Applying for DRO - concerns over expenses

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Hi Folks,

Occasional guest, first time poster. I'd like to apologise for the length here, It may be ranty, but I am in need of advice!

I've been in debt for about 6-7 years now. It seems to keep going up, every time I get somewhere I fall into old habits.

I've been with DFH for about 4 years, paying up to £200 towards the debts, but also had a credit card on the go in the meantime.
Problem is I've been paying as much as I can to the card, and then having to use it to buy groceries etc.

I decided yesterday to move to a free DMP provider, after all, why throw good money away when I'm trying to pay off bad money. Speaking to Stepchange/CCCS, we reviewed my outgoings and I was advised that a DRO would be far more appropriate.

I was nearly in tears, as she read out what is considered "normal" for living expenses. A Two adult, 1 pet household, can reasonably be expected to be spending £300-£340 a month on housekeeping, as well as a small, modesst allowance for clothing, transport etc.

Turns out, after "normal" expenses, I should have about £25-£30 disposable income... How on Eartth have I found nearly £300 a month for debt payments/credit card etc?

Then I thought, well, I have been budgeting about £150 a month for food for the three of us, and I've been using the card to cover part of that. I remembered how last week my jeans split. I had literally no other pants so I had to embrace the open crotch and wear them while I bought a new pair for a fiver. I was actually HAPPY that I had new pants for the next month or two. I remembered my mum has been giving us £60 a month towards a HP sofa because we nothing to sit on.

Anyway, I'm awaiting details and application paperwork for the DRO, but as I look through what many consider normal expenses, I can't see myself ever spending so much on groceries.

My question (after a rambling intro, sorry), is does it really matter what the money goes on as long as the total is below the "usual" budget? If we decided to only spend £200 on household next month, which isn't a lot, but is far more than what we'd normally spend, is it ever going to be audited or anything? What if we wanted to have a weekend at the beach in summer, and we spent £30 on the train to get there, is that extravagant?


My wife isn't working, and because my income isn't considered "low" (I earn 22.8k a year) we aren't entitled to any kind of benefits or the sort. I'm so sick of not being able to buy nice things (and to me, "nice" means a new pair of shoes, or some new t-shirts from Primark, not a new games console!), and always counting the pennies, and working all hours is finally making me physically ill.
I've paid more in fees, and interest than the debt as ever for. The biggest loan was a joint loan with my first wife. I haven't spoken to her for 6 years, and have made every damned payment on it since. Our dog is epileptic, and it breaks my wife's heart that we can't afford vet bills. We have pet insurance, but the excess is nearly what I was paying DFH each month.

Does anyone else have experience with DRO?

As the sole earner in a 2 person household, earning 22.8k. I have debts of about 8,000, with a possible £1300 to be added from a business account. I don't want the agent to decide I earn too much :(

Comments

  • National_Debtline
    National_Debtline Posts: 7,998 Organisation Representative
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    Hello there.

    My question (after a rambling intro, sorry), is does it really matter what the money goes on as long as the total is below the "usual" budget? If we decided to only spend £200 on household next month, which isn't a lot, but is far more than what we'd normally spend, is it ever going to be audited or anything? What if we wanted to have a weekend at the beach in summer, and we spent £30 on the train to get there, is that extravagant?

    There are guideline figures for which our clients' budgets have to adhere to in order to ensure that a DRO would be a viable option. As you've found out the figures are generally quite reasonable. We've found that some commercial fee-charging firms will expect their clients to live on far less although the legitimate commercial firms will use exactly the same gideline figures as ourselves or Stepchange.

    I guess it's down to the individual what they actually spend their money on - but do bear in mind that reasonable amounts are allowed for travelling, sundries and even hobbies/socialising. What's important is that a budget is reasonable - and accurate. it would be completely unrealistic to expect anyone under a DRO to stay at home for twelve months but at the same time we often have to make clear that many of our clients may need to make sacrifices.

    Hope this helps!

    David @ NDL.
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
  • debt_doctor
    debt_doctor Posts: 4,595 Forumite
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    Hi,
    If you were to spend £500 per month on housekeeping it would not cause any issues with your DRO.

    DD
    Debt Doctor, Debt caseworker, Citizens' Advice Bureau .
    Impartial debt advice services: Citizens Advice Bureau Find your local CAB *** National Debtline - Tel: 0808 808 4000*** BSC No. 100 ***
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