Mum of four explains what helped her clear £15k debt after ‘sleepless nights’

Martin Lewis reveals how balance transfers can help clear debt

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Regardless of someone’s income, debt can still cause “heartache” and problems within a family which is what forced Kelly to take action and take part in a debt management scheme. In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, she explained her journey with debt and how she was able to make small changes to reduce it. She wanted people in similar situations to her to know it’s possible to get out of the bad borrowing habits.

She said: “I have struggled with debt since having access to my first line of credit aged 18 and moving out of home.

“My spending was very much about me living beyond my means, and emotional spending if I was stressed or unhappy.

“Once I met my now husband and we had children, I was on a reduced income during four spells of maternity leave, and I started building up my debt again.

“We had higher outgoings and moved to a house with a larger mortgage. My husband put my debt onto the mortgage.

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“At its worst, we had £45,000 on credit cards plus mortgage.”

However, Kelly explained the importance of sitting down and making a conscious effort to not add on debt to the existing ones.

She continued: “In 2020 I started started snowballing it, paying off the smallest sums first before paying off the bigger debts.

“I am working a second job to try to clear the credit cards.

“I have also really had to think about my reasons around spending and I’m more insightful about this now.

“I realised that spending was an emotional habit for me and that I had continued this cycle from early adulthood all the way to my late thirties.”

With four children, Kelly mentioned the stress that Christmas brings, and how she plans to manage the upcoming months without overspending.

She said: “Christmas has always been a big financial pressure for us.

“With a large family and four children we would spend around £1,000 – £1,500 at Christmas, and this would all go on a credit card.

“Now we use a credit union to save all year – and save £120 a month.

“This year we’ve agreed with family that we’ll do a Secret Santa – buying a nice gift for one person rather than buying something for everyone.

“We’ve also been adding a few Christmas food bits to the shopping trolley since October!”

During the interview, Kelly highlighted the reason behind her spending played a pivotal role in how she was able to reduce debts.

She explained the need for accountability about how people unfortunately find themselves in their situations.

Sometimes debt is out of people’s control due to loss of income, or an accident however it’s so important for people to seek help.

Kelly’s husband suffers with ADHD and finds debt and money very stressful. Kelly explained that she used to pick up unexpected bills to try and limit her husband’s stress and put this on her credit card.

However, as she’s on a much lower income than him, she would never be able to afford this, only adding to the struggles. Her husband’s initial reaction to Kelly’s debt was what made her realise “that there was a problem” that she needed to address it.

“It has caused me many sleepless nights,” she explained.

Kelly said: “To anyone facing financial worries, I’d recommend sharing your struggles with loved ones – it can feel very isolating and lonely keeping it to yourself. I also found Facebook groups and online tracking apps to be really useful, as they helped me to see what the ultimate outcome would be.

“It’s great to see apps like ilumoni, helping people understand and manage their borrowing in simple steps based on their priorities and payment timeframes. Ever since the first day when I started regaining control of my finances it has become easier to breathe, knowing that I am on the right track. We now have around £30,000 on credit cards, in a year that’s £15,000 gone. We still have some way to go, but we now have emergency funds for unexpected bills or expenses.”

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