Tag Archives: “blue monday”

The bright side of Blue Monday

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free from debt

Looking on the bright side…

It’s cold, it’s dark, and maybe it’s even snowing. It’s mid-January, Christmas seems an age ago, the only reminder is the credit card bills landing on your doormat, reminding you once and for all that this is the most depressing time of the year!

Blue Monday is (apparently) the most depressing day of the year. It’s the third Monday of January, when the credit card statements arrive in the post, a miserable reminder of just how much you may have spent over Christmas. However, we think there’s a bright side to this annual misery-fest.

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#debtday: stories throughout the day

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Cutting up credit card

Throughout #debtday we’ll be blogging stories from our Helpline, the latest debt updates, feedback from Twitter and much more. The newest updates will appear at the top of this page (press refresh to get the latest update).

Tell us your thoughts; either add a comment below, tweet or post on our Facebook page.

9:15pm: Thank you for your tweets, replies and messages during #debtday today. Don’t forget, if you need debt help use our online debt advice tool Debt Remedy. Goodnight!

9:10pm: A chance to sum it all up: a blogpost with our conclusion from running #debtday is now on the MoneyAware blog.

“StepChange is a charity trying to help people help pull themselves out of the mire of debt – and by showing you the figures behind the headlines we hope we have made an small but meaningful impact.”

We’ll have more over the next few days here on MoneyAware and on Twitter – I hope you can join us for that. And also #debtday2, coming soon!

9:05pm: We’ve also updated the debt comparisons blogpost from earlier with the final totals – see how one day’s debt compares to other newsworthy subjects.

9:00pm: The final amounts are in. In total today our Helpline took 1625 calls from people with money worries, discussing £109,820,768 debt (or £67,582 per caller).

8:30pm: Want a quick update to find out more about #debtday? We recommend that you read these articles:

8:05pm: With one hour left, the total number of callers has reached 1625, and the total debt reported in the last 12 hours is now standing at an astonishing £109,732,277 (or around £67.5k debt per caller).

Why is there more to come? “Surely,” you cry, “StepChange opens from 8am until 8pm?”

Yes, while we do stop taking calls at 8pm that doesn’t mean the final totals will be available at that point. If a Helpline advisor is on a call at the cut-off point then not all data will be inputted in time, plus our Helpline call total only records an incremental rise at the end of the phone call.

So we’ll be here to report back on the final #debtday total at 9pm.

7:15pm: It’s worth reading this excellent blogpost by @frugaldom, talking about Blue Monday and #debtday:

“Regardless of what you think of today, it is still another new day, another new beginning, another opportunity to progress along your chosen path or turn off in a new direction.”

As we mentioned earlier, it’s simply a coincidence that the busiest day in the CCCS calendar is also “Blue Monday”. To quote our text from 9:20am:

“For people phoning CCCS today Blue Monday isn’t on their mind of course – trying to find a way through their debt issues is.”

The full Frugaldom article is available here.

7:05pm: It’s starting to get quieter now as families focus on food and the evening telly rather than phoning, but in the last hour the #debtday total debt still rose by £3.7million.

6:05pm: Three hours to go on #debtday and we’ve announced the 6pm debt total figure on Twitter. Sadly, we’ve passed the £100 million mark for the day.

5:30pm: We’ve researched some comparisons to the debt total we’re discussing today, to stop it all becoming a bit too abstract.

“Ahead of the 2010 general elections the main UK political parties spent £31,498,745 on campaigning”

You can read the full blogpost here.

5:05pm: We’re nine hours into the day and the total debt reported is now £95,466,162. We’ll give some comparisons of this debt in a new blogpost in the next 20 minutes.

4:35pm: Gordon Bell, our Chief Executive, gave us a nice comment that we’ve just tweeted.

“These #debtday figures may seem exceptionally high but unfortunately aren’t dissimilar to the free help StepChange Debt Charity provides every day”

As Citizens Advice Bureau said earlier:

“The total debt figure is especially scary but not unusual – which in itself is scary!”

The figures are high (around £70,000 per caller), but when taken in context they reveal the personal debt problems that many Britons find themselves today. We shouldn’t forget that this is the overriding aim of #debtday: to raise awareness of this black hole of debt, especially on the busiest day in StepChange’s calendar.

4:05pm: Eight hours down and the figures continue to jump up. Total debt discussed today stands at £84.2m and we’ve taken just over 1300 calls.

For those asking about how we arrive at these figures we posted a blogpost detailing this earlier – it’s an interesting read.

3:00pm: We’re now seven hours into the day and the MoneyAware team are still going strong (although we’ll be shadows of our former selves come 9pm tonight). As our Twitter channel reports, in those seven hours we’ve discussed £71,794,499 total debt with 1102 callers. That’s a £13.5m rise in cumulative debt reported to us in just one hour.

2:30pm: We’ve posted up a new article about our CCCS clients and the situations they found themselves in before they contacted us (and how they’re doing now).

A telling quote from Gwen:

“CCCS is the first organisation I really trust to act in my best interests and sort my situation out. They have been invaluable.”

Read the full blogpost here.

2:10pm: Over the last hour the rate of calls has slackened slightly and the rate at which the cumulative debt was rising has diminished, but that’s not to underestimate the power of the debt figures – it’s still nearly £60m in six hours, or £10m in total personal debt reported to one debt charity, of several, every hour.

1:40pm: A little earlier today the BBC put up a great article giving debt advice to six people, supplied by Sue and Pav in the CCCS Social Media team. It’s well worth reading to see the kind of questions we get asked on a regular basis.

1:00pm: 5hrs=£50m. After five hours of #debtday our Helpline have discussed a phenomenal £50 million of debt with 723 UK citizens, an average debt per person of just under £70,000. Amazed by this? Here are some more figures on the state of UK debt from our friends at The Money Charity.

“Individuals owe more than what the whole country produces in a year.”

12:50pm: More on our brilliant Helpline team. Last year we recorded a number of videos highlighting the different departments in CCCS, along with practical advice to help people with debt problems. In this video Ruth Suter explains budgeting.

If you’ve got a debt problem and need help visit our online counselling service Debt Remedy or contact the StepChange Debt Charity Helpline.

12:10am: The midday total has been announced – a third of the way through the day and we’ve had 483 calls, discussing debts of £35,769,497.

When the debt figure reaches a certain amount it stops making much sense – we can’t picture what £35.7 million means. So later this afternoon we’ll post a comparison blogpost, so you can see what could also be purchased for these huge amounts of money.

11:50am: Martyn Saville at Which? has posted a wonderful debtday article highlighting today’s events.

As Martyn says,

“I suspect the figures coming out of StepChange Debt Charity’s innovative #debtday project will shock many people. Just two hours in, their advisors had already dealt with calls relating to over £12m of debt.

What’s even more worrying is that many more consumers struggling with debt are not contacting the excellent free service offered by organisations such as StepChange Debt Charity, National Debtline and Citizens Advice, but rather are approaching commercial debt management companies or not taking advice at all.”

It’s well worth reading the full article here.

11:20am: For those of you who might want to know a bit more about behind the scenes…

Today we have 100 Helpline advisors taking calls. There are 9 team leaders and 2 managers that are needed to ensure that everything’s running smoothly.

Even our advisors that speak to people with debt problems every day are surprised by our stats!

So much emphasis is placed on treating each of our clients as individuals, that they we don’t always realise how much debt we are discussing on a daily basis.

Everyone on our Helpline is eager to keep up to date with the accumulating totals. One of our advisors Gill says

“It’s amazing to hear that we’ve dealt with that amount of debt already, and it makes you wonder how much debt people are struggling with that we don’t hear about”

We’re also hoping to hear some interesting anecdotes from our clients later today.

If you’re in debt and need to help our online counselling service Debt Remedy is available 24/7.

11:10am: Three hours in and the totals at 11am were 303 calls and £22,088,145 debt discussed. This means the average caller has around £72,000 worth of debt.

10:40am: We’ve added a blogpost explaining how we arrive at the #debtday figures, to show you a little bit of behind the scenes detail at CCCS.

The #debtday numbers we’re publishing today can seem a little astonishing at first glance.

Given this, we’ve provided this explanation of how we arrive at these figures.

Read the full article here.

10:05am: The second hourly update for #debtday has been released and so far we’ve had 164 calls in two hours, and £12.4m debt has been discussed. This equals around £75,000 per call.

9:20am: It’s pure coincidence that our busiest day of the year – certainly in 2010 – ties in with Blue Monday.

Blue Monday is reputed to be the most depressing day of the year, although in actuality it’s a publicity campaign first initiated by Sky Travel in 2005. It takes place on the third or fourth Monday in January – usually our busiest day as well.

For people phoning CCCS today Blue Monday isn’t on their mind of course – trying to find a way through their debt issues is.

9:10am: The first figures are through, with 71 calls from people with money worries, discussing £2,836,939 debt. This equates to around £40,000 debt reported in each call.

8.20am: You might be wondering what #debtday is all about. In essence we’ll be posting hourly updates of the number of calls we receive, and the total debt they report, as it happens. These will run from 9am until around 8pm (although we may get updated totals after that).

It’ll be a snapshot of how many UK citizens contact us to help with their debts. More details on the day here.

8.05am: It’s the start of #debtday, and the Helpline has just opened for the day. Of course, our online counselling service Debt Remedy is available 24/7 (numbers from this service will not be included in today’s event).

Quote source(s): client phone calls to CCCS (StepChange Debt Charity)