When you’re in a lot of debt, every time there is a knock at the door or a letter through the post or a phone call, you experience a sense of dread, wondering whether it is going to have anything to do with the amount of money you owe. It is not only about the shame you feel for having let yourself get into such a position in the first place and not wanting anyone else to find out; there is also the real possibility that you could find yourself without a home to live in and without any possessions. When it is only you, by yourself, you can find a way of coping, but the same cannot be said when you have a family to provide for.
If you’re the one that has been running up debts, you clearly don’t want your family to suffer for your irresponsible behaviour, but they’re going to, anyway. Even if it has yet to reach the stage where the bailiffs are knocking at the door and you’re in danger of being declared bankrupt, the lifestyle you lead is going to have to change. If you’re trying to pay off your debts, then you’re obviously going to have to start budgeting and spending your income more wisely. You can’t simply whip out your credit card whenever you go shopping, as this won’t help you keep track of how you are spending your money.
Thus, you have to be cautious about what you spend your money on, prioritising essentials and cutting back on luxury items. There will be no random purchases and whenever your children ask for something you may be forced to tell them ‘no’. When you have to be careful with money all the time, this can put a great deal of pressure on you and the relationship you have with your partner. If you’re up to your neck in debt you’re likely to be stressed out and this can have a negative impact on your overall well-being. You may find it difficult to sleep and resort to drinking or other bad habits to perk yourself up.
It is when you’re tired, anxious and drinking too much that arguments often start to develop and you can soon find yourself arguing with your partner, even though you could really do with each other’s support. On top of all the stress you can find yourself depressed, as well, and this negative atmosphere could start to have an impact on your children, making you feel even worse about the situation. It is therefore easy to see how debt can come to dominate your life when a lack of money affects every area of it, so that all you can think about is how to clear your debts and get back to living a normal life.