Through no fault of our own during the early nineties we were plunged into financial turmoil, with four children to support and a mortgage to pay . It took time and more than a little effort but we managed to get through by employing the strategies below, very much a family team effort.
As things are generally getting worse again due to the current global problems we have decided to rein in our expenditure in order to prevent a repetition of our nineties experience. Since I have recently lost employment and although our four children are now independent we do still have elderly parents to consider as well as a mortgage. We know the methods written about here are tried and tested so will stand us in good stead.
Financial crisis, whatever goes up must come down. As most of us have been there before, common sense should prevail. The crunch to managing in these times is to know your debt, and know your priorities.
With mortgages, never get too far behind. Three months seems to be the trigger when they start looking for repossession. The secret is to write to all those you owe money too, explaining your current financial difficulty and that you intend to repay the debt. Repay a little, frequently, whenever possible, as the courts will look at your repayments. Seeking help from a debt counseling agency should help (they can supply suitable wording for letters). Never pay for advice, and never consolidate debts, as this is just as likely to cost you your home. Do not take on extra debt at extortionate interest. If you do not understand the interest level, seek independent help.
Ask your debt owners to give you reduced interest or a repayment holiday. This also applies to debts other than mortgage and credit cards. Local taxes, council charges can also be approached in this way.Do not wait for the inevitable, act now. If you get a letter from a bailiff or debt agency act immediately, seek help. Hiding letters and failing to recognize the issue will only make things worse.
If you have assets you can sell, do it, but do it wisely. Don’t give your things away. Take jewelry, antiques, and expensive items to a reputable auction to sell. Unwanted household goods and clothes could be sold on an Internet auction site. We did this and also encouraged the kids to sell their unwanted things in this way. They enjoyed watching with us as the bids grew and then the reward of payment. Car boots too became an outlet to sell such things and the children enjoyed helping to be shopkeepers for the day. Soon becoming offay with selling spiel and money handling.
Delay as many projects as possible, whether it be landscaping the garden or redecorating Polly’s room.We all have to feed and cloth ourselves and the kids, do not build up extra debt needlessly. Cut out the extras; minimize the use of the car. Stop the school run, take them on bus or even better walk. No expensive trips, to see the game on Saturday, or a couple of hour’s drinking, or that meal at the restaurant. This may be difficult but explain the situation to the kids. We did and even showed them how difficult things had become by writing down and showing them all incoming monies and all outgoings . It is very surprising how grown up and understanding they can be . Especially if you are seen to be asking for their advice and input into resolving issues.You are not invincible or a bottomless money pit. Explain that it is necessary temporarily to wean them of designer labels and to resist peer pressure but avoid frightening them . It will do the situation no good to have very worried and fractious youngsters.
So start by regaining some control, write down all your debts, along side write down your entire out goings each month with payment dates. Next write down all your income for the month and the dates. Your aim is to spread all the income thinly over all the required outgoings. If opportunities to earn a little extra present them selves, take it, even if this is only a few hours stacking shelves in the local supermarket or cleaning the local council offices.
Make sure you apply for any benefits which may be available, job seekers assistance, family benefit etc. Don’t be proud, you contributed to the systems in the past. Remember do not try to take advantage; trying to cheat the system can be dangerous. They are out there looking for cheats and the result of capture could be a criminal record or difficulty getting a job in the future.
Perhaps once things look as though they are coming under control you can organise a reward for the family. Just a small one, maybe a cut priced meal out or outing. Holidays may not be out of the question especially if you consider a house swap scheme or house sitting along with pet sitting perhaps.
As a final word remember these things always get better. Talk to the kids and keep them onside. They have to understand that life has its ups and downs and that you must look to the future.