One in three moms has revealed how she wrote off £ 18,500 in debt and saved £ 13,000 in less than a year – and shared her top tips so others can too.
Corinne Card, 40, a business manager from Brighton, found herself in debt after spending classy vacations for her family, along with expensive decorations and little luxuries such as TV subscriptions.
The mother’s overspending habits started in college when she spent all of her student loan for the term on a trip to New York City and had to live in her overdraft until her next paycheck. pay.
After graduating in 2003, Corinne had nothing left to her name and felt worried about the future – but was determined to pay off her debts and find financial freedom.
Unfortunately, the reality was very different.
The excessive spending habits only intensified as she grew up and married her husband Jon, 44, in 2005, with whom she shares three children; Harry, 10, Zoe, 7, Freddie, 11 months.
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In 2019, Corinne released her first credit card with the aim of taking her family on a trip to the United States, spending £ 6,000 on luxury hotels, trips to Disneyland and Universal Studios, and expensive meals.
The credit card statements were anxiety-provoking and made the mother feel that her debt was now a “ticking time bomb.”
It was then that she knew something had to change.
Corinne said: “I was terrible with the money.
“I once spent all of my student loan for an upcoming term on a trip to New York.
“I lived in debt throughout the tenure and was constantly in the open, which immediately failed me.
“Every time I got my next payment, I paid off my overdraft and ended up with zero balance again.
“In 2008, I moved into my first apartment and was finally making a little bit of money every month, so I decided to start some new furniture.
“Although I shopped I decided I wanted luxury and settled on a sofa, bed and rug which cost me £ 5,000 in total.
“I didn’t know when to stop and although I didn’t like my financial situation, I thought it was completely normal for someone my age.
“I never defaulted on any large payments, but I couldn’t afford the lifestyle I was leading and found myself in more debt every month. “
Although Corinne’s husband had his own credit card debts and overdrafts, he made sure they were paid off each month.
But the couple kept their finances private, so neither had a clue how bad things were.
Speaking about when she knew things had to change, Corinne added, “After our trip to America, I finally realized how terrible my situation was.
“I had almost £ 19,000 in debt and the bank statements and bills constantly reminded me that the money would continue to accumulate once interest was added.
“I felt like I had a time bomb to pay off the money and since I had never had a credit card before that it really scared me.
“I was disappointed in myself for letting my finances evolve like this and wondered how I was going to get out of this rut.”
Not knowing where to start, the mother began by being honest with herself and her husband about the gravity of the situation.
I had almost £ 19,000 in debt and the bank statements and bills constantly reminded me that the money would continue to accumulate once interest was added.
The couple held monthly financial meetings, laying out their expenses and income, and came up with a plan – to tackle credit card debt first, before moving on to direct debits and overdrafts.
Corinne also signed up for a free online course from Rebel Finance, which she credits with her change of mind about money.
Determined to clear as much debt as possible as quickly as possible, the parents worked longer hours and hired more clients at their media consultancy, saving them an additional £ 3,000 per month.
The couple also cut costs by ditching small luxuries like monthly newspaper subscriptions, TV packages, and restaurant meals and compared their monthly bills to find cheaper deals and save money.
Within a month, they had already paid off £ 5,000 in debt.
She said: “Our first goal was the credit card because that was the only thing that would make us back down.
“We noticed that we had a lot of direct debits for those unnecessary items, such as newspaper, magazine, gift box subscriptions – the list goes on.
“After canceling these, we moved on to reviewing our monthly bill packages and used comparison websites to make sure we were getting the best deal. “
Corinne and Jon forgave the last debt in April 2020 and have since saved an additional £ 13,000, with some of the parents invested in stocks and shares.
Of this, £ 6,000 is set aside as an emergency fund to avoid falling back into debt.
The couple still have their monthly financial meetings and try to make them fun by having a good meal and a drink together at the same time – and make sure you don’t criticize each other’s spending habits, but keep a positive attitude throughout. during.
Corinne’s five tips for saving money …
1. USE FREE RESOURCES
“Take a free course with an online finance school that can teach you how to manage your money better without making the whole process boring and tedious.
2. KEEP ONE IT IN EACH BOOK
“Track your finances using a spreadsheet – you’ll be able to see what you’re spending each month, as well as how much you’re earning, which will help you eliminate unnecessary costs.
3. CONSIDER INVESTING YOUR HIGHLY EARNED MONEY
“Start investing at a young age, because those investments will pay off more over the years and you will thank yourself for it later.
4.DO NOT STICK THE HEAD IN THE SAND
“Accept your situation and understand that in order to improve your finances, you must first deal with it.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TREAT YOURSELF (WHEN THE RIGHT TIME IS)
“Set savings goals and don’t splurge on the purchase you want once you’ve hit those goals. “
She said: “Finally, we were debt free. We were relieved and excited about the future because we finally had some money under our belt.
“I felt proud and calm that we were in control of our own finances and for the first time in a long time we actually didn’t feel guilty about the numbers in front of us.
“Since we have three children, we want to build a solid set of investments for their future.
“I put £ 3,000 in stocks and shares every month and have saved £ 6,000 in an emergency fund to make sure we don’t get into debt again.
“I am a strong believer in the ‘truth will set you free’ because once you start to come to terms with your situation, you can start to improve your life.”
Corinne believes that if she approached her finances differently from a young age, she would have had a healthier relationship with money.
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