DEBT - WHY IS IT SUCH A TABOO SUBJECT?


Debt is one of those subjects that is rarely discussed in public and some don't even discuss with their families or partners, but why? It's such a taboo subject but it's important to talk about it and try and help others in a similar situation. 


Recent reports from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute highlight some very worrying figures when relating mental health and debt:
  • Over 420,000 people in problem debt considered taking their own life in England last year.
  • More than 100,000 people in debt actually attempt suicide each year.
  • People in problem debt are three times more likely to have considered suicide than people not in problem debt.
The Guardian wrote that Britain’s household debt mountain has reached a new peak, with UK homes now owing an average of £15,385 to credit card firms, banks and other lenders, according to the TUC. We all know that it is difficult to talk about our mental health at the best of times, but even more so when it is debt related because of the stigma around both. 

Debt comes in many formats including credit cards, overdrafts and loans just to name a few and, it is so easy to access these features that many apply and spend without even thinking of having to pay it back, which leads me on to my journey.

Back in November I sat down and looked at my finances. I was £24.5K in debt from credit cards, family loans, bank overdraft, car finance and student loan (this isn't always included in a list of debts due to the repayment and wipe system but I only have just over £5K to pay so added it to my list). I am very lucky in that I bought my first home at 22 but, with that comes the need to purchase new furniture and this is where the credit cards begin to add up. Fast forward a couple of years, I sold the apartment and moved into a lovely house with my partner, adding more things to the credit cards without fully paying off the balance from the previous two years. 

I found the debt free community one day on instagram by finding a personal finance blog under the name @wannabedebtfree, who paid off £16K in one year! I was fascinated that someone could do that and also motivated to start the journey for myself. Not long after, I created an anonymous instagram under @journeybacktotheblack where I started posting about my debt, spends and ways I was trying to make and save money. What I soon found is that there is a HUGE debt free community both on Instagram and Facebook which is great for motivation and inspiration. 

By Christmas I had set out a budget for each month and was leaving all leftover cash in my bank account to try and clear that pesky student overdraft. My estimated debt free date at this point was June 2023, and I wasn't happy about that. When I started this journey, I would be £2K in my overdraft before every payday which then wouldn't even get me out of the negative. It was bringing me down so much and affecting my mental health. I was worried about the future, being able to afford children and also just not being able to be independent without these different financial credit products. 

Fast forward to March and I'm pretty much out of my overdraft completely, only dipping in it towards the end of every month rather than living in it. My current debt total is £18,731.95 and estimated debt free date is down to May 2022. Just in those 5 months, I've knocked over a year off my debt free date and paid off just over £5.5K worth of debt by setting myself a strict budget, going eBay mad and side-hustling to the max. It's often also about leaning to say 'No' to things such as holidays and new clothes, knowing that the short term sacrifice will be a long term gain.

I still know that there is a long was to go to clear my debt completely but I'm working hard every month to do as best as I can with the budget that I have set myself. Likewise, trying to earn extra pennies in the evening and on a weekend. 

So, that's my financial worries out on a plate. I was super nervous about writing this post, again, because debt seems to be such a taboo subject - but why? I'll continue this theme over the next few months, looking at what I do for extra money and budgeting. If there is anything else that you would like to know, please ask away in the comments or through one of my social channels!

Resources

Podcasts
The Dave Ramsey Show (this is American but I find it so motivational!)

Reading




2 comments

  1. Knocking a year off your debt is amazing! Congratulations on all you've accomplished :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Megan! It feels good and it's my main motivation!

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