Being in debt can be isolating, and often leave you feeling embarrassed, stressed and out of control.
Keeping on top of life’s daily expenses whilst trying to pay off debt is a struggle we can all relate to, and yet many of us carry this financial burden on our own, not even wanting to admit to friends and family the reality of how much money we owe.
If this sounds familiar, it might help to know the facts – more people are in debt than you think. In January 2018 alone, Citizens Advice Bureau dealt with 577,486 debt issues across England and Wales.
If you take a look at the graph below, you can see that the total amount of personal debt owed in the UK continues to grow each year, with a total of £1.595 trillion owed at the end of July 2018 (recorded by The Money Charity).
Though our financial circumstances are unique, take comfort in the fact that debt is an issue nearly all of us can relate to, and that personal debt problems are usually resolvable. Taking proactive steps to get yourself back in control will help remove the dark fog of debt clouding your financial freedom.
If you find that you're really struggling, there are lots of sources offering help with debt, giving free confidential advice:
- Debt Advice Foundation - 0800 043 4050
- Money Advice Service - 0800 138 7777
- National Debtline - 0808 808 4000
- Christians Against Poverty - 01274 760 720
- Step Change Debt Charity - 0800 138 1111
We’ve rounded up 6 of the UK’s best personal finance bloggers whose sites are rich with articles on getting help with debt and easily managing finances.
UK Personal Finance Bloggers:
1. I Beat Debt
UK Money Blogger Vicky Eves set up I Beat Debt to share her own story of getting into and out of debt. Vicky’s blog posts capture previous personal experiences within informative posts aimed to help people make and save money. Her patience and perseverance saw her overcome past debt problems and raise her credit score slowly over time. You can also purchase Vicky’s Kindle book ‘Quiz, and the debt was half gone’ on Amazon for just £0.99. With 5* reviews, the book reveals Vicky’s unconventional approach to tackling financial trouble.
- Twitter: @ibeatdebt
2. Debt Camel
Sara Williams, member of the Institute of Money Advisors, set up Debt Camel in 2013. Winner of the 2017 Grand Prix Award: Money Blogger of the Year, Debt Camel ‘answers a lot of common questions without jargon’, offering help with debt and advice for potential solutions. Follow the link to find out how to best deal with CCJ’s and debt repayment in different example scenarios. In another post she answers all your questions regarding Debt Management Plans.
3. Much More With Less
If you are feeling anxious about your financial situation, then the term ‘financial FOFO’ may resonate. Many of us suffer from the ‘Financial Fear of Finding Out’ – so remember that you aren’t alone! Personal Finance journalist Faith Archer’s blog Much More With Less posts a variety of relatable articles to help you get better at facing up to your financial reality and manage your money more efficiently. As well as finance and help with debt, her blog features recipes and includes posts on food, fitness, family and flowers.
4. The Money Principle
Maria Nedeva is a Business School professor and the founder of The Money Principle, which promises to help you ‘learn how to grow income, eliminate debt, build wealth and love your life’. In 1990, Maria came to the UK with just $20 in her pocket, and since then has learnt a lot from her own experience with consumer debt.
In just 6 years, she went from having £100,000 worth of debt to £150,000 in new investments - and has recently focused her attention on writing How to Pay off Debt Fast and Stay Debt Free Forever: all you need to know about your debt. The book is being initially published in a series of posts that can be found by following the link to her site. Over 8000 words long, Maria’s book covers everything from getting to know your debt to your debt paying off strategy – we couldn’t recommend it more!
5. Skint Dad
In 2013 Ricky and Naomi Willis launched their money blog Skint Dad after years of struggling to make ends meet with their money. Their blog has a monthly readership of over 150,000 and won Financial Blog of the Year award in 2016.
Featured in national press, online media, radio and television, you will find all you need to know about saving, managing and making money (as well as cheap, budget friendly recipes for meals that can be made from scratch). Of particular interest is their blog post 15 Simple Lessons Learnt From Being in Debt, which reveals practical truths on living with, and getting out of debt that we could all do with hearing…
6. Can't Swing A Cat
Jenni Hill set up Can’t Swing A Cat to share her career tips and advice for saving for the future without sacrificing present happiness. In 2015, Jennie achieved her goal of saving £10,000 in just one year – an impressive feat.
Her blog posts cover a number of finance topics including the importance of emergency funds, retirement and pensions. Follow the link to read a number of blog posts covering help with debt. You will also find her latest blog series ‘Ask Jenni’, where she helps people resolve their real-life money dilemmas.
Another helpful article is Jenni’s detailed review of money management app me&mymoney. Launched in 2017, me&mymoney allows you to view your balances across current and savings accounts, loans and credit cards. You can also easily set debt management goals and budgets on spending.
Get Help Through Apps:
As well as me&mymoney, there are a number of mobile apps that enable you to manage your money from your fingertips:
Debt Manager is the No. 1 ranking finance app in the UK & US that offers help with debt management. Available for iOS devices, the app uses the Debt Snowball method, a debt reduction strategy that enables you to pay off all debts in the cheapest and fastest way. Costing just $0.99 / £0.76, Debt Manager is cleverly designed to allow you to enter an unlimited number of debts that can then be individually analysed into graphs. You can also track all your payments and get updates on your debt balance.
Yolt, the 4.6* rated smart money manager that helps you keep track of your spending. Free to download, the app gives you an oversight of your current and savings accounts on a single interface. Using Yolt you can gain insights into how you are spending your money, helping you work out where your major expenses are. You can also benefit from keeping track of your bills and subscriptions and get details about both previous and outstanding payments.
Cleo was launched in 2016 and currently helps over 90,000 users with budgeting. It is a clever artificial intelligence (AI) money-managing app that is used via Facebook Messengers, Text, Amazon Alex or Google Assistant. As a chat-bot you can ask Cleo questions in relation to your account and spending habits and receive instant advice and feedback! Cleo uses 256-bit encryption to keep your banking details secure and as it is a read-only service, you don’t have to worry about the risk of anyone moving money out of your account.
And what about apps to help you out when you’re strapped for cash? Read on for our 3 favourites…
Sell On Etsy is an app just for sellers. In order to use the app, you must first have an account with Etsy, but if you don’t you can easily set one up. If you have a creative talent, you can sell handmade goods like clothing, fine art, cards, prints and jewellery. From the app, you can create, edit and renew listings, and when someone purchases one of your items, you can stay easily notified with the app's ‘cha-ching!’ sound.
Shpock works like a car-boot sale from your phone. If you have items that you don’t need or use anymore, you can sell them easily on the app by uploading pictures with a title, description and price to buy. Unlike other online marketplaces like eBay, Shpock is entirely free to use, requiring no registration or membership fees.
Depop is an app you’re bound to have heard of, but if you haven’t downloaded it yet then now’s the time! Similar to Shpock, Depop is an online marketplace with a layout that will remind you of Instagram. If you have any vintage, retro, branded or limited-edition clothes, jewellery, art or shoes, then you’re bound to have success selling while using the app. Free to download and set up an account, the only catch is that Depop charges 10% for every item sold.