Q – Please help – I am in such a bad situation and I do not know what to do. As a single mum, I am in arrears on my rent and home energy bills, I am barely putting enough food on the table for my son and I and am finding it hard to deal with the back to school costs. I qualify for the Back to School Allowance but this will not cover everything. Help! Marie – Galway

A – The first thing I think you need to realise Marie is that you are not alone.  While no parent should have to choose between putting the heating on, food on the table and paying their rent, sadly that is the reality for so many families right now.  In addition, in a recent survey nearly three quarters of parents said that covering the cost of back to school is a considerable financial burden. You do not have to deal with this alone. There is help out there! The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is a government body set up to help people with all levels of debt. The ISI has put in place a regulated network of debt advisors ( MABS offices – Money Advice Budgeting Services …there is one near you ) located around the country to provide people with debt advice who will look at your situation and advise which solution would best suit you.  They will also negotiate with your creditors and agree what you can afford to repay over a specified period.  Those who have been through the process speak of the intense relief they felt when they took that first step and got help.  To find out more visit the ISI’s website or call the ISI’s information line at 01 764 4200 or freetext GETHELP to 50015 for a call back.

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