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How has the Credit Crunch affected you?

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      12.04.2010 20:29
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      Job loss, a horrible situation to be in.

      The credit crunch has affected me badly, twice. August 2008 I was made redundant and August this year I will be out of work again as my contract is not being renewed. I'm on a temporary contract but have been since January 2007, annoyingly if I could only stay there for another 5 months I'd have to be given a permanent contract and then I'd be entitled to redundancy, which on a temporary contract I'm not.

      When I was made redundant in 2008 it was a shock. I was working at an Estate Agents at weekends and although we weren't as busy as we had been we were in profit and still selling houses. In fact we were doing the total opposite of how the media were portraying things. Because people were believing the hype clients were pulling out of sells or taking their house off the market. Therefore after a few months although we were still in profit it wasn't good. Other chains in the group were closing so it was a great atmosphere going into work and then all staff were put on 30 days redundancy notice but before the 30 days was up I got the dreaded news.

      I'll be honest, I didn't like the job and I wanted out, but I wanted it on my own terms and with another job to go to. I was kind of lucky though as I had a part time job through the week as a clerical assistant, which I really love, but now it meant my money was down and I'd had no chance to save up. Luckily they were in position to offer me over time so for 12 months everything was hunky dory, but then I had to drop some of the overtime so my wages just paid the bills, food and watching my local football team. All treats had to go out of the window, unless I could buy it from Amazon using vouchers I get from surveys.

      But now I'm facing the possibility of unemployment again and to be honest it is really scary this time. I've a few months to look for a job and I've started looking and applying for jobs but nothing yet. There's not much out there and as I don't drive and relay on public transport there are only certain areas I can actually look at due to where I live. And before someone says 'learn to drive then', it's not easy when you've got no money left at the end of the month.

      What I find really sad is that by the time I was 30 I'd been made redundant three times. There's lot of people that have never experienced redundancy or do so only once and when there a lot older then 30.

      I do get angry about it all at times, as everythings been out of my hands and I've not been able to do a thing about it. Because of all this I do get fed up and just feel like giving up as it seems to happen to me every so often. Luckly, I'm quite a strong character so I've managed to avoid stress and depression that so easily can affect people in this position, but if this will always be the case is hard to say as I have shed tears out of anger, frustration and being scared about the future.

      I sometimes wonder if it's even worth all the hassle of getting a job because I keep thinking I'll only be made redundant again, but thankfully I pull myself together and start thinking realistically. Plus I could not survive on JSA alone, and I'd be bored.

      I just hope that when the economy is back on an even keel, that I can find my self a job that pays well, has security, that I enjoy and that I can do for many, many years to come.

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        08.01.2010 16:50
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        The Credit Crunch made me sit up and take stock

        How has the credit crunch affected me? Well I think the credit crunch has actually been beneficial to me which I know may sound strange.

        The credit crunch made me sit up and look at where my money was going and to deal with my credit card.

        Before the credit crunch I didn't worry too much about where my money was going. I would often have months where there wasn't any money left at the end of the month and so just put anything extra I needed on my credit card. Then the next month I would pay it off, however steadily the debt rose and became a 'balance' rather than being paid off in full. Still I didn't worry too much as I just kept telling myself that I would change to another 0% deal when the current one ended. However when the credit crunch hit, 0% deals became harder to secure and when I was refused a card I panicked and realised that actually I was heading for a downward spiral. My other half and I were moving in together and I wanted to be debt free so that we could make a life together worry free.

        The constant media following of the credit crunch kept my money situation the forefront of my mind and I was determind to clear the debt.

        My house price went down in value and I was unable to sell it for what I had paid for it. I couldn't remortgage as the LTV (loan to value) had fallen below the accepted limit for my building society I therefore had to rent my property out when I moved in with my other half. This has meant that we currently own two smaller properties rather than one slightly larger one together. Again not the ideal situation.

        We have looked at our finances and have found the best deal for everything, we have cut back on our food shopping by cooking from scratch and meal planning. We now have friends over for dinner rather than eat out as much and swap DVDs and books with friends. We are just more careful with the money we have and are aware of where it is going each month. We are much more sensible and it is addictive!

        We have just had our first baby, a beautiful baby girl and although I am not working as am on maternity leave we seem to have more money now than ever before.

        The credit crunch has been awful for many and we have had our redundancy scares but on the whole, the credit crunch for us was the wake up call we needed to grow up and get real with our finances.

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          07.01.2010 23:37
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          It's hurt in the pocket but i've come through it

          How has the credit crunch affected me? Well it's affected me quite a lot as pre-credit crunch I worked for a bank!

          The credit crunch began at the end of 2007, seeing on the news stories such as the rush to withdraw money from Northen Rock followed by a drastic drop in share prices for Northern Rock, and many other companies soon followed.

          This is what had the first major impact on me, booking our wedding in 2007 for 2008, knowing I had shares due to mature in early 2008 meant we could have the wedding we wanted, nothing extravagent, nothing extreme but all of our friends and family there. So we went ahead and booked. Unfortunately come the time to pay, the shares I owned had dropped so much in value it would have been silly to cash them in as they were probably worth 10% of what I had paid for them. This therefore meant the cost of our wedding went from our current account, leaving us with a nice big overdraft :(

          Also in 2008 we decided to move house, to our second house, a step up on the property ladder, the credit crunch meant we got a £35k discount on the house we were buying but because of the Loan To Value (LTV) limits lenders were restricting borrowers to meant the moved became more expensive. The lender we were with pulled rates as i phoned to apply, the conversation was they would be pulled at 5pm so there wouldn't be time to go through the application - most annoying!!! This meant to get a decent deal we had to move to another lender and pay high fees to our previous lender.

          Then came the redundancies at the company I worked for, unfortunately I was one of the unlucky ones (and there were quite a few of us!). This has given me the change to sort so much out at home that normally gets put on the back burner so it hasn't all been bad, and i'm soon to start a new job, so I guess i'm one of the lucky ones in all of this.

          So for me, yes the credit crunch has cost me money in more ways than one. But it has also taught me some valuable lessons and forced me to budget in a lot more detail and take a lot more care over financial planning.

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          04.12.2009 18:11
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          Thank God for the credit crunch!

          In some ways I think the credit crunch was just what I needed... a wake up call.

          Back in 2003 I went on a gap year to Canada - I had the time of my life - skiing, sky diving and white water rafting. Upon my return I started university (whit a pretty hefty credit card bill from my gap year). But instead of being sensible and paying my debt off, I added to it, buying new clothes, going out drinking four nights a week and buying a new outfit every time a special occasion occurred.

          Upon graduation I had two credit cards with about £3,000 on them, a hefty overdraft and a laptop bill to pay. In order to get myself "straight" I took out graduate loan to pay everything off.

          I was working full time by this point so I was confident I could afford the repayments, but I'd also just entered the "real world," I felt lonely and thought that I deserved to continue living the lifestyle I'd maintained at university - after all I was earning a full time wage now.

          For the next year I went to the bar after work every night, I ate out with work colleagues at lunchtime and I got taxis here there and everywhere because I was too drunk to drive my car home. I wasn't on a very high wage, so the inevitable happened - I built my credit card debts back up again and I took another one out for good measure.

          I know it sounds really stupid, but I didn't realise the mess I was getting myself into. I just continued to spend and live it up. Then I moved out of my mum's house into rented accommodation and I had rent and bills to pay, as well as my debts. I started to get depressed because I couldn't afford to buy the things I wanted and I had hardly any disposable income.

          Around this time I'd started to write a lot of features and news stories at work about the credit crunch, my best friend (who works in finance and was in a similar situation to me) was telling me financial horror stories, and there were constant credit crunch stories on the news. Ironically, I think the constant talk about the credit crunch scared me into addressing my financial problems. I knew that things wouldn't get any better and that I could no longer afford to make all of my monthly repayments. So I approached a debt management company, I cut the credit cards up, I started to live within my means and pay my debt back.

          It has been a long, rocky road and I am still not great at managing my money, but I think this credit crunch has truly opened my eyes. I now look for supermarket deals, I make packed lunches, I don't buy clothes unless I really need to and I've learnt to say no to nights out.

          As well as making these steps I've done all sorts to make extra money and to enable myself to buy treats. Last year I took on a second job in a chip shop, three nights a week I would leave the house at 8.30am and not get home until 12.00am, but I did it because I wanted a nice Christmas. I also started to log onto www.moneysavingexpert.com, I got to grips with eBay, I joined Dooyoo and a number of different survey sites.

          This Christmas the majority of my Christmas presents will be homemade. I have embraced my crafty side and I have made my nephew a personalised cushion this year. It has taken me hours to make, but I think he will really like it, and I spend around £13 on it, instead of usual £30 I would spend.

          I am also making "pots of gold" for my friends and family, that will have gold chocolates and lucky gold treats within them. This means that I will be spending a lot less money than usual, but I will still be showing my love to my friends and family.

          Don't get me wrong, I do occasionally treat myself, but I work hard to get those treats instead of whacking it on the credit card.

          Over the last few years my best friend and I have indulged in champagne at Christmas time. Last year, when we were sipping champers I said we were naughty indulging in champagne, but my friend then reminded me - for once we were paying in cash, instead of putting it on the credit card. We had earned that money by working extra hours and taking on second jobs and that felt good.

          If it hadn't been for the credit crunch I think it would have taken me a lot longer to learn the value of money and attempt to sort out my financial mess out.

          So cheers credit crunch, my eyes are now well and truly open.

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            01.12.2009 00:43
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            Give a budget a go even for just 1 month. If you do let me know how you got on

            How has the credit crunch affected me?

            I now keep a budget, It is the best thin I have ever done. I wis
            h I had started doing it years ago!

            Well for the last 3 months my family has lived off a budget, on every pay day I complete a financial plan chart on my pc for our income and outgoings.

            I calculate how much money we have coming in and how much we have going out. I also take off our food shopping money and petrol money. I allow a weekly budget and any money left over goes straight into our savings account.

            My weekly budget:
            I calculate how many weeks there are until we next get paid and allow ourselves a certain amount of money each week.

            For example, this month we have £100 a week to spend. When you look at it like that it is an awful lot of money.

            I withdraw £100 at the beginning of the week and if there is any left over at the end of the week, I only take up enough to build it back up to £100 again and the remainder I transfer to our savings account.

            You would be surprised at how much money you can last on for a week when you have the cash there. One week we only spent £10, therefore £90 went into our savings account!

            We have saved a lot of money already and I'm so pleased, I've never had savings in my life!

            I try and stick to the budget as much as possible, this month I have also allowed myself a certain amount of money for Christmas shopping so I don't go just spending here and there without thinking about it.

            If I go over my budget, I just review my budget with my account balance.

            You may think that keeping a budget is far too much trouble and time consuming but, it could and probably will save you like it has done me, a fortune in the long run.

            Give it a go for a month or two, what have you got to loose?

            I first got the idea from Lloyds TSB website, you haven't got to be a customer, just click on the link on the home page under the section advice and guidance which says help keeping a budget.

            You can set up a basic budget by using their ready made excel budget calculator or there is also an online budget calculator. These are easy to follow and very useful.

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              01.12.2009 00:12
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              I am lucky I haven't been affected as badly as lots of people

              How The Credit Crunch Has Affected Me

              As a student, the credit crunch started to affect me in my second year of university. The main areas in which I was affected are entertainment, interest rates, general budgets being cut, my parents, a lower availability of jobs, and a huge worry about getting a job after graduation.

              I know that the credit crunch has affected everyone in this country but this will discuss how I personally have been affected and my thoughts about the credit crunch for the future.

              While there have been some plus points, such as with entertainment, there are now more offers for restaurants available than ever before, when I can afford to eat out, I can do it at a lower cost. The influx of voucher codes and other offers also make it easier for me to get a good deal on many of the products I buy and I have definitely started to shop around more before I buy.

              Most of the ways it has affected me are bad and they leave me really worried. I hope to graduate in the summer but I am really worried that I will not be able to get a good job at the end of my degree, or to be honest, any job really. There is so much competition for jobs and people dropping down job levels and unemployment within my age group is at a record high level which really worries me as it just means my future is very uncertain.

              Interest rates have fallen which is both good and bad. The only loan I really have is my student loan, and the rate on this has now fallen to 0% a definite plus point, but I know it will just rise when the base rate changes. The interest rates on my savings has also gone way down however, so now there is little incentive to save and my small income from that is now almost non existant.

              In general you can tell that budgets have been cut in lots of areas such as within the university and within companies.

              The future is uncertain and now is not a good time to be graduating however I don't want to stay in education so I think I might just have to start from the bottom of the career ladder, and put off any hopes of buying my own house for quite a few more years yet!

              I know I haven't been directly affected as those who have lost their jobs and there are lots of familys who are really suffering, and I really hope that everyone is ok and we recover from this recession as soon as possible.

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                11.11.2009 11:36
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                Not a great time, but I am not bitter

                I used to work as a Mortgage Desk Administrator for a small company (which shall remain un-named) in the North East who specialised in Sub Prime Right To Buys, Remortgages and RTB Remortgages. We were contacted by the FSA around the time the credit crunch effects started to become apparent and Lehman's collapsed along with the Northern Rock saga, they advised us that they were going to come and inspect the company. We didn't even have a health and safety policy in place. The company directors (4 of them) went in to absolute sheer panic, we had no corporate governance and controls manual, hadn't done any form of Risk Management, had no training records for the advisors. It was a disgrace. I offered to go to the local council and get some guidelines on doing a health and safety policy, fire risk assessment, etc (diy brochures and guidelines), but I wasn't allowed to let it affect my workload - which was fine by me, they had paid me well when we were doing good, surely I owed them? Plus I wanted to keep my job.

                I set about my fire, health and safety stuff, and I soon got roped in to helping with the Risk Assessment for the Corporate Governance manuals, and as soon as I became involved with this, I became involved in creating operational manuals, all in time for the FSA visit. I worked around 30 hours per week additional to my contracted 40 hours a week - unpaid, out of the goodness of my heart - to keep my job and to help the struggling, flailing directors. This all began in January 2008. The FSA visit took place in July. In the June, prior to the visit my Grandfather passed away. Having worked so many additional hours, my time with him in his last few months was limited, a snatched hour or two before I hauled my exhausted self home to bed. The day he died was my Dad's 50th Birthday. We'd had so much planned - but celebrations were cancelled, I saw my Dad cry for the first time in years. I called work, to advise them of the news, they had known he was ill; they told me to take the day off, not to worry, they would see me the following day - and if I needed them, they would be there.

                I spent the day with my family. Drinking tea and smoking! We sat around laughing about times we'd had with my Granddad. It was lovely. Then the next day I went back to work. Several items of work had been dumped on my desk for me to do, no notes or explanations. When I asked what should be done my bosses simply said 'well if you weren't off yesterday you would know'. I kept my head down for the rest of the day, then I emailed my bosses asking for the Friday off of that week for the funeral.

                My reply was along these lines 'it is our company policy [new which I had written on their behalf in my own time] that for family members other than parents, siblings, offspring or spouse that you are entitled to 1 day compassionate leave [the policy went on to say more may be granted at manager's discretion]. As you have already had this on the day of your bereavement, you will have to use a holiday for the funeral. As you only have 5 days remaining allocation for the year, and you have booked a summer holiday, you will have to decide to take either the funeral as unpaid, or one day of your 5 day summer holiday'.

                I simply couldn't believe it. I almost cried with anger. After everything I had given them? I picked up my few personal possessions from my desk, and I left. I never went back.

                When I got home I cried and cried, how this Credit Crunch had turned my bosses in to greedy, selfish, heartless monsters scared me. I had walked out of a well paid job, and I had a mortgage to pay. Responsibilities. I was absolutely distraught - how was I going to explain it to my other half? I was so scared of the unknown. I registered with recruitment agencies, updated my CV on Monster, scoured the Job Centre website, signed on the dole (I'm not proud, and I have paid my NI contributions since I was 16).

                The key turned in the lock, and I cringed. I'd made the tea, ran her a bath and poured a glass of wine. I explained what had happened, she just nodded and said you did the right thing, we will manage. God knows how she thought we were going to manage - but I didn't care. I felt calm and happy. I was not going to let myself end up greedy and selfish and money grabbing. I slept that night straight through for the first time in about 6 months.

                The next day I threw myself in to finding a job - and saving us money too - I switched gas and electric suppliers, reduced our mobile and TV / Broadband / Phone packages, went through quidco to get cashback and then I tore apart moneysavingexpert to get loads more hints and tips.

                Two weeks later I started work as a Team Leader in a global outsourcing call centre. Terrible salary, terrible unprofessional and unestablished company, but I was getting a wage. I worked really hard and soon began getting bonus. It was really challenging as I had never managed myself, let alone a whole team of people!

                I was out on my break one day and I got a telephone call - my old boss. He wanted to offer me a new opportunity, apologised very scantily for the way I was treated, he needed my help, I was the best at what I did, he flattered me until I wanted to vomit with the cheesiness. I asked why he had started up this new venture, would it be something running alongside the old company? He told me that the old company had been fined and closed down by the FSA. Ha, just desserts! What goes around comes around they say. I politely declined his offer, saying I wouldn't be able to trust them not to do the same to me again, and whilst it was all water under the bridge I was now working somewhere my job was secure. It's true everything happens for a reason - I would have been made redundant had I of stayed - then I may not have been so determined to be successful in securing and succeeding in another role.

                Things were pretty hard at home by this point - I had taken a £6k pay cut, which was about the amount which had covered our food shopping and utilities. We were living on Smart Price stuff (which I love anyways), no luxuries - no more bottles of wine! No more days out, or little gifts for each other - it put strain on our relationship and I constantly felt like a disappointment - I got a little depressed to be honest. My partner was still earning a good wage - so she could afford new clothes with her staff discount at work (limited to just her, couldn't be shared with me), we both made sure she could keep up with the social scene at work too - she was the manager, she could hardly miss the nights out that she was organising to boost morale! But we scraped along. Our relationship began to fail, and at the end of 2008, we decided to go our separate ways - remaining friends without bitterness. She met someone else who earns a good wage, and who is the spit of Cheryl Cole - she looks like a model. They began to rent a little house when we sold our joint home - they are incredibly happy now - both fashion / night out / shop - aholics.

                Disaster soon struck - the call centre was in trouble and laying people off - or reducing their hours. I panicked. I booked my 2 week holidays I had left and set myself a task to find something in a more established and secure company. I really set my mind to it; and true to form, I found a new job, closer to home with a bigger salary - and most importantly - job security. I handed my notice in, to which my bosses breathed a sigh of relief - inadvertantly I'd prevented more hours being cut and potential redundancies for my colleagues.

                I started at my new job in April this year. I have worked really hard and they are putting me through my MSc Analytical Credit Risk Management. It's a new challenge - I always thought I was terrible at Mathematics, and here I am working as a Credit Risk Analyst! I passed the entry examinations with the highest score on the team. I come in to work happy, I leave work happy - I have a few quid left over each month which I save for treats, and I am with a new partner now who has just been accepted on to a nursing scholarship. So we are both being paid to get great qualifications. There is light on the horizon - and every cloud has a silver lining - the credit crunch made me realise how money orientated people can get - and how cutting back doesn't kill you, it just puts a little strain on you and the people you love. But maybe the problems were underlying before the strain from having no money comes between you?

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                  17.09.2009 21:47
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                  Gordon you've f***ed us all

                  Credit Crunch. Recession words I had never heard of until recent years.

                  Unfortunaly for me when the credit crunch was first starting I was just leaving school luckily enough I managed to get on a college course which I have now been doing for the past 2 years and have just started doing my 3rd and final year. In May 2008 I was luckily enough to get a job working in McDonalds but in March this year as I was told that I had managed to secure an apprenticeship with my local council by one f the people in there head office with no hesitation I left McDonalds for the nedw hopeful future. How wrong I was 2 months into the job I was made redundant and had nothing but my college course to fall back on.

                  Ok I am receiving £30 a week in EMA for attending college but by the time I've paid travel cost to and from college brought my pet dog her dog food for the week it leaves me with £5 for the rest of the week. I've applied endlessly for jobs after jobs, I even asked McDonalds if they would take me back but no I'm now stuck in a ruck because old mister gordon and the rest of his money robbing lackies have messed the whole country up. People say to me all the time why don't you sign on and get job seekers allowance? I have three reasons for not doing this, one is my pride, two because I'm 18 and on a government funded course they won't allow me to and the final reason is I love being out there working. I know old gordon droopy face has tried but he has failed. This time next year I don't know where I'm gonna be but this moment in time I feel like a lost person not quite sure whats going to happen I may be lucky and manage to secure a job or I still might be the lost soul wondering if it's actually all worth it.

                  How has the Credit Crunch affected me? It's made my life kind of pointless with nothing in the near or distant future to look forward.

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                    10.08.2009 14:59
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                    Credit Crunch experience its all part of living.

                    think this time round the credit crunch has hit everyone rich and poor. You would think that this would make it easier to bear, knowing that you arn't the only one, but it doesn't. My husband and I do not have children and therefore our two wages give is a good income. We do have animals, 3 dogs, 4 cats and 5 ducks. Up till this year things have been good for us, but we have made the some mistakes that many other people have made and that was not to look ahead and think about what would happen in the bad times.

                    Things really started to go wrong for us in early March 2009 when I started looking for a mortgage deal to replace our tracker that was expiring in April. There was nothing around that even came close to the 1.69 % deal that we were on. The cheapest option was to remain with our mortgage company who had no more funds so had no better deals either and go from 1.69% to 4.85 % which meant that our mortgage went up by a whopping £450 a month. This was all our surplus money gone.

                    I had not even entertained the thought that we would not get a cheaper deal and had let our credit card payments creep up so that once the new mortgage payment came in we seriously struggled. I realised that we would not be having a holiday this year, not even in the UK and I do love my holidays. It became a constant struggle to make the minumum payments on my credit cards and in May I took the step of writing to each of mine and my husbands cards clearly stating the problem and apologising and offering a reduced payment and requesting suspension of interest. All of them except the Bank of Ireland were helpful. The Bank of Ireland just farmed the debt out to a collection agent, who did turn out to be helpful.

                    I clearly set out our incomings and outgoings in a spreadsheet and prioritized my mortogage, council tax, utility bills and my loans which had set finishing dates on them. I then worked out my monthly reasonable shopping spend and what we needed for clothes, petrol, car tax and other esentials. When I had the amount left over I totalled up my credit cards and worked out the percentage debt that each one was and used that percentage against the money left to decide on how much to offer. In practice it worked out at half the minimum payment.

                    It has still been a struggle mainly because we are also struggling with an overdraft and have been exceeding our overdraft and getting charged £88 extra each month for that. So we are always playing catchup. We also have not allowed for problems such as having to have my dog and cat put down becuase they were ill. I ended up having to pawn a ring that my husband gave me for our 10th wedding aniversary so that I could pay for my Dog Freya and get her ashes back from the vet. 3 months later my cat had to be put down with cancer and that has cost another £300 that we will have to find this month. So on top of the heartbreak is the worry.

                    I would clearly say to anyone now that this is the time to really work on reducing any credit card debt that you have and that in the long run unless you are very disciplined then credit cards are not for you. If you have to borrow make it a fixed term loan with a fixed interest rate and only from a reputable source. Really the best thing that you can do is save for the things that you want. It does take longer to get them, but it does give you time to think if you really need them. I think of all the things that I have brought on credit cards in the past and how few of those things that I still use and properly value. It is a hard lesson to learn and I hope that I have learnt it properly. I thought I was an intelligent woman, when I see the mess we have made it scares me and I know that if I was on the outside looking in I would probably think how stupid and reckless I had been.

                    I hope the steps I have taken will help us out of our problems. I also hope the interest rate does not go up too soon, or I will be reworking that spread sheet yet again. Having said that this time I will have less pride to swallow and be more prepared. The one thing I will make clear is that although the credit crunch did not help, myself and my husband are the ones to blame. I am not moaning and groaning and looking for someone to blame, I clearly see the person to blame each morning in the mirror when I clean my teeth. I think that if we get through this and manage to keep our house we will look back and agree that we did enjoy the times we had and the money we spent on our credit cards, but that it is not the right way to manage our finances.

                    It has made our relationship stonger not weaker, because we have resolved not to punish each other for the mistakes but to accept that we made them and try to deal with them as best we can. We also try to enjoy more of our time at home doing things that cost as little as possible. We have even taken to growing our own vegetables and have found shared delight in each little success that we have. I would like to wish for a miracle like a lottery win to help us out and I did win £10 on Saturday so we are getting there, however I know that they only thing that will get us through will be each other and hard work. Although I was worrying a lot we have both decided to try to push the worry to one side and deal with each problem as it arises not to borrow trouble. I think we have done enough borrowing for now!!!

                    Thank you any one who takes the time to read this and I hope it helps.

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                      17.07.2009 21:10
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                      WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME SINKING BOAT!

                      The last year and a half has been a constant worry for me and my partner about the amount of money that may or may not be coming into the household. We were already struggling to get by but just about making the minimum payments on everything with just enough money to get by with a little bit for entertainment to go to the cinema once or twice a month.

                      My partner worked at a factory and we knew there were problems when about a year and a half ago the redundancy letters started to be handed out. First time round he was lucky when they made about 10 night shift workers and some day shift redundant. Phew we thought worry over... 3 months later another letter with talks of redundancy...he was lucky and agreed to go onto dayshift 5 day week (obviously for less money) the purse straps tightened! More talk of redundancies less than 3 months later and some more people went - the union decided to agree to a 4 day week now (about 32hrs and even less money)

                      Then in June last year the shop I work in was put up for sale...oh no what are we going to do now?? The stress and worry had consumed me - the more I was told not to worry the more I did.

                      Another 3 months or so went by and my partner was then put on 3 days at this point we could not cope financially with the outgoings causing worry and more and more arguments between us both - although it was no ones fault just the situation we were both extremely stressed and even a little depressed.

                      I didn't know if or when I would lose my job and the 27hours from his job was just not enough!

                      Luckily 6 months later in January they took the shop off the market after changing it to increase sales, which meant my job, was safe (or at least safer than before) but it was still very hard to pay the bills on time juggling each one and trying to prioritise.

                      I made an appointment with the CAB in February as I knew we were sinking fast and we needed some outside help after I broke down in front of my dad one day (which I just don't do).

                      Unfortunately just 2 days after my birthday in March (whilst out with my friends celebrating) I had a text off my partner that there was a rumour his factory had gone into administration? Should he go in the next day (Friday even though they don't work Fridays to see what was going on) I said of course and had to try and stop myself from breaking down in the restaurant - I just didn't know how we were going to cope?!

                      True to the rumour when he turned up the next day with a colleague there were a bunch of work mates and administrators (not everyone was there as they weren't told officially) and they practically called out names and told half to stand one side and the other half on the other side. Right that side you are redundant from yesterday!!! (I don't know how they can do that) the others still had their jobs but very unsafe ones.

                      So he came home without a job and no idea what to do!

                      It took 4 weeks to even get a payment off the JSA so we had to rely on £195(my wages) to pay absolutely everything! It just wasn't enough.

                      He looked on the Internet about his company and found out that the administrators had been called in in January but no one had been told!!!

                      At present there are now only about 10 employees from a factory that used to house 300 people.

                      It's been nearly 4 months of hell with debt collectors stalking me (like 30 odd calls a week) I have been to the CAB lots times (but it takes about 2 weeks to get an appointment) but the debts don't seem to take any notice.

                      My partner still hasn't got a job and we are trying to survive on my wage, which is near impossible - I just don't know what we are going to do.

                      We are not entitled to any help besides his JSA as they think £195 is sufficient - we are in debt up to our eyeballs. I would actually have more money if I didn't work but I couldn't do that. I also worry as my partner is getting more depressed staying at home all day doing nothing (no housework) and then I resent him because I have to go to work and do all the house work. A vicious circle, as I know how depression can get to you.


                      Basically the credit crunch has caused a lot of pain, stress, depression and arguments.

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                        12.07.2009 20:56
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                        Significant difficulties for the lower and middle classes

                        Officially the credit crunch has only been with us for a short period, but in reality it's been a gradual approach over the last 2-3 years.

                        I'm not on a brilliant salary, and at just over £18k there's a lot of much better paid people working in the same area, but with the current job market and the fact my partner has been looking for over 6 months I'm very reluctant to consider it, despite my area (accountany) being one of the few areas with job openings.

                        Like many other organisations the local authority which I work for is struggling and has had to make several extremely difficult business decisions in effort to balance the books, but like everywhere else there have been significant redundancies.

                        With all the pressures on families what has made significant differences is the fact that a number of larger organisations rather than lowering their prices to combat the effects on their customers are actually increasing prices making it a simple choice between food or bills. If you had only a few quid spare would you buy a few basic essentials or spend it topping up the leccy?

                        In reality, this is a problem that governments have known about for years, and should realistically have planned for.

                        Do we by the end of the recession want huge numbers in unemployment, families unable to pay for even a basic standard of living and fat cat bosses on millions as their institution is forced into liquidity? I think not, I would much rather see lower prices and institutions being more proactive with their customers. Do we really want to see only Tesco in our High Street?

                        For me the recession has come at exactly the wrong time with the start of a new relationship, with my partner desperately seeking work, a family to feed and mounting bills. It makes life extremely stressful.

                        The 5* rating is because it has a major effect on our lives.

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                          16.06.2009 14:05
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                          It will take a long time to recover, but remember this isn't the first ever recession.

                          The credit crunch hit us all with such a speed that the way finances changed so rapidly was frightening.

                          The first issue that really hit me hard was the collapse of the IceSave bank account. Having several thousand of savings plus the money to pay my income tax and VAT bill for my small business was devastating. Alisdair Darling saving us by announcing that we would all be paid back even though it was an insured bank account we should be given the money back anyway. However, the insurance was from Iceland and they were playing a little awkward, thus causing stress of knowing when I would have access to my money again and not if.

                          Fortunately, I did get the IceSave money back in time to pay the required bills on time.

                          As I run my own business I found a catch-22 situation where people and businesses were holding onto their money a little more, to see how this "credit crunch" panned out. This meant a reduction in the amount of business I got but also meant advertising prices were rising due to the same amount of companies fighting for less customers.

                          The next thing was the RBS fiasco. As we all know, the government bailed them out with a large loan. As all my business banking was with Natwest (owned by RBS) this was suddenly a further concern. With no access to the IceSave money, I couldn't afford to operate two business accounts with an independant company and I was left to wonder - who do you trust with the money anyway?

                          RBS again is insured for personal and small businesses, fortunately this time fully through the FSA, so I knew I would get any money in there back should anything go wrong, but RBS also operate the credit card processing needed for my business. Was this insured? I wasn't so sure and never really got an answer. As they pay several weeks behind, that could potentially be more money lost - the turnover of possibly three weeks (not the profits, but the turnover!).

                          Next, the VAT rate was reduced which created more work for me in my company - having to reprice all the items at lower prices at very short notice. This was technically unpaid work and was a pain to do only for us to have to do the same at the end of the year when the VAT rate (should) go back up.

                          Interest rates crashed and the first few were good because my mortgage began to go down. But ending your mortgage deal in November 2008 was not a good time to go onto the standard variable rate. It didn't take long however for the company who parade under the Nationwide name to stop reducing the rates, whereas Nationwide were telling the government that they were slashing rates by the full amount. A company owned by Nationwide who only uses the Nationwide name when it benefits them.

                          Currently I pay about £270 a month more than what I would have been because my deal ended. Reduced income also severly restricted where I could remortgage.

                          Second-hand car prices plummeted and I had been considering changing my car for sometime, but £6000 was wiped off the value in just a few months. In fact, because of what it is worth now it isn't worth changing to another model.

                          There is a good side to the credit crunch too, however.

                          Petrol has gone up, food has gone up, in fact I can't think of many items that have gone down in price.

                          It has taught me how to budget much better, how to live on a shoestring, as they say. I was never a big spender but I now manage my finances under even stricter controls than before. Visiting some car boot sales, selling items on eBay and being able to start growing my own food are just a few of the things I may have kept on putting off had it not been for "the crunch".

                          Fortunately, my business has not collapsed, unlike Woolworths, MFI, General Motors and many other large companies that have been victims. This leaves me in a job but struggling to pay bills each month at the moment. It does worry as to who will be the next business failure or is this over? I am just trying to make sure it is not my business to go next.

                          At least I am in a job, since there many there are not right now.

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                            04.06.2009 15:03
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                            Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does!

                            OMG where do I start! Lets just say if our family situation gets anyworse, we may as well go throw ourselves off the nearest cliff!

                            My husband was made redundant in Jan 08 (his 3rd in 5 years). He was working in a senior role at a start up company. When the credit crunch started to bite their revenue didn't come through fast enough so they lost 25% of the workforce.

                            I was a stay at home mum, I'd just re-trained as the youngest of our 2 kids had just started school, freeing up some of my time. My plan was to start up my own image consultancy / personal stylist co (I used to be a senior fashion buyer), so it was a natural move for me. I had all my paperwork ready, business bank account in the process of being set up and a couple of clients waiting in the wings to get me going. My training had cost us £6000, a large chunk of our remaining savings after the first 2 redundancies my husband had.

                            Then bang, mid Jan hubby comes home from work at 11am, I jokingly said, "should I be worried that your home at this time of day" - he burst into tears!

                            And that was just the start of our problems. The redundancy package was minimal (as it was a start up it had run out of money - even paying the wages was proving difficult). Our savings had been massivley depleated by one 7 month followed, a year later by an 8 1/2 month stint of redundancy and of course my training course.

                            As you can imagine a massive cull of our expenditure was our first priority alone with a trip to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or jobcentre. Having filled in huge amounts of forms in quadruplicate for jobseekers allowance, council tax credit, child tax credits etc we then had to wait for the descisions to come back. 3 months later they finally did and fortunately they paid up. In the meantime I had earnt £200 from my clients, which I declared to the DWP. They then suspended all our benefits for the 8 weeks it took while they worked out how much impact my one off earnings had. In the end they decided nothing needed to be removed as I hadn't earnt anything else since!!

                            In the ensuing 15 months my husband has applied for nearly 500 jobs, many of which at 50% of the salary he was getting, we've looked at moving abroad, moving area, contract jobs, permanent jobs, you name it we've tried it. I have been looking to return to buying, but having not worked in it for 10 years my chances are slim. As I am not qualified in anything else my job prospects are frankly crap and that's being polite!

                            He did an electrical engineering degree at uni so we had the bright idea that as the DWP will pay for you to do training to help your job prospects it might be an idea for him to retrain as an electrician. But wait till you get this! When we went to speak to a DWP training adviser, he was told that they would loan him the £8000 it would cost to do the course, which he would have to start paying back as soon as he qualified. However as the course was full time, he would not be "actively seeking employment" and "available for work" so we would receive no benefits whatsoever!!! However if he'd been illiterate his training would have been free and all his benefits intact! How can it be in this country that being educated and wanting to help yourself is somthing that's held against you??

                            The moral being that they like you helpless and dependent, I always wondered why some people stayed on benefits for years, now I know! They make it virtually impossible for you to help yourself! I can't earn even a pittance without them suspending us for 2 months or taking away key benefits, like free school meals and child tax credit, and my oh can't retrain without losing all the benefits we recieve.

                            Even more annoying when I worked out over the years how much we had paid in tax in our working lives both as 40%ers we would have to be on bennefits for over 20 years at the current level of what we receive to get back what we have paid in!

                            In the last couple of months our mortgage insurance has also run out, so we applied to the DWP for Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) . In the past this has paid out for the interest only on your mortgage after 9 months or your insurance ends up to a max mortgage level of £100k. In the mini emergency budjet when the recession started to deepen this was ammended to £200k from the 5th Jan 09 and you could claim after 13 weeks.

                            We claimed in Feb 09, it's taken 4 months for them to get back to us regardig our claim. And they have capped us at £100k as my husband was made redundant in Jan 08, and the new rules they state are for totally new claimants from 5th Jan 09. However thier own website states that if you are a new MIR claimant after 5th Jan 09 you are entitled to the higher level. We are currently appealing thier descision. If we rented our house, they would pay the full rent without any real questions asked - how can that be fair?

                            The additional stress this is causing is just huge. We have family and friends helping us out as much as possible, but it's like swimming through treacle. Massive effort with no visible return in any area.

                            As a couple we are very strong, we both have bad days, we both have good. We have two great kids. And I am learning to make the most of my tesco clubcard vouchers to give them free days out! We've done car boot sales, sold anything not nailed down on ebay, got rid of one of our cars. Next on the list is my engagement ring! How long we will be able to hang onto our house is anyones guess!

                            But, and it's a big but, we are all healthy, we all love each other and we can and will get through this.

                            I keep reminding myself of the words of Hans Cristian Anderson, "Just living is not enough, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower"
                            Well we still have all of those, so we have more than many!

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                              22.04.2009 03:32
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                              Keep positive, you've gotta be in it to win it!

                              There is no question that this is a very difficult time for the majority of people in the UK and across the globe, and the predictions are that this is just the beginning of the downturn.

                              So many people are losing their jobs as businesses fold etc, I was self-employed and had to give up the business because I couldn't earn enough to support myself (and I am EXTREMELY frugal!). So a few months ago I began job hunting for the first time in six years, and what a time to be trying to find work! It seemed an impossible task, I spent so long over application after application, and often became disheartened with the whole process. Many jobs had a closing date which was several weeks away, not much good when you need an income NOW (considered the JSA route, but even that takes time).

                              I would say that I must have applied for well over 100 jobs in a couple of months, and never got a single interview, until last week that is! And what's more, I got the job and I start next week! You will appreciate the relief it was to be told I was successful, and I would like to tell anyone who is in the same position of seeking work to never give up, keeping a positive attitude is the only way forward, and although things are very difficult, it is not impossible. I was feeling pretty down about the whole situation, but this just shows that there is work out there, keep plugging away and something will come through for you. It's a bit like a lottery in some respects, you've gotta be in it to win it!

                              Wishing you all the very best of luck.

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                                22.04.2009 02:55
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                                Look after each other

                                The credit crunch will all affect us one way or another but some of us haven't been as badly affected as others have been, and for this we should be grateful.

                                I myself have only been affected, to my knowledge, by the rising costs of food in the supermarkets and that tiny reduction in the VAT. The reason for this is that I am a student and I am living off my student loan which, touch wood, won't get affected by this crisis.

                                With my university dorm rent being much higher to those at other universities I knew I would have to be careful with my loan over my studentship, as the loan only gives me approx £4000 a year to live on (where £3000 is rent).

                                £1000 a year to live on was always going to be hard but so far I have managed despite the massive increase in prices in the local supermarkets. I've always been the kind of person who shopped for cheapest food even when money was okay, so living off nothing comes easy to me.

                                I am in a very lucky position, I have a fixed income which is enough to keep me alive and I have no-one that I have to look after. Others have had it very tough, I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to loose your job.

                                There are many people out there who are blaming the government and the banks; it may be true that they are largely responsible for this but we have to try and focus on getting through this rather than looking to place the blame.

                                Placing the blame won't make this go away, this is something the whole world is currently suffering with and this is something that needs sorting out quickly.

                                We also have to remember that we here still really aren't struggling, there are still thousands of people each day starving in the 3rd world everyday, whereas we have a government that can provide for its struggling citizens.

                                There are people in the 3rd world who make less than £5 a year for working 60 hour weeks in dangerous and horrible conditions; on here we can make that in 10 premium reviews.

                                So even now in this penny saving time, we should remember to look after those less fortunate than us, even the ones we don't know. I would propose sending your next batch of Dooyoo points to one of the various charities you support.

                                For all of those who are struggling my sympathy is with you and please don't give up, it will be all okay eventually. For those of you who like me aren't struggling please look after those who are affected by this. Most importantly use this time to realize what being rich in life really means - having those that you care about around you and in good health.

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