I've got myself in to debt, and I'm really struggling to cope at the moment. The amounts I'm going to mention might not seem like very much in the grand scheme of things, but as a student every penny counts. For example, I've currently got 75p in my bank account and I'm trying to work out what I'm going to eat for the next couple of days.
First, a little bit of history. I finished college in 2009, and took a gap year before starting university. In this time I had a job at a big UK retail store, which paid quite well. I was only doing 14 hours a week but was earning £400-600 a month, and tried to save some money. I struggled with this because, having never had anywhere near this amount of money before, I was spending it quite haphazardly. I impulse bought an iPod touch, an xBox 360 and a £600 guitar, and also got a Macbook for £1000. Since I was doing ok money-wise I took out a mobile phone contract with T-Mobile, for £35 a month. I also went to a couple of music festivals, and when I quit my job to move away to uni I had less than £100. So, I took out a credit card. I shouldn't have been allowed to, but for some reason the bank allowed me to. It was meant for use in emergencies, but I'd grown accustomed to my relatively frugal lifestyle, and when I went to stay with my girlfriend in London for a month before moving to uni I maxed out the £950 credit limit. By the time I started uni, then, I owed £55 a month between my phone and credit card. This is a lot of money for a student, I could probably live on £55 a month if I didn't owe this money. I scraped through the first year, but now I'm in my second year the problems haven't stopped since September.
First, I had issues getting my student loan through, because the Student Loans Company are useless. I had to borrow £275 from my uni's welfare fund in order to pay my rent, and one of my close friends lent me £300 to live on until I got my loan. When I did get my loan, however, it didn't stretch like I thought it would. I received less than I'd been told I would, and it's been confirmed that this was the correct amount. I paid my uni back, because they threatened to suspend me from my course if I didn't, but I couldn't get the £300 together for my friend. It's now a week until Christmas, and I promised him I'd pay him back by the last week in November. He's really struggling at the moment, and I feel so, so awful for it. Because I can't pay him back at the moment, he's getting into debt and it's making things hard for him. I really don't want to fall out over it, but I don't know what to do. My credit card bill is overdue, so it's now up to £35, my phone bill hasn't been paid for 2 months and is up to £80, I haven't done any Christmas shopping whatsoever yet and I don't have much food. In total I owe £415, plus I need to do Christmas shopping, but my credit card's maxed out, there's nothing left of my £1400 overdraft, and my parents can't give me anything. In fact, I don't have any family that could give me anything, as two of my grandparents have passed away in the last 3 weeks and my family have paid over £8000 in funeral costs. I should get a couple of hundred quid for Christmas, and the next instalment of my student loan in the middle of January will leave me with another £500, but by that time my bills will have got a lot bigger, and I could have lost one of my best friends, as well as disappointed my girlfriend and family as I won't be able to get them anything for Christmas.
I haven't had a good night's sleep for weeks on end, I can't stop thinking about how I've ruined things for my friend, and I really can't see a way out. I've sold everything I can of any value just to buy food in recent weeks, and I've now got nothing left. What am I supposed to do? There must be something, right? I really can't think. It's not helped by the fact my bank promised that my second year uni overdraft would extend to £1750, but they've lowered the limit to £1400. I've begged them to keep their word and put the limit up multiple times, but they just won't. I'm absolutely screwed, and spend all my time panicking about all this. Obviously it's affecting my uni grades because I can't think straight. My first year average mark was 68%, which has fallen to 45% since my problems started escalating. Help.