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  • FIRST POST
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 12th Aug 17, 9:16 PM
    • 52Posts
    • 101Thanks
    SusieT78
    Unable to meet debt repayments - help needed.
    • #1
    • 12th Aug 17, 9:16 PM
    Unable to meet debt repayments - help needed. 12th Aug 17 at 9:16 PM
    Hi all,

    I have been very stupid and got myself into a terrible mess and I can't see any way out of it. I don't expect any sympathy as it's all my own fault, but I'm hoping somebody may be able to offer advice
    I used to be quite good with managing my money until I had children. Since having children I have constantly battled depression, stress and anxiety.
    This has resulted in me leaving work last year to be a stay at home mum, whilst my partner works full time in a minimum wage job and does as much overtime as possible. I was the higher wage earner and I've always worked up until last year.

    Pre-children I took out several credit cards, it was never a problem and if I couldn't clear them in full at the end of the month I would transfer the balance at 0% onto another card until I could clear it.
    However, since the depression hit several years ago I stopped budgeting and managing my finances properly. When I'd feel really low I'd book us a holiday as being away from everything perked me up. The credit card companies kept upping the limits on my cards.
    I'd keep transferring the funds to stay at 0% but was no longer clearing any debt and since having the kids actually started spending more each month than the money coming in.
    I have no excuses, it is entirely my own fault and I'm so ashamed I've acted so irresponsibly and just buried my head in the sand.

    I do shop around for the cheapest insurances and deals wherever possible, we don't have cable TV or any subscription services (we do have internet), mobile phones are PAYG.

    Fast forward to today and I now have just under £45k debt across 5 credit cards and 1 overdraft with nothing to show for it. I also owe a relative £1k.
    My partner is not aware of the extent of my debts (although is aware I have some debt) and I would like it to stay that way, as when I've tried to discuss it previously it has caused arguments.
    We live in a house which I bought prior to meeting my partner. The mortgage and house are in my name only. We have 1 car which is also mine but we have shared use of as he works in a remote location with no public transport, so needs it to get to work.

    House value: £65-75,000 (based on for sale prices locally for similar properties, it's in England)
    Remaining Mortgage: £39,000 (13 years left)

    Car value: £900

    My monthly income:
    Housekeeping from partner: £900
    Child benefit: £149 (£137 every 4 weeks)
    Child/working tax credits: £537 (£495 every 4 weeks)
    Total income: £1586.00

    Based on budget figures stripped back as far as reasonably possible (no luxuries just essential living expenses, which I've shopped around to get cheapest quotes on if possible, and the food budget is much lower than I manage currently but I'll have to stick to it, we haven't put money for socialising or days out in the budget as if it's not free we won't be doing it)
    The total of all household spending in a 'calendar month' including payments to any 'secured' debts and all priority household bills.
    Monthly outgoings: £ 1,556

    This leaves me with just £30 a month to pay back the all the credit cards overdraft and relative.

    My understanding is that if I tried to do a DMP through Stepchange they would prorata the payment of £30 according to how much is owed, excluding the relative who would get nothing.
    But the problem is one of the CCs has about £22.5k on it, so they'd get £15 and then he lowest credit card has £1.5k so they would only get £1.

    What I was thinking of doing was trying to self-manage a DMP (as I've seen posts on here saying people have done this) and offering the 5 credit cards and overdraft £5 per month each for the time being.
    Has anybody ever done this and did the creditors accept this?

    My partner keeps a little bit of his wages for his own credit card / mobile phone, but can the creditors demand he gives me all his wages to go towards debt repayments? Is he liable for my debts as we have children together?
    I pay all the household bills/food/petrol/car out of my account as everything is in my name, but he pays for his own phone and credit card which are in his name.

    If my partner does overtime then possibly he might be able to give me a bit more occasionally, but overtime is not guaranteed. When he has done overtime I can give something to the relative I owe that month.

    I suppose my question is, has anybody been in a similar position and what happened? Am I going to lose my house? (Have never missed a mortgage payment). Can the creditors force a sale of the house as there is some equity?
    I cannot get a remortgage as I looked into and I wouldn't qualify, so that's not an option. No relatives could buy a portion of the equity.
    My eldest child has a medical condition which means they struggle with change, moving house could be problematic as they are very attached to this house, even on days out they ask when they can go home to the house, so I would prefer not to have to move if possible.

    I have been making minimum payments up until this month, however in the next few weeks I'm not going to be able to do that any more, any savings I did have are gone now.
    I want to avoid bankruptcy if possible as I would like to pay the debt back one day. My youngest child will start school in September 2018 so hopefully I can get a job to fit in with school hours. My partner works shifts with no set pattern and sometimes only finds out what he's working the week before so that combined with my current mental health issues is making it hard to find a job without incurring childcare costs for the youngest which would take all my wages anyway.
    When the mortgage is paid off in 13 years I will have an extra £400 a month to pay the creditors in addition to any extra wages from me working.
    So, it's not impossible that I'll be able to start paying the debt back one day, it just won't be anytime soon.

    I'm confident my SOA/budget is as tight as it could be it's more the debt side I need help with.
    I'm scared that £5 a month each will not be acceptable due to level of the debt owed and I'll end up in court, with CCJ's and homeless.

    Sorry this is all very waffly. The main point is I can pay the mortgage and bills but I only have £30 a month towards debt repayments (which are currently approx £1.3k per month as the 0% deals ran out so interest is being applied). Thanks for reading if you've got this far! Any help or advice would be appreciated.
Page 1
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 12th Aug 17, 9:42 PM
    • 4,431 Posts
    • 8,242 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    • #2
    • 12th Aug 17, 9:42 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Aug 17, 9:42 PM
    You won't lose your house for defaulting on unsecured debt. Just make sure you prioritise the mortgage. You can either ring stepchange and let them manage a DMP or do it yourself. You would need to contact them telling them you cannot afford payments and asking them to stop interest being applied. You won't end up in court or homeless. Unsecured debtors have very little leverage. They may ask you to fill out an soa and provide proof of income but they do not usually go to court if they see proof you cannot afford to pay.
    Countdown to early retirement on 21.12.17 2 months to go.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 12th Aug 17, 10:24 PM
    • 11,375 Posts
    • 8,536 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #3
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:24 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:24 PM
    You have equity in your property. Don't go bankrupt. Don't sell your house, Don't try debt consolidation.

    Keep paying the mortgage. Stop paying non-priority debts (when you're in a hole stop digging).

    Your debt resolution will have to wait. Now you asked some questions in there.

    can the creditors demand he gives me all his wages to go towards debt repayments? No

    Is he liable for my debts as we have children together? No

    Am I going to lose my house? (Have never missed a mortgage payment). No

    Can the creditors force a sale of the house as there is some equity? No

    Hope that helps
    Last edited by fatbelly; 13-08-2017 at 5:57 AM.
    • venison
    • By venison 12th Aug 17, 10:29 PM
    • 1,219 Posts
    • 1,301 Thanks
    venison
    • #4
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:29 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:29 PM
    Hi if your child with health problems is under 16 and has care/mobility problems have you considered applying for DLA? Also are you getting any help with your own mental health problems? Would it be possible to sell your house and then rent somewhere while you sort your many problems out?
    Doomed I say we're all doomed.
    • nicmalauren
    • By nicmalauren 12th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    • 37 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    nicmalauren
    • #5
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    Sorry to hear you are struggling - it can so easily happen to anyone! Plus you've taken the first step by acknowledging it and reaching out.

    I agree with above posters - prioritise your secured debt i.e. your mortgage. Contact your other lenders and explain to them that you're having difficulty - most would rather try to help than have to take you through the courts (because if they already know you are in diffs the likelihood is that court will just cost them more money).

    Can you consolidate any of your debts?
    5 credit cards = 5 minimum monthly payments. Shifting the balance even from a couple of them would at least help your monthly expenditure - in other words it's easier to make two or three minimum payments a month than five, even if it takes a bit longer to clear the debt.

    Have you any "free" childcare that you could rely on even for a few hours a week from a relative or friend? If you could manage even 8hrs a week work then you'd be unlikely to be paying any tax or NI, so all the money would go into your pocket and the extra income would help!

    I know you say that your budget is already the lowest it can be, and I don't want to patronise you - but if you don't already or haven't considered it, look online for low-cost recipe suggestions. Some take a bit more effort, but if you have the time, things like making your own bread or bulking out with tinned/frozen veg can really help stretch your budget that bit further.

    Good luck!
    "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 12th Aug 17, 10:55 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78
    • #6
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:55 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Aug 17, 10:55 PM
    Thank you for the quick replies. That does sound reassuring with regards to not losing the house. I will use the templates from Stepchange to advise I am unable to pay the full amounts and make my £5 a month offer.
    I'm surprised I won't end up in court though - is that because when I prove my income the court would also rule I can only pay £5 a month so the creditors would be wasting their time?
    As I understand it a DMP isn't legally binding so there's nothing to stop them taking me to court.

    My child has a health problem but it's not one that would be covered under DLA. My child sees a specialist at the local hospital but only once a year now. My child's school have been very helpful with my child's problems and although my child was academically developmentally delayed upon starting school is now hitting all academic targets, so other than the attachment to things and routine it's not something we could justify requiring extra income for.

    I am going to go back to my doctor to get myself help, but have had medication and counseling in the past too, it's been an ongoing battle.

    The other issue with selling the house and then renting is that the equity would not clear all the debts, and rents are higher than my mortgage payment, so I'd have to find another £150-200 per month to rent, but I only have £30 left over after essential bills at the moment so we'd actually be even worse off and back to spending more than our income again.
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 12th Aug 17, 11:07 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 17, 11:07 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 17, 11:07 PM
    Sorry to hear you are struggling - it can so easily happen to anyone! Plus you've taken the first step by acknowledging it and reaching out.

    I agree with above posters - prioritise your secured debt i.e. your mortgage. Contact your other lenders and explain to them that you're having difficulty - most would rather try to help than have to take you through the courts (because if they already know you are in diffs the likelihood is that court will just cost them more money).

    Can you consolidate any of your debts?
    5 credit cards = 5 minimum monthly payments. Shifting the balance even from a couple of them would at least help your monthly expenditure - in other words it's easier to make two or three minimum payments a month than five, even if it takes a bit longer to clear the debt.

    Have you any "free" childcare that you could rely on even for a few hours a week from a relative or friend? If you could manage even 8hrs a week work then you'd be unlikely to be paying any tax or NI, so all the money would go into your pocket and the extra income would help!

    I know you say that your budget is already the lowest it can be, and I don't want to patronise you - but if you don't already or haven't considered it, look online for low-cost recipe suggestions. Some take a bit more effort, but if you have the time, things like making your own bread or bulking out with tinned/frozen veg can really help stretch your budget that bit further.

    Good luck!
    Originally posted by nicmalauren
    The cards are not offering me balance transfers anymore so I can't move the debt around to get them onto a lesser number. They're all pretty much maxed out anyway. Due to my low income I don't think a loan company would lend in order to consolidate as I wouldn't meet the affordability criteria now. It's all a big mess (of my own doing).

    We don't have any friends or relatives nearby that would be able to provide free childcare unfortunately. They are all either working, in ill health or over 85.

    I'll definitely be following some of the low cost meal ideas here on MSE, I can cook and do cook from scratch so hopefully cutting back on the food bill should be doable. We already buy value pasta, rice and veggies.

    I'm sorry if I seem dismissive of some of the suggestions that have been made, I think they're great suggestions, and hopefully they might help somebody else reading even if they won't work with my circumstances.

    Thanks once again.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 13th Aug 17, 6:01 AM
    • 11,375 Posts
    • 8,536 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #8
    • 13th Aug 17, 6:01 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Aug 17, 6:01 AM
    You'd be better putting your £30 per month into an emergency fund.

    Change bank if you can and pick up a switching bonus - you should never bank where you have debts.
    • chevalier
    • By chevalier 13th Aug 17, 6:53 AM
    • 7,743 Posts
    • 17,993 Thanks
    chevalier
    • #9
    • 13th Aug 17, 6:53 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Aug 17, 6:53 AM
    to be honest, I think you need to do a JOINT SOA.
    Your husband needs to be on board with this as well. You need to sit him down and explain what is happening. Why? Because then he won't inadvertantly sabotage your debt paying efforts. Also you need to check whether proportionately you are paying the right amount for the joint bills. My suspicion is that your OH should be paying more towards this.

    Next is there any way he can get a job with more stable shift patterns, or better pay? For you is there 'stuff' you can sell to put towards an emergency fund so that you do not have to resort to cards again if something breaks? Are you able to sign up for surveys, both of your, for some additional income.

    Good luck going forward
    chev
    I want a job that is less than an hour driving away from my house! Are you listening universe?
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 13th Aug 17, 10:18 AM
    • 3,948 Posts
    • 4,288 Thanks
    robatwork
    Can I just suggest that you don't stop paying the relative, even if it's only £5 or £2 per month. The extra stress of a family chasm isn't worth it.

    Also is there any chance of you returning to work and leave your partner to look after the children, as you were the higher earner?

    Finally even though it may involve a big row, I think you should consider being honest with your partner and telling him everything. At least you won't be keeping all this anxiety to yourself.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 13th Aug 17, 11:27 AM
    • 12,200 Posts
    • 11,656 Thanks
    sourcrates
    Hi OP,

    How old are your credit agreements ?

    Did you open them in recent years, or are they 10 or more years old ?

    Im guessing they are all fairly recent if you've been balance transferring.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there, and delete spam.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 13th Aug 17, 11:29 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78
    to be honest, I think you need to do a JOINT SOA.
    Your husband needs to be on board with this as well. You need to sit him down and explain what is happening. Why? Because then he won't inadvertantly sabotage your debt paying efforts. Also you need to check whether proportionately you are paying the right amount for the joint bills. My suspicion is that your OH should be paying more towards this.

    Next is there any way he can get a job with more stable shift patterns, or better pay? For you is there 'stuff' you can sell to put towards an emergency fund so that you do not have to resort to cards again if something breaks? Are you able to sign up for surveys, both of your, for some additional income.

    Good luck going forward
    chev
    Originally posted by chevalier
    It kind of is a joint SOA as all the household bills come out of my account. He only has his credit cards and mobile phone coming out of his account and the money he holds back from his wages just covers that and not much more. He is enrolled on his company pension so the £900 he is giving me is the full amount he can afford to give me after he's payed his bills. I've done the SOA based on him only ever doing his contracted hours of 37.5 per week as I needed to be realistic with overtime not being guaranteed, but on the months he is able to do overtime he will give me the overtime money, he doesn't keep it for himself. He knows we're operating to a tight budget and can't afford to go out etc, so he won't accidentally sabotage my efforts through not knowing.

    He has looked for other jobs, even this week, but as he's quite shy and nervous at interviews I doubt he will apply. He's been in his current job since before we had kids so knows all the other staff, he struggles to speak to people he doesn't know and got rejected from so many jobs last time he applied that he lacks the confidence to try and get one elsewhere. He has at least had a look online, so maybe he will apply for something else.

    I have joined Swagbucks and MySurvey to try and get Paypal money for birthdays/Xmas (nothing in the budget for presents)

    Can I just suggest that you don't stop paying the relative, even if it's only £5 or £2 per month. The extra stress of a family chasm isn't worth it.

    Also is there any chance of you returning to work and leave your partner to look after the children, as you were the higher earner?

    Finally even though it may involve a big row, I think you should consider being honest with your partner and telling him everything. At least you won't be keeping all this anxiety to yourself.
    Originally posted by robatwork
    Luckily my relative is quite flexible about being paid back, I have confessed I'm in "a bit of a mess" to them (though not the figures) so if we can pay them great but if not it won't affect the relationship negatively if they have to wait, so, on the month's where my partner has done overtime I will pay something to the relative.

    When I return to work it probably be in a minimum wage job such as shop or barwork because I pushed myself so far in previous jobs that I ended up having breakdowns twice because of work related stress, whereas when I did shopwork and barwork as a student I never got stressed about work, also part of my mental health issues is to do with not seeing enough of the children (I worked very long hours) so it's unlikely I will return to having a career until the kids are grown up.

    Hi OP,

    How old are your credit agreements ?

    Did you open them in recent years, or are they 10 or more years old ?

    Im guessing they are all fairly recent if you've been balance transferring.
    Originally posted by sourcrates
    The most recent time I took out a new credit facility was 2015, the oldest could be 2004 but I'm not sure as I used to take out credit cards, pay them off then close them down and apply for a new 0% card back in the days when I could pay back everything I'd borrowed when the 0% was due to run out.

    I've been balance transferring up until last week though, so they've all had recent additions made to them.
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 13th Aug 17, 11:34 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78
    You'd be better putting your £30 per month into an emergency fund.

    Change bank if you can and pick up a switching bonus - you should never bank where you have debts.
    Originally posted by fatbelly
    But if I don't pay my creditors anything at all won't they just take me straight to court?
    We could use some of my partner's overtime payments to set up an emergency fund though. But, if we did this would the savings be best in his name (if I asked him to save some money from his overtime for an emergency and not touch it he would do this), if I have savings in my name wouldn't the creditors be able to stake a claim to them?

    I already have a couple of other current accounts without overdrafts that I had been using as savings accounts until I used it all up to pay the bills, so changing bank won't be a problem.
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 13th Aug 17, 11:44 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78
    Thanks for all the replies. I've still not done anything about writing to my creditors. I'm trying to work out what the best order to do things in is.
    Do I miss a payment first then write to them, or write to them before I miss a payment? All payments are up to date at the moment, I haven't missed a minimum payment in at least the last 6 years.
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 14th Aug 17, 2:43 AM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78
    Sorry, me again, I can't sleep for worry at the moment. I've been reading some of the other posts on this board as the information in them is very useful.

    sourcrates - you mentioned in one thread that Egg credit card agreements are unenforceable due to PTs not being right, or something along those lines. One of my credits cards was with Egg (I think I took it out about 2004) but then became a Barclaycard somewhere along the line (they told me it was now a Barclayard and sent a new card out). I owe about £6k on this one but if it's not enforceable then maybe I'll offer them £1 a month so I can offer my £22.5k creditor £9 a month.

    I found a template somewhere to request a copy of something (the original agreement I think) and now I can't find it, I think this is what people are using to find out if a debt is enforcable?

    Sorry for all the questions, but it's just all whirring round in my mind. I'm looking at the info I've downloaded from Stepchange but can't remember if it was in there or somewhere else.

    Stepchange actually recommended an IVA but I don't want to do this or Bankruptcy as it would be on public record. I want to go the DMP route because after next September (2018) I will be able to work at least part time so I'll have more money to offer to my creditors. Then in 13 years the mortgage will be paid in full (we have no plans to ever move if we don't have to).
    At £5 per creditor per month it will take 113 years to pay the debt, but I'm confident I can get it paid off in 25 years or less due what I've mentioned above.

    Thanks again for all the help everyone has offered so far. I'm so glad I posted, whilst I can't sleep I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, a very distant light 25 years in the future, but my mortgage once had 25 years to run, so even if it takes another 25 years from today I know I can do it.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 14th Aug 17, 7:17 AM
    • 11,375 Posts
    • 8,536 Thanks
    fatbelly
    But if I don't pay my creditors anything at all won't they just take me straight to court?.
    Originally posted by SusieT78
    No. Your token payments won't make a difference. It's unlikely in any case.

    We could use some of my partner's overtime payments to set up an emergency fund though. But, if we did this would the savings be best in his name (if I asked him to save some money from his overtime for an emergency and not touch it he would do this), if I have savings in my name wouldn't the creditors be able to stake a claim to them?
    Originally posted by SusieT78
    That's why you must not do any banking where you have debts. They could use the right of set-off.

    If the savings are in a different institution it's almost impossible for them to be touched. They would have to know where they were, get a ccj that you default on and then apply for a third party deduction order. It's unheard of.

    Incidentally an IVA for £30 per month is pretty much unheard of too. If stepchange think they can get one though, with you paying £30 x 60 to clear 45k of debt then they're better than I thought.
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 14th Aug 17, 11:49 AM
    • 12,200 Posts
    • 11,656 Thanks
    sourcrates
    sourcrates - you mentioned in one thread that Egg credit card agreements are unenforceable due to PTs not being right, or something along those lines. One of my credits cards was with Egg (I think I took it out about 2004) but then became a Barclaycard somewhere along the line (they told me it was now a Barclayard and sent a new card out). I owe about £6k on this one but if it's not enforceable then maybe I'll offer them £1 a month so I can offer my £22.5k creditor £9 a month.
    .
    Originally posted by SusieT78
    A lot of credit card agreements from that time were unenforceable, not all, but a fair few.

    The only way to find out is to request a copy of it, you can do that here, using the National Debtline sample letter :

    https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/sampleletters/Pages/Information-about-your-agreement-under-the-Consumer-Credit-Act-%28sole-name%29.aspx

    Remember to enclose the £1 statutory fee, in the form of a cheque or postal order (dont send cash).
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there, and delete spam.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • Uhtred Ragnarsson
    • By Uhtred Ragnarsson 14th Aug 17, 3:18 PM
    • 70 Posts
    • 306 Thanks
    Uhtred Ragnarsson

    My child has a health problem but it's not one that would be covered under DLA.
    Originally posted by SusieT78
    Hi Susie

    For DLA (and PIP come to that) qualification for benefit is not related to what the specific medical problem is - there is no list of illnesses or conditions that give automatic qualification. What is important is how the medical condition affects the individual, in this case, your child. It probably is worth getting advice from welfare rights and making a claim I think.

    Good luck in your debt busting.

    Uhtred
    Wyrd bid ful āraed
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 15th Aug 17, 3:16 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    SusieT78

    Incidentally an IVA for £30 per month is pretty much unheard of too. If stepchange think they can get one though, with you paying £30 x 60 to clear 45k of debt then they're better than I thought.
    Originally posted by fatbelly
    The IVA would involve me selling my house to release the equity so I could do a lump sum payment as well as the £30 a month so it's not an option I want to pursue unless I have to, as I'd like to keep the house if I can.
    • Borders2017
    • By Borders2017 15th Aug 17, 3:51 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    Borders2017
    I just wanted to say, good for you for confronting this. Its such a slippery slope when you are earning enough to cover monthly payments, the circumstances change and it spirals.

    I think having the conversation with your OH will help a lot, but will be really difficult. His fears will be that they will take the house etc etc, so make sure you have these kind of questions answered (which I think most comments above cover) so you can put him a little at ease witht the shock of the situation.
    Do not default on any payments on any cards, arrange with the creditors an agreed monthly sum and for them to freeze the interest.

    Let us know how you get on, best of luck
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