I can’t afford to get to work

I don’t know what to do - I am £20K in debt after leaving an abusive relationship and putting everything in credit cards to get out but that was 6 years ago and it’s all caught up with me.
I had always managed to get 0% interest credit cards and shift my debt from one card to the other but since covid there doesn’t seem to be any of those available so I’m not paying interest in 2 credit cards, my rent has increased, bills gone up and I have no savings.
Im in a situation now where I’ve faked illness so I can WFH and not have to travel as I can’t afford the train ticket.
I have no family and no one to lean on and I genuinely don’t know what to do.

Should I speak to a debt help agency? But I’ve heard they’re a bit like loan sharks so I’m stuck beyond belief.

Begging (excuse the pun) for any help! 🙏


  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,234
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    It’s only the paid debt agency as you need to be wary of. A charity such stepchange (there are others) are fine to use.
    But as a starting point, you could put your statement of affairs up on here for people to look at and make suggestions?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Rob5342
    Rob5342 Posts: 1,325
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    edited 26 October 2023 at 8:16AM
    Stepchange, Payplan and National debtline are all ok. Stepchange's DMP approach means you can spend a lot more on your debts and have a credit report that is harmed for a lot longer than it needs to be, but they aren't like loan sharks. What you need to avoid is places like moneyplusadvice who charge enormous fees for things that can be done free elswhere or on your own (they present themselves as a debt advice service but hidden away on their website they list a load of fees).

    As elsien says if you post a statement of affairs then people can make suggestions. If it wasn't for the debt would you have enough to live on?
  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 20,744
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    Your costs for travel to work are a priority payment - they need to be prioritised along with your mortgage or rent, council tax, utility bills (heat, light, water, ability to cook), anything payable to HMRC and food. You need to travel to work to get paid, you need to get paid to pay everything else, therefore = priority - does that make sense?   Right now, this means that if you need to stop paying unsecured debt in order to cover those priority bills, then that is what you do. 

    I'd "third" the suggestion for you to prepare and post a statement of affairs here - there is a link in my signature below to one of the calculators we recommend for this. We can then take a look at this and see if there are any areas where savings can be made that you might not have spotted - when you're already in a bit of a panic it's easy to miss things sometimes! We also might be able to make suggestions as to how best to tackle the debt.

    Above all though, well done for having  the bravery and strength to leave the abusive relationship. That is a huge thing, and regardless of how stressful things are financially now as a result, was still the right thing too. Remind yourself how strong you are for doing that.
    🎉 MORTGAGE FREE (First time!) 30/09/2016 🎉 And now we go again…New mortgage taken 01/09/23 🏡
    Balance as at 01/09/23 = £115,000.00
    Balance as at 31/12/23 = £112,000.00
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  • sourcrates
    sourcrates Posts: 28,493
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    Don`t prioritise paying silly credit cards etc over your essential debts, all unsecured borrowing is non priority and the last to be paid when things are tight, if the money isn`t there, it doesn't get paid, its that simple.

    You need to look after number one now, never mind the debts, they can wait.
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free wannabe, Credit file and ratings, and Bankruptcy and living with it boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.For free non-judgemental debt advice, contact either Stepchange, National Debtline, or CitizensAdviceBureaux.Link to SOA Calculator- https://www.stoozing.com/soa.php The "provit letter" is here-https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/2607247/letter-when-you-know-nothing-about-about-the-debt-aka-prove-it-letter
  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,178
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    I'll add another couple of names (3?) to that list.

    Citizens advice have no product to sell so will be impartial and free. Usefulness of advice will vary depending on who you get but there's no downside and they remain the largest provider of DROs in the country

    Christians Against Poverty take quite a hands- on approach which suits many people. They are church based, the local reps are not highly trained because the expertise is at Head Office, nevertheless they help a lot of people.

    Community Money Advice are similarly usually church based but the person you contact will generally be a debt adviser. You can check if they have a branch near you.
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