I think when you’re in
your early twenties
it’s just something nobody
ever really talks about.
Everyone always talks about
having stuff and getting stuff
but not quite the money
or how they got the
money to get it.
I had payday loans,
and I probably owed my
best mate £50.
I grew up in a council flat in north London
with my mum and my younger brother.
I had two or three jobs from
when I was about 16.
My mum got really, really ill and
was physically unable to work.
When I got to 19, I was working with a friend
who introduced me to my
very first payday loan.
It was £200,
and I think I had to pay back
something like £290.
Which at the time didn’t seem so bad.
The problem was, when I paid
the £290 back
I was £290 down.
So I needed to borrow £300,
and then it just completely spiralled.
The favourite place for everyone
to go for drinks after work
was a cheeky Wetherspoons.
I remember having a massive
irrational fear of buying a round.
Because if I went out with everybody else
I just would not be able
to afford to do it.
I remember the day I got it,
I remember that night we went to Wetherspoons
and the drinks were on me.
I think part of it for me was that
at 16, 17 and 18 I was
working so many jobs,
looking after my mum,
and I had such an overwhelming responsibility to grow up quickly.
So when I had this chance to live,
and to do all these things that my
friends did, probably years before me
I just grabbed it.
It took me probably about two or three years
to get into about £18,000 to
£20,000 worth of debt,
and it took me five years to
pay that back off.
I was 22 when I got pregnant.
And it was the most life-changing thing
that happened to me
because I was forced then,
to really take control.
I wrote it all down in a notebook and
was really, really honest with myself
about how much I owed.
And at that point I thought,
“Right, let’s take some action.”
I was working all day in an
office as a temp,
and then I’d work in a pub all evening.
I started doing car boot sales,
I started selling things on eBay,
I went online and I found this website
where you could respond to
saucy text messages
and get paid per message.
I think it was only something like 15p a text
which doesn’t sound like a lot,
but you would send hundreds
and hundreds and hundreds.
I used to get a good few
hundred quid a month
and then use that to chip away at more debt.
I probably felt a little bit guilty
that the people texting in thought I was
some real hot, sexy,
you know, beautiful woman.
And actually I was just sat on the sofa with
a baby attached to my boob.
In that eight months
I think I probably managed to
work my way through
more than half of my debt.
Which sounds crazy,
but I literally went so hard
at paying everything off.
I did that for some time and
was managing it okay
but I still wanted to investigate ways
that I could pay things back quicker.
And that’s when I did debt snowballing.
I obviously haven’t got snowballs.
But I’m a girl who likes herself some cake,
so I’m going to explain it to
you in cake slices.
The first thing I did was
organise my debts
from smallest to highest,
regardless of interest rate.
You make the minimum payments
across all of your debts,
except for the smallest, where
you pay as much as you possibly can.
You then repeat this process until
you’ve cleared your debts in full.
This way doesn’t necessarily feel quicker…
psychologically it felt
so much better.
I don’t think there are really words
to describe how liberating
it is to be debt-free.
In total I think it probably took
me almost five years
which sounds like a really long time,
but honestly it was the best decision I made.