Peggy is a lady in the red

Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell has admitted to being a lady seriously in the red in the latest shocking plot twist in Eastenders. She’s confessed to being £40,000 in debt after letting the bills mount up.

Peggy put her head in the sand while the credit card bills piled up, and she’s now way out of her depth.

Even glamorous Barbara Windsor, who plays cash-strapped Peggy, is reported to have been shocked by the new story line.

But if the story shows anything, it’s that anyone can get into debt. Peggy Mitchell owns a pub and lends people money constantly – but even the Walford legend can’t spend money she doesn’t have. And with all the other problems in the Mitchell family, poor Peggy felt she had nowhere to turn.

Sound familiar? If you’re finding it difficult to cope with debt – or perhaps you’ve just missed your first credit card repayment – there are ways to solve your problems before it’s too late. MoneyExpert gives you some top tips:

1. Credit cards
There are still some great 0% balance transfer deals to be had – even with the balance transfer fees. If you’re paying off lots of different credit cards then consider transferring the balances to one deal, and then decide on a repayment plan. Don’t use it as an excuse to go on another spending spree.

Here are some of the best balance transfer deals around:

Provider Intro Balance Transfers Intro Balance Transfer Fees Intro Purchases Typical APR
Virgin Money 0% / 15 months 2.98% 3 months 15.9%
Barclaycard Platinum 0% / 14 months 2.5% 3 months 14.9%
Royal Bank of Scotland 0% / 13 months 2.5% 3 months 13.9%

2. Consolidate your debts
Putting all your debts into one loan can help you to cut monthly repayments and boost your wealth. You’ll only have one payment a month and will be able to keep track of your debt. That means cutting up your credit cards and store cards and focusing on just one payment a month.

Compare over 200 credit cards on MoneyExpert

Here are some of the cheapest loans around:

Provider Loan Amount APR Monthly Repayment Total Repayment Typical APR
First Plus Exclusive £10,000 6.3% £236.23 £11,338.95 7.9%
Moneyback Bank £10,000 6.5% £237.15 £11,383.18 6.5%
Halifax Internet Loan Semi Exclusive £10,000 6.6% £237.80 £11,414.20 6.6%

Compare over 2,000 loan rates on MoneyExpert

3. IVAs
This stands for Individual Voluntary Arrangement. IVAs can take away both the worry that comes from uncertainty and reduce the threat to key assets, such as your home. They give you the chance to clear your debt by repaying an affordable proportion of what you owe. It’s an official deal, which needs to be approved first. And it will affect your ability to borrow – not that you should be borrowing any more if you’re in serious trouble.

4. Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy can seem like an easy solution – you declare yourself bankrupt and you can walk away from your debts. But it’s not that easy. Apart from a few exceptions, control of your assets, including your house and car, will be handed to officials and can be sold.

While you are a bankrupt, you will be barred from running a business or holding any public office. You will no longer be a ‘bankrupt’ a year after being declared one, but the Land Registry and credit agencies will always have a record of it.

Click through to MoneyExpert for money saving hints and tips

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