Woman £53,000 in debt with 17 credit cards – she shares tips on how she became debt free | Personal Finance | Finance


One woman has shared her journey from being £53,000 in debt to debt free as she tackles the rising prices. For millions, bills and other expenses have shot up and for many, the pressure is now unbearable.

Katie found herself in problem debt following a number of unexpected and traumatic life events.

She said: “Within the space of around six months my father passed away, I was made redundant when I was pregnant and my husband’s job was downsized.

“We already had quite a lot of manageable debts. We had a mortgage and we had loans that we’d used to fix different parts of the house, but very soon these became unmanageable. Very quickly we just didn’t have enough income to pay the bills.

“I had 17 different creditors and about 11 different credit cards. I was juggling between paying one and paying the other until my debt got up to £53,000.”

Katie created a budget and had to consider ways to make practical savings. After cutting back on essential items, she followed three principles for all new purchases:

One, “Do I Need it? Could I borrow it? Could I get it somewhere else cheaper?”

Secondly, she shops around and makes use of pre-loved items.

She said: “I made buying Christmas presents on a budget into a game for my kids – we had a £200 budget for the 5 of us and they wanted a games console & a bike!

“So we told them we had asked Santa and he said we could buy the items ‘pre-loved’ and get more for our money. Being savvy, my kids agreed, and we shopped around for items online.

To curb her debt, she had to implement a variety of money-saving measures as a means to cut back. UK debt and budgeting help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is revealing that millions of people feel stuck in their current financial position.

CAP’s latest YouGov polling shows over half (54 percent) of UK adults have faced barriers that make it challenging for them to budget effectively. Around two in five don’t know how to budget or struggle to stick to a budget and 3.7 million lack the confidence needed to budget effectively.

Katie continued: “I went from a 21-year debt repayment plan and we managed to reduce it down to 11 years by applying the money coaching principles. We are now debt-free after 11 years of repaying!

“It’s amazing that what I learnt on CAP’s money coaching meant we could pretty much halve our repayment time. It has just revolutionised our finances. Its simple principles which we still use.”

“My kids waited patiently for Christmas to come and they both got the games console and a bike for less than £60 for each child!

Additionally, Katie had to ensure she only bought reduced-priced food and only bought what she needed.

Katie continued: “We go 30 minutes before closing and buy bread and meat in bulk and freeze it. I’ve saved a fortune on my food shopping: Every week I go through my cupboards and freezer and write a list of all I have.

“I then make seven meals from what I have and only shop for the extra ingredients or items I need. I only buy what I need that can feed a family of five. I set a food budget and we stick to it. I also use anything left over towards another meal.”

She started saving for the things she knew happened every year such as birthdays, Car MOT & service, kids’ school uniform, Christmas and white goods.

All these things can be costly, so she puts money away for them months in advance. This helped her to avoid getting into more debt.

CAP’s money coaching expert, Peter Snell said: “Millions of people across the UK currently feel overwhelmed when it comes to trying to manage their money through this constant barrage of rising costs.

“It’s totally understandable that many feel downhearted about their finances right now but there are simple actions that people can explore which could result in really improving their situation.”

“Our aim at Christians Against Poverty is to help people across the UK out of debt and poverty and into a brighter future. Our free money coaching is a simple way to give anyone the tools they need to grow in confidence in managing their money and begin their journey towards improving their financial situation.”

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