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Real life stories

Our clients share – in their own words – the impact debt has had on them and their journey out.


Worried about money? Use our online tool to get free debt advice tailored to your situation. Get help now.

These stories are from people who reached out, took control, and found light at the end of the tunnel. Our clients hope their stories help you too.

Our clients, in their own words

Debt is hard to talk about. But StepChange has been helping people for over 30 years and we know that:

  •  Debt can happen to anyone
  •  It happens for lots of reasons
  •  It impacts us in different ways

These stories prove debt is nothing to be ashamed of.

Latest stories

Steve's story

"We were living hand-to-mouth and it had gotten more expensive to maintain our house. I was feeling incredibly stressed about our situation."

How we helped Steve

Cost of Living

Jamie's Story

"Credit cards became my main way of paying bills, buying food. I thought it was only a short term thing and it wouldn't last very long."

Read more about Jamie

Emma's story

"We accumulated council tax arrears and fell behind on our rent, and couldn’t find the money to pay for food, gas and electricity. I felt worthless."

Read Emma's story

Mortgage and Renting

Matt's story

"At one point, I took out a personal loan to help with a rent deposit, and other large expenses followed. "After a while, things started to get tight and I was struggling to keep on top of my credit commitments. I also slid into rent arrears."

Read more about Matt

Carol's story

"I was fortunate that my sister helped out with a couple of mortgage payments, and a friend tried to help me out with some bills – I was just trying to keep a roof over my head and keep myself fed. I had to buy some things on credit cards and borrow money, assuming that when I was back at work I would be earning the same money that I earned before and be able to pay it back easily."

Read Carol's story

Physical and Mental Health

Chris's story

"However, a few years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition which meant I had to give up the new career I was passionate about. I didn’t have the money to pay off my debts and I needed to focus on my health."

Learn more about Chris

Hannah's story

"I loved my job as a care home assistant, but after dislocating my knee and ending up in the office for a short time, I was made redundant because I couldn't drive. I also happened to get pregnant around the same time."

Read Hannah's story

Sarah's story

"It’s really common for people who are neurodivergent to find financial management difficult... even though some of us are able to work and can look as if we are coping a lot of the time."

Read Sarah's story

Thomas's story

"When I was in the grips of my addiction every month I would end up spending my income on various bets and games, and would then be forced to take out credit to pay for my essential living costs."

Read Thomas's story

Big Life Changes

Nikki's story

"Before I was in debt, I lived a fairly comfortable life. I had worked abroad and was married with 3 children. However, after we separated, my ex-husband struggled financially and eventually the child maintenance payments stopped when my youngest went to university."

Read Nikki's story

Salma's story

"A few years ago, the school I worked at decided to undergo a restructuring process and I was suddenly made redundant alongside a large number of my colleagues... I didn’t feel able to tell anyone close to me because of a recent family bereavement and because my mum had her own health issues to be concerned about."

Read Salma's story

Joanna on Feefo says:

"No need to be embarrassed I am at the beginning of my journey to become debt free but StepChange have been understanding and empathetic with my personal financial situation. They have not made me feel stupid or made me feel a failure but have helped put my mind at ease, removed the pressure and helped me to take my first steps forward to get my financials under control."

Get help like Joanna

Read our wide range of debt information articles

Our debt information section has over 250 articles on the different types of debt, creditor action, budgeting, and ways to help you understand debt, including:

Debt happens. We deal with it.

We have helped millions of people since 1993.

Find out how.

"Stepchange = stress relief"

"Stepchange helped me alot...every month I used to stress because I knew I would have nothing left over to my name. Now I only give the amount I can really afford to my creditors. BIG THANKS TO STEPCHANGE."

Mohammed, Feefo Review