This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

How to support a friend with debt

We look to support our friends through difficult times, through redundancy, divorce. And hope they would do the same for us. But do we support our friends in debt enough? Debt = stigma in our society, and it is our responsibility as a friend to be there and support them through the challenges ahead. One of the hardest stages in getting out of debt is admitting that you have a problem, being able to confide in your friends is a big part of this stage.

It can be hard to know how to support someone in debt, be it friends or family. This is especially so if you have never experienced debt yourself as it can be hard to comprehend the feelings someone in debt goes through. C just recently became debt free and through the journey I learnt a lot on how to support someone with debt. 

Don't isolate them from social activities. 

Be conscious that they may not be able to do all the social activities you normally do due to the price incurred. If you find that your friend is constantly blowing off plans don't assume that they are not interested in your friendship. They may not feel comfortable saying that they cannot afford the activity you proposed. Also, they will probably hate having to say no as it is a constant reminder of their situation. Try to meet up with them the best way to do this is to organise things that are free or very inexpensive. At the end of the day, good friends do not need to spend money to have a good time. This could be a Netflix movie night (rather than going to the cinema), a potluck (rather than going out for dinner) or even just go out for a walk. 

Along the same lines, don't push your friend to buy things that you barely even consider an expense. To them that one coffee can be a lot, as every penny they have they are trying to save. Even the smallest of expenses they are trying to avoid and remember something that doesn't seem expensive to you may be too much for someone in debt. Take this challenge in your friends life as an opportunity to build your friendship and memories together. 

Let them know that you are there for them. 

Your support as a friend is priceless, let them know that no matter how long or challenging this process is that you are still there for them. Debt is oppressive; it brings fear, depression and anxiety into people's lives. It is stigmatised by society and not openly discussed. It is a situation where you need a good friend to share your burdens with, to know that there is a constant in the world beyond the debt situation that feels so out of control. By being there for you friend you can be the best kind of support that is available, you friend may feel like a failure in so many areas in the life but by having a great friendship they will continue to feel success even if in only one area.

They don't need financial support. 

A big part of getting out of debt (and staying out) is about changing of mentality. This is a change that your friend can only make on their own. By loaning someone who is trying to get debt free money to help is not helping it is just shifting their debts and avoids the issue of changing mentality towards money. 

Loaning money to friends and family is never a good option anyway and can put a significant strain on your relationship. And please don't sign as a guarantor on any debts. You may want to "treat them" as a kind gesture, but this just leaves them feeling like a burden and that they should pay you back in some capacity. It may make you feel good to help out someone, but it does just that, it brings no real help to the person on the journey. 

If you want to help them with their finances, offer to sit down with them and work through a plan. Help them to create a debt-snowball and make repayment in manageable sized chunks. Or offer to help them with organising of letters and important documents and they may feel to overwhelmed to deal with it on their own. Offering to help in the process and being a support by doing so is probably one of the best ways to support your friend. 

Be sensitive about bragging. 

You may be debt free and in a great position financially. You may never have known debt. Perhaps you are excited that you recently purchased a new widescreen TV or the latest smart phone. You may have worked hard to save for it and feel justified in bragging. However, be sensitive to the emotions of someone getting out of debt.

They have a big challenge ahead of them, and you can be sure that they wish they weren't in that situation and that they could have the financial freedom to make those kinds of purchases. They don't need it rubbing in their face that they have made bad financial decisions, especially by their peers. Even worse would be if they were to go on a spending spree because of it. So be considerate enough not to raise this in front of your friend.

How were your friends during your debt free journey and how could you be a better friend to someone in debt?


    If you are new to our blog, we are all about finding new ways for students and millennials to make and save money. Here are some of our favourite sites and products to help you out:
    • Start a blog. Blogging is our side-hustle just over a year ago we didn't think I would bring us any income . You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
    • Save money with gift cards Whether its for buying clothes, your weekly shop or dining out use Zeek to buy discounted gift cards to get more bang for your buck. 
    • Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is a passive way to earn gift cards. Over the course of a year you could earn $500.  Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “points called SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. Receive $5 for signing up today.
    • Try matched betting. Matched betting is a great way to may easy money online. Despite the name it is not gambling and could see you earn £500-£1000 a month for only a couple of hours work a day see here and here. For your free trial head to profit accumulator or join the Facebook 'getting started' group.  
    • Sign up for a cashback site like Quidco. where you can earn CASH BACK for just spending like how you normally would online. The service is free too! Plus, when you sign up through my link, you also receive a free £10 bonus!


    1. As someone who has been in debt this is some great advice! I definitely didn't want pity while in debt but it definitely helped to have one or two friends who would sit and listen and let me talk to them! And didn't force me to buy rounds at the pub and understood that when I said no to a night out it wasn't being antisocial but because i literally couldn't afford it!

      There is certainly still a stigma around being in debt but i think with more blogs discussing it, hopefully we can break that!

      Natalya @ Cottage Retreatist

    2. This post is full of very sincere and thoughtful advice. I have a few friends who are currently struggling with lots of debt, and I have to say one of the hardest, but most important things, is to be supportive without prying. Also, I think another piece of advice that sometimes gets overlooked in the PF community is to reserve judgement. I'm confident that I do things with my money that others wouldn't. The same is true for these friends that I mentioned. Everyone has different goals, dreams, and priorities. Thanks for such a thoughtful list.

    3. Absolutely agree with all you've said here - I wrote a very similar post a while back! I think if more people had their friend's support, they could even be able to get out of debt more quickly and feel better about their financial situation whilst doing so.

    4. I agree with you 100%. This is the kind of post I love because it is so personal to me and one of the most difficult part for me to deal with during my debt journey. I found people to be kind of mean to us, but then I found the most amazing people full or support. I ended up hanging more with those who supported me than those who didn't because I could only take their comments for so long. I wrote about something like this a few months ago. When you have support it motivates you.