In today’s blog post I will be sharing 11 things I wish I knew when I was in debt, in the hope that it will inspire you to start, or if you’ve already started, continue on your debt-free journey in the most productive way.
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If this is the first of my blog posts that you’ve ever stumbled across, you may not know my story. I was once in over £36,000 debt. I recently released an eBook called How I Paid Off £36,000 Debt, where I shared the 10 steps that my husband and I took to achieve debt freedom. You can purchase your copy here.
It’s been over two years since I achieved debt freedom. I have learnt a lot both during and after my debt-free journey. There are many things I wish I knew when I was in debt. Knowing these things would have saved me a lot of time, money and would have made our debt-free journey a lot more bearable.
With that being said, I thought it would be useful to share the 11 things I wish I knew when I was in debt. Whether you’re at the start, middle or end of your debt-free journey, I hope the information helps you.
In one of my recent blog posts, What To Do When Overwhelmed By Debt, I spoke about different service providers that you can turn to when you are in debt for help. Charities like StepChange, provide fee-free advice on how to overcome your debt and help you come up with a plan that works for your financial situation. You can feel very alone when you’re in debt, but you don’t have to be. Reach out to the services out there to support you on your debt-free journey.
Since joining the #debtfreecommunity online, I’ve met so many incredible people that have been able to pay off large amounts of debt over varying periods of time. One thing that I’ve heard from a number of them, is the fact that you don’t have to pay back all your debt – you can at times get some of it written off. I didn’t even consider this at all on my debt-free journey, it was my mess and I had to clean it up.
What’s more, even if you can’t get the debt written off, you can speak to your creditors in order to arrange a repayment plan that works for you. Don’t just assume that what they’ve told you to repay is the only option, you could negotiate the terms of your repayment too.
When I was in debt and ignoring my financial situation, I had no idea what life post-debt could look like for us. But two years post debt, I can tell you with certainty that it is worth it. Stick at the debt-free journey and commit to your debt-free goal. The reward of debt-freedom far outweighs all the temporary pleasures that you’re sacrificing today.
When I first started on my debt-free journey it felt like it would take forever to reach debt freedom. This wasn’t the case. Once we got started paying off our debts, it snowballed and before we knew it the debt was gone. Getting started is the hardest part. Once you get going and commit to the process, you’ll be surprised at how fast the debt goes down.
When we were in debt I didn’t realise that there were so many different ways to generate extra income. I was more focused on cutting expenses when the reality is, there’s a limit to the amount you can cut your expenses, but there is no limit to the amount you can increase your income by.
Ebay is only one of the many ways to generate extra income online. From creating an online course and selling digital products, to teaching English online and becoming a Virtual Assistant, the many different opportunities to make money online are infinite.
I won’t lie to you – paying off debt is hard. It’s a very difficult road to travel along which is why so many people avoid doing it. But in retrospect, I can look back and say it was doable. When you’re in debt you often feel helpless, like there’s no way out so what’s the use in trying. The use is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can transform your financial situation and write a new script if you’re prepared to put in the effort and do the work required to achieve debt freedom.
I went through a large portion of my life unable to say no. No to others and no to myself. I wish I knew when I was in debt that saying no sometimes would actually give me the freedom, ability and finances to say yes when it really matters. ‘No’ isn’t a bad word, it’s a word that helps create boundaries and stops you from spending money that you don’t have. Harness the power of ‘No’.
I didn’t realise how hard it would be to stick to the plan when I was in debt. It’s one thing having the plan, but having the discipline to see it through to fruition takes a different level of will power. There will always be external and sometimes internal temptations making you want to spend money that could otherwise go towards debt. It’s important to know this is inevitable on your debt-free journey. You may want to give up – it’s natural – but don’t, stick to the plan and don’t look back unless it’s to see how far you’ve come.
When I was in debt, I wish I knew about the #UKDebtFreeCommunity. There’s a tribe of men and women online at different stages of their debt-free journey, documenting their process and sharing all the highs and lows of what that entailed. Getting around like-minded people does wonders for morale and productivity. Being around people that are working towards a similar goal will really empower you to continue on your debt-free journey. Iron really does sharpen iron.
The ostrich effect. This is something I suffered with for years while I was in a lot of debt. I wish I knew when I was in debt that ignoring my financial situation and burying my head in the sand would not make the situation go away. The debt needed to be paid regardless of how I felt and it was important for me to face it head on.
Interest compounds and because of this, making minimum payments is a trap. I like to compare making minimum payments to a hamster on a wheel going round and round but not going anywhere. If you make the minimum payments on your debt, you’ll just keep paying and paying and the debt will not go down.
So these are just 11 things I wish I knew when I was in debt, can you relate to any of them? Please share any things you wish you knew in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this post, ’11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was In Debt’, then you will also enjoy my other blog posts on similar topics. Check them out below:
Wife and mum of three boys on a journey to achieve financial freedom. Earn more, spend less and invest the difference.