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Chances are, if you have kids, then you’re probably in some sort of debt. Whether that’s a mortgage, car, preschool fees or just to your local library for book fines. We all have some sort of debt. It’s the hazard of modern day life.
My biggest fear though is the kids. I feel like nowadays’ credit is the “in” thing and a way of getting what we want without saving for it first. I’d love to think that I’m teaching the kids how to save for what they want, but also feel a bit hypercritical, as I myself have one huge loan, mortgage and god knows how many credit cards under my belt.
The Daily Struggle
I’m also self-employed. I love the freedom it gives me, the hours with the kids plus the creativity to just be me, but there’s a downside. Payment.
For some weird reason, and I’ve never worked out why here in the UK we have a 30-day payment policy. So I’d work for you, complete the project, invoice, yet still have to wait 30 days to get the money in my bank.
Now that’s all well and good if you’re a medium business and don’t live day to day on the breadline, but like most parents and other entrepreneurs, I do.
If they pay on time, then I manage to just about pay everything in time, if they don’t, well, then I can’t, it’s that simple.
I’ve been lucky up to now. I’ve only been burnt once, and since then, every time I’m paid, I put a small amount away just in case, ready for the next month of bills. It’s not always enough to cover everything, but normally just enough to pay off the council tax or the kids swimming lessons, until the rest comes through.
Debt Builds Up
Yesterday, I read about a young man, who at 20, committed suicide because he could see no way out of his debt.
It started with two very small parking fines, but as a self-employed courier, he was erratically paid, so couldn’t afford to pay them off.
He waited for his wage to come through, and while that happened, the tickets were doubling in price, and he had a visit from the bailiffs, which also added another £310 to his debt per ticket!
Instead of agreeing to a payment plan, after the young man explained his situation, the bailiffs, in their wisdom, decided to clamp his bike. This was an illegal act, as the bailiffs never bothered to check the cost of a second-hand motorbike. If they did, they would have known that it was worth under the legal minimum.
Like all of us hopefully would, he asked his friends and family to help, and they gave what they could, but he then had to turn to a payday lender, as without his motorbike, he couldn’t work.
With his debt now out of control, he believed there was no way out, and did the only thing he thought possible.
Bailiff Reform is Urgently Needed
Tens of thousands of people every year get bullied into paying more than they can afford, up to the point where they feel trapped with no place to go.
Please, honestly, if this is you or ever been you or a friend or family member, please join in with us to reform bailiff laws. If you have a story to tell, however small or large, please tell us it here, so we can report back to the government and make a change.
I couldn’t imagine either of my kids having to go through this. At any stage, Camden Council or Newlyn Debt Collectors could have and SHOULD have set up an affordable payment plan, and look at cases by the person, not by money.
If they just spoke to him directly, looked at the actions he was trying to take to pay it off, maybe they could have stopped a young man from doing the unthinkable.
Please, if you are facing any sort of financial problems, please reach out.
Debt advice is ALWAYS free!
I don’t keep my failings a secret. I’m not great with money but have really started to turn my life around after the kids, when I realized that I couldn’t keep living my expensive lifestyle on maternity pay.
This is how this site started, after myself and Eleanor, two very different families, both decided to turn our lives around.
I know first hand that burying your head in the sand doesn’t work. Ignoring the phone, scared to answer the door or even to open a letter in case it’s a possession letter or another bounced notice from the bank.
There is so much FREE help out there, with a no judgment clause! I’m talking about real professionals here who have trained in debt management.
Ignore all those TV and radio adverts, even Google. Many say “no upfront fees” and “pay as you go” debt management, but all are businesses and are in it for one thing. Your money.
You will never have to pay for debt advice. All the organizations below are free to use and can help you with anything from credit cards, loans, council tax, rent payments, gas, electric or water bills. Anything at all.
Free Debt Guidance Organisations
StepChange is a registered charity that offers free, impartial and confidential support with your money. Contact them here.
Christians Against Poverty
Christians Against Poverty help everyone, regardless of faith. They offer local money management courses, local debt help and a local job club to support with life-controlling habits and job hunting. Please contact them here.
National Debtline is a registered charity who can help make a pro-rata offer, or ask your creditor to freeze your interest or tell a bailiff that you are vulnerable. Please call them here.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureau offers a wealth of help. If it’s support you need, they offer face to face meetings locally, and can help set up budget plans and how to handle your debt.
Other Useful Organisations
Money can effect all areas of your life and can leave some very horrible scars. Please seek help or call if you know anyone suffering. Please do not let them face this alone.
Anytime, any day, someone will be there to talk. Please call them on 116 123. Nothing is to big or small.
If you or someone you know has a mental health problem or you are supporting someone who does, then please call. They offer advice and information on where to seek help as well as legal advice.
Gamble Aware provides advice, information and emotional support to anyone experiencing problems with gambling via a phone line or online chat.
If you’re struggling to feed your family, then please call the Trussel Trust. They are UK based, and you can get vouchers from your GP, Health Visitor, School or Social Worker.
No matter what’s happened, Shelter can give you advice and guidance on anything house related, from potential evictions to repossessions, and homelessness.
I’ve learned so much from my time being in debt, and while it wasn’t bailiff bad, it was enough to put stress on my marriage and made me scared to do anything.
We now have no secrets when it comes to money, but if I’ve leaned only one thing, it was that I should have asked for help sooner. That doesn’t mean telling the one you love necessary, but calling someone above, to help me sort it out.