Do you know how you are managing your debt? Are you in control or are you losing control? Diagnose your debt with this easy tool to find out.
Being in debt is really crap. It’s not just the fear of letters coming through the letterbox, endless phone calls about missed payments from creditors, or worrying that the knock on the door is someone looking to collect money.
Being in debt nearly ruined us. We missed payment after payment, had debts sold on to debt management companies and then onto other ones when we ignored their letters as well. We weren’t able to pay our household bills and we were paying more to creditors than we were making in wages.
We were as bad as it could get and we got as low as I could even think was possible. Life at that point in our lives was a daily struggle. Sleepless nights, worry and stress. All the time, everyday!
What was worse is that when you’re struggling with debt, you feel trapped and in some ways you can be. There truly feels like there is no way out and I spent many times just wondering how we’d manage to feed ourselves from day to day, let alone wondering how to pay back thousands of pounds.
There was no end in sight. I couldn’t work out how we would manage to pay the debt back as there was so much of it. The creditors and debt management companies were all asking for so much. Most of them didn’t seem to care that there were other companies chasing us for money as well. They all just wanted as much money as quickly as possible.
Things were out of control. We weren’t able to work out who to pay, how much and who to first. We got in a situation where we buried our heads in the sand, ignored phone calls, didn’t open letters and just tried to live as if debt wasn’t there. What a big mistake that was!!
Looking back, I think to the payday loans we took out, or the credit cards we applied for but none of that matters anymore.
Yes we were wrong to live beyond our means but it’s not about the past.
We had to stop beating ourselves up and feeling bad for the mistakes we made.
We just needed to focus on getting out of the mess, making things better.
Your debt journey
The thing is, I know that not everyone who reads this will be in debt but I also know that a large percentage of you are. Some of you are getting help, others are managing but there are some of you who have lost control and really need some help to get back on track with money.
Recent research from PayPlan shows that the average debt in the UK in 2015 stood at £16,753 and that the average age of someone seeking debt help is 43. Now 43 is not old (don’t get me wrong, I’m only a few years off) but I know who reads this site and you’re mostly a whole lot younger.
The majority of people who come and read about my journey and look to save and make money are actually aged between 25 – 34. That’s a lot younger than people who are asking for help.
I wonder if you, dear reader, are just dealing with debt on your own, or if you are also burying your head in the sand?
Wherever you are in your debt journey, there are people out there who can offer free advice and guidance to help you get debt free – so PLEASE go and get some support!
Diagnose your debt
There are also tools available to help you diagnose where you are with debt.
I buried my head in the sand when it came to debt and tried not to think about it, hoping it would all go away. In fact, because I didn’t open letters or answer calls, the debt was actually higher than I anticipated.
You may be debt savvy or out of control – do you actually know? I didn’t when I first started looking at my finances a number of years ago.
The Diagnose Your Debt tool helps you understand if you are struggling with money and can help you regain control of your finances.
There are 10 simple yes or no questions to go through, which will give you an understanding of where you are with debt and will then give you recommendations.
The recommendation may be that you need to speak with a financial advisor (for free). They will be able to tell you about different debt solutions, or if you are coping better with money they may give you ideas to help save money and curb spending habits.
If you are facing trouble with money please, please, please, do something about it today. Using a debt tool like this can really help highlight any issues you may have and can be the first step in becoming debt free.
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.