I am restarting my debt stories series as the money blogger community grows and I can share more stories of inspiration. These are people whom have debt and are repaying it or have repaid it. Everyone has a different story, reasons for getting into debt and ways of getting out of it. Indeed I have one of those stories and am ever so close to repaying 16k of debt.
Over to Fran who runs From Pennies to Pounds and her story.
Francesca helps young women take control of their money through budgeting, and shares ways of earning extra money that can be done from home around the kids, even with little spare time. Her website is called From Pennies to Pounds. The aim being to pay off debt and start living the life that you have always dreamt of.
How Fran Got into Debt
I got into debt because of the simple fact that I couldn’t afford what I wanted to buy. These things were mainly my wedding to my ex-husband but started with decorating my daughter’s bedroom.
Prior to this, I never had any problems with money or debt – I would spend most of my money each month, but I do remember setting up a savings fund and putting £300 a month into it, which got eaten up when my ex and I had moved into a flat together (we had to pay our tenancy fees upfront as he was in a temporary contract at the time).
When we had tried for a baby and got pregnant straight away, I blissfully assumed that everything would be ok, and that I would be financially supported by my other half.
I quickly realised that this would not be the case and had to pay half of the bills on my maternity wage, which meant that I was left with nothing else after bills.
There was a result in leaving my job and found another job that I could do from home in the evenings when my daughter was in bed – but this didn’t pay very much at all.
I felt Trapped
I felt quite trapped, as I wasn’t sure what I could do to earn extra money with a baby permanently glued to my hip, and when she was asleep, I would be working anyway.
Frustration was building and and I got a huge amount of Mum guilt, especially when I would look on social media (the worst for comparison when you are feeling bad!). All of these kids with beautiful rooms, outfits etc, and felt guilty because I felt like my girl deserved all of those things too, that it was my fault for getting us in this situation.
I decided that I would do these things anyway, and I decorated my daughter’s bedroom using my credit card. She did absolutely love it, and it remained the only room that was decorated in that house. I just wish that I hadn’t used credit to pay for it.
What Was Our Crisis Point/Better Sort This Out Point?
To be honest, I knew as soon as I got into debt that it was a bad idea – I guess you could say that I went into it with eyes open, knowing full well what I was doing.
I knew that I would have to pay the debt off as soon as I could, but the problem was that I wasn’t sure how to go about this.
I already lived frugally – I never bought anything for myself, ever – and I never went over budget for anything like groceries etc. Being disciplined about not spending has always been important, so I realised that I would have to bring in some extra income pretty sharpish.
What is My Progress Now
I have paid off my debt! In fact, I have recently celebrated the anniversary of being debt free for 2 years, which seems crazy to me as it only seems like yesterday!
Since then, I started saving for, and spending money on – the things that I had realised were important to me.
As much as I hated living as an extreme frugalist, cutting back on everything showed me the things that I would not go without in the future, and what was important to me to start saving for.
Since I’ve paid off my debt, I have left an unhappy marriage, I have paid for laser eye surgery and Invisalign, taken my daughter on holidays abroad, and I have bought a house with my partner in a gorgeous area. Life is good!
Top Tips for Paying Off the Debt
- You’re going to have to be honest with yourself and get it all out into the open. It can be very tough to realise that the problem is you, and most of us don’t want to admit it to ourselves!
- Picture and plan out the future. It can help massively to think of the things that we can accomplish in the future if we have no debt payments sucking up our extra cash, and no worries about paying it all off. Having big goals is a good motivator to light the fire inside you to smash the debt!
- Write everything down. I love using pen and paper for everything, as I believe it helps you process the information more and keep you accountable.
- Make a budget and make sure that it is realistic. Look back at previous months and see what you have spent and create the budget from that – not the amount that you would like it to be.
- Find people in a similar position that you can follow and give support to each other. It can be hard when people around you are still spending how you have been in the past, so finding your tribe of like-minded people will motivate you a lot.
- Don’t let setbacks stop you. We all have things pop up which make us want to stop – even though paying off debt is a positive thing; our brains want to get us back to the comfort zone of what we have been doing before.
When things go wrong, keep focused and on track, and come to expect them.
- My final tip would be to just get started. I firmly believe that the action of getting started is all the momentum that you need to keep going and pay off your debt once and for all!
Summary from Mrs Mummypenny
What a positive inspirational story from Fran and something that many people can relate to. Guilt leading to spending on our children is seen millions of times over and it can get out of control. Its such wonderful news to read that Fran paid off her debt two years ago. Do hop on over to her blog to read her wonderful content and follow her on social media. Her Instagram account is amazing, packed full of inspiring images and quotes and here is her Twitter account too.
Other Posts in the Series
I have lots of other posts in this series, read them here.
Leon Mclean from Make Save Invest Money.