My family and I were struggling due to unfortunate life circumstances. I had a stable job, whilst my wife stayed at home with my son. Unfortunately, she became ill. After giving second birth to our second baby she became depressed. Heavily depressed. I needed to take time off from work because of her inability to look after our sons. Due to that reason, I ran out of my annual leave time (from work) quickly, and in the same time, started to use my (few) credit cards I have got in order to survive. However, as you may know already, it is stepping into uneven ground. You do not know how serious is the situation, and how long it is going to last, no matter what was the cause. Very quickly we realized that debt grew up into dangerous amount. My wife eventually became better. I did go back to work. But debt and- especially the interest, killed us. We actually paid off the interest only - every month. The real debt stayed on the same amount for months. After a year of a struggle and positive attitude towards it we acknowledge that is impossible to pay off all the debts. We needed other solution, and that is how we found out about IVA’s and companies that could help us.

We were very stressed about it but decided to make a phone call at first. It was surprisingly very friendly call. We expected difficult questions. We expected accusations and ‘valid’ reasons of why we ended up that way. However, the experience was very different. The person at the other end understood our struggle. We did get a lot of advice about what to do and how to tackle ‘final warnings’. We received by post papers which we had to fill in and send back. We had a contact with our personal advisor (the one which we made the first contact with) and lots of support from his colleagues. We have been informed what is happening and when is the meeting with our creditors. Right after the meeting we were told that we have been accepted and we needed to wait for legal document to be finalised. I do need to mention that you will have to prove all your statements, proof of address and other documents. It takes time but do not worry. The key thing is what your creditors agree with your proposal to pay back what you can. Let’s say, they may ask you to pay certain amount per month (for example £100) in precise length of time (5 years). You need to confirm that, but once it has been set up, you are done. Just keep up with payments.

First, you need to re-evaluate everything. It is obvious that keeping life to the previous standard it is almost impossible. You need to lower your expectations. Be ready for it. Be ready to give up some (not all - but some) of your luxuries. Your budget will be tighter, that is for sure. No back up (credit card or overdraft), it is clear. But, it is possible. How are we managing things around? OK, first thing, first. Pay your rent, council tax and ALL the bills. That is FIRST! You cannot save on it. It obvious that you will not pay less for the rent or council tax or bills (however, here you might decrease your spending – for example using less electricity). What you can manoeuvre is the rest. You can save a lot of money by planning things in advance- mainly food. Buying things from promotions is also an option. Why not to go for “3 for 2”? Or ‘Buy one get one half price”? It is always better to prepare meals on your own that rely on overpriced ready meals. If you got other monthly commitments like mobile contract, or monthly tickets to go to work, this will be taken into account when setting up IVA. What is important to point out is that you will not be left behind with no money to survive. The Important thing is to be organized. Look up on internet for some websites that helps to guide you through in depth. Once it is set, and you found a way to survive just make sure you will pay at the time. Every year you will need to evaluate change in your circumstances (if any changes been made). And like us, you will survive!