Mum of two explains how she cleared £7,000 debt after feeling ‘constant shame’ | Personal Finance | Finance


Jackie Bourne, 38, has struggled with debt for most of her adult life but she recently decided to stop “ignoring the issue”. She thinks that’s something many people may be guilty of doing, explaining it can feel easier to pretend it isn’t happening. The mum of two spoke exclusively to about how she is going about clearing £14,000 worth of credit card debt, in the hope of showing people “things get better”.

Lack of awareness of monthly outgoings is how things started to spiral for Jackie. She was spending more than what was coming into her account and started using credit to afford things.

She said: “I kept telling myself I’d pay off the card next month, but it just never happened. I found it easier to ignore the issue than to start doing something about it – mainly because I didn’t know what to do.

“My monthly outgoings were something that happened to me, rather than something I felt I could actively control. I just spent a little more than I had every month; it added up slowly before it became uncontrollable, with the monthly interest taking a large chunk out of my income after each pay cheque.

“I’m on part-time wages now but have a combined credit of nearly £10,000, which seems ridiculous.”

READ MORE: Savers warned on ‘danger’ of ‘current account trap’ – act now or risk ‘regrets’

Having children also added to Jackie’s financial stress. She had no savings to fall back on and was worried about losing her job.

She continued: “With childcare costs added to our expenses, it felt like we needed everything we spent money on.

“I had constant worries about our money situation, but I didn’t have the energy or knowledge to tackle it. I felt constant shame and embarrassment in having accumulated so much debt. In the end, the issue became too big to ignore and was negatively affecting my mental health.”

This was the turning point for Jackie. She explained that it is crucial for those in debt to “take their heads out of the sand” and know exactly how much they owe.


After reviewing her outgoings, Jackie explained the heartache she felt. She cried seeing the total amount of what they owed.

She said: “At our worst we were in £14,000 of debt and this was caused by small overspending every month, increasing our credit card limits and no knowledge of expenses. We also mindlessly spent money on things we didn’t need.”

Jackie stressed the value of the snowball method for those in debt and the need for support. She said most people would be “much better off” without “crippling interest and credit card repayments”.

Jackie refinanced some of her debt to save on interest, however she stated this was only surface level as she still had a lot of debt to pay.

She added: “I also found a supportive Facebook group and it’s been great for motivation knowing that I’m not the only one in this position.”

In just a year, Jackie has managed to pay off her and her husband’s overdraft which amounted to £4,400 whilst still paying the minimum on credit cards.

She explained: “We are now approximately halfway through paying off all our debt. We have paid off around £7,000 and have our monthly spending mostly under control. Any expenses get scrutinised now to see if we can find cheaper deals, or if we need to spend at all.

“We have refinanced a large chunk of our remaining debt to a loan that will be paid off within the next 18 months and this has helped as the money comes out of our accounts automatically rather than the credit just being an afterthought at the end of the month.

“We now do a budget every month and take into account anything that needs paying and allocate an amount of free spending money that fits into our budget.”

As Christmas can seem like a financial burden for some, Jackie explained to how she gets through this time.

She said: “Christmas has always been a big issue in the past where credit cards would get maxed out just to get those last-minute gifts. Now we list everyone who needs a present and then look at how much we can realistically afford to spend and stick to those numbers.

“In the past the kids always got more than they really needed just to have lots of presents under the tree. Now we shop around for deals for one or two things they really want and add a few other bits we know they would enjoy. They haven’t noticed any difference at all.”

Despite having no savings, Jackie remains optimistic about the future as she knows she is taking the necessary steps to clear debt. Her mindset about debt has changed completely and that is how she has been able to stay motivated and stick to a budget.

She said: “I can now plan better for the future and look forward to having bigger financial goals rather than just making it through the month.

“It’s important to me to teach my children about sensible money management and I think that financial wellbeing apps like ilumoni will really help to educate us, help us track our finances and manage our accounts going forwards.

“Constantly spending more than you earn every month will create a snowball and suddenly you will find yourself with a large figure that you can’t pinpoint what it went on.”

She suggested those in her situation should “be honest” with themselves about why they’re in debt, and if this feels overwhelming then “break it down into tiny baby steps”.

Additionally, she mentioned the need for people to do a “proper budget outlining of all income and expenses and look at every single one with the eyes of a stranger”.

People should be constantly looking to see if they can get any cheaper deals for household bills and subscriptions use comparison sites or decide to not pay for something anymore at all.

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