Birmingham Frugal Friends Club 4th September 2007

Birmingham frugal friends

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The Frugal Friend's meeting on the 4th of September saw our best turn out so far, with forum members including Aguise, Lily, The Bear (Dave), Gavin and his wife Donna all making it to the Britania Hotel in Birmingham.

Discussion focused on how people ended up in serious debt – nearly all members agreed that consolidation loans were often the main culprit. The main problem is that the loan simply pays off your credit card bills, while still leaving the cards "live", making it all to easy to still use them and rack up yet more debt. It was suggested that a condition of consolidation loans should be that you have to cut up your credit cards to prevent the cycle beginning again.

Creditor scare tactics were also discussed, with the danger that debtors are often bullied into making payments they can't afford, often using even more credit in order to do so. When debtors arm themselves with information from the forum they can hold their nerve against pushy creditors, but this often comes all too late. Greater knowledge of debt solutions and encouraging people to seek help sooner were both cited as ways of resisting creditors.

The big question, bankruptcy vs. an IVA, was also touched upon, with most agreeing that bankruptcy had many advantages and should not be discounted as an option, particularly for those with few personal assets and a low disposable income.

On a more personal level, Donna and Gavin spoke about the moment they knew they had a debt problem, when the CCCS told them that it would take them 18 years on a Debt Management Plan to repay their debts in full. The concluding discussion focused on contact lenses Dave, an optician, gave his expert opinion in full!