About James

James Winterbottom has been a debt advisor for six years. Away from work he is an amateur app developer and writes fiction. James is a lifelong supporter of Huddersfield Town football club, which suggests he is either very loyal or very daft. He also likes to talk about himself in the third person in bio pages.

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My most recent posts

Debt and money news – November 2015

posted by in Debt news Leave a comment

Welcome to November’s debt and money news, your one-stop-shop for all the latest goings-on in the world of finances. This month’s installment covers wages going up, payday loan refunds, George Osborne’s autumn statement, our new service in Ireland, Black Friday scuffles and this year’s most wanted toys.

As a special bonus, if you make it to the end there’s a link to a video that will show you how to make your own Tracy Island! Continue reading »

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Black Friday – Waste of time or useful way to save cash?

posted by in Saving money Leave a comment

Black Friday has a bad reputation for scuffles and unpleasantness, but it’s meant to be an annual shopping event to help people “save money”. It’s something UK retailers have imported from America, falling on the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. But what we want to know is this: Is it worthwhile?

Like other American exports, such as David Hasselhoff, Halloween and going to see “movies” instead of “films”, Black Friday has had a mixed reaction as it’s crept into our national consciousness.

We’re divided in the MoneyAware team – Rory argues against it and James makes the case in favour.

But do you think it’s a waste of time or a good way to save money? Add your thoughts to the comments section once you’ve read the article…

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I’m on a DMP and work for StepChange Debt Charity

posted by in Living with debt 2 Comments

Jonathon works in our Helpline but before he became an advisor he was on the other end of the phone. He’s currently on a debt management plan (DMP) with StepChange Debt Charity, and wanted to share his story in his own words – how he got into debt, the impact it had on him, how he got help and how he’s now helping other people that are struggling with debt.

It’s a great story and shows how debt can affect anyone. If you find that you’re situation is similar to Jonathon’s you should get in touch with StepChange Debt Charity for free debt advice Continue reading »

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How much fun can you have for a fiver?

posted by in Budgeting Leave a comment

Living on a budget can mean having to avoid expensive forms of entertainment but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. As part of our series of challenges to the MoneyAware team, this month we’ve investigated how much fun you can have for a fiver.

Our first ideas of how to spend five pounds involved either cheap alcohol or were a bit dodgy but once we set our minds to it we came up with some good ideas. You’d be surprised how far you can stretch five quid while trying to have a good time.

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People of StepChange: Getting debt advice

posted by in Living with debt 1 Comment

Every Friday on our social media channels we like to feature one our colleagues in our ‘People of StepChange’ photo project. Have you spoken with one of them in the past?

We’ve got lots of lovely people working here at StepChange Debt Charity and we thought it would be good to highlight the work they do – hence ‘People of StepChange’, launched in the spring.

This month we’ve shared photos of colleagues who help people when they first come to us for advice. These are the people on the front line, of one sort or another.

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Thrifty eats – we put cheap cuts of meat to the test!

posted by in Saving money Leave a comment

We love saving money, especially if it means not having to compromise on quality. And meat is one of those areas where quality really matters.

Are “cheap” cuts of meat always all that cheap? Can they be as tasty as more expensive cuts of meat? Are they a nightmare to cook with? Are the MoneyAware team all terrible cooks?

We’ve experimented with cooking with four different types of cheap cuts of meat to see if they’re good value and tasty (plus one vegetarian option, to show you don’t always need to eat meat!).

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How will upcoming benefits changes affect my DMP?

posted by in Living with debt 26 Comments

UPDATE: This article was published in July 2015. Make sure you’re up to date with the 2016 benefit changes and how they may affect you.

The July Budget revealed plans to reduce welfare benefits by £12bn. There are two questions that are likely to be on your mind if you’re on a debt management plan (DMP). Firstly: what benefits are going to be affected? Secondly: how will these changes impact my finances and my DMP?

We’ve summarised the biggest changes, when they’re going to happen and who’s likely to be affected by them. We’ve then covered some likely questions that might crop up if you’re on a DMP.

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