Including how to get free debt advice
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. We feel like nowadays’ credit is the “in” thing and a way of getting what we want without saving for it first. We’d love to think that we are teaching the kids how to save for what they want, but also feel a bit hypercritical, as we, ourselves have one huge loan, mortgage, and goodness knows how many credit cards under my belt.
This post explains how we paid off over £5000 in under three months to become credit-card-free. We still have a credit card for emergency use but it stays clear in case we really need it!
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What is the average UK credit card debt?
According to Credit Connect, more families than ever are in debt, with almost five million owing over £10,000 in loans and credit cards.
That’s a huge number of us who owe more than we can probably pay off every month.
The daily struggle
We are also self-employed. We love the freedom it gives me, the hours with the kids plus the creativity to just be free, but there’s a downside. Payment.
For some weird reason, and we’ve never worked out why here in the UK we have a 30-day payment policy. So we would 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 we can’t, it’s that simple.
We’ve been lucky up to now. We’ve only been burnt once, and since then, every time we are paid, we 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.
Don’t let debt build-up
Yesterday, we 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.
We 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!
We don’t keep my failings a secret. We are not great with money but have really started to turn our life around after the kids when we realized that we couldn’t keep living my expensive lifestyle on maternity pay.
We know firsthand 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! We 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.
We have 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 us scared to do anything.
We now have no secrets when it comes to money, but if we’ve learned only one thing, it was that we 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.
Tricks to paying off credit cards
Please don’t think that your situation is untouchable. Whatever credit card debt you have, it can be paid off in full. There is always a way!
Assessing how bad your situation is
Make sure you have gone through your incomings and outgoings with a fine toothcomb and worked out what if any money you have to play with. Can anything go to give you a little bit of wriggle room?
If you feel like you are in a debt crisis, as in, you can’t see any way out of the debt and it’s getting worse, please do call one of the above numbers for advice. They are all free to use and will not judge. They will help you to come up with a plan to clear the debt clearly.
Sort your spending
Has everything that isn’t essential been canceled? Can you save anywhere else on a day-to-day level to help give yourself an extra few pounds?
Next, check if you are entitled to any government benefits at all. These could be working tax credits or help towards the cost of childcare.
Ask the bank for help with your mortgage. Find out how much a short payment holiday may cost you in the longer term? Is worth having that breathing room so you can use the money on the more urgent bills?
Cut the costs of your debt
The aim of the game here is to try and pay your credit card balance as soon as possible. Some people call this the debt avalanche method. This is when you pay the interest off the biggest loan first.
To start paying off this debt it’s best to find out if you can transfer the credit card debt to something with less interest. Have a look at your credit report and see what your options are. It may be worth you trying to build your credit to get some help.
If your credit score is high then it may be worth moving to a lower interest credit card to help you pay it off.
Getting new credit isn’t always the answer though. It may be worth speaking to your credit card provider to see if they can help you start to get the interest down.
Use any savings
If you have any savings then it’s worth using them first. Savings interest rates are really low right now so it’s worth you using any savings you have to pay off your debt.
The minimum payment loop
Credit card companies want you to only make the minimum payment so that you are stuck in the debt loop and keep paying them interest. If you can, try and overpay to get the balance down.
We aren’t talking about a balance transfer here. Work out if it’s worth you remortgaging your home which could be cheaper in the longer term to pay off the high-interest credit cards. Work it out and as credit cards normally have the highest interest rate.
Tackle the debt straight on
Please don’t leave the debt to fester. Tackling the debt head-on is the best way to free yourself of the debt.
Debt management plan
A debt management plan may be for you but it’s not for everyone. This is an agreement between you and your credit card company. You make set payments to a debt management company and they share your payment out across the credit cards.
Paying off credit card debt in full
Of course the main plan is to have you pay off your credit card in full as quickly as possible. To do this you may need to start shaving off your outgoings or even trying to make a little more money to help you pay off these debts quickly.
If you are looking to make a little more money from home then have a look at our posts here:
Remember that before you start earning money you need to register with HMRC if you earn over £1000 during a tax year.
If you have a few spare hours every night to make extra money from home then we would start by looking at:
Online survey sites
Online surveys are great to do while you are sat watching TV or waiting for the kettle to boil. You won’t necessarily make bundles of cash, but for just 20 minutes or so work, you could make a few pounds.
These are the one’s we’ve used before but there are plenty floating about that payout in either vouchers or cold hard cash.
Pick My Postcode
Pick My Postcode is all about helping you to win big cash prizes with your postcode. It is 100% free to enter and by visiting Pick My Postcode daily you could win money. What we love is that there really is no catch at all with Pick My Postcode. You sign up for free, tell them your postcode then check back every day to see if your postcode has been chosen. It really is that simple!
Join Pick My Postcode here for big cash prizes daily. It’s 100% free*. You don’t have to pick any numbers. Your postcode acts as your winning ticket and can be drawn at any time. It really is super simple and free to enter.
YouGov is a government survey website that asks you to rate and answer questions on what’s happening in the world today. The questions could be about anything; from politics to brands and even TV.
It’s really easy to join and the surveys normally take about ten minutes to complete.
While OhMyDosh is a cashback website they also offer surveys too. You can boost your income while taking the surveys.
A virtual assistant is someone who works from home, who can perform all the nitty-gritty admin jobs that a client needs remotely.
This could be any admin task and is normally a high-paying job with no experience needed. You could be doing anything from scheduling social media to creating marketing images to just answering emails or amending spreadsheets.
A Virtual Assistant is useful for any size business, and as someone who’s worked both sides, as an employer and employee, most Virtual Assistants are very flexible and work on an hour-by-hour payment basis.
This is the only Virtual Assistant Essential Tool Kit you will ever need.
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- The Best Way To Save For a House
A list of essential tools you’ll need to get your first client and get paid
This 7 value-packed template includes:
A list of VA essential tools
Invoice template (Word)
Time Card spreadsheet (Excel with pre-made formulas)
Invoice spreadsheet (Excel with pre-made formulas)
Blog post promotion spreadsheet (Excel)
Engagement questions for most niches (Excel)
Facebook schedule (Excel)
The Virtual Assistant Essential Tool Kit can help you land your first client, and keep you on track for when it’s time to invoice.
We hope that these ideas help you to pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more money saving ideas, then head over to the saving my family money section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 50 money saving tips to help you save your family more. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family saving Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to stop spending and save more; Money Saving Tips for Families and Managing Money for Families.
Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later.
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