Former Gambler Needs Help With Debt

I'll post the full story here because from reading some of the other stories I know I wont be judged and my tale might help some others in a similar situation.

I have been making living through gambling for about five years and, despite a few ups and downs, I made a reasonable amount of money. However about twelve months ago my luck (or judgement) changed and, as is typical of gamblers, I went chasing my losses. All this did is dig me in to a deeper and deeper pit of debt and despair.

Six weeks ago I recognised that I couldn't continue chasing bad money any more. I was mired in debt and my relationship with a fantastic woman is hanging by a thread. As a result of all this I have started to attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings and am resolved never to return to that life again. I am looking for a full-time job and have a temp job starting next week.

i have put in place a couple of short term borrowing measures to buy me some time but I could really do with some advice of how to start to face the realities of my debt. My current debts are as follows:

£7000 Overdraft with bank
£12000 Loan with bank (1st payment deferred until September) £240 PCM
£10000 Loan with loan company £200 PCM
£15000 Credit Card (0% until Nov 2005)
£10000 Credit Card (0% until Nov 2005)

In total my debts are around £55000.

I have around £25000 equity in my house but would prefer not to have to sell it. I would consider remortgaging if I can find a lender that will give me a loan (I'd need around £110,000 to release all of the available equity). The temp job I am starting next week only pays around £900 PCM but I'm optimistic that I will be able to get a full-time job within a 2-4 months which should pay around £25-30K PA

My current household outgoings excluding the above are around £1050 PCM. Up until recently my credit rating was very good with lenders but I've just been rejected on a 0% credit card offer. I'm not sure if this is because of the number of credit cards and loans I've recently applied for.

I'd appreciate any help or guidance you can give me, in particular what options are open to me.

Thanks all.


  • Malestrom
    Malestrom Posts: 983 Forumite
    Firstly, well done for facing up to your gambling problem, its a big step!

    Secondly, you were probably refused the latest 0% credit card because you already have a high amount of debt - £25,000 on CC's alone. Also, although you may not have known it, there's a good chance that the CC you applied for is managed by the same company as one of your existing ones. MBNA cover a lot of varying cards for example.

    Thirdly, £900 PCM isn't enough to service your household outgoings, never mind your debts. Earning 25k a year will only net you about £1500 PCM, depending on pension payments, etc, and this will only just cover your two loans and minimum payments on the CC's if you're lucky. What sort of interest are you paying on the overdraft I wonder? You may be better off trying to re-finance the bank loan to include the overdraft, as it will almost certainly be at a better interest rate. I'm guessing that this is what the third 0% CC was for?

    My advice would be to post your full budget on here. We'll try and help you squeeze some more money out of it to put towards your debts. You need to earn more money ASAP so taking a second part-time job may be worth thinking about until you secure that full-time job.

    I wouldn't recommend remortgaging at this stage, you'll be securing the debt against your property and failure to pay your mortgage for any reason could result in repossession. Also, you don't have enough equity to make a sufficient difference to your debt in my opinion.
    He huihuinga taangata he pukenga whakaaro – A meeting of people; a wellspring of ideas (Maori proverb)
  • feefee_3
    feefee_3 Posts: 111 Forumite
    hello my husband is also a gambler we had to remorgage but we where lucky we only had a small morgage £36.000 and we have remorgage for £72.000 at 7% keep going to ga here is what we have done to cut the bills

    internet provider £24 cut this down to £17 slower speed but still broad band
    get a smaller car if you need a car,but walk to the corner shop ect
    no more big nites out, we get a free video from the libary
    if you have sky tv, you can cut the package down or get rid of it
    try a cheaper supermarket,of shop late when you get reduced
    see who is the best gas elkectric provider and swap
    1899 for cheaper telephone calls
    take a packed lunch to work
    dont buy a newspaper petty but every little helps

    if you have a spare room get a lodger,if you work days you could do delivery for takeaways, good luck keep going to ga my life is much happier now,cause what money we have left is our money and not the bookies,remorgage was the only option I had as we had a secured loan on house we couldnt pay I read martins money diet borrowed from the libary, ther is other avenues to clear the debt
    Named after my cat, picture coming shortly
  • Debt_Free_Chick
    Debt_Free_Chick Posts: 13,276 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    My current household outgoings excluding the above are around £1050 PCM.

    Can you post the breakdown? It looks rather high and we may be able to find you some areas to cut-back on. This could provide much needed short term cash to make your debt repayments.

    Beware though ... you may have to compromise on certain luxuries - you may think they're essentials, but let us take a look and give you some suggestions.
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • Bogart
    Bogart Posts: 23 Forumite
    Thanks for the support so far.

    I am looking at how I can cut my household budget so here it is for those who can suggest ways to help.

    Mortgage £520
    Community Charge £55
    Electric £25
    Gas £30
    Water £29
    TV Licence £11
    Home Telephone £13
    Mobile Telephone £10 (PAYG)
    Sky £41
    Broadband £29
    Petrol £100
    Shopping (food/ cleaning stuff, etc) £120
    Car Insurance £60 (Paid in full to December but need to start saving for renewal)
    Car Tax £20 (Renews in December)

    Total £1053

    Any suggestions regarding how to reduce this will be gratefully received. I am going to cut back on the Sky package and shop around for a new internet provider. When I renew the car insurance I will most likely go for TPFT rather than fully comp (my car isn't worth much >£2000 and I am fairly rural so need it for current and future work)

    I am well aware that my current temp job pays well below what I need to start to make a dent in the debt I've built up (and doesn't even cover my actual outgoings) but at the moment I have no income at all apart from £50 p/w unemployment benefit. Once I get a full time job this could increase to around £1400-1600 per month which should give me enough to live on and make some contribution to my creditors.

    I am hoping to raise around £2,000 in eBay sales of stuff I have but don't need/ use any more. Not much but it will help me to make a couple of repayments on the cards/ loans and buy me a bit more time to come up with a more workable solution.

    Can anyone advise the best way to approach the creditors to encourage them to freeze interest and take a lower monthly repayment? Bearing in mind that for most of them what they are seeing is very recent debt in the form of balance transfers. Would it benefit me to open a new bank account to have any future salary paid in to considering my current bank are about to learn that I am a poor financial risk with around £20,000 debt with them?

    Thanks for your help. It feels good to know that there are people out there who want to give support despite the way in which I've got myself in this mess.

    I am going to be away for a couple of days on a training course (back on Friday) so I wont be able to reply immediately to any questions or comment, but anything anyone can add will be very gratefully received.
  • Lucie_2
    Lucie_2 Posts: 1,482 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I think you've already spotted the main areas to cut back - Sky TV & ISP/Broadband. Often ringing sky to cancel results in them offering you half price for 3 months. Doesn't work every time, but might be worth a try. Have you read Martin's article about changing utilities provider? It might shave a bit off your gas/electric/water. Are you on a water meter? £29 sounds high to me - mine is only £11 per month.
    Your council tax looks quite low? Do you live alone & claim the 25% discount?
    Not sure you can get much lower than £10 a month on a PAYG mobile, but maybe try to make it last an extra week each time you top up?
    You might be able to cut you home phone a bit by using a cheap call provider, but I presume £10.50 of that £13 is BT line rental?
    Have a look at Moneysaving Old Style for tips on cutting back on supermarket spending.

    Ebay selling is a great idea - if you can't spend less then you need to make more money. Make sure you are strict with yourself about using the proceeds to pay off your debts. Another option is a part time job - bar work one or two nights a week or delivery driver for the local takeaway? 2nd jobs are not for everyone, but it might help out til you get sorted out.
  • bigfella_3
    bigfella_3 Posts: 16 Forumite
    don't know much about the getting out of debt, but all the best with the getting the disease of gambling, once was a gambler myself. when you get the urge just remember your bookie doesnt care about how sick/poor/sad you feel, but your family and loved ones do.
    Keep it cheap!!
  • Debt_Free_Chick
    Debt_Free_Chick Posts: 13,276 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Bogart wrote:
    Can anyone advise the best way to approach the creditors to encourage them to freeze interest and take a lower monthly repayment? Bearing in mind that for most of them what they are seeing is very recent debt in the form of balance transfers.

    A step-by-step guide in this Self-Help Pack from the National Debtline.
    Would it benefit me to open a new bank account to have any future salary paid in to considering my current bank are about to learn that I am a poor financial risk with around £20,000 debt with them?

    A wise precautionary measure - do it :)

    Post back with any questions - good luck
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • deemy2004
    deemy2004 Posts: 6,201 Forumite
    Just out of curisosity.. what form did your gambling take ?
  • citygal
    citygal Posts: 67 Forumite
    Wow- I really admire you for being honest with yourself and that you want to change thats BRILLIANT :j !
    I agree with what others said- cut back on luxuries (Hey, this is a former Gucci gal speaking so I know how tough it can be! :eek: )

    -Sell as much as you can on e-bay
    -I would get rid of SKY if I were you as well
    -Have you thought about doing nightshift work as well?? Say at a Petrol station at the weekends, or as others have said take out deliveries etc etc
    Debt /Overdraft/Everything Free December 2007 :j
  • Bubba
    Bubba Posts: 212 Forumite
    Just been reading your post - I am also a former gambler. 12 weeks ago I admitted to my husband that I had been gambling and my total debt was £45,000.

    I was recommended to a company who specialise in IVAs, and just about to complete. They are proposing to my creditors that I can only raise £30,000 as that is the most money I can raise - we are re-mortgaging.

    Although IVA's can last for 5 years, my IVA will last for 1 year as I am paying off a lump sum. I personally would recommend an IVA, although we were lucky in a sense that we had quite a bit of equity in our property so we could re-mortgage.

    I wish you well in however you deal with your debts, I know how stressfull both debts and the addiction for gambling is.
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