Hi there and welcome to personal confessions on debt is no small matter 9, my last post on debt was back in June when I shared my then current financial situation. This is the last post for 2015 and I wanted to take some time to share with you my journey which started back in May of 2014. I will start by saying to those in debt but are ashamed or shy to talk about it with friends or family, you can discuss this privately with debt charities. I know in the UK there are quite a few debt charities that you can speak to confidentially and they would give advice on how to manage your debt etc. I know especially for the older generation hanging your dirty laundry for the world to see is not an easy thing or acceptable. For me this is a journal of my struggle and a reminder this is not a position I ever want to be in EVER.

“debt is no small matter

The Past: Debt

The thinking behind it has already started way before this and it was back in November 2013 just after I graduated from University. I sat myself down and realised I had lived recklessly for 5 solid years, it all started when I was in college and was tempted with a credit card. I had never owned a credit card at that time and before I knew it I was being told its good for building your credit history but everyone who said this forgot to mention I should read the tiny blue print and always pay back what I use and not the small monthly installments they tell you to lure you into spending someone else’s money.

By the time I was going to university I had started to build up a debt, granted it was less than a £1,000 but it was debt none the less. Things gotten even worse when I was denied student finance support and had to pay a whooping £8500 myself (obviously my parents and I). Because we couldn’t afford this I took a gap year and worked the entire time and managed to only save up £4,000, £2000 went to ‘secure’ my university place because as an international student they couldn’t just let you start without a show of good faith that you will pay your tuition. £1,100 went to applying for settlement in the UK which we got and the remainder went on deposit for rent (£650) and the rest on books and food I needed for month one of my university life.

I worked 2 jobs throughout my university and still this was not enough to sustain my stay and pay off tuition fee (£6,500), rent (£3,000) and the cost of food plus transport to go to my two jobs. I started to use my credit cards and only making minimum payments or missing them completely before I knew it I had borrowed paid day loans and they were happy to give them to me when I ‘thought’ I needed them the most. For university no doubt I did, but for the peer pressure to shop with my friends, eat out with my friends and actually have a social life I honestly did not need it all the time. I was fortunate a local charity paid most of the remainder of my tuition but I still had to raise the rest, my parents helped a lot with my rent and food and my pay covered my expensive but later not needed university books and my social life.

Financially I had the hardest 4 years of my life, boo did help where he could but it was still tough and I made it worse by borrowing and not paying back the money on time. Now in 2015 sat here in my own apartment with little to no debt to my name. It has taken me almost 18 months to reach where I am but that’s ok, it took me longer to put myself in this hole and feels good to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Future Plan

I have learnt a lot about myself, money, do’s and don’ts and I am happy I had this experience but it’s one I will not be repeating. 2016 is a year of travel but also a year to rebuild my credit history by not borrowing, not owning any credit cards, no loans (unless mortgage) and definitely no living above my means. My motto throughout this journey as been:

If you don’t have it, don’t spend it and do not live above your means.

This is my personal confession on debt is no small matter. Join me in 2016 post when I share how I will be building my credit history, saving and travelling.

xoxo ciao.

  • Congrats on paying off your debt. We still owe a few credits cards and once they are paid off. We are done with them. It’s so easy to spend.

    • It indeed is so easy to spend in credit cards, good luck with paying them off

  • Well done for being so candid and honest. I too struggle with saving money and although I am not in debt I would like to learn how to save to provide for my future.

  • Congratulations on getting yourself out of debt and thank you for being so open and honest with us regarding your finances. It’s a situation i can totally relate to as when i was 18 i took out a loan, credit cards, store cards, credit accounts etc and before i knew it i’d racked up a huge amount of debt and was living out of my overdraft. It took me years to pay it all off and it’s not a situation i ever want to find myself in again. I’m much more careful with money these days. xx

  • It is far too easy to overspend and end up in debt. It isn’t easy to get to a stable place financially.

  • Congrats! Having debt is the worst thing…we had some tough times after having kids. No one talks about saving money before kids…it’s all about the baby!

  • Congratulations on being debt free.
    I definitely agree about if u don’t have it don’t spend and live within ur means. I am lucky that I am in no debt myskf but know others who are.

  • Oh,it’s great to be debt free and well done for getting to that point. I remember leaving college with a debt and no way to pay it back, it wasn’t a big one but it hung over me for so long and it was really stressful. Then at various points in my life, I owed money on my credit card. I don’t have one now, or any debt and I feel so much happier as a result.

  • That’s an incredible achievement in my opinion, well done! I find it amazing how people manage in uni without student loans, I certainly couldn’t have so hats off to you! x

  • Congratulations on being debt free :). Uni put me into a lot of debt as well and it took me a while to pay it off. But once you have done it’s a great feeling! Xx

  • Congrats on paying off your debt! We rarely use credit now and buy things on cash. If we can’t afford it, we wait to buy it.

  • Kudos to you!! Thank you for sharing your experience on debts. I learned a lot!

  • Congratulations on getting yourself out of debt! I think more people need to hear these stories because debt really is a slippery slope that gets out of control quickly. Best of luck in 2016 for you and your pocketbook!

  • A great post and congratulations to you for doing this. It’s so easy for the debt to rack up, and banks are often very keen to give you huge credit limits which can be very tempting.

  • It is really important to think about every purchase you make. We must put our needs first rather our wants.

  • Soem great advice, I’m so bad for saving money but thankfully my husband is the opposite so I’m trying to improve. You’re right though don’t spend it if you don’t have it, I don’t have a credit card or any credit so it’s the best way to be

  • It is so true that no debt is small. It can be so tricky for young people who know they need credit and they are lured in with the idea of money available whenever they want it.

  • Wonderful advice, and so true. Don’t live beyond your means, don’t buy what you can’t afford. So many young people need to learn this.

  • Wendy

    Student loan debt can be a killer. I still have loans. I’m also working 2 jobs. Trying to get it down

  • Being out of debt is the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. It’s so freeing! Good luck with all of that in 2016!

  • NYC SingleMom

    Good luck, its not easy. I am currently in the same boat and 2016 is going to be very tough year for me.

  • Debt definitely isn’t a small thing. One of my friends was lucky enough to make it through college debt free but them she went into credit card debt because she choose to live beyond her means!

  • Vicki F

    How wonderful that you have a plan! Getting out of debt is a huge goal, but so worth it for many reasons; peace of mind being a huge one!

  • It really isn’t a small matter… I have so much school debt, and now debt from buying a house… It’s stressful.

  • Problems with debt can feel so overwhelming and isolating. When we don’t talk about it, I think it only makes it worse. We pretend nothing is wrong and it only gets worse. Thank you for sharing.

  • Your advice is good: don’t spend money that you don’t have. I’ve always tried to make smart financial decisions and now I’m trying to instill some of these habits in my kids.

  • I remember when my kids were registering for their first year in college and seeing all the banks with booths set up trying to get those kids to sign-up for their credit cards. A free t-shirt was not worth going into debt so I steered them clear of all those booths. I totally agree with your motto!

  • I have recently been sharing tips on debt and debt management with my son who just turned 19. Hopefully he will learn how wrong I did things when I was younger and make better financial choices.

  • Credit cards are a dangerous thing to get into. We had a big dramatic cutting up ceremony when i consolidated my debt out!

  • I still remember getting a student overdraft when I started Uni and being so worried about spending something that wasn’t mine, 3 years later I had maxed it out, along with loans and all sorts. I didn’t really have a clue about money back then! Thanks for sharing your story.

  • I’m glad you learned financial dos and don’ts. I’m still learning myself so this article was super helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Wow, this is really brave, well done you!

    We are certainly guilty of living beyond our means unfortunately and it’s something that we are dealing with now. We don’t have much debt anymore but I am just learning to budget properly and ‘go without’ if needed.

    X X