Coping with financial pressures
Debt is becoming an even bigger problem for many households across the UK. With general living costs rising, there seems to be no reprieve. We spoke to a woman who amassed thousands of pounds of debt and found out who she turned to for help.
Approximately 600,000 people across the UK are in debt management plans. These repayment strategies are usually handled by charity organisations.
Tara from Bracknell is a married mother of three. She's one of the many people currently benefiting from these management plans.
At 18-years-old she was expecting her first child and living with her partner, who was on a vocational apprenticeship. All their money was going towards rent and Bills.
"We were surviving on very little money, we started to use credit cards, we took out loans. It all started to spiral out of control.
"I now owe around £9,000. But most of that is interest, because for so long we couldn't repay any of the money back."
Her second child was born with multiple health problems. This, on top of the mounting financial pressures caused Tara and her partner to spiral into depression.
"My husband, then got signed off work with depression and we were surviving on very little each week.
"We did try quite a few debt companies. Some of them require you to pay so much up front before they help you.
Their situation got even worse and there seemed no way out.
"At one stage we were just waiting for the bailiffs to arrive at our door. This was really frightening for me, I'd never had to worry about money before."
After getting into financial trouble she turned to Christians Against Poverty (CAP). They're a national debt counselling charity whose centres are based in local churches across the UK.
"With CAP, I was given a food budget. I was used to having so little money to buy food with, their help was such a relief.
Tara and her husband have adjusted the way they handle their finances and introduced lots of money saving actions into their lives.
"I don't drive as much now, I walk more. I look around and wherever possible I buy the cheapest product. I also don't leave lights on unnecessarily."
National Statistics show that one in four households are experiencing money difficulties. With the current financial climate being what it is, this number is likely to increase further.
Andy Jackson from Christians Against Poverty in Bracknell, explains how they work.
"We go to the persons home, we then go through the whole family's finances.We see what they've got coming in and check to see if that is what they are supposed to have coming in.
"Then we create a budget for them, that enables them to live. We look at what's left and negotiate with the creditors to get a fair repayment plan.
"They make one payment into the account every month. We make sure priority bills like, mortgage, rent and council tax are paid. We also make sure the creditors are paid. The whole aim is to take the pressure off those in difficulty."
Though Tara and her husband still have a large amount to pay off, their financial future is looking much brighter.
Click on the link below to find out more about CAP:
last updated: 26/09/2008 at 10:47