I am useless with money, I always have been and LagerDad’s dreading the fact that I always might be. I applied for credit cards a week or so before my 18th birthday so I could get shopping when the big day came….that’s how terrible and carefree I am with money!
But, the pressure of repaying debt is huge and it takes real planning to try and crawl your way back out of the red – real planning and lots of time. Both of which are quite frustrating when you just want a quick way out – after all, those bottles of fizz and the skyscraper heels have long been drunk and the heels worn down and you’re still paying them off!
This is an important topic to me and I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me to slowly crawl out of the red. My first top tip is to create a repayment plan that you can stick to, and you’ll be debt free within a reasonable time frame – you’ll also have a clear plan and timeframe of how far you’ve come and how far there still is to go.
Making a Plan
Before you start planning how you will repay the debts, you need to be completely honest with yourself. I was terrible with this, I was in a sort of denial that I was in that much debt. Write down everything in a list including the length of the loan and repayment terms. From these findings, you can then decide how you are going to tackle each debt. The snowball debt repayment method is usually the most successful; this is where you overpay your smallest loan to get rid of it first, then move on using the money you would have been paying to that lender to overpay the next smallest loan or you could get a loan to consolidate everything into one lump payment.
If you aren’t confident with maths, use a debt calculator to work out how much you will need to start overpaying on each credit card or loan per month.
Make small changes
Making big changes is always difficult and you’ll start getting resentful so the best advice is to make small changes. I didn’t want to change my lifestyle at all, which is how I got in this mess in the first place, but I made small little differences like if we were going to a chain like Prezzo or Pizza Express then I’d search for a voucher before I went out – you can find buy one, get one frees or 40% off, and now I don’t go to a chain without a voucher in hand. Food is a major cost that you can bring down without having to change too much, I used to shop at Tesco and Sainsburys and now I’m a fully converted Aldi shopper. Buying items in bulk (I’ll always buy 1kg pasta rather than 500g) and preparing batch meals are easy ways to reduce your spending – especially when you have a family to feed!
While tightening your purse strings will feel tough at times, you can still treat yourself and have a good time on a budget. Instead of going out and spending lots of money, try to find other things you can do for free. If you are up for a challenge, why not try doing a money-free weekend where you don’t spend anything at all (except for your usual grocery shop, of course!)
There is no quick fix for debt repayment and at times it will feel like a long hard slog. However, as you track your repayments and tick off the amounts going down, you’ll start to feel so much better about your finances. Plus, you’ll have hopefully learned some tricks for saving money along the way!
Always buy the shoes though, always. I’m of the thought that your bum can get bigger, your belly can get more rounded, your chin can add another one to it, but shoes always fit. And diamonds, they always fit too.