Debt Free and YOU can be too!

The date of your lightbulb moment, too many to count. During periods of sickness, redundancy mostly.

Debts at their highest £34k

Debt-Free Date February 2017 and now February 2022 after a relapse. Been a enlightening and yet frightening five years.

Your one pearl of wisdom. Dust yourself off and try again. Get everything down to a minimum. The pandemic helped me see I didn't need as much as I thought.

As I am unable to go out like I used to I was buying stuff and meals online. So in order to save to pay the last of my debts off the money would be drawn out the bank and saved until I could pay something off. The money would then be put back in the bank and paid onto the debt straight away. That approach worked for me but may not for others

Which forum threads helped you, debt free diaries, wannabes, the newsletter tips helped me see I'm not alone and also learn what to do about my problems

I brought a house and got sick. I spent eleven years trying to hold onto that house and the financial worry of that crippled me mentally and physically. As people showed their true colours my isolation increased. As stress illness and depression took hold my management of my life dwindled with it

I spent those years paying for the past, paying for the present and worrying about the future. I also spent alot of my energy and resources caring for others. Family who did not help applied pressure to keep the house and I went along with it.

My house was on a tracker mortgage so when the interest rate went down I was finally able to breathe a little better and start to claw my way out.

I sold the house and everything was great right? WRONG! i was debt free but still broken. I no longer felt worthy of happiness. I felt I'd let everyone down. I had some money left over but not enough to do something meaningful with. I was also homeless. My first debt free day since the early 2000's brought elation as I paid everyone off but then I had a what now? sinking feeling in my gut. I felt a failure

The reason my debt got so  high initially was because I paid first who shouted at me first. It wasn't until I came here that I learnt about priority and non priority debts.

For two years after selling the house  I drifted and finally felt able to start to rebuild my life. Out of no where I got a notice for my landlord to have their house back, ended up in hospital and then made redundant!.

Something changes when you have no income and those you owe money too still want their blood and you are tied into contracts eg mobiles etc

My mental health continued to suffer. I was suicidal many times. I found I was seriously b12 deficient

A friend started to help me manage my meds better. My food, Manage my money and generally looking after myself and my home. I was able to open up to her and start to talk over the best way forward.

I also prayed for some control, prayer is a frustration to some but I admit i prayed hard. It helped me feel and know I was not alone in my despair.

I use voucher codes and buy anything I need on offer, I don't pay full price for anything anymore. I   also found Dave Ramsay's steps interesting

I have been on a dmp and came off it in 2017. Do not be afraid to ammend your budget with them if you need to. Second time around I managed everything as I had no missed payments.

Do not be afraid to not follow the crowd who think debt is ok. Debt isn't ok and we become slaves to the lender. They don't care they just want their pound of flesh. Nothing I want to buy feels as good as debt free feels.

I have not had a missed or late payment for five years now so even tho I relapsed with wasting  my savings and getting into debt again I had learnt a little. I always say a debt free mentality is a process.

Next year the horror of my mortgage issues comes off my credit record as that part will have been six years

I have one credit card open it was three. That will just be used to maintain my credit history after the payment plan comes off.

I don't have TV packages, I don't watch TV anyway. I have just served notice on my mobile and will get help to source an unlimited SIM only deal. Once the mobile contract goes I won't have any contracts or tie ins with anyone. I'm hoping for an unlimited data calls and text SIM. 

The plan going forward is to purchase  my monthly groceries on my card and pay off in full each month which is always factored into my budget.

We have decided to keep the card while I rebuild savings as that will help my anxiety about a rainy day. I admit that anxiety is not as high as it was when I was a home owner.

Renting has opened a new world for me. I don't feel judged anymore about not owning my own home. 

My health is still suffering and recently I had another health set back. I didn't run for food or to spend more money, the support really helps. 

We have all incomings and outgoings on an app called spending tracker. Without debt I can now focus on trying to get my life savings and health back. I am praying my anxiety will lessen and the high cortisol will lower. As operations etc are back up and running I can get other matters addressed. But now I'm debt free I don't have that as a distraction

As I close. Please know if I can do it you can too. Find that one person who won't judge you and help hold you to account. You are worthy of debt freedom, you are worthy of looking after you, you are worthy of putting yourself first

If you need medication or to talk to someone speak to your gp

Get your credit report and address anything that's not right on it. 

I have had to restart my life so many times, it's not been easy. Do not be afraid to dust yourself off and try again. I still need help, life isn't  perfect but I've made progress with my finances, acknowledge the smallest steps.

Ignore the naysayers. Ignore those who like to advise but not help (even though they can) and don't have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Decide the best course of action for you and become committed to yourself and your freedom.

Sorry I know I'm rambling! Be kind to yourself. Some days I was ok other days a sniveling mess, still am some days!. Roll with it. Wait til it's dark light a candle and have a bath with some gentle music. Bath bombs on sale were my go to. When I couldn't have those just a hot bath helped, meditation, talking things through with someone who wouldn't judge me, self care was and remains key. 

One day me and my friend put on our headsets and chatted to keep each other motivated whilst we tidied up a small part of Our homes. It was a win, therapeutic and I didn't feel alone. I guess what I'm saying  is find what works for you but find ways to get small wins and as much self care as you need.

I hope this helps someone. I'm rooting for you I never thought I'd be here, you will too!


  • MSE_Laura_F
    MSE_Laura_F Community Admin Posts: 1,447
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    Huge congratulations on a monumental achievement. ⭐

    And thank you for sharing your tips for others.

    MSE Laura F
  • enthusiasticsaver
    enthusiasticsaver Forumite, Ambassador Posts: 14,722
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    Congratulations and thanks for posting. 

    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free Wannabe, Budgeting and Banking and Savings and Investment boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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  • TripleH
    TripleH Forumite Posts: 2,996
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    I also want to offer my congratulations.
    Also to add, you have a fantastic friend there taking the time to help you get a handle on sorting out your life.
    It shows the benefit in having someone as support, even if you are both in the same position. Makes the journey less scary.
    May you find your sister soon Helli.
    Sleep well.
  • FreedomBringsPeace
    FreedomBringsPeace Forumite Posts: 99
    10 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    My friend just gets it, she's not too pushy. But will hold me to account. It's also helped me to feel useful to be there for her and take a little focus off myself.

    I'd urge anyone who knows someone in this situation to direct them to this board, to help them sort their reasonable budget.

    It's been an amazing journey, if it weren't for sites like this there would be little education and therefore little progress. To Martin, the team, committed posters Inc the compers thank you. My life has been forever changed. Thank you.
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