The amount of debt I’m in is an issue I’ve mentioned a few times and skirted around a few other times. Money isn’t something people like to talk about. When I was being raised it was considered a rude or distasteful subject. These days I still find people are more likely to talk about an embarrassing one night stand than discuss how much they earn or owe.
How a person manages their money is the most personal thing they can reveal about themselves. There’s a fear that people will treat us differently because we may have gotten into some financial difficulty or judge us too harshly. Feeling like you can’t be open about it and feeling like you can’t ask those close to you for help or advice often makes the problem worse; turning it into your secret burden to bear.
While there are lots of tips and tricks out there on how to get out of debt, they’ll only really work if you know how you go into debt in the first place. Was it over socialising or too many shopping trips catching up on you? Or was it a small problem that snowballed because of some bad decisions? Mine was mixture of both.
To be honest, I only had an estimate of how high this figure was. This is the first time I’ve sat down and added it up to the penny. I feel a bit sick and I’m quivering a little as I type this. It’s not just random people on the internet that read this blog, some of my family and friends do too; it terrifies me to admit to them how out of control this has gotten.
The amount of debt I have accumulated over the past 10 years has been a result of my own poor judgement and bad choices. The fact it has taken me so long to try and get on top of the problem is my own fault for following bad advice instead of going on instinct. I’m now in a position where that bad advice is my only option.
Instead of paying off as much of my debt as quickly as possible, I would only pay the minimum amount so I would have cash. But instead of paying for things in cash I put it on the credit card and still spend the cash on something else. It got to the point that my monthly payment barely made a dent in the balance and eventually most of the payment was just covering the interest.
The main factor behind most of the spending was this notion I had about making a living by posting beauty videos on Youtube (yes, I was that person). The feeling that I had to have a lot of makeup and have the latest products took over for a while. But, to be honest, I just wasn’t putting in the effort to make it work.
In 2015 I decided to take the plunge. I cut down my shifts at work to the point I was still making enough for food, rent and bills (we were staying with my parents at the time, so rent was minimal); and I set to work churning out content. It was going great, and I was beginning to see a steady increase in views and earnings. It definitely wasn’t enough to live on, but enough to encourage me to keep going.
I then discovered I was pregnant with our first child.
Like I said, I wasn’t earning enough to make a living and there was no guarantee that I would be before the baby came (or that I’d have time for making videos afterwards). So I did what I thought was sensible and went back to work full time so I could be entitled to Maternity pay.
I was then left in a bit of a pickle. Maternity pay is no where near enough to cover credit card payments. And, of course, babies need things that cost a fair bit. I needed to both pay off as much of my debt as I could and save as much money as I could.
I made lists of what I needed and costed them. I made projections of how much I could pay off and save up, while still having money to live on. It would have been do-able, but it would have made things very tight whilst on Maternity leave.
So I made the decision to apply for a loan. Again, I thought this was a very sensible thing to do at the time. This way I’d only be making one payment a month and at a much lower interest rate. I applied for a loan a bit higher than what I needed so I’d have some buffer money in case anything unexpected came up.
This was working out perfectly. All my credit cards were paid off. And after our daughter was born it turned out I did have time to make videos. So I had renewed motivation to pursue this avenue again.
But to do this properly I felt the need to make my set up more professional. I decided to invest some more into my Youtube Channel. A new camera, memory cards, new lights, backdrops and editing software; and, of course, some of the latest products to talk about and attract viewers. I’m sure you’ve already guessed this went on my credit cards. But I thought it would be alright this time. I’d make all that money back through ad revenue when I built up my channel.
I went back to work in February 2017; the channel was making progress, but again not enough to make a living from. I decided to look at other avenues of income. The most attractive of which being makeup artistry.
This, too, required some investment; additional brushes, disposable and sanitising products, additional make up and flyers and business cards. Again, funded by the credit cards with the idea that I would earn it back in a reasonable amount of time. I had set up some demo work for my portfolio, started looking into attending the local Wedding Expo and cut back my shifts at work (we were still with my parents so I wanted to take advantage of that safety net).
Then in May I discovered I was pregnant again. A girl just can’t catch a break.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my family and I’m so happy we’ll have another addition soon. The timing just isn’t in my favour.
So I upped my hours at work and we pushed harder for a home through our local authority. As much as I love my parents, once you have a family of your own, you need your own space. We moved at the end of July and this came with its own financial stress; rent, tax and energy bill, never mind basic appliances and furnishing.
We applied for housing benefit and council tax reduction, which we received at a very generous rate. We also applied for tax credits and now receive Child Tax credits. We’re also looking into Healthy start vouchers, too.
So that brings us up to date with how I managed to get into so much debt. Here I am in the same pickle I was last time. I applied for a loan extension and was rejected, but I knew I would be. So my only option is to try and meet my minimum payments each month while on Maternity Leave.
Like I said, it’s my own fault I’m in this mess; so I’m going to do my damnedest to get myself out of it.