Sally had a two year old daughter and was not living with her partner. She was able to manage a part time job at the local supermarket in the afternoons while her daughter was looked after by her mother. Before her daughter was born, she was working full time at the supermarket and bringing in about £220/week. At this time she did not have much borrowing. She had a store card account and a catalogue but the monthly payments on the balances were easily manageable on the money she had coming in.
Things began to go wrong when her daughter was born. She had to stop work altogether while she took maternity leave and although she received statutory maternity pay and child benefit, this did not replace the wage she was used to earning. With the expense of the baby, Sally started to increase the use of her store card and credit card. She also found that her bank overdraft started to increase. In turn her monthly repayment amounts started to increase.
After 9 months, Sally knew that she had to get back to work to try and earn more money to meet her monthly repayments. When she calculated what she owed, the balance was now more than £6000. She arranged for her Mother to look after the baby during the afternoons and early evenings and managed to go back to her job at the supermarket part time. She was now earning more money but it never seemed to be enough to cover all the bills and the card payments. As such she found that she was starting to rob Peter to pay Paul – paying her bills but never seeming to be able to find just enough to buy all the shopping without continuing to use her credit card. As such her debts continued to creep up until two years after her daughter was born she owed nearly £8500. By this time she knew that things were just getting worse and worse.
Sally was able to re-gain control of her finances by using an informal debt repayment programme.
(all names are fictitious)