Friend in Debt - Suggestions on how I can help

edited 8 March 2020 at 3:53PM in Debt free diaries
7 replies 133 views
BizzywizardBizzywizard Forumite
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edited 8 March 2020 at 3:53PM in Debt free diaries
These are my suggestions:
*Switch bank accounts and receive money for doing so -RBS/NATWEST/NATIONWIDE (friend offer). Think Nationwide is the best one as overdraft has the interest free facility, . for the first year, so leaves a bit of breathing room, while paying it down. With the banks putting interest up to 40% on overdrafts in April, this scares me for not only her but a lot of people.
*Use the government save scheme (if on UC/benefits) save up to £50 a month and receive 50p off the government for each £1 saved (offer is for 4 years only). She is keen to do this.
*My MIL thinks that my friend can apply for grants which help her send her kids on the school trips. Does anyone know if this is the case ie The rotary club and other charities. He is on pupil premium, so assumed the school paid/helped out.
*Credit score is bad, so suggested she get a credit building card to pay just her petrol on and pay off the full amount the following month. 
*Hide all the credit cards away and do not use them.I have suggested she leave them at her mum and dads house or puts them in water and puts them in the freezer, so no chance to use them.
* I have suggested she pays her council tax over 12 months not the normal 10. Needs to do this asap.
*I have suggested she needs two bank accounts. One for bills (priority debs), which is the same amount each month and then the rest is to live on for food/haircuts and living.
*Reduce the kids clubs, swimming is a priority, as every kid needs to learn to swim (it could save their life one day). Other clubs should be, knocked on head or ask grandparents to pay, ex husbands parents preferably as they never pay for anything. Explain to the kids that mummy cannot afford it! 
*Let her hair grown and go to the local college for haircuts (they do evenings). Her hair has no grey, so at least she isn't paying for a colour!
*I also think pulling an amount of money/cash out of her bank on payday and using this money over the month for food/drink/cleaning stuff. Think this should be about £200 for her and two young teenagers, but open to how much it could be.
*I know she needs to look through her cupboards, freezer to see what she can use up rather than shop for more food etc, but I haven't said this yet.
Thanks in advance!


  • MSE Old Style...... there is a collection of recipes on there that do not cost a fortune, helps to keep the family fed frugally.
  • BizzywizardBizzywizard Forumite
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    Thanks Deleted_User, how much do you spend on food/drink per month? What size is your family? I will check out the recipes for me and her. My teenager loves to not so much!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    Don't want to be the voice of doom but if your friend's credit history is bad it may not be plain sailing to get a bank account with an overdraft facility.  A basic account should be available to anyone as they don't credit-score for them but they don't offer overdrafts.  It's not so easy to get a 'full' account with the big High Street banks.
  • BlackCoffeeNoSugarBlackCoffeeNoSugar Forumite
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    It's very admirable that you want to help your friend - but if I found out a friend of mine was posting about my private financial situation online, they wouldn't be my friend for much longer! I'd say you have a lot of your own suggestions already, I'd start from there and tread lightly. You don't say whether your friend has actively solicited your advice or not, but either way, starting small and slow is better than being overwhelmed with a huge to-do list. Make sure the current budget balances and go from there. 
    Debt at Nov 2017: £8,619 Debt at Dec 2018: £4,161 Debt at Nov 2019: £0
    A perpetual work in progress. Going, going....still going!
  • edited 8 March 2020 at 3:58PM
    monetxchangemonetxchange Forumite
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    edited 8 March 2020 at 3:58PM
    The first thing she needs to do is ensure she's getting proper maintenance from the children's father. I'm assuming from your post that she has an informal arrangement in place with him, and that clearly hasn't worked. She needs to go formally through the courts to ensure a proper agreement is put in place. It is a legal requirement and it's time he contributed properly. Doesn't have to be nasty or involve his family or emotions at all. He needs to pay for his kids, especially when their mother can't afford too.

    I'd also say she'd be unlikely to be top priority for grants for low income kids - she earns a wage and gets a benefits top up. These schemes are for kids who don't have nearly as much as that. Your friend's problems seem to have come from overspending on a limited income (no criticism, just the reality - we've all been there) and a lack of money management doesn't suddenly make her family as hard up as some.
    Debt Free: 06/03/2020 Highest Debt: £37,514
  • BizzywizardBizzywizard Forumite
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    Thanks Black Coffee - I have edited my above post, to make it more general. 
    Delichom - Looks like a basic account with no overdraft may be a way to go. 
  • edited 8 March 2020 at 4:03PM
    BizzywizardBizzywizard Forumite
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    edited 8 March 2020 at 4:03PM
    Monetxxchange - The courts have been involved and monies agreed, a number of years ago. He was made redundant about 6 months ago, so he said he cannot pay anything. Hence, her being in a pickle now. 
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