Shame really as I SO want to feed the kids the right foods and know organic is best but at this rate we are never going to be able to afford them again!

The stuff on Ebay is just clothes and things that I used to wear when I had a 'life' (LOL!) and afew od DD1's PS games that she offered to sell, bless her. i really dont posess anything of real monetary value at all. If the bailiffs ever came (heaven forbid!) they would be hard pressed to write anything down that was a. actually ours and b. was worth anything. Evening computer is an old relic. Going to try to talk DH out of having so many SKY channels and maybe stop renting a DVD player along with the telly. He is not unreasonable (far from it) but would feel bad to take tv away from him completely as his mobility is so reduced. Not that he sits around all day watching it, he does a lot in the house and with DD2.


Cancerian Mon 23-May-05 16:43:04

Hi there, I have read all the messages posted here and I may and I think my husband may be able to assist some of you. He is a qualified Financial Adviser but specialises in debt management. He genuinely saves his clients £100's a month. If you wish you can contact me via here and I can put you in touch. The good news is, he can offer a FREE consultation, no matter your circumstance. He has dealt with cases that you wouldn't imagine possible to remedy. If you wish to make contact by phone his work number is 0800 107 5292. No strings, no catchs attached.

expatinscotland Mon 23-May-05 16:47:04


I HIGHLY recommend BBC Good Food's 'Cheap Eats'. Delicious, easy to cook meals for dead cheap. Ditto their 'Simple Suppers'. I plan our menus from there. ASDA also sells 'Bisquick' for 98p a box and it's excellent for fast, home-cooked meals that are inexpensive.

The only thing we buy organic is dairy products for DD.

DH also had to go out and find work as a delivery driver in the evenings and weekends.

Ditching cable/Sky helps a lot. Yes, it's tough, but it's a good £40/month that could go for bills. DH won't be around in the evenings anymore, anyhow, and I could do with some hours of quiet.

I'll be able to pay the credit card we had to use for the council tax with sales of stuff on Ebay, but the overdraft is the big killer.

You're not alone, Aunty!

Cancerian Mon 23-May-05 16:51:52

Forgot to mention I came across a really good telephone company that charges a 2p connection fee for local and national calls, regardless of the length of call and time of day you make the call. You simply just add a prefix number for each call you make. To sign up all you do is register with them, they are an internet based company. They send you an itemised bill via email detailing the calls you make and they take payment direct from you card. I have been with them for 3 months now and my bill never exceeds £7 a month. I then pay my line rental to BT approx £10. I have recommend them to everyone I know. What you got to lose? no need to change telephone numbers or pay connection fees it is simple. The website is

horseshoe Mon 23-May-05 16:55:57

Do you hire your computer AM??

Only wondering since I have a moniter, PC, keyboard and mouse sitting in my spare room. I'm in the south east/east London.

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 17:04:43

Horseshoe that is so kind. No the pc is one thing we don't rent. It is ours but not a very 'sporty' model by any means. Thank you so much for the offer.

Flum Mon 23-May-05 17:07:57

Can never understand the Sky thing. We've never had it and on two ok incomes. Just never been able to justify £40 a month on watching telly when you get 5 channels for FREE. and more now with Freeview too. - E4 on freeview toonowl

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 17:11:10

I agree Flum. I hardly watch it, i just like to see Dr Who and Casualty on a Saturday when schedule allows and they are BBC1! But gave to say seeing asDH dont ever go out, we do like to have 'movie nights' on Fri or Sat with a big bar of chocolate, and watch a film from Sky movies or if being extravergent, then Sky box office. So I would miss those but onv they are a real luxury

Prettybird Mon 23-May-05 17:11:29

For the cost of your Sky subscription you could buy a freeview box (plenty for under £40 now, especially if you look for the special offers, like Homebases's 10% off days). which would give you ITV2 and 3, BBC 3 and 4, The History Cahnnel, abc1 and various others, bplus SkyNews and BBC News 24 - and most important of all, CBeebies (and CBBC) - all for free. Plus someone on here said that E4 was coming on to freeview for free (currently you have to pay a small subscription).

Flum Mon 23-May-05 17:16:28

You can hire a dvd or video for £3. So for your £40 a month you could hire 13 films !!!!!!!!

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 17:17:33

Thanks prettybird. Have printed this thread to show DH later but have just run the free view box idea by him and he has agreed! Feel guilty about Sky sports but needs must and he says the commentary is better on the radio anyway

Flum Mon 23-May-05 17:19:20

He sounds nice. My DP wants SKY for the sport too but we have Radio 5 on 24/7.

If you have a mobile get rid of that too. Mine is easily £30 a month and never use it.

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 17:23:15

The mobiles are expensive but feel they are a necessity because of needing to be contactable re the children when out and about, esp with DD who has health issues. We are thinking of going back to pay and go though when contracts expire. Its easy to see how it has all mounted up in the past year or so. I keep thinking about the bank loan and thinking 'WHAT wa I thinking of taking that out!'

AuntyMable Mon 23-May-05 17:23:46

Ps He IS nice (DH) I have to say. thank you Flum.

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