About Emma

I've been working for StepChange Debt Charity as a debt advisor for the past seven years. I love doing my job and love talking to people.

I am going to be honest - I hate budgeting but I do it because if I didn't I wouldn't have any money at the end of the month!

Working for StepChange Debt Charity has helped me in many ways and I want to share my experiences and knowledge with other people.

My most recent posts

Eviction: what happens when you go to court

posted by in Archive Leave a comment

Emma, a debt advisor, spent the day at a County Court hearing centre to better understand the eviction hearing process. She’s written this article to share what happens during an eviction hearing and what she learnt from the day.

The county court eviction process

What is the eviction hearing process?

As a debt advisor, I regularly speak to clients who are in rent or mortgage arrears and are concerned about eviction. It’s part of my job to understand the County Court eviction process, explain to clients what to expect at their hearing and how to prepare for it.

However, being fortunate enough to have never been in that situation myself, one thing I can’t talk the client through is how they’ll feel on the day.

So to find out more, I visited a County Court hearing centre to help me to understand more about the process from a client’s perspective.

Continue reading »


Don’t give in to a payday loan this Christmas

posted by in Living with debt 4 Comments

Christmas tree from paper

Avoid payday loans this Christmas

With Christmas coming soon are you tempted by a payday loan? You’ll not be the only one but you have to ask yourself: do you really need it?

We all know that Christmas can be the most expensive time of the year, we all want our families to have the best but it doesn’t have to lead to more lending, more debt and more stress. Continue reading »


HP or a credit agreement – that is the question!

posted by in Living with debt Leave a comment

Check your credit agreement

Check your credit agreement

Have you brought a sofa from DFS, a TV from Curry’s, maybe a bed from Bright House or a car from your local dealers?

Are you worried that you can’t make payments and they are going to take your goods away? Or do you think that you don’t have to make payments and that your goods are safe?

So what’s the difference between hire purchase and a credit agreement? Continue reading »


A beginner’s guide to budgeting

posted by in Budgeting 6 Comments

Financial education

Time to add up the pennies

So you’ve compiled a budget, you have it in front of you, but its making no sense whatsoever.  What do you want out of your budget?  What is budgeting? What are the benefits of budgeting?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary a budget is “an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time”.

But importantly, while the word budget can imply that you have to do without, this doesn’t have to be the case. By taking the time to study your own spending patterns and habits, can give you an awareness that you may not have previously had.

You can use your budget as a tool to help you live within your means, or a tool to help you control your money by directing it where you want it to go.

Remember that a budget is more than just bills and expenses, it’s your life. 

Continue reading »


Taking that first debt-free step

posted by in Living with debt 1 Comment

walk towards the light

We can help you find the light at the end of the tunnel

Overcommitted on credit? Been made redundant? Had a recent bereavement? Had a breakdown in your relationship?  Maybe you’re suffering from ill-health…

These are just a few reasons as to why someone would find themselves in financial difficulty. As we’ve seen before, the reality of being in debt is that it’s the big issues that cause problems, not racking up the credit card bills on expensive luxuries.

Continue reading »


Summer break for the kids – without breaking the bank

posted by in Budgeting 1 Comment

Why not take the kids to the park

Why not take the kids to the park (thanks to Fulla T)

As a mum of two children, our guest blogger Emma knows all about having to keep them entertained on a budget. She shares her ideas on how to make the money last for the whole of the summer holidays.

It’s coming up to that time of year again, School holidays. I don’t know about you but I am always struggling to find things to do with my children. I want to find activities that are cheap or free, but I also need something that will keep my children entertained Continue reading »


Trousering a bargain

posted by in Saving money 1 Comment

We welcome Emma Pack, one of the excellent debt advisors we have here at StepChange Debt Charity. Today she chats about her clothes-buying experiences and where to buy without breaking the bank!

Trousers on a clothes rail

Trousers on a clothes rail (thanks to net_efekt)

I’m a single 20-something woman with £30 in my back pocket. What should I do with it? Drinks with friends? A new pair of jeans? A ‘take out’ and a film? Or could I do a couple of the above?

I can go into most high-street stores and get a new pair of trousers for £30. That’s £30 on one item, my entire month’s clothing budget gone. One pair of trousers but no fun!

So to try and make my money go further I’ve been looking around for some ways that I can get good clothing at a price that suits my budget.

I set myself a task: For four months I allowed myself £30 per month for clothing and footwear and tried out a few different methods to get the best value for my money. Here’s what I found…

Month 1: I went into my local town and went into the market; they had lots of cheap clothes however I still found I couldn’t get much for my £30.  I managed to get a pair of black trousers and a nice pair of socks. Cheap was not cheerful and the quality of the goods left a lot to be desired.

Month 2: I went browsing around charity shops. I found that my £30 went a long way, I managed to get three shirts for work at £1.50 each and I also managed to get myself two pairs of jeans and one pair of trousers, all for £28.50.  The clothes were in really good condition and although I had to walk around a few charity shops it was well worth the looking and I felt great with the savings I had made. Six items for £30, and decent quality as well!

Month 3: I decided to look at websites; one that came straight to mind was eBay – the natural stomping ground of the seasoned eBargain hunter. I managed to get a bundle of clothes for just 99p (lots of people sell bundles of clothes on there, something I didn’t know before!). Yes, okay, the postage was £5 but still, ten items for six quid! Some of the items weren’t perfect but there were some I could make use of and for £6 can I really complain.

Month 4: I thought I’d exhausted most of my frugal shopping ideas and then by chance I stumbled across Freecycle. It was a bit of a pain at first because I had to sign up and I had to wait for a moderator to accept me but once I got on the site it was great, people were actually giving (and getting) stuff for free. I managed to get a leather sofa, clothes and shoes, and loads of cooking utensils, all for free. What’s the catch? There wasn’t one – all I had to do was collect the stuff. When you sign up, you sign up to your local Freecycle, this means you don’t have to travel halfway around the country.

There are many other ways that you can find cheap clothing it’s a case of keeping your eyes and options open. Yes it takes time and yes the clothing may be used but who is going to know unless you tell them?

I’ve got my new tops, new jeans, pizza on the way and a bottle of wine in the fridge (and something new to sit on). Do I still think my £30 pair of trousers was a bargain? Not a chance!