"People will help you if you ask for it; don’t be scared to ask for help."
A Lanarkshire man found himself in hot water after his continuous use of credit and store cards caught up with him and left him with over £24,000 of debt.
Repaying balances every month always seemed easy for Stephen, 34, who would take his children using his cards whilst only paying back the minimum payment. This ended up spiralling to the point where he turned to loans to help him get by.
Speaking of this time in his life, he said: “At the beginning, I had credit cards, store cards. I was taking the kids out using the credit cards and not paying them back properly, and I should have been.
“It crept up to max them out and it got to the point where I got a small loan to pat off the credit card and actually get us some extra pennies back in the house.
“Then I thought ‘oh, I’ll get another top up loan’… before I knew it, it got out of hand. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, thinking ‘look I’ll get them next month’, but that month went to the following month and so on.”
Working as a security guard, Stephen tried to keep on top of his life and keep up with his friends, but all too soon it reached the stage where he was forced to face reality.
All of my friends were asking, ‘do you want to go out this weekend?’ and eventually I sat there and said ‘look, I’ve not got any money to go out with you guys.’
They would all say, ‘you don’t own a fancy car, you don’t own your own house, you’ve not been on a bug cruise, what have you done with it?’, and I thought to myself… good question.” he continued.
“It was quite scary, to just sit there and look at it in black and white and go ‘that’s a lot of money’. I was trying to be the kind of old-fashioned guy, saying ‘I’m the man of the house, I’ll look after the finances.’”
Stephen soon realised he had to admit defeat, and thanks to his wife they sought help for their money worries:
“The wife gets credit here, because she was more on head with things. She spoke to the local council – they’ve got a debt management scheme – then we got passed over to Carrington Dean.
“It was a simple process of getting changed over; any problems I’ve had, I phoned up and I got ‘not a problem Stephen, we’re here to help you’.”
Nowadays, both Stephen and his wife are now in a joint Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) they are able to live comfortably in the knowledge that they can repay their debts in a way that’s right for them.
“Life now… it’s… I’m much more upbeat now that I’m not sitting hiding from folk. I’m not sitting thinking, I’m not gonna answer phones or check the letterbox.
“People will help you if you ask for it; don’t be scared to ask for help.
“It’s too easy to go on the net and look for loans but people should actually be going on the net and looking for help on how to deal with debt management.
“Sure enough, Carrington Dean will be high up there with helping.”
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