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.
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.
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.