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Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 09:27 UK
Can debt problems be solved?
By Catherine Burns
Newsbeat reporter

Money issues are rarely out of the headlines these days

Doom, gloom, credit crunch… it's all a bit depressing isn't it?

So, here at Newsbeat we've decided to do our bit to help. Earlier this year, we spoke to some listeners with money problems.

We took them to meet a debt counsellor, Chris Tapp, from the charity Creditaction. And now we've gone back to see how they're doing.

Serious debts

When we first met Andy, he'd managed to rack up around £28,000 of debt. He was struggling to pay his bills every month, and told us things were really getting him down. He said he felt like he wanted to stay in his flat and curl up.

Andy sorted out his money issues with a debt management plan

Chris told him he needed to get a debt management plan. This is where a charity helps you sort things out. You talk to them about how much you owe and they help make it all simpler.

So, you give them money every month, and they share it out between everyone you owe.

Andy did just that, and now, instead of paying back £700 a month, it's more like £200. He says it was easy, but that this one thing has transformed his life. He feels so much more relaxed, and he's even managing to save some cash. It's still going to take him years to get back into the black, but he's up for the challenge.

Here's where you can get help:

Mortgage dilemnas

Chris and Lauren bought a house together a couple of years ago and their fixed rate mortgage deal is going to finish in December. They'd heard all the headlines about the credit crunch and were worried they might end up struggling to get such a good rate again.

Lauren and Chris
Lauren and Chris have been advised not to sell if possible

At the time, Chris told them not to panic too much. It looked like interest rates were going to come down, so by the time they needed to re-mortgage, things should be easier.

Unfortunately, he was only half-right. Interest rates have been cut, but lenders aren't passing the cheaper prices onto us.

And things have got slightly more complicated for Chris and Lauren. They've split up, and can't decide what to do about the house they own together. Normally they'd probably just sell, and split the profit. But house prices are falling, and they could end up losing out.

So there are two problems for Chris to deal with. On the mortgage front, he says things are settling down a bit. They probably won't get cheaper rates, but they should look for a rate-matcher deal, which won't affect their monthly payments too much.

As for their house dilemna, Chris has told them that if they can afford not to sell they should try to ride things out. They've got mates renting out the spare room. And hopefully when prices rise, even in a couple of years, they'll still be able to sell and make some money.

Credit worries

Paul is an attractive financial prospect. He's got a good job, he rents a nice flat and drives a posh car. But he got in touch with us because no one would lend him any money. He couldn't even get a mobile phone contract and kept getting turned down for credit cards.

Paul was pleased at how quickly he could sort his money issues

Chris told him he needed to check out his credit rating - that's the information companies look at when they're trying to decide whether to lend to you or not.

All of us have a score, and it's easy to find out what yours is. There are companies that will tell for free. Your rating can be affected by things you've done in the past. In Paul's case, it was because he'd moved house so often, which could make him look dodgy to some companies.

Chris said one good way to boost his score was to get a high interest credit card. They're not as relaxed about who they lend to, but they charge double the interest.

If you pay it all back every month, the interest should never be a problem. And it means companies can see that you can handle your finances.

And it's worked for Paul. His credit rating has improved so much, he's just been approved for a normal credit card. He says the best thing is that all this only took a few months to sort out.

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