DEBT STORY: How We Paid Off £21,000 Debt In 8 Months
In today’s blog post, Ruth Taylor shares the story of how her family paid off £21,000 debt in 8 months. Read on for practical advice and encouragement for anyone wanting to embark on their own debt-free journey.
Let’s Talk About Debt
I came across ruth’s profile when she just started her Instagram page documenting her family’s financial journey online. I appreciated how open Ruth was while sharing her journey and the impact that Covi-19 had on her dog-walking business. I also had the opportunity to interview Ruth on Season 2 episode 2 of T-Money Talks where she shared her debt story, have a watch if you want even more detail of how they did it.
Debt Story: How We Paid Off £21,000 Debt In 8 Months
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Ruth. I live with my husband, Thomas and two children. Thomas and I run a dog walking business and we live in London.
How did you get into debt?
When we bought our first home together (the house we’re still living in now), we used every penny we had for the deposit. We moved in without a penny to spare and it all went downhill from there. Our boiler broke on the first day and we had no option but to put a new one on a credit card. We put all of the furniture we bought on credit cards and store cards and then when the kids came along all of their baby stuff (buggy, car seats, bigger car etc etc) also went on credit cards. We had different jobs back then and our income was irregular and not well-managed.
What motivated you to embark on a debt-free journey?
The constant stress and worry was taking its toll. We couldn’t sleep, we argued constantly, I suffered from terrible mum guilt and we were just existing and not living. Money was on my mind every second of the day and we were living in a constant state of stress. The final straw was when I put just £5 of petrol in the car and my card was declined. I had had enough.
How did you get out of debt?
I stumbled upon the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps system and decided that it was for me! i sought out Dave Ramsey groups on Facebook and just threw myself into getting rid of our debts as quickly as possible. We created a budget for the first time in our lives and realised that we were wasting so much money. We cut things out, reduced our outgoings and sent every spare penny towards our debts. By this point, we had set up our dog walking business and we took on extra work. We were working 7 days a week. In the evenings, I would do matched betting and fill out surveys in order to increase our income further. I meal planned, I only bought own-brand foods and we only bought second-hand clothes for the kids. After huge sacrifice and lots of hard work, we finally became debt-free.
Share 3 lessons you learnt on/from your debt free journey?
One, each person’s situation is different. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. And that’s totally fine. I wanted to clear my debts as quickly as possible. I went full-in and worked flat-out. This isn’t the best was for a lot of people and burn-out is common. Sometimes, it’s better to pace yourself. Two, setting goals is essential to keep yourself motivated. I had charts and trackers coming out of my ears. Whenever I felt demotivated or felt like a spend-up I’d just look at my charts to see how well we were doing. Three, surrounding yourself with people on a similar journey is invaluable. It will motivate you and help you to see that you’re not alone. I very much doubt that we would have cleared our debts so quickly if we were going it ‘alone’.
What resources and tools helped you on your debt-free journey?
I threw myself into everything personal finance. There are some amazing books around that teach you the fundamentals of personal finance. I was constantly popping to the library for my next book. Facebook groups and the debt-free community on Instagram are absolutely priceless too. I was always asking for advice online and if I was having a really bad day there was always someone to cheer me on. There are so many free debt trackers online. Make use of these. Print them off and pop them on your fridge. Mark off a square when you make a payment towards your debt.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pay off their debt?
Don’t wait for the perfect time. There isn’t one. Just start now and you’ll soon realise that the thought of tackling it is far worse than actually tackling it. Be open with friends and family as they’ll be able to support you and cheer you on along the way. Set yourself goals. Break large goals into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, the thought of paying off £21,000 was too much for my brain to manage. Instead, I set myself goals of £1,000 at a time. It was much more manageable this way. Finally, believe in yourself.
Money Coach and Content Creator, passionate about helping women break the payday-to-payday cycle and achieve their financial goals, through the power of intentional budgeting, saving and investing and side hustling.
When I'm not talking about money you can find me spending time with my 3 boisterous boys.
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Tolu Frimpong does not offer financial advice. All information on this website is intended for educational and reference purposes only. Use of this site is entirely at your own risk. You should always carry out your own research and take specific professional financial advice.