I can't quite believe it's got this bad



  • I'm no expert on this (yet:sad:) but isn't there something you can do about the CSA assessment? I presume that their assessment is based on your ex having total custody. If you house your kids three nights each week, can't you apply for maintenance from her, however little that turns out to be, dependent on her circumstances? Obviously, you would need to tread carefully, but in the circumstances, you might well be entitled to nearly half of your money back.

    Just as obviously, if you already have a private arrangement to do just that, then there is nothing to be gained.
  • Hi Talheedin

    Been there - done that! After a messy divorce I personall ran up over £40,000 unsecured debt in 1 year! (1999) What was I doing!!

    CCCS and very supportive friends helped sort me out.


    A CCCS DMP has the HUGE benefit of FREEZING THE INTEREST CHARGES (assuming the lenders agree). This means instead of paying hundreds of pounds per month in interest you will actually reduce your debt by MORE hundreds of pounds! So . . . .
    Go ahead and open a seperate current account then WRECK YOUR CREDIT RATING!! you want no more debt again ever!! There are lenders out there that once things have settled down will still lend you money (just - do you want to borrow any?).

    Also - be honest with the CCCS and express your concerns at some of your income being variable. Interpret your figures for them and discuss what you can afford and why. Theworst thing you can do is to mess up the DMP - where do you go after that?

    Work with CCCS and ride the next 3 months of threatening letters from your creditors BUT KEEP THE TOKEN £1 MONTHLY PAYMENTS GOING!! They WILL roll over and accept what the CCCS advise them to accept.

    This is now where the power comes back - once you are in the DMP make sure to work it correctly, enjoy your new found freedom and earn your way to debt free (except for your mortgage) existence. It took me 5 years of mind bending strictness to become debt free - I am now a saver!!

    There is light at the end of the tunnel. You seem to be successful in your work and things will get easier. At the end of your DMP some of the creditors will settle for lump sum payments which are LESS than you finally owe. Keep a file, work to your budget and good luck.

  • winkle1
    winkle1 Posts: 446 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    just a quick msg to say well done for facing up to it all, Talheedin and keep going with it. the hardest part is starting, it does get easier.

    good luck.

    Reclaimed my bank charges - got £250 back from HSBC and £88 from First Direct :)
  • weegie_2
    weegie_2 Posts: 312 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Just wanted to add how fantastic this thread is and it has inspired me to also sort my debts out. I've kinda slipped in the last few years and while I don't have enormous debts I know that I am sitting on about £3,000 with the credit cards and I need to sort this out now before it gets anyworse. I am also heavily into my overdraft and need this sorted. I have started - became a regular on the oldstylemoneysaving and started to make my own meals. This has saved me a lot already and I'm enjoying it. Also - do subscribe to freecycle. I picked up a babycarrier last week and a dolls house for my wee girl. Both in fantastic condition and it didn't cost me a penny. I now refuse to buy the outside paint I need for my garage as I know it may just turn up on freecycle!

    It's so easy to fall into debt these days. I came from a family of 5 and we just cut our cloth accordingly when I was growing up....and we were happy! I'm appalled that knowing this, I have let things slip in my household. No more! Keep your chin up Talheedin, and well done for taking the first steps....
  • Hi Talheedin,

    I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet but find out if your employer is part of the government Child care voucher scheme. If you have a registered childminder or use a nursery you can buy vouchers from your work and use these vouchers to pay your carer.
    Based on your income and child care costs of £44 per month you could save £15 per month!
    As others have said before this may seem like a drop in the ocean but there are a fare few drops already posted here and we must be adding up to at least a couple of swimming pools by now.
    There are a few different schemes which 'run' the Child care vouchers.
    This is the one my company uses.
    https://www.care-4.co.uk You can check out how much you will save for yourself on the calculator link at the top.
    Good luck.
  • Prudent
    Prudent Posts: 11,448 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Just scrolled through the thread as a bit rushed this afternoon. I think you are entitled to compensation from the csa. They have 28 days to do do an assessment from the point your form reaches them. They never do assessments in this time. When your assessment comes through you can ask your case officer for a form to claim compensation for missed payments. I did this and got all of the money back that I missed out on. There is a time limit for applications, but if you were misinformed I would hope they would waive this.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2024 CROFT Crafting: £80/300, R (visiting daughter): £145/£500 Outside activities: £103/244 (Allotment), Outside 2 (Mud monsters et al) £127 F(Family visits): £50/500 Tummy (food budget): Aiming to use full budget monthly of £200
  • Well done on facing up to your problems.
    Your spending diary must be used for every penny spent and studied in detail with your partner once weekly. Any spends which cannot be justified must not be repeated.
    Daily newspapers etc are not essential and can go.
    You've agreed to halt the money put into children's saving and Egg savings - good - but how much have you already got in family savings? There's no point having savings earning 4% and paying 16% on debts.
    I'm worried by your comment "But deep down I know there'll be the temptation to just get this or that. And temptation will lead to purchase!". You have to understand that those days have gone. When you have sorted out the mess you will probably be free of the 'must have' mentality.
    Good luck!
  • Lu_T
    Lu_T Posts: 906 Forumite

    Just thought I'd give you some tips about reducing your water and energy bills.

    Call Yorks Water and ask them to send you a Water Hippo. This is a bag full of some kind of silicone which you put in your toilet cistern (ask for one for each toilet). It operates in the same way as new low-flush toilets in that it reduces the amount of water used per flush. With 7 people in the house this must be a lot of times!

    Get dripping taps fixed, they waste hundreds of litres each year and it's all costing you.

    Also, don't let the water run when you brush your teeth. This could be wasting a lot of water too.

    Don't put the sprinkler on your garden. They can use as much as a family of four's daily use in just ONE HOUR! You can use washing up water to water plants, pots and hanging baskets, as long as it isn't too soapy.

    Showers use way less water than baths, try to keep them short and sweet (while staying clean!). Better still, share a bath (and talk about something other than money).

    Think about water consumption when you're looking at that washing machine and try to hang wshing on a clothes horse rather than use a tumble drier. I know some things may need to go in (kid's clothes if you're desperate for them) but this doesn't mean the whole load has to.

    Leaving things on standby is costing you money. Turn things off at the button, this includes TVs, videos, sky boxes etc. Also, turn off your PC monitor at the switch so this doesn't use energy overnight.

    Is your house energy-efficient? I know this might look like spending not saving, but good insulation can save loads on a heating bill, especially if the family is at home through the day and needs the heating on in winter.

    Take a look at the Energy Saving Trust website as there could be more things you could do, or, better still, grants available to help out with the insulation.


    Hope this all helps.

    Lu T
    MSE Parent Club Member #1
    Yummy slummy mummy club member
    50% slummy, 50% mummy, 100% proud
    Imogen born Boxing Day 2006
    Alex born 13 July 2009
  • Frugal_Fox
    Frugal_Fox Posts: 1,002 Forumite
    Hi Talheedin,

    Joined this thread from Martin Lewis' link. Your post where you said you 'felt picked on' made me smile - not from malice, but its because that's exactly how I first felt after I posted my SOA. We owed a lot of money too, and I could see NO way out of it. I was considering selling our home, using the equity to wipe the debt, rent and then once straight look to start buying again.

    I'm about 2 years on, my debt has halved from its highest point. We live very frugally - hence my username, but our life is better than ever. We are more aware of the 'demands' on us as consumers - just how many adverts are on tv, radio, magazines, papers, bill boards trying to tempt us?!!

    There is light at the end of the tunnel. You are half way there. You have realised there is a problem, and that it half the battle. Your wife seems to have been money sensible already, thats a great start. She seems sympathetic too - wonderful.

    I no longer pay money towards my childrens savings. I will do, once our future is secure and we are debt free.

    Keep posting here - and in a few months time, you will find yourself responding to someone else's SOA saying ' you don't need that' or ' you're paying too much for that'!!

    Well done for posting here. Keep going and keep us informed.

    "A simple life freely chosen is a source of strength. Do not be pursuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford." Quaker Faith & Practice 1.02.41
  • kfn1502
    kfn1502 Posts: 22 Forumite
    I have also read this thread from the link in this week's chat forum. I want to reassure you that working with the CCCS will be fine. They are an excellent, reputable organisation and they will not charge you for a DMP. Lots of other posters have reassured you on this, and it is very true. I work as a volunteer Personal Budget Counsellor, to help people move from financial chaos to financial stability. I'm linked with Stewardship Credit Action, who are also linked with CCCS.

    You might find it helpful to work alongside a personal budget counsellor, as well as with CCCS, if there is one in your area. Contact Credit Action (see http://www.creditaction.org.uk/) to see if they can link you up with someone. Many people can sort themselves out (that's obvious by the posts in this forum) but other people need some hand-holding to get them through it. CCCS will help you work out a budget and a repayment plan (DMP), but your personal budget counsellor can help you to implement your budget and ensure that you can stick to the spending plan.

    One other thing which I have found to be enormously helpful when I work with my clients is introducing them to Microsoft Money - a financial software package. It takes a little while to set it up and learn to use it, but once it is set up you can not only see where you are NOW with your spending but you can anticipate your spending for a period of time in advance (I always look at 28 days in advance). Every one of my clients who is using Money is doing brilliantly with their finances - including one person whose total income is £160.30 per fortnight. He now has over £200 in the bank and is not going without. (Please note: if you consider using Money software, then shop around using kelkoo or another shopbot to get it cheap. I bought the copies which I give to my clients for £12.50 on special offer!)

    The best thing about sorting out your finances is the freedom you will have to deal with other issues in your life AND you will no longer suffer the worry, anxiety, depression etc which typifies the life of the person who is in debt.

    Please be encouraged to continue to sort out your finances. And since your wife is the good money manager, encourage her to take control of the family finances BUT you work together to plan the budget and you decide together before spending anything which is not in the budget.

    I wish you all the very best in the weeks and months (and years!) ahead. Until your meeting with the CCCS, keep your spending to an absolute minimum and follow some of the ideas which have already been mentioned in this thread.
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