Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • Towser
    • By Towser 28th Nov 18, 10:13 PM
    • 1,186Posts
    • 1,998Thanks
    What did you do to get into debt?
    • #1
    • 28th Nov 18, 10:13 PM
    What did you do to get into debt? 28th Nov 18 at 10:13 PM
    I am curious what did you do to get into debt? How did it happen?

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Tine; 04-12-2018 at 9:47 AM.
Page 3
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 6th Dec 18, 7:57 AM
    • 7,434 Posts
    • 16,408 Thanks
    I think financial education should be taught more in schools but personally I think parents have a role to play too. My dad was anti credit like many of his generation but was a very successful businessman and I respected him so developed a healthy fear of credit myself except for buying property. They taught me to save from a young age, 7 or 8 and we did the same with our daughters. My first job was in a bank and in those days staff had to have scrupulous financial affairs and going overdrawn was a disciplinary offence reinforcing further my fear of overspending. Consequently to this day I have never gone overdrawn. However these days students are encouraged to go into debt with student loans to the tune of thousands. They are encouraged to get a credit card to build up a credit rating regardless of whether they have the financial discipline to know when to stop spending and taking time on purchases, saving for them or researching is positively discouraged by the prevalent use of 0% credit cards. I am not sure that education alone will stop people spending more than their income or start saving for the future. Attitudes also need to change and a fear of debt positively encouraged. That won't happen though while the big financial institutions are making so much money off the back of people heavily in debt.
    Debt free and mortgage free and early retiree. Living the dream

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to
    • whattodo1967
    • By whattodo1967 6th Dec 18, 2:35 PM
    • 80 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    I got in the cycle of consolidation then spending on the cards again, lost count if I am honest. Till I could borrow no more. But really best thing that happened to us. Am proud that we have had no credit since 2012, and I have 3 more payments on my DMP, and I will then be overpaying on my mortgage and saving the rest
    LBM April 2012, started Dmp with Stepchange June 2012 £47k Proud to finally be dealing with our debts

    Oct 18 4 more payments to DFD
    Nov 18 3 more payments to DFD
    • Gettingtherequickly
    • By Gettingtherequickly 6th Dec 18, 5:06 PM
    • 3,853 Posts
    • 17,000 Thanks
    Like a lot of people, spent more than I was earning, redundancy and having to use the dreaded cards.

    One day I decided I had had enough & started to get a grip on getting rid of the debt so that I could actually have a life. I don't think I really know how much I owed, but probably in the region of £30k between cards, overdraft, utilities. The only debt I didn't have was council tax.

    I have been debt free for a number of years now and it is so nice to be able to buy something I want without wondering how to afford it. My proudest moment was changing my car, bought a demo, all singing, all dancing, brand new would have been £28k, thanks to MSE wisdom, I bought it 6 months old for £14k & paid cash. Putting my pin in the machine scared the bejasus out of me, but it served the point of forcing me to think twice about whether I needed or not.
    A smile costs little but creates much
    • Makeachange
    • By Makeachange 6th Dec 18, 5:11 PM
    • 951 Posts
    • 1,311 Thanks
    Gambling addiction.

    261 days clean right now, and paying things back.
    Mentally in the right place to do so now.
    • Willing2Learn
    • By Willing2Learn 6th Dec 18, 6:20 PM
    • 1,836 Posts
    • 1,419 Thanks
    Gambling addiction.

    261 days clean right now, and paying things back.
    Mentally in the right place to do so now.
    Originally posted by Makeachange

    Well done on reaching the 261-day milestone

    I got into debt after I tendered my resignation at work due to deteriorating (mental) health... I would have been unable to honour my contract...

    Debt-free for about a decade now..
    Last edited by Willing2Learn; 06-12-2018 at 6:31 PM.
    I work within the voluntary sector, supporting vulnerable people to rebuild their lives.

    I love my job

    • flutterby29
    • By flutterby29 12th Dec 18, 8:43 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    I wanted to share how i got into debt! Spending more that I earn. Using a credit card to fill the gaps but then being broke trying to clear the balance. It has not been more than £1,000 at any one time.
    but Proud to say I've been following MSE forums for the past couple of months and already getting a good grip on my finances. still a way to go. Have been following the no spend days and that has cut extra spending.
    Decided my first step was to set up an emergency fund. This will be used in future for 'emergency' spends that I've been relying on CC for. no more!
    - now i'm logging every thing I'm spending and trying to budget for things I want to spend on. Credit card will be paid off by Feb 2019 .
    Last edited by flutterby29; 12-12-2018 at 8:44 PM. Reason: left out some info
    • Onebrokelady
    • By Onebrokelady 14th Dec 18, 9:53 PM
    • 1,107 Posts
    • 6,068 Thanks
    Mine was a combination of things,it started when my ex left me after he talked me into giving up my council house to buy the house I'm still living in,I was working part time and managed for a while with benefit top ups
    When the benefit top ups stopped my job also stopped us doing nights so although I had a full time job by this point I was relying on the unsocial hours to get by so losing my nights made a dent in my wages,a few household emergencies and several eyewatering vet bills didn't help,I had no savings so anything unexpected was paid for with my CC

    I then developed a chronic pain condition swiftly followed by depression and spending mad me feel better,I've worked through a lot of issues in my head and realised this year that although the beginning of my slide into debt was not all my fault the fact it carried on and got so out of hand is totally my fault
    I had the mentality of I work hard so why shouldn't I buy things when I want to and why should my children go without ,we never went on any holidays or bought a car or anything like that it was just lots of small items that very soon add up to a debt that's unmanageable,the saying" look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves"is soooo true

    I'm now in a DMP with SC and will be paying off this debt for a loooong time but over the first year I have learned a lot about myself and what makes me spend and how to avoid that happening,I've learned how to budget and stick to it, I'm saving an emergency fund andnivd saved for Xmas, this year I have done Xmas on a budget with cash and come January there won't be any credit card bills falling on my mat,I don't spend much at all now and despite suffering from intermittent depressive episodes I am mostly the happiest I've been in a long time
    Just keep swimming
    Original Debt Owed Jan 18 = £17,630 Paid To Date = £1,519 Total Now Owed = £16,111
    Emergency Fund = £300 Xmas savings = £190
    • Mulberrygirl1234
    • By Mulberrygirl1234 14th Dec 18, 11:34 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    The bank literally put a credit card through my door when I was 20 with a 7k limit
    • burnleylad1882
    • By burnleylad1882 15th Dec 18, 6:35 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Gambling. Been attending GA meetings since St, Georges day and not had a bet since. 33k of debt which I am now paying off with the help of my mrs who holds all my cards and gives me spending money. My debt is now 28k and without getting carried away I am in a really good place at the minute, mentally if not financially. but that is only going in one direction if I don't gamble. Even now though my cards are sending me credit limit increases even though I maxed them all out gambling.
    • Sharon87
    • By Sharon87 15th Dec 18, 9:10 PM
    • 3,571 Posts
    • 3,048 Thanks
    Started at uni:
    £1500 student overdraft
    Then I graduated in 2008 - recession time! That means no job, living on benefits for a bit, used my credit card to buy things I couldn't afford.
    Finally got a job, not enough money, still used credit card for nice things like going out/days out.etc

    Then I got a better job, spent more money on things I couldn't afford. then had to replace items I didn't save for - laptops, TVs.etc I never budgeted properly, I always forgot annual expenses.

    Now I'm earning a decent amount of money and my debt is slowly coming down, it's reduced for the first time in years. I've learnt to budget properly using YNAB and now it's finally starting to be paid off
    • Farmer Johnson
    • By Farmer Johnson 17th Dec 18, 8:12 PM
    • 64 Posts
    • 56 Thanks
    Farmer Johnson
    I’ve only been in debt a few times. I left my first degree with a debt of a few thousand pounds, and paid it down over about six months. I then borrowed some money for transport for my first job, at about 40% APR, and paid that off over a year.

    Since then I’ve only had mortgage debt. I’ve gone cold and hungry rather than borrowing money, as when there was no prospect of a pay rise or a windfall I understood that I was only delaying the day of reckoning by borrowing and making it far, far worse.

    When I realised that I’d be living on the breadline for the foreseeable future I resigned, did a doctorate, and came out he other end into a much better career.

    I’ve a mortgage now far bigger than I am comfortable with, so am working to pay it down as fast as I can.
    • Lolly424
    • By Lolly424 18th Dec 18, 12:56 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Got a loan for a family member as we were on the verge of losing the family home. Then moved out due to emotional abuse whilst still paying off the loan, got a credit card to buy stuff for my flat as I hadn't saved (it was a rushed move). Took a pay cut a work to keep my job, couldn't afford to pay debt plus keep flat so ended up on a DMP and back into the emotionally abusive home.
    • jubilee14
    • By jubilee14 18th Dec 18, 1:54 PM
    • 305 Posts
    • 890 Thanks
    Got a loan for a family member as we were on the verge of losing the family home. Then moved out due to emotional abuse whilst still paying off the loan, got a credit card to buy stuff for my flat as I hadn't saved (it was a rushed move). Took a pay cut a work to keep my job, couldn't afford to pay debt plus keep flat so ended up on a DMP and back into the emotionally abusive home.
    Originally posted by Lolly424
    Hi Lolly424, this is a great place for support of whatever kind so please, if your needing to vent or looking for advice know its here. Generally nearly all the posters on here are supportive which is sometimes what you need.
    LBM Sept 2012
    started DMP 1.11.12
    Debt £37012/£1440 DFD Oct 2019 about March 2019
    • LeeUK
    • By LeeUK 19th Dec 18, 12:24 AM
    • 6,164 Posts
    • 2,797 Thanks
    It all started when I was 18 and got some junk mail in the post addressed to me from Capital One offering me a credit card. Why not I thought, so filled it out and popped it in the post. Week or so later card arrived with £200 limit. Before that I had never even thought about wanting or getting a card as I was working full time and living at home so had plenty of disposable income.

    After I got the Capital One card, I then applied to Natwest a couple of months later and they gave me a card with £700. A few months after that I was in my bank (LloydsTSB) when the counter assistant tried to sell me a credit card. Ten minutes later I walked out with a £2K limit and my shiny new card arrived in the post a few days later. Few more months down the line I received junk mail from Barclaycard and what the heck, I applied. Think I got £500 limit on that. A while later I then got a halifax card with £900 limit.

    I was spending and buying crap and paying slightly above the minimum payments and I admit at the time it was starting to get out of hand. Then SHTF and I lost my job. Could no longer afford the repayments and everything spiralled out of control. By time I was earning again it was too late and the damage had been done.
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 19th Dec 18, 1:02 AM
    • 374 Posts
    • 1,285 Thanks
    Went to uni with no understanding of money management. Got a credit card 'for emergencies'. Used it to book train tickets home in the first semester. Got a student overdraft too. It was ridiculously easy to extend it. Did it fairly regularly. Spent my second year studying abroad and without access to my bank balance.... Came back with a £1200 overdraft. The final two years of my degree I did work part time. But I spent every penny on crap - clothes, going out etc. I opened another credit card too but I can't remember when.

    Stayed on to do a Masters and a PhD (luckily I had scholarships for these). Got a consolidation loan during my Masters degree to pay off two credit cards and two overdrafts. BUT I didn't learn to budget...

    Met DF and lived his lifestyle on my student budget. Started spending on the credit cards again and eventually racked up even more debt than last time.

    Graduated (finally!) and started working. And started spending. On work clothes and work bags and all that crap you convince yourself you need as a 'professional'. The usual lifestyle inflation ensued. Holidays abroad, gym memberships, sports equipment etc etc. Bought a car on PCP.

    Didn't involve myself in the finances of the home. DF managed everything and I just gave him a monthly contribution towards the bills. I developed no accountability or responsibility or long term financial radar for daily life. I spent everything I earned.

    Continued this for 10 years until last August when I suddenly realised I was earning a good salary but was in the most debt I'd evert been in. Decided enough was enough and joined MSE.

    15 months later and I've paid over £9k off my debts. Only £3,999.99 to go!
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £4,931.51/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £paid off/£1,894.92| Total Debt Repayments: £8,392.50/£12,585.14 (66.68%) | Outstanding Debt: £4,192.64 | House Move Fund: £1,127.87/£4,000
    • frolic
    • By frolic 19th Dec 18, 10:36 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    I bought a property in greater London, so I now owe £200k+ to Barclays (or you could say Barclays and I jointly own a property, together with the freeholder, as it's a leasehold flat). The fact that I also owe Barclaycard a couple of hundreds at the moment seems negligible, in comparison.
    • ThatKiss
    • By ThatKiss 19th Dec 18, 11:07 AM
    • 104 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    Fell into the trap of using interest-free balance transfers as a "cheap" way to buy a car, but without the structure of a set payment plan, the debt never seemed to reduce.

    Eventually sorted that out but then bought a flat on a pretty quick-sharp schedule without being wholly financially set to do so. Spent the first year living the high life (outside my means!) with a couple of financial setbacks in that period as well, and found myself starting to spiral into the debt abyss.

    Had a lightbulb moment around a year ago and it's been onwards and upwards since - although I've still the bulk of the debt to address, things are moving in the right direction.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,097Posts Today

7,995Users online

Martin's Twitter