Let's talk about debt

26 February 2020

If you're not in any kind of debt then you're into some kind of witchcraft and need to teach me your spells because I am drowning. Talking about money is typically uncouth for us Brits, it's rude to ask people how much they earn, save and owe etc. and, in general people don't really want to talk about debt because there's a sense of shame about being unable to afford to live but statistically, 34% of UK children are living in poverty. The World Bank and the UN define poverty as "being unable to afford to basic needs of life including food, shelter and clothes etc." but poverty can have several different meanings basing in various factors such as people's standards of living being somewhat subjective as well as income vs material essentials. This makes drawing the poverty line difficult and fitting poor b*stards like me into the right category a tough job.

I wouldn't say that me and Freddo live in poverty at all, we struggle (I say we but he doesn't have a clue, he's 2) and when I say struggle I mean that I pay my council tax via the bailiffs because I cannot afford both and every few months I'll end up with a tenner pop up on my credit card and I feel like I've won the lottery. When I had that Stroke (that I haven't mentioned for a while) in 2019, I asked my partner (at the time) to take over managing our finances: ensuring bills were paid on time and keeping on top of things because my brain was too broken to stress over the bills. I had complete confidence that he was doing this and it wasn't until he decided to move in with his girlfriend *sips tea* that I very soon found that he hadn't paid a penny (of anything) and Steve from Bristow & Sutor was soon banging on my door and eyeing up my TV. Turns out Steve was a gem and gave me some time to try and work something out. 

It wasn't long before I realised that the rent hadn't been paid and we were half a year behind on the utilities and I started to panic, and what do people do when they're in a financial panic...they bury their heads in the sand of course. After speaking with a friend who signposted me to Stepchange I started to feel hopeful that this pit of debt that I had been dumped in was escapable but I needed help. The first step was admitting that I was drastically financially f*cked and cutting back on things I couldn't justify spending money on like high end make-up *sobs* Costa coffees every day *sobs uncontrollably* and working out how much money I have coming in and how much I have going out - it turned out that even if I could stick to offered repayment plans and pay my current bills I wouldn't be able to afford smartprice bog roll so I chugged a glass of wine (that I couldn't afford) and thought of another plan of action. 

Which was obviously reaching out for a sugar daddy in twitter, just kidding (kind of). I looked at the StepChange site and worked out my options for how to start to manage this pile of stinking debt that I had been lumbered with and come up with some sort of solution before my mate Steve came back for the tele. As it happens, getting out of debt is a lot more complicated than getting in debt and I very soon became overwhelmed with IVA's, bankruptcy and debt relief orders so I gave StepChange a call. Telling a stranger that you're broke AF isn't the best situation I've been in but there was absolutely no judgement and it turns out that the majority of single mums are screwed over by their ex's when they p*ss off so I was relieved to not feel alone with my crap credit score and very lonely evenings. After thoroughly assessing the state of my financial ruin, the advisers decided that a DRO (debt relief order) is what I should go for to try and dig myself out of this hole. 

Arranging a DRO is a lengthy process; all the information from current creditors is required including account numbers and addresses, documentation and evidence of income and earnings is needed as well as harvesting £90 from the magical money tree but, as a my debts are relatively low  (although they don't seem it - we're looking at around 3 grand in  total) and I'm not a homeowner it's a long term solution to fix the debt I'm in whilst, allowing me to begin to pay current bills and stay on top. The frustrating thing about this situation is that if I wasn't in debt, I'd be able to live comfortably rather than play the game of "what bill can I afford this month". Sadly, I knew the moment that Fred's father left any voluntary offerings of giving anything that resembled maintenance would be a miracle so I'm also in the process of applying to the CMS to get some money from him. 

Stepchange also provide letter templates to send to creditors offering a temporary payment solution; anyone who has tried to offer payment plans to creditors will know that know that they play hard ball when to comes to negotiating terms; ultimately, they want their money and don't want to lower payments but having the support and guidance of Stepchange makes them listen and showing that you're actively seeking help makes then more understanding and likely to work with you. If you've ever had to meet people like my mate Steve from Bristow and Sutor, you'll know that the last thing that they want to do is take your tele; most of them have have been in a similar position and understand it's hard. A lot of people have been, or are in the situation I'm in and no one wants to talk about it because it's f*cking mortifying but it is ok, you're not failure and you can get help and get out of it despite how worrying and stressful it can be.


  1. What the f*ck was he doing with the money if he wasn't paying the bills? Also, what a shitty person to do that while you were so ill. Stepchange sound like a great organisation and this post will help so many people xx

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