My debt free story

survivor_of_debt Posts: 3 Newbie
edited 22 March 2011 at 9:50PM in Debt-free wannabe
Hi all of you

I thought i would come on here and tell my story of 'being in debt'. Luckily i got out of debt and im not here to gloat and tell you all how easy it is, because it isnt, but i want to give you all HOPE that you will get to THAT day when you finally get out of debt - and a massive weight is lifted off your shoulders! Believe me - it is!!

Well, where do i start. It is now about 2+ years since i got out of debt. I actually registered my username here back in 2007 and was going to tell my story then. I typed it all out and then read it through and felt that i sounded like i was kind of 'showing off' so i deleted it and forgot about it. I didnt want to come across like im alright jack.Well now a few years later (and after still being a lurker on here) i thought i would come back and give it a go. Hopefully it will spur you all on and give you hope that YOU TOO can do it and get through this HELL. I really want to help anyone who is in debt, i KNOW how it makes you feel but TRUST me there is light at the end of the tunnel and you will be a better person for getting through this mess!!

Listen to the people here, they are good people and they will help you! But understand that DEBT doesn't mean its the end of the world!!

My (our) debt was in the region of 18-19k. I discovered this one evening when i was up alone surfing the net one night and for some reason an idea entered my head to login and calculate what i owed on the credit cards that i had at that time.

I can tell you now that my lightbulb moment was not a nice moment. It was like someone punched me in the face. I remember that night, afterwards i got into bed, my wife asleep already, and i lay there in the dark staring up at the ceiling - thinking 'oh boy' 'we're in the s**t* ' 'theres a long road ahead' 'how am i gonna get through this'.

Well at that time i had been living the 'life of reilly', buying what i wanted, going out all the time and basically putting everything on the credit card. I had one off weekend trips away - i was living WELL beyond my means. Most times my income (and my partners) was spent two weeks after payday, so for the rest of the month it went on the cc. We didnt care or pay it any thought, but we were kind of living in a bubble and young (financially) at the time! we were in our mid 20s. Certainly didnt know what a budget was.

My income was around 20k at that time, my partners between 19k-25k (she changed jobs).

Well we rented (750) and had no other major financial commitments, no kids, apart from the usual household bills. No loans, no hp just cc debt!

The first thing i did next day was break the news to my wife. I told her I had calculated our finances and that our debt (we knew we had some) was larger than what we had assumed! She was shocked too and we knew we had to get a control of it before we would drown in it. We certainly didnt realise at that time just how hard it would be! So we spoke together about our plan of action, and we both decided that we would cheekily ask if we could move in with my parents for a while...I know i Know

We kept our debt a secret (cos of embarrasement) and didnt tell them, but unfortunately my parents were unable to accomodate us anyways because their house was being decorated at the time etc and it was basically inconvenient. We couldnt ask my wifes parents as they live abroad.

This was a MASSIVE blow to me. To me I was convinced this was the way out and after the phonecall i KNEW i faced an even harder uphill struggle. As a result i immediately decided all costs would need to be CUT to the bone, with rent being the first. This really is the first solution to debts, to cut outgoings to the bone!!

Luckily our contract was soon up for renewal and we decided to leave and we moved to accommodation at £650 month. This freed up £100 a month.

Got rid of all luxuries, Virgin tv. Went PAYG on phones.Stopped going out on weekends. Didnt go on any holidays. Didnt even buy any clothes. Had packlunches for work.We stripped all our outgoings as much as we could humanely possible! It was hard and horrible but we knew that this would get us out of the mess even quicker! Anything we could afford to get rid of or cut down on we did. I mean anything!

In the mean time i was lucky enough to be able to move some cc debt onto 0% (virgin) cards. This helped alot! I know this isnt always a possibility now! Well we were able to save around £1k a month to pay off our debts. Luckily i never missed any payments and never had a single phonecall regarding not paying debts! I checked in on this website and read some other posts and always hoped i would be looking on here on day when i was out of debt...

Then my wifes step-father died. This was devasting at a time when we were already low. My wife went abroad for just over a month (her work was really good).

The sad thing is my life in that time became consumed with paying off that debt. I would check accounts daily, and even on my lunch sit at work calculating my next move. Where i was going to put money next. What the final owed amount was. When i would escape this torment! How many more months it would take! And on top of that all other problems that come with life! I tried to keep this away from my wife as it was emotionally hard and my moneysaving became a little obsessive, somewhat OCD

In this time, not a single person knew i was in debt. This is just how i dealt with it and it comes down to pride, and im not saying it was right to be like that because i think i would have felt more relieved maybe if eg family knew. But thats how it was. I can honestly say it was a terrible time.

Well eventually the debt came down. The first few grand off our debt made me BELIEVE i could overcome this hell. It is a case of fighting it with every ounce of your strength! dont give in, you really CAN do it!
Once i got from 18k to the 10k mark i was so happy! i knew i had nearly halved my debt. We were on our way home! We would NOT give in! not now!!

Well we got there in the end! Just under 2 years. Paying off debts and after much credit card shuffling and snowballing i got there and we paid off that last 1k. We promised ourselves a nice expensive bottle of champagne to celebrate, and a decent holiday and that thought for 2 years finally came true and we got quite tipsy and planned a great holiday! Just going out for a coffee seemed a luxury at first...

I also called up the banks and got rid of all credit cards. I remember when i called mint at that time, they forwarded me onto a department who wanted me to remain with them blah blah and i asked the guy straight out why the hell i would want or need to have a card with them when all it would do is put me in debt with them and put me in a terrible situation ( he was telling me it was a good thing). Some of these people are terrible excuses for people! Well i told him what to do, and all i did was keep my long standing cc, my barclaycard for maintaining a credit identity (reluctantly)

Well as of now a little while later, 2 years, i have (still) one credit card - a barclaycard (£500 limit - decreased from £7500 by myself) no bank acc overdraft or any other debts at all! I have gone on holidays, mexico last year and now we have savings of £12k held in ISAs.

This will be you too!! just dont stop believing (like the song) cos you will get there in the end!! It will be hard and tough but you can do it, and believe me your life will improve!!! being in debt is just a TEMPORARY (but shi**y) situation!!!

I am still very careful with what i spend now a days - i will not throw money away in any direction. I try to get value out of what i buy and always ask 'do i really need that?' I look for deals and even drive a lot slower just to save fuel.

I still live by a budget (one i made on excel) and im if anything just as strict now about saving money as i was in debt, although we do have treats and holidays now!!

I hope my story helps you all to understand that DEBT is something you can and will get through and THIS MEANS YOU!!!

Mark my words :)


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  • MFWannabe
    MFWannabe Posts: 1,945
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    What a good post David. I don't think you're gloating; that's just what people need when they are feeling really low; they need to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    28/12/23: Debt total £12,900/13,192.13
  • curlytop12
    curlytop12 Posts: 1,224
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    i think its lovely you have taken the time to pass on your experiences to help and give hope to others,well done.
  • Thanks for the post, it inspired me to keep battling anyway mate!
    DFD: 21st June 2012
  • mandz1
    mandz1 Posts: 2,548 Forumite
    I am feeling very low atm about my debt and reading this has made me feel a bit better you are an inspiration. i am not with a partner or have a good paying job, but reading this helps me to think that i will do it and i will do it myself.
    Thankyou x
    PAD Maker
  • thanks for your replies everyone. I was a little unsure as to how my thread would be received but im really happy that it is inspiring to you! thats all i wanted! :T

    When your in that fog of debt you read posts of people who have got out of debt on here, and you think 'will that ever be me?' but your turn does come round and like i said THIS MEANS YOU!

    Im just trying to tell you that there will be a time you will be on this site, perhaps writing your story of how you became debt free! just like me! if more people understand that there are success stories then people may not be so scared about being in this situation!!

    mandz1 -
    You will become debt free. just believe. I am here for YOU. Im not the smartest cookie but i am very dedicated to helping people and will do whatever i can do for YOU! please ask!

    Cashrequired - thanks! its all about battling!! you are a FIGHTER!

    gem68 - thankyou it means alot. really!

    FREEZ - thankyou - there is always light at the end of the tunnel! if ONLY we all KNEW that it would make getting through debt alot easier!!!

    thanks everyone!
  • isy1011
    isy1011 Posts: 513 Forumite
    A great posting. Just hope I get there too.
    Egg April 10 £6600 Jan £4678 now £0
    Santander Jan £3414 April £3338
    Virgin April£2643 Aug £3155 April £7109
    Barclaycard Oct £1476 April £1287
    So far paid off 17% of c.c. debt:T
  • Hi David

    Thanks for the post, its really inspirational and also demonstrates that debt like chocolate really is a lifetime on the hips after a moment on the lips!


    It is possible to shift it however! It just takes a lot more effort to get rid of it than put it on!

    I'm looking forward to my DFW final payment post too!

    LBM & Debt July 2010 [STRIKE]£19,000[/STRIKE] now - £11,619.60 Long Haul Supporter #247

    Remember Income > Expenditure = MSE Heaven :A and Income < Expenditure MSE Hell :(

    Current STB (sticking to budget) Counter - day 109 (Personal Best - 109 days!)
  • Ellieseleven
    Ellieseleven Posts: 2,118
    Combo Breaker First Post Debt-free and Proud!
    Hi David, I'm at the beginning of my journey to be free of debt and it is stories like yours that keeps me motivated and positive... So Well Done and thanks for sharing your experience:T
  • Hi David. Thanks for posting your story. It is always good to read a post of someone that has made it through.

    Your story has good timing as I was feeling pants. My process is taking so long. I feel much better now, thanks for sharing and well done :beer:
    Smile loan - £2821.98 / £0:)
    Lloyds CC - £3102.54 / £3071.51
    B'Card - £7615.65 / £7444.30
    Bank of mom - £6000 / £6000
    28/02/17 £ 19,540.17 / £16515.81 05/04/17
  • leo1976
    leo1976 Posts: 44 Forumite
    Fantastic story well done you.

    Was in a similar situation, had 8k work of debts :eek:, managed to get out of that through some severe sacrifices (holidays, clothes, entertainment etc). Eventually managed to save enough money for a deposit on a house. We also have some savings in the bank :j

    Still have to make sacrifices, everything goes on excel, packed lunches everyday, cook batches of meals at weekends (saves a fortune on the gas), always looking for those lovely little discount vouchers. The little things really do add up but everybody out there who has debt, you really really can do it.

    Good luck everyone and have a lovely rest of the bank holiday weekend. :)
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