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  • FIRST POST
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 7th Feb 18, 10:11 PM
    • 14Posts
    • 24Thanks
    Rach2186
    Newbie in need of help!
    • #1
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:11 PM
    Newbie in need of help! 7th Feb 18 at 10:11 PM
    Hi all,

    I have been through all of the articles and made a checklist of things I need to do to hopefully get a handle on my debt.

    A bit of backstory..I had no idea I was in debt until my husband left me and subsequently left me with a lot of unpaid council tax and phone contracts. The agreement between us was I would pay rent he would pay bills and I foolishly opened all accounts.

    I owe 10k mostly with Equita and lowell. Lowell have been accommodating, equita have been a nightmare and refused all offers of repayment plans and I am constantly in fear of aggressive bailiffs.

    Ex husband is of course not willing to help pay any of this, I am a student nurse with two young children living on a minimal bursary and tax credits.

    Any advice RE equita? They are my priority debt at the moment as all other creditors have agreed to freeze interest for 12 months and accept £1 per month

    I am getting shamefully close to cashing the childrens ISAs in to pay them off. Im fully willing to budget and work hard to get debt free asap!

    All advice welcomed!!
Page 1
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 7th Feb 18, 10:37 PM
    • 13,022 Posts
    • 12,619 Thanks
    sourcrates
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:37 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:37 PM
    Hi,

    I assume equita are chasing the unpaid council tax, bayliffs have a habit of been awkward in order to get maximum money out of you, best advice I can give you is just to pay them whatever you can afford, dont engage with them at all, and certainly dont allow them access to your property.

    Pay off as much as you can, as soon as you can, dont look to them to accept the payments, just pay and ignore the rhetoric, eventually it will be paid off, at your own pace, not theirs.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    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 Free Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 7th Feb 18, 11:00 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 11:00 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 11:00 PM
    Thank you, as the other creditors are happily accepting £1pm for 12 months my priority is getting the equita debts cleared asap so once I've fully sorted my budget and cut costs whatever I have left will go to them
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 8th Feb 18, 10:34 AM
    • 8,479 Posts
    • 45,252 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 18, 10:34 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 18, 10:34 AM
    Welcome Rach - and sorry to hear that you've been left in the lurch by someone you had every right to trust - that sucks.

    I'd say the first step is to put together your SOA (Statement of Affairs) as that will give you a proper written down budget to work to and also a clear picture of precisely what you can afford to throw at the debt. You'll find the link to the SOA calculator we recommend in my signature and also in the "Sticky" thread at the top of the board. Pop the completed SOA (Format for MSE when you've filled it in) in to this thread and we can take a look and see if there's any savings to be made that you may have missed.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£842.87 (12/02/18)
    SOA Calculator for DFW newbies: Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 10:39 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 18, 10:39 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 18, 10:39 AM
    Thank you, I have taken a day off to dedicate to sorting everything out. SOA is first on my list
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 11:15 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:15 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:15 AM
    Household Information
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 2
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 580
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 1670
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 2250

    Monthly Expense Details[/b]
    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 177
    Rent.................................... 950
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 35
    Electricity............................. 100
    Gas..................................... 0
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 25
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 45
    TV Licence.............................. 12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 47
    Internet Services....................... 0
    Groceries etc. ......................... 300
    Clothing................................ 50
    Petrol/diesel........................... 175
    Road tax................................ 0
    Car Insurance........................... 90
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 20
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 0
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 10
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 300
    Haircuts................................ 30
    Entertainment........................... 20
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2386



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 0
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 0



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 0........(0)........0
    Hire Purchase (HP) debt ...... 7406.....(177)......11.6
    Total secured & HP debts...... 7406......-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Total unsecured debts..........0.........0.........-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,250
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 2,386
    Available for debt repayments........... -136
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 0
    Amount short for making debt repayments. -136


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 0
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -7,406
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -0
    Net Assets.............................. -7,406


    I havent added the debts in yet as I am unburying my head and opening letters!
    • a_silver_lining
    • By a_silver_lining 8th Feb 18, 11:33 AM
    • 128 Posts
    • 457 Thanks
    a_silver_lining
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:33 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:33 AM
    Hi Rach,

    I just wanted to wish you the best of luck for the future. I've been in a similar position many years ago (although without children) and felt that it would be an endless journey. To be honest, just not having her in my life lifted such a weight that the financial difficulties she left didn't feel so heavy. You'll get there


    Household Information
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 2
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 580
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 1670
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 2250

    Monthly Expense Details[/b]
    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 177
    Rent.................................... 950 Is there any possibility of you moving your family to a smaller home, or a cheaper part of town? Rent is almost half your income.
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 35 As a student and the only adult in your home you should not be paying council tax. Contact the council and have payments stopped and claim back any money they owe you from the date your ex left
    Electricity............................. 100 Even combined with gas this seems very high for the three of you. Are there arrears? Can you check back on bills and see if £100 is accurate?
    Gas..................................... 0
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 25
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 45 High for one contract. Is this nearing the end of a contract? Could you call them and see if you can reduce the cost of your contract, by say taking less data? And then when the contract ends get a pay as you go sim for £10ish.
    TV Licence.............................. 12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 47 This is an expense you could easily loose by watching iplayer catch up or freeview
    Internet Services....................... 0
    Groceries etc. ......................... 300
    Clothing................................ 50
    Petrol/diesel........................... 175
    Road tax................................ 0
    Car Insurance........................... 90
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 20 Can you park further out in free parking and walk in?
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 0
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 10
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 300 This may be an expense you'll need to cut down until you have qualified. Even reducing it by a 3rd will be £1200 off your debt a year. Can you list out all the birthdays and christmas recipients and allocate a lower budget. Maybe buy in sales and through the year so you're getting cheaper bargains?
    Haircuts................................ 30
    Entertainment........................... 20
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0 Something needs to be here, maybe your present £100 could move here for a year to build you a 1k fund for emergencies
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2386



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 0
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 0



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 0........(0)........0
    Hire Purchase (HP) debt ...... 7406.....(177)......11.6
    Total secured & HP debts...... 7406......-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Total unsecured debts..........0.........0.........-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,250
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 2,386
    Available for debt repayments........... -136
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 0
    Amount short for making debt repayments. -136


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 0
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -7,406
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -0
    Net Assets.............................. -7,406


    I havent added the debts in yet as I am unburying my head and opening letters!
    Originally posted by Rach2186
    I'm sure others will be along to help too
    19/12/14: Spent 10 years of savings!!
    ..... to buy my first home.

    2018: 2400.83/10k saved! --- Family Loan repaid 2800/10K repaid.

    #38 1% Challenge: £224.58/ £2018, now at 11%!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 8th Feb 18, 11:34 AM
    • 8,479 Posts
    • 45,252 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:34 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:34 AM
    Comments in red as usual...

    Household Information
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 2
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 580
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 1670 Have you checked this is everything you're entitled to?
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 2250

    Monthly Expense Details[/b]
    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 177 How long to run on this?
    Rent.................................... 950 Ouchy - this is a massive proportion of your income.
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 35
    Electricity............................. 100 Is this just electric or combined with gas?
    Either way check your tariff is the best you can get and turn heating down a notch. If you're all electric and you're on economy 7 make sure you fully understand how it works.

    Gas..................................... 0
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 25
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 45 This is high - look to ditch for SIM only as soon as you can
    TV Licence.............................. 12 £12.37 I think?
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 47 TV, Landline & internet?
    Internet Services....................... 0
    Groceries etc. ......................... 300 You can reduce this a bit by careful shopping, meal planning and possibly altering where you shop.
    Clothing................................ 50 Every month? You can cut that - essentials only for the littlies and a total amnesty for you for a while...
    Petrol/diesel........................... 175 Read Martin's guide to driving economically and remember to shop about for best value fuel
    Road tax................................ 0 Zero rated?
    Car Insurance........................... 90 Best deal you can get? It's pretty high.
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 20 Can this be cut by parking further away and walking?
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 0
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 10
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0Hopefully you've just forgotten this as I'd be worried if you insure your pet but not the rest of you & your kids worldly goods!
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 300 £300 a MONTH????? Please tell me that's annual...
    Haircuts................................ 30 This is a lot for a monthly figure.
    Entertainment........................... 20 Sure this is realistic?
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0 You need to get this sorted - aim for £500 as a starting point
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2386



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 0
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 0



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 0........(0)........0
    Hire Purchase (HP) debt ...... 7406.....(177)......11.6
    Total secured & HP debts...... 7406......-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Total unsecured debts..........0.........0.........-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,250
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 2,386
    Available for debt repayments........... -136
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 0
    Amount short for making debt repayments. -136 Suspect this will improve when you correct the present figure... in which case the usual question - do you have the surplus that is then shown at the end of the month?


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 0
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -7,406
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -0
    Net Assets.............................. -7,406


    I havent added the debts in yet as I am unburying my head and opening letters!
    Originally posted by Rach2186
    OK redo the SOA with anything you've forgotten (contents insurance!) and the correct presents figure. And in the meantime make a cuppa, sit down at the table and get those letters opened. What's the worst that could happen? I PROMISE you you'll feel better when they're not sitting there staring accusingly at you any more!

    Baibelle well spotted on the Council tax!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£842.87 (12/02/18)
    SOA Calculator for DFW newbies: Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 11:49 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:49 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:49 AM
    Parking is essential, I commute quite far and am forced to use park and ride

    On hold to sky as we speak trying to cancel contract

    Presents is annual! My bad, I forgot to divide it by 12..ill amend that!

    Electric is so high in this flat due to rubbish storage heaters. I have electric arrears which I am paying off within my bill

    I live in a tiny flat as it is, that is the standard rent for around here unfortunately. I dont qualify for council housing nor can I afford to save for a deposit to move.

    My contents insurance is included in my bank account.

    Car insurance is high as I am a fairly new driver

    I have a year left on my phone then I will be moving to pay as you go

    My surplus is now showing as £234. Hopefully more once I have slashed costs elsewhere

    I have £1300 in an isa for my children, I am debating using this to pay a chunk off, although the guilt at even thinking about this is eating me up!

    I am now sat with a pile of letters ready to face this head on. Thank you for your support
    • Dobbibill
    • By Dobbibill 8th Feb 18, 12:21 PM
    • 2,719 Posts
    • 3,792 Thanks
    Dobbibill
    Good luck with sky.

    When you have paid the arrears off on the Electric, do a comparison to see if you are able to get a better tariff. (also check with your LL that it's OK with them to switch)

    Are you sure your contents is covered as part of your bank account? I've heard of Home Emergency cover with a fee paying account but not home insurance. (I could be wrong but do check if only for peace of mind).
    Also if you do pay a fee for your bank account that will need to be added to your SOA.

    Use cashback sites to try and reduce car insurance cost when the renewal is due.

    You'll feel much better when the letter are opened and you can see what your dealing with - you've made a good start already with the SOA.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Energy, Student Money Saving, UK Armed Forces and
    Local Money Saving - Wales boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there.
    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.


    A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.
    • tallyhoh
    • By tallyhoh 8th Feb 18, 12:28 PM
    • 2,105 Posts
    • 2,163 Thanks
    tallyhoh
    I don't see why you shouldn't use the children's ISAs, it will be used to benefit them in the long run & you can repay when you have sorted the debts.
    Tallyhoh!

    Stopped Smoking October 2000. Saved £21,840 so far!
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 12:41 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    Thats what my mum said, I just worked so hard to build them up.

    I have added all the debts up..
    I owe less than I thought which is a bit of a relief. I guess now I need to go through my expenditure with a fine tooth comb and work out how much I can pay and when.
    • mangle101
    • By mangle101 8th Feb 18, 12:53 PM
    • 142 Posts
    • 147 Thanks
    mangle101
    Does the father of your children contribute CSA?
    'Dont Bury Your Head In The Sand As Your Problems Will Still Exist'
    Debt Free Since 1st September 2009
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 1:01 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    Nothing consistent. I may get a bit one month then nothing again for months.

    Unfortunately the kids savings are locked until they are 18 so back to plan B. In a way I am relieved, I didn't want to use that
    • a_silver_lining
    • By a_silver_lining 8th Feb 18, 1:26 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 457 Thanks
    a_silver_lining
    Rach, as you can't access their ISA's why don't you use the sporadic money from their dad towards the debt? You provided well for them within your budget so that extra money could overpay the debts until it's cleared

    Well done looking at the debt totals, I remember doing the same years back and it was a relief to know the truth.
    19/12/14: Spent 10 years of savings!!
    ..... to buy my first home.

    2018: 2400.83/10k saved! --- Family Loan repaid 2800/10K repaid.

    #38 1% Challenge: £224.58/ £2018, now at 11%!
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 2:40 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    Thats exactly what I plan on doing. It doesn't feel quite so daunting now, I know exactly what I have coming in over the next 12 months and there will be no changes to income so I can plot all my payments. Im also shifting all my DDs to payday
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 8th Feb 18, 2:41 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    Got my electricity tariff down to £68pm including the arrears so thats an extra £30pm already!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 9th Feb 18, 8:53 PM
    • 8,479 Posts
    • 45,252 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Well done on the electricity - you mentioned storage heaters - now we have those as well - we're all electric aside from cooking which we got gas specifically for. For all our heating, lighting etc we're currently paying £30 a month although I am about to shove an extra £5 a month on there as we'll be through our accumulated credit this month I think.

    The thing with storage heaters is knowing how to use them - and keeping a VERY close eye on the weather so you know whether the settings need changing. Google your specific model of heaters or the closest you can find to them, and make sure you understand how the input and output settings work, basically if you're out all day then the output needs to be set to the lowest possible as that way you get more heat released later in the day. Also remember that with economy 7 electric it pays to use as much as possible overnight so things like washing machine etc should go on after the cheap rate kicks in. We keep a small oil filled rad to use to fill in the gaps where we've been caught out with the temperature dropping lower than forecast - it's also our heating source in the bedroom as it doesn't suit us to have heat on overnight in there. Feel free to ask any questions that might occur about E7/Storage heaters - having lived with them for the last 14 years I've pretty much got to grips with them I think!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£842.87 (12/02/18)
    SOA Calculator for DFW newbies: Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • Rach2186
    • By Rach2186 10th Feb 18, 2:48 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Rach2186
    Thank you, for the life of me I cannot get to grips with these storage heaters so will definitely take your advice!

    Update on the past few days..
    Switched energy, broadband, car insurance. Managed to cancel sky tv and used my clubcard vouchers to buy a now tv box so thats saved me about £50pm

    A friend was also kind enough to give me a few budget cookbooks, slashed my monthly bill from £300 to £100 with the clever use of my freezer, advanced planning and batch cooking.

    All "extras" such as spotify, netflix etc have been cancelled. Have started PPI claims with the template letters. Also HUGE thanks for pointing out the council tax..uni sent me an exemption form which I took straight to the council and I am indeed due a refund of around £400!!

    All in all I've managed to save around £300pm with some really simple changes - any sporadic maintenance payments aren't accounted for so will be a bonus and put straight on to debts.

    Had a chat with family and friends and we have all agreed on a gift free 2018 so no presents except my children. I use park vouchers for xmas so I wont need to worry about that either. I have also ordered a PAYG sim for when my contract ends.

    Feeling so positive, have started a debt folder to keep track of everything and plot payments etc to keep me motivated. Thanks for all advice
    • tealady
    • By tealady 10th Feb 18, 6:18 PM
    • 2,766 Posts
    • 3,294 Thanks
    tealady
    Hi
    At the risk of sounding negative personally I would not use Park for Christmas.
    Instead couldyou use the money you are giving to themto openup a credit union account instead.
    A few reasons
    1) They pay interest (ok I know it is peanuts but as Mr T says "every little helps"
    2) You can get a loan if you save with them
    3) Credit union funds are covered by banking rules so if they go bust you will get your money (up to 75k I think)

    HTH
    Proud to be an MSE nerd
    Judge people by their achievements, not by their mistakes
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