Reduced Income and Tax Credits making me struggle monthly

On June 28, 2011, in News, by Lewis Alexander

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  • “It was all going swimmingly.

My main job as the school secretary was bringing in about £1000 a month.  The pub shift on a Friday night gave me a further £150 a month and the tax credits contributed that final few hundred quid extra that was making the difference between being able to get around Tesco & funding the kids lunch monies versus being permanently squeezed between spending on food, household essentials, and utilities.

Now, with my tax credit recalculated and for some reason reduced, its forced me to apply for a better paid job / income, which I am frightened is going to take me away from spending as much time with the kids!  The world these days just seems to be one giant bill, and I can’t find any way to reduce mine, without impacting the kids and the time spent with them!

I had already started to feel the pinch as every time I went round the supermarket, the same food seemed to cost more!  So, I made sacrifices; the food budget was stretched, treats like chocolate and fizzy pop became ‘persona non grata’ as far as the shopping list was concerned! Big name brands were quickly ditched for the ‘Value’ range!  Cue a child revolt, as the value beans didn’t go down too well, but I found that with thought and careful planning I could keep their lunch boxes fun and healthy even on the tightest of reduced income or budgets.

Then there is the small matter of the ever increasing cost of paying the gas and electric bills!  First our summer holiday at mum’s caravan was cut out, but now I am struggling to even pay for the school trips to the Science Museum! It’s starting to make a massive difference to our lives!

Well, I could not deny the £25 for the Science museum, so I borrowed it from one of those new internet lending sites.  What a mistake that was! As I now need to find money that I simply don’t have from next week’s budget otherwise I won’t make the payment and that telephone number interest rate is going to bite back at me!  It just feels like I am being sucked into a cycle of debt.”

  • Sound familiar?

Across the UK, thousands of families are feeling the pinch following the latest round of decisions on tax credits.  Despite increasing from £18bn in 2003 to £30bn in 2010, this latest decisions have really hit the pockets of some of those up against it financially.  To some this has meant they have lost a small amount of secondary income that some basic re-budgeting can sort out.  However some families depend on those extra monies to pay for life’s essentials, such as to clear debts.

As we heard in the story above, the price of food and utilities has rocketed in the past 2-3 years since the financial crash or credit crunch.  Utility bills alone have risen to £560million in the last year according to u-switch.   Some 24.9 million households have been affected. When we couple this with the soaring price of petrol and the effect this has on food prices then the pressure is really on for those families already on a reduced income or budget.

In the post credit crunch lending markets, it is no longer easy to borrow that little bit extra to tide you over.  That with the static figures that are being returned on UK Salary Price Rises and for some, the only means of borrowing left is the new ‘quick cash’ lender.  These loans typically range between a week and 30 days, with hefty arrangement fees (in comparison to loan amounts) and a real sting in the tail, if the borrower misses a payment once the loan is repayable.

  • If these issues ring a bell in your home and you feel like you are swimming against the tide financially, then maybe we can help.
  • Our trained specialists are vastly experienced in dealing with a range of personal debt circumstances and people suffering from a reduced income, you can call us in confidence 24 hours, 7 days a week, on 0800 018 6868.
  • No matter how complex or tough you think your debt problem is, get in touch to see if we can start making a change to your financial life today!
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All my income goes on repaying debts each month!

On January 26, 2011, in News, by Lewis Alexander

free credit report UK from ExperianOne of the most depressing aspects of being in a considerable amount of personal debt is the percentage of your monthly income that is spent attempting to service all of these debts.

During the early part of the ‘naughties’ credit was widely available and priced considerably less than in the early 1990’s (and indeed today!) which resulted in many of us taking out more than we could reasonably afford.

What started out as repaying a couple of hundred pounds on an interest-free credit card taken out a couple of years ago, can quite easily extend to a hire-purchase repayment for the car, a bank loan for the new conservatory, the sofa and kitchen on interest-free credit plus an additional credit card that you took out for that holiday!

Before you know it the small debt portfolio or molehill that you thought you had accumulated looks more and more like a debt mountain with each passing day!

Monthly finances start to become quite tight and you find that the majority of your income is spent repaying debts and paying the mortgage or rent.  This is without an unforeseen change in circumstances such as loss of job or illness etc.

So, as it’s a new year, you did the sensible thing and sat down with a pen and piece of paper to work out exactly what you owed and whom you owed it to.  The shopping list of debt looked something like this:

  • Hire purchase for the Ford Mondeo – £12k over 5 years
  • Bank loan for conservatory – £10k over 7 years
  • Interest-free Sofa – £1500 over 3 years
  • Interest-free kitchen – £6k over 4 years
  • 2 x credit cards – Balance £9k

Then comes the maths… so, twelve plus ten add the six, oh and the nine and the little bit for the sofa and oh my goodness I owe almost forty thousand!!  No wonder I feel like the majority of my monthly income is being spent on repaying debt! It really can be that easy.  Next you sat down and worked out how much you were repaying each month:

  • Car payment – £245
  • Bank Loan – £150
  • Sofa – £42
  • Kitchen – £125
  • Credit card minimum payments – £265

which totals a whopping £827 per month!  By the time you’ve added a mortgage payment of £800 and the monthly utility bills of £400 and you have spent almost all of your household’s total income of £2,200 – a not untypical figure for Britain in 2011.

With food, petrol, insurance, clothes and household essentials still to be paid out of the £200 remaining, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that things are going to be tight and that’s well before the luxuries of Sky TV and a summer holiday are thrown into the mix.

If all this is starting to get you down then don’t worry.  One free call to Lewis Alexander on 0800 018 6868 could be the start of your road to financial recovery.  Through our trained debt management online specialists, your enquiry and call is treated in the strictest of confidence and they will listen to your personal circumstances before starting to work on debt management solutions to help you.

Unlike other debt specialists we won’t look to force you down a certain route, but will instead explain the options that are available to your personal circumstance – allowing you to choose the debt solution that suits you best.

We are specialists in working with creditors to find debt solutions for our clients and will work hard to ensure that you are treated fairly.  All we ask in return is that you do have a regular monthly income coupled with some will power to stick to an arrangement.

Our free phone number from a land line is 0800 018 6868 and our trained advisors are used to speaking to clients who are experiencing personal debt problems who need debt advice UK.  We know that this can be a stressful time, particularly if large percentages of your income are being used to repay debts.

At Lewis Alexander we are committed to finding the best debt solution for you, so give us a call today using free phone 0800 018 6868

  • Your financial past does not have to be your financial future!
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My benefits are reducing and I am getting into debt!

On December 10, 2010, in News, by Lewis Alexander

From January 2011, the changes announced by the coalition government to the welfare state will start to take effect in phases.  In what has been described as the biggest reduction in welfare provision in peace-time, some of the wide range of benefits offered by the state are being held at current levels, whilst others are cut, or for some of the more complex benefits, the earnings limits to qualify are being stretched in order to include fewer UK households, individuals and families.

This has led to claims from those in this situation and action groups who represent those on benefits that this policy means ‘My benefits are reducing and I am getting into debt!’  Amongst the groups most worried are the working families, on low incomes, who rely on benefits to supplement their incomes from their hard-working jobs.

  • So is this necessarily true? And what can be done to prepare for this drop in benefits income?

The first step when there is any change in your financial circumstances is to understand exactly what these changes are.  The range of announcements made as part of the widely reported Government Spending Review are available in a variety of locations.

If you are not clear on how these changes may impact you, a telephone call to your benefits agency should help to put you in the picture or alternatively you could contact your local citizen’s advice bureau.

It may be that the changes announced wont impact you for a number of months, meaning you have more time to secure that extra overtime shift at work, have time to look for a new and improved job or simply have time to cut out some of those ‘nice to have’ items that have crept into your life (Is that gym membership really providing value for money?!)

Once you understand the new budgetary constraints that you will be working under, it is possible to sit down and assess how you can amend your personal spending habits in order to avoid slipping further into debt.   If having looked at all the new facts and figures you still believe that you there is no waste to cut, then don’t panic, the first stage in any financial change is identifying that there is a problem and starting to engage with your creditors to explain the changes to your personal and financial situation.

Whether it is a personal loan, car finance, or a straight-forward credit card bill, financial services companies will be getting used to the idea that many of their customers are about to experience a change in circumstances, or at least they will be if they have been watching any of the recent news articles on the subject!

Options available to clear debts include increasing the term of your credit agreements to reduce your monthly commitments, using up payment holidays where these are available under terms and conditions and sometimes pure and simple hard negotiation on the rate you are being charged can all make a difference to the amounts you need to repay each month.

  • If you are still uncertain on what to do, or would like to benefit from a financial health check, then call Lewis Alexander on 0800 018 6868.

Our team of professional and dedicated debt management advisors will offer advice based on your personal situation and capture some important details and will then be able to work with you and your creditors to develop a debt repayment plan that you are happy with.   This can help to provide peace of mind that your creditors are being managed confidently and carefully by our team of debt consultants.

At Lewis Alexander we understand the pressures that hardworking families are under in the current economic climate and how the recession is changing our villages, towns and cities.

As long as you have a regular source of income, together with a will and determination to improve your personal circumstances then we can help!

Our professional debt management consultants are ready to take your call now, so contact Lewis Alexander FREE on 0800 018 6868 and allow us to help you to change your financial life for the better!

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