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Allow love to blossom - watch Ray and Patti’s story

calendar13 February 2015

John Kirkby's avatar John Kirkby

Watch Ray and Patti's story to see how CAP lifted the weight of debt and gave them space to fall in love again. 

Budget recipe binder – sausage hotpot

calendar30 January 2015

Claire Cowles's avatar Claire Cowles

Budget recipe binder – sausage hotpot

The weather's been pretty chilly of late, so here's a proper winter warmer for you all to enjoy!

This week's budget recipe: Claire's sausage hotpot

Claire, from our Communications team says, 'This is a budget favourite for me and my husband! Cut costs by buying tins and onions from the 'value' ranges, and leave more in your budget to buy better quality sausages if you can. It's really filling on its own, or you can bulk it up by serving with pasta, rice or bread. Enjoy!'

Preparation time: 5 mins, cooking time: 30 mins, serves 4.
Total cost = approx £3.32* (not including optional rice/pasta/bread)

8 pork sausages (or veggie sausages)
2 tins baked beans
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin kidney beans
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp mixed herbs
Black pepper
Vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a large pan.
Fry the onions until soft, then add the sausages and fry gently until browned. Keep stirring so the onions don't burn.
Add the baked beans, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and mixed herbs.
Stir well and season to taste with the black pepper.
Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 5-10mins to thicken the sauce a little.
Cover the pan and simmer for 15-20mins or until the sausages are thoroughly cooked, stirring regularly.

*Prices from Tesco correct at time of publishing

Celebrating another family freed

calendar30 January 2015

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Celebrating another family freed

Just last week, Steve and Julie received a very exciting call from us telling them that their hard work and perseverance over the last two years has been worth it – they are now debt free!

When asked how to describe how he felt, Steve said: 'Excited, elated, overjoyed, grateful, amazed, buoyant, joyful and so many other adjectives. Becoming debt free has released all of these feelings and so many more in us. We were chained down; now we are released! We felt oppressed; now we are free! We hid away; now we are stepping out! We felt worthless and now we know we are of worth!'

Steve and Julie came to CAP in October 2012. He says: 'We were desperately going in circles – maxing out the credit cards, extending loans – and simply had no control over our money. We felt ashamed and alone in our struggle, and I personally felt I was letting God down every day of my life.'

'Our debts came from easy access to credit, but things came to a head in 2012 when I was made redundant. After sitting down for the first time and properly looking at what we owed, we found we had £67,000 of personal debt (plus the mortgage). By the time CAP came on board, I had reduced that by using redundancy money to £29,000, but I had no income and no other money.'

Despite this seemingly impossible situation, we were able to help them and last week, Steve happened to be on the phone to us the very moment the news came in that their final debts had been cleared.

At CAP Head Office, we celebrate every single person that goes debt free. We blow harmonicas and a Mexican wave goes across the office, so Steve and his family were able to listen in to this over the phone. 

'Hearing the cacophony of noise and celebration was fantastic, and to place the call on loud speaker and share it with two of our children who had been part of the journey with us was also a real joy.'

'We will take away so much that we have learnt by working alongside Christians Against Poverty, such as budgeting and saving, but bigger than that is the love we were shown all the way through our journey, from the moment we first met Angie Rusbridge (our Debt Coach angel!) right through to working with the teams in Bradford. Everyone one of you are amazing.

'My wife often uses a phrase that I am now going to pinch, because right now for us I think it is so true: “Exciting times are coming!”'

Well done to Steve, Julie and everyone else who has worked so hard with us to become debt free. To our clients still working with us, we hope you are encouraged by this story, knowing that one day, we will play our harmonicas for you!

A New Year and a fresh start

calendar28 January 2015

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

A New Year and a fresh start

Last year, a record breaking 2,500 people went debt free, and Neil was one of those to start the year with a clean financial slate. He said:

‘I came to CAP because of serious debt problems. I was very depressed and lost my job. It got to the point where I couldn’t leave the house and would lock myself in my bedroom. I couldn’t sleep; I would just toss and turn with all the worry on my mind. The worry really affected me. I would be really nasty and shout a lot, and I didn’t have time for my son – it was really bad. We skipped meals all the time as we were just trying to feed our little boy Charlie. This went on for three years until I heard about CAP. 

CAP have worked wonders for me. Once we got our heads around the budget and the system, everything fell into place. I suddenly realised we have enough money to feed ourselves. When creditors rang I just said, "I’m with CAP, deal with them". It took a big weight off and I could sleep again.

Our baby daughter was very poorly and I have to say that we did lose her, but all the way through this CAP were there to help us; they did everything to keep us on track and support us and I have now been debt free for a year.

Then a week before I went debt free, I became a Christian. A few months previously, I had been stood by the sink when I felt a strong urge to go to church. I contacted the pastor who took our daughter's funeral and he invited me to Alpha. I was the one who asked all the questions and then at the end of the course we had a prayer time. That was the day I became a Christian!

Thank you for all the support you have given to CAP, it’s much appreciated in a very, very big way – thank you.’

Mixing romance and finance

calendar26 January 2015

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Mixing romance and finance

Sitting down to discuss money matters isn’t anyone’s idea of a romantic date, but it could be a crucial investment into your relationship. Misunderstandings can add extra strain and pressure to any couple, so it’s best to get it out in the open.

Taking the time to have a candid conversation about money can also create a deeper level of trust between you and your partner as you discuss what’s important and learn to compromise.

This month, book a money date in the diary. There’s no need to get too heavy; just pick a few questions and get a conversation started. Remember, any issues that you uncover were probably there already so at least now you can decide how to move forward.

1. How do you spend your money? Everyone has different ideas about how much money to spend on different items and what hobbies are important to them – make sure they don’t become an area of conflict.

2. What is your view on credit cards? For some, cash is a rare sight in their wallet, whilst for others credit cards are strictly for emergencies. Do you need to come to a compromise on using credit?

3. Should we have joint or separate accounts? Sharing money is not for everyone, but discussing how bills get paid and who pays for what, is a must! If you choose a joint account and there is a big difference in your earnings, will you pay in an equal amount or a percentage of your income?

4. Should we save and how much? Most would probably agree that savings are important, but for some, that looks like a set amount every month whilst for others it’s whatever is left over – if there’s anything at all.

5. What are our future priorities? Buying a house, saving for the kids’ education, investing in a pension – there are lots of considerations to be made for future needs.

6. Do you have any debts? People’s views on debt vary and it’s important to know if your partner is bringing debts into the relationship.

7. How are your finances right now? This is great open-ended question to bring up from time to time that helps highlight any issues that might need nipping in the bud.

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