One of my biggest goals this year is to pay off all my debt. The debt I carry around, and have done for about the last 6-7 years, has gone up and down a lot, but reached its highest amount last August. I started to accrue debt when I was working in my previous job, and latterly had a 120 mile daily commute that ate into my wages, and I also wasn’t living within my salary. Ultimately I was living a lifestyle that I couldn’t afford, as if I was on about £10K more a year than I really was. When I got my current job, it meant moving to an unfurnished flat, so a few grand was tacked on to account for the cost of moving and to buy furniture for the flat. I’ve also been studying again, which costs money, but truthfully a fair bit of the debt was just continuing to live a lifestyle where I didn’t really think about the financial consequences, and flashed the credit card about when my monthly salary had run out, but I still wanted to go on holiday or have a night out.
Last April I remember waking up feeling more stressed than I’ve ever felt in my life. If it wasn’t a panic attack then bugger me I never want to actually go through one, because if it feels worse than I felt that morning, well… no thanks. I started to plan a way out of the mess i’d created, but clearly I didn’t manage very well as the debt continued to rise.
However, I finally managed to get my shit together after August, and since then I’ve paid off over £3500, half of that was paid this year alone, whilst also managing to pay the final 1/3 of my final course (with cash). I realised I just don’t want to go on living a life with this financial rope around my neck, and whilst the rope continues to get tighter. So I made a budget, a pretty tight one, and I’ve stuck to it so far. I even made a plan to cover the holiday I had last week, and spent about £50 less than planned so I’m already quids in. My budget for the next couple of months includes saving for my return trip to Lanza in the summer, so that not one penny of it will go on the credit card. This month I’ve paid off a loan, leaving just three credit cards to go.
The best thing about finally taking control is the freedom it has given me. It really feels like a weight off my shoulders, and as a result my holiday last week was soooo relaxed, and I had a fabulous time with my lovely pals. I knew I could afford it and wouldn’t be paying it off for months to come (as I usually end up doing). By the time the next holiday rolls around I’ll have the money for that available, as well as having a few hundred pounds saved to cover any emergency expenses that arise over the year (again, to stop me need to put anything on a credit card).
Once the credit cards are paid off, they’ll be cut up. I’m not getting caught up in this debt cycle again.
According to my plan, I’ll have everything paid off by mid-February 2018, but if I’m honest I really want to get shot of it all by 31st December 2017. So I’ll need to get creative to find that extra cash to make bigger payments, but I reckon I can do it. I’m kind of relishing the challenge. As I’ve said before, it has meant using the word ‘no’ for once, and having to turn down some holidays or plans with friends, but it’ll be worth it in the end.