In order to understand what you can afford to pay in debts, first we need to understand what it costs you and your family to live.
Reasonable Living Expenses, or RLEs for short are a set of average costs which have been set out to provide you with a reasonable standard of living while you address your debt problem. It allows for expenses such as food, clothing, health, household goods and services, communications, socialising, education, transport, household energy, childcare, insurance and modest allowances for savings and contingencies.
Where there are specific areas of your life which require a higher / lower level of costs, then these amounts are adjusted accordingly to create a personalised assessment of what you need to live on, we call them special circumstances. Examples of these would be medication for ongoing conditions, specialized diets and increased food costs etc.
They cover you as an individual or as a couple, include costs for your children depending on their ages and schooling and are substantially higher than most people would imagine.
Our experience in dealing with families in financial pressure is that most are living below what we would consider a normal level of day to day costs purely to meet debt and mortgage repayments which are not affordable.