Tackling your debts

Know what it's like to be skint? You're one of 30 millionaires

Posted 08 July 2013

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If you're skint, you're not alone. We found that over half the UK knows what it feels like.

Being skint can be the worst feeling in the world. It's not just about not being able to treat yourself - as most of us know, being truly skint can mean serious problems when there are bills to be paid, food to be bought, kids' clothes to be replaced…


When we did some research to find out how common it is, we got some worrying results.


It turns out that 3 in 5 know what it's like - which means 30 million people across the UK have been penniless at some point in the past. 10 million are skint 'from time to time' or 'regularly' today.


And that's truly skint:

  • No money in the bank
  • Nothing in the purse / wallet (or next to nothing)
  • No other way of getting some money

Of course, it doesn't really help to know how many others find themselves in this situation, but it does mean there are organisations with plenty of experience helping them - like Debt Advisory Centre. If you're struggling with debts and other money worries, you can talk to a debt adviser on 0800 195 2714.

Age & location play a big part

We're not all equally likely to run out of money.


As you might expect, some parts of the UK do a lot better than others. We asked people all over the country and found that:

  • While 33% of the people in Northern Ireland said they'd never been skint,
  • 49% of the people in the South East of England said that.

Age makes a big difference too:

  • The 55+ age group stood out for two reasons. People in this group were:
  • by far the most likely to say they'd been skint in the past, and
  • by far the least likely to say they found themselves penniless these days.
  • People between 25 and 34 were three times as likely to run out of cash.

So what makes people penniless?

People run out of cash for different reasons. The top 5 reasons we discovered in our research:


   Who said this the most?

    How many skint people said this Age Gender Region
1 My income's only just enough for me to live on 31% People aged 55 or over Women People in Northern Ireland
2 Unexpected bills & expenses 16% People aged 25-34 Women People in Wales
3 I've overspent 15% People aged 35-44 Men People in the East Midlands
4 I've lost my job 11% People aged 45-54 Men People in Yorkshire & the Humber
5 I'm trying to keep up with my debts 11% People aged 35-44 Men People in Northern Ireland

How does it make you feel?

Everyone reacts differently to this kind of stress, but your gender might be more of an influence than you thought.

Emotional impact of being skint Who's more likely to feel this way? How much more likely?
Panicky Women 15%
Depressed Men 20%
Worried/upset Women 39%
Angry Men 200%

What can you do about it?

It depends why you're skint. Earning more isn't always possible - and neither is spending less.


But millions of people run out of cash because they're trying to keep up with their debts. If your debts are taking up money you need for life's essentials, did you know your lenders might agree to accept smaller payments?


You'd still need to pay as much as you can afford each month, but knowing you've got enough left for the things you really need could make a huge difference to your stress levels.


We could help you negotiate those lower payments. Call us on 0800 195 2714 and find out what we could do to help you.

by Emily Bancroft

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