Overwhelmed with stupid debt & in desperate need of advice.

Hello everyone,

I posted this originally on Reddit and was recommended to post here too for advice & support. I feel completely overwhelmed and I don't know where to turn.

Here's the situation: I'm drowning in debt.

My first question is - how do I get out of this cycle?

Background: I am bad at managing my finances. I have been up to my eyes in debt a couple of times, and somehow managed to get myself back level through sheer luck. Until about 2 years ago I was in about £15,000 of debt, stressed to the eyeballs, and completely overwhelmed by it. My parents realised that I was struggling and they sat me down for a chat. They looked through the numbers with me and in the end, they decided to take out a bank loan to consolidate my debt (I couldn't get one) and I am paying them back monthly. It was such a relief and I am so grateful for them doing that.

Embarrassingly, over the last 2 years, I have built up the debt again! For no good reason! I can't tell my parents, after what they have already done for me; I am still repaying that debt. I have done some self-reflection and I think it is a form of financial self-sabotage. Where do I turn for help? I can't afford a therapist and there's no chance of seeing anyone via the NHS any time soon. I need to change my mindset and I just can't seem to do it on my own. I have a problem and I need help!

My second question is - how do I deal with the debt? Do I have any options?

I live at home with my parents and pay them a small amount of rent, my car is on PCP (22 months out of 48, almost out of negative equity), and I have numerous credit cards and an unsecured loan.

Here are the numbers:


Loan (was £5,500 at 25% over 42 months)

Balance £4,473.47

PCM: £192.35

CC1 (0% til 26/01/26)

Balance: £4,348.56

Next min payment: £163.07

CC2 (30% interest)

Balance £273.07

Next min payment: £5.00

CC3 (0% til 23/07/24)

Balance: £1,319.78

Next min payment: £35.00

CC4 (0% til 30/08/24)

Balance: £3,449.81

Next min payment: £131.03

PayPal Credit (19.9% interest)

Balance: £1,840.32

Next min payment: £60

Monthly net income: £1,745.47

Monthly outgoings:

Rent - £300

Loan repayments to parents - £315

Food - £150

Car Finance - £295

Car Insurance - £82

Car Tax - £15

Petrol - £65

Gym - £30

I can't get any more credit (rightly so). Not eligible for any loans. And I currently have £527.97 in my Chase savings account.

I got paid today and haven’t spent a penny of it yet. I'm not sure where the best place to spend it is.

Please help… what do I do?

I want to cry.



  • Desmond_Hume
    Desmond_Hume Posts: 68
    First Post
    What’s the outstanding balance of the car finance?

    What are the public transport options like for getting to work?
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,236
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    edited 19 January at 1:08PM
    How have you run up the debt? Expensive toys, clothes, holidays, takeaways and day to day treating yourself? 
    That’s not a criticism but you need to know where it’s going in the first place to start to deal with it. 
    For starters, you’ve got no car maintenance and servicing in there? So what else do you know should be planned that is currently ending up on the credit cards? What’s about entertainment? Mobile phone costs? Those sorts of things? 
    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.
  • Martico
    Martico Posts: 907
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 19 January at 1:24PM
    From a quick sum-up of those accounts, it looks like you are on the edge. 
    Income: 1745
    Fixed costs (incl parent and car loans): 1252
    Unsecured credit minimum payments: 586
    Shortfall: 93
    (Please correct me if I'm wrong on those totals)
    That would kill your current savings within five months.
    And that's before taking any entertainment, phone costs, etc into account. 
    As other have alluded to, it's worth you working out exactly what your other realistic monthly costs are before going any further, I'm sure there must be some
  • Martico
    Martico Posts: 907
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 19 January at 1:27PM
    If your income were a shade over your expenses, I'd suggest using those savings to pay off that high interest rate card that has a balance of 273, but it's not (and I suspect it's a fair way under)
  • sourcrates
    sourcrates Posts: 28,498
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Photogenic
    Paying off outstanding debt, with more debt, just doesn't work, as you have proved.

    Debt management is the likely route for you to take, and probably what you should have done in the first place and saved your folks the hassle of getting a loan, consolidation tends to fail as the debtor keeps repeating the same bad money skills and fails to live within their means.

    You should stop paying your non essential debts, and work out a budget you can live on, then approach one of the debt charities about a debt management plan, then stick to it, and as hard as it may be, don`t take out any more credit.
    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
  • njkmr
    njkmr Posts: 92
    First Post
    Do you have the option to work extra hours?
    Second job even to help your finances and keep you busy. If busy you may be less inclined to spend?
    Cut the cards up and do not use.
    It will be hard but the reality is you need to take the temptation away.
  • stu12345_2
    stu12345_2 Posts: 795
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited 19 January at 2:24PM
    on PCP. you be lucky if you get into positive equity until the final 3 months , if you see it to the end,which will be tiny. usually a tiny amount for a tiny deposit towards a new PCP, that's how it works in general 

    if you go down the debt management plan, include the loan to parents.

    you can get out of PcP if you have paid 50% of grand total including interest,  then hand car back. walk away. I'd say at month 33 to 36 , then enjoy the joys of bangernomics.google it.

    in all my days of owning cars, 38 years, PCP and pch is the worst invention ever, it's an American thing, it's never based on how much you got left till you own the car, it's how much do you pay a month type thing, very American.

    you should be able to continue make your normal PCP payments and  lower payments to your credit cards and loan. in the dmp
    once the PCP is over,( if you see PCP to the 48 months) you don't take out another one,( you won't get one anyway , creditor score will be shot)
    you increase your dmp payments cos you will have less overall monthly expenses.

    so you pay your dmp even faster.
    pay your debt at your rate.not what the creditor demands.cos they have no power.they aren't the police.
  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,424
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Stoptober Survivor
    Well done you for facing it.

    I'm 66 and have always been rubbish at managing my money.  In 1981 I was 24 when my Mum took out a loan to pay off my debts.  I worked full time as a secretary, and two nights a week and all weekend in a pub to pay her back at £100 per month. 

    Unbelievably when I'd paid her off I lapsed into the same pattern of overspending - part of my problem is generosity.  I owed £10K at one point and by this time my Mum had died, my late husband did try to help me control my overspending.  I think he'd told my monster of a MIL, whenever she visited she'd shout 'spending again' if I came home with any type of carrier bag! 

    Start selling some of your things on Ebay/vinted to make your £30 per month for the gym.  Or cancel the gym and start running for free.

    Try and write every single penny you spend in a lined notebook. 

    At the end of each day look at your spending and analyse it. If you are spending £3 at the gym on a coffee, stop that, take a flask.

    Good luck!

    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • stu12345_2
    stu12345_2 Posts: 795
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited 19 January at 2:39PM
    I used to use the council gym £7 a month in 2008. I made my own post workout drink, pure  orange juice diluted with water, a dash of salt , blended with a can of tuna( drained). carbs and protein in the correct balance
    it was a tip I got from an ex natural Mr britain bodybuilder., who was also a  poorly paid window cleaner!
    and I baked my own protein flapjacks, porridge oats, chocolate protein powder,  butter, put in oven, then cut up and take some to work as snacks 
    pay your debt at your rate.not what the creditor demands.cos they have no power.they aren't the police.
  • enthusiasticsaver
    enthusiasticsaver Posts: 15,268
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    There are lots of things in your soa which are not accounted for.

    Mobile telephone
    Car maintenance
    Car parking

    I would suggest you do a detailed soa using the link in my signature putting both the debt and your monthly outgoings in.  As said above you seem to be in shortfall even without the items of expenditure above.  I think that means you need to consider a DMP.  

    You  have debt of £15705 plus the  loan your parents took out for you so that is probably also in the region of £12-13k.  I am not sure what you do about that as technically the debt is not yours if they took it out so cannot be included in the DMP but obviously I am assuming you do not want to default on that.  You may have to manage the DMP yourself as stepchange will not usually manage them where you prioritise debt as you would be if you continued to pay them £315.  For future reference for anyone reading this CONSOLIDATING DEBTS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.  Even worse if someone else is taking out the debt for you as people trick themselves into thinking the debt is dealt with when they consolidate and see all these empty credit cards  when in fact the debt has only been moved not repaid.  There is no incentive to change spending habits and very soon (2 years in your case) the debt builds up again whereas if you had not consolidated you would have been forced to deal with it when it was £15k and not almost £30k as it possibly is now. 

    However you are where you are so the first thing I would do is a forensic search of your accounts to see where this money is being spent.  You don't live in your own home so your outgoings should be low as £300 is low for housing costs. You pay too much each month for your car considering the debt you have so long term you need  to address the fact you cannot afford to buy new cars on PCP which are the worst ways of buying cars. Changing your attitude to spending is not easy but it can be done.  Take a read of some of the debt free diaries on here.  Loads of people have been in your position and come out of it and you will too.  Read this thread for some good ideas on what to do first. In Debt and Wannabe Debt Free? First Steps! - Page 2 — MoneySavingExpert Forum

    In the meantime check your bank account and get rid of any direct debits for subscriptions and things you do not use.  Do you actually go to the gym regularly and is there a cheaper one you can join? Do you take lunch to work from home to save money?  Can you cut back on takeaways, alcohol, eating out etc etc?  Consider maybe starting a debt free diary of your own.  

    Ultimately I think you will need a DMP which means the interest is frozen, you have to default on the cards which will affect your credit record for 6 years until they drop off and you need to do a comprehensive soa where you work out how much you can afford to throw at the debt each month and you get used to living without credit. You would need a basic bank account with no overdraft (do you have an overdraft now?) and it needs to be with a bank you do not owe money to. Normally I would say phone stepchange and they will sort it all out for you but make sure you default on the credit cards and loans first.  The two biggest problems you have though is with the PCP for the car and the loan your parents took out for you.  If you continue to pay those but default on the rest you are prioritising one debt over another as whatever you can afford should be split proportionally between your creditors. For that reason stepchange may not be able to help you but you could ring them anyway. 

    I don't think therapy is what you need.  You know how you got in debt or you will when you look at the bank and credit card statements but having the discipline to not use credit cards means breaking a habit you presumably have had for a while.  Take card details off websites and delete links.  Remove cards from purse or wallet and maybe initially just use cash for weekly spends for food and entertainment etc. Join some no spend challenges or saving challenges on here and long term address the expensive car.  Do you actually need a car? 

    Best of luck and you will get lots of support on here. 

    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free Wannabe, Budgeting and Banking and Savings and Investment 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.
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