Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • inwayovermyhead
    • By inwayovermyhead 13th May 18, 1:37 PM
    • 1Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Drowning in debt and struggling to cope
    • #1
    • 13th May 18, 1:37 PM
    Drowning in debt and struggling to cope 13th May 18 at 1:37 PM

    I'm really sorry if I have posted this in the wrong place.

    To try and keep it as short as possible here goes.

    Was with my husband for 15 years, we struggled for a few years, he had terrible credit and I helped by getting a large loan in my name for him. Car broke down and needed fixing amongst other things.

    Not long after he left me for someone else with my 3 children, he kicked me out and moved her in and wanted me to take the kids with me. His new girlfriend is barely older than my eldest so I don't think he wanted kids around.

    I was left homeless with 3 children no money from him, I moved in with my mum for a while until I saved up money for a deposit, first months rent and fees for a little house for us to live in. Its close to work and school so no travel expenses.
    I moved in with nothing so I felt like my only option was to furnish the house using credit cards. I didn't go overboard, just bought everything we needed, beds for my kids, fridge, washing machine etc. I didn't even get a bed for me. I sleep on the sofa.
    Anyway I thought I would be able to manage to pay off the cards and the loan but I can't. I'm struggling so much its affecting my life. I can't sleep, I can't eat and I feel like I'm not being a good mum to my kids because i'm just so down all the time.

    With one of my debts I just couldn't afford to pay, I contacted them to see if I could set up an arrangement with them, they said no and told me to contact someone called step change.

    I've had a look into it and looked into some stories and forums etc but its just a minefield, there is so much contradicting information. One person says one whilst on another site someone says something else and I'm just lost.

    I put my details into the website and it says someone will call me to discuss.
    Do I need to do anything in the meantime? On one forum someone was saying to cancel all your direct debits for your creditors whilst its being sorted out. I assume that can't be right? That terrifies me. Another website said not to do that. What do I do?

    I don't want to get any deeper into debt but that is all that is happening at the moment, i'm paying off all my debts with my wages and then using credit cards to essentially live off because there is nothing left.
    Debts are around £20,000

    Any help or advice would really be appreciated. Apologies that it is actually way longer than expected.

    Thank you in advance
Page 1
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 13th May 18, 1:59 PM
    • 16,400 Posts
    • 15,512 Thanks
    • #2
    • 13th May 18, 1:59 PM
    • #2
    • 13th May 18, 1:59 PM
    I don't want to get any deeper into debt but that is all that is happening at the moment, i'm paying off all my debts with my wages and then using credit cards to essentially live off because there is nothing lef
    Debts are around £20,000
    Originally posted by inwayovermyhead
    .........And this is why you should stop paying all your unsecured, non priority debts straight away.

    Relax, you have posted in the right place.

    Bills are paid in the following order :

    Rent or Mortgage,
    Council Tax,
    food and utility bills,
    consumer credit debts come last,

    especially when you are so tight for money, why would you pay these non priority debts and not leave yourself enough money for living expenses ?

    Stepchange are a free to use debt charity, who work in conjunction with this website, they will be able to advise you on your options, but for now, as a first step, stop paying money you cannot afford, write and tell your creditors you are in financial difficulty, tell them you are taking advice from stepchange, all your accounts will be frozen for at least 30 days automatically, to give you some breathing space.

    In reality, you can take as long as it takes to sort yourself out, there is always a solution, you will be advised which one is best for you, then given advice on how to proceed.

    Do not worry about creditors, please do some research, debt collection can take many, many months, even years, so nothing is going to happen anytime soon.

    There is always a solution to a debt problem, be it a :

    DMP, (debt management plan)
    DRO, (debt relief order)
    IVA, (Individual voluntary arrangement)
    or Bankruptcy,

    and once you know that, then what is there to fear ?
    Last edited by sourcrates; 13-05-2018 at 2:22 PM.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".

    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to Any views are mine and not the official line of

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    • Karonher
    • By Karonher 13th May 18, 2:06 PM
    • 536 Posts
    • 2,192 Thanks
    • #3
    • 13th May 18, 2:06 PM
    • #3
    • 13th May 18, 2:06 PM
    Is your ex paying towards the children? What was the arrangement with the house? It would be one thing him keeping the house to keep a roof over the children's heads, but another if they are thrown out as well.

    Once you have sorted the priority debts, speak to someone about what his contribution should be.
    Getting ready for Christmas 2019

    Aiming to make £5,000 online in 2019.
    • mumofthetwins
    • By mumofthetwins 13th May 18, 2:07 PM
    • 1,042 Posts
    • 4,027 Thanks
    • #4
    • 13th May 18, 2:07 PM
    • #4
    • 13th May 18, 2:07 PM
    Ah Hun sorry to read this but didn't want to just read and run as I have been in the same position when my ex decided to leave albeit he never kicked me out .. it's such a tough time financially and emotionally.
    Have you arranged maintenance payments for the children yet .. if not do so ASAP .. please don't let him get away with not paying his responsibilities.
    Also do you not have furniture in the house even the things from the kids old bedrooms, could you organise for someone to collect and hopefully that could help you and the kids settle and be a little more comfortable.
    Also are you claiming all the bennifits that you are entitled to .. as a single parent you will get reduced council tax and possibly tax credits depending on your income.
    I know it can be really hard but don't let him take from you and the kids ... please make sure you get what you are entitled to .. I have friends who struggle everyday as "they don't want a penny from him", but I always figured it's the kids that miss out . and the older they get the more they cost .. you could even try CAB for some advice.
    Sorry no advice on step change as 8 haven't used them but chin up petal .. youll get to a couple of years from now and it's all on the up x
    Good luck Hun .. Lisa x
    July £0/£17100
    June £2400/£19500 Murphy £500/£500
    May £3085/£23042
    April £1266/£25843 STF £1500/£1500
    MFW OP 2018 £600/£1600
    • zippygeorgeandben
    • By zippygeorgeandben 13th May 18, 9:07 PM
    • 962 Posts
    • 1,325 Thanks
    • #5
    • 13th May 18, 9:07 PM
    • #5
    • 13th May 18, 9:07 PM
    sourcrates I have said it before and I will say it again. You really are a credit to this forum.
    Savings End November 2018 £2267.13
    September 2018 £986.09
    October 2018 £1254.04
    November 2018 £27.00
    December 2018
    January 2019
    • NeverendingDMP
    • By NeverendingDMP 13th May 18, 9:49 PM
    • 236 Posts
    • 949 Thanks
    • #6
    • 13th May 18, 9:49 PM
    • #6
    • 13th May 18, 9:49 PM
    It's true sourcrates is wonderful.
    Also stepchange are nice and not scary. I too contacted debts to ask for payment breaks mortgage holidays etc when having our twins- little people numbers 2 and 3. Everyone said no until I had missed payments but one mentioned ringing stepchange. I'm now on something called a debt management plan or DMP. Basically I have a budget of what I need to safely live on and the rest goes to debts. The people you owe money to all get a percentage each of what if anything is left over. Things like council tax arrears etc get the first pickings and loans and credit cards get last dibs. There are lots of different options to pick from and they will advise you. It feels so scary wrong etc to miss those first payment but sourcrates is right. You need a roof over your head, clothes for the kids and food in all of your bellies. It is okay to say no to paying the debts whilst you get a plan in place. Stepchange is free, nice and will talk you through it and do the legwork or lots of friendly people on here will guide you and tell you which thread has template letters on for contacting creditors yourself. I know you will have lots of things to sort out with regards to children and ex as well so good luck and best wishes. Keep posting for help though and try not to get to freaked out by it all.
    35,213 - Jan 2018, 29522 remaining.
    Mortgage 77230- Jan 2018
    74381 remaining.
    Emergency fund 174
    Make 2019- 51.51/2019
    1% challenge 15%
  • National Debtline
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 10:00 AM
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 10:00 AM
    Hi there and welcome to the forum

    Well done on taking the first steps to deal with your debts. It can seem daunting but there is lots of help and support available for you. One of the debt advice agencies, such as StepChange, will give you free and impartial advice on the best way to deal with your debts.

    Don't worry about stopping payments towards your unsecured credit debts, it's important to do this when the debts are not affordable. As sourcrates mentions you can ask them all to put your debts on hold for 30 days, you can find a sample letter to do that here

    Make sure you are banking somewhere you have no debts, this will prevent any creditors being able to take money from your bank account. I'd also echo some of the advice above, check you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to (you can do that here and find out how much child maintenance you should be receiving by getting some informal advice from Child Maintenance Options (you can call them on 0800 988 0988). Good luck with everything.

    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
  • StepChange_Rachael
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 12:04 PM
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 12:04 PM
    I came across your post, hope you donít mind me replying.

    Iím sorry to hear that youíre going through such a difficult situation but glad to hear youíve been able to get some good advice from the forum.

    I can see youíve mentioned contacting us on our website and at StepChange we're happy to help you find a way forward and support you to find a debt solution.

    I know youíve mentioned youíre waiting for a call back from us but if you'd like to contact us sooner you can find our contact details here.

    Take care,
    I work as a debt advisor for StepChange Debt Charity and have specific permission from Martin to post on these boards to try and help those in debt. Read more information on StepChange Debt Charity in the Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help article. If you find you're struggling with debt and you need further help try our online advice facility Debt Remedy.

    Don't be afraid of getting debt advice. We'll help you take one more step towards getting help with your debt.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

717Posts Today

7,399Users online

Martin's Twitter