How to get out of debt: Taking controls of my finances

It’s very easy for me to admit that I like to spend money. The latest Clinique lipstick, a Starbucks here and there, getting my nails done – there’s always something I have my eye on to buy next. My spending habits have been a lot better in recent years and I’ve taught myself to live within my means – but it hasn’t always been this way! I want to tell you my story about how to get out of debt. It was in my first year of university that I got my first proper bank account – with a big fat overdraft to accompany it. I told myself that I wouldn’t touch it unless absolutely necessary – but the odd end of the month purchase every so often very quickly meant that I was maxed out by the end of the term. As my time at university went on, I kept increasing the overdraft at every opportunity I could – telling myself that when I came to earning a full time wage I would pay it all back then. After all – I had three years after I graduated! Well – that was back in 2012, and here I am in 2016 STILL slowly paying back that money. I wouldn’t say it has ever been a massive problem – my debts have never equalled to more than I could manage, but it was frustrating knowing that I was essentially paying for clothes that I had bought back when I was 19 or 20 years old – many of which I didn’t even have anymore! I was naïve and silly to spend away, seeing it as ‘free money’ that wouldn’t matter years down the line. What I should have done when I graduated was paid the whole amount off as soon as I had the cash – but instead I took the longer route, choosing to pay back in smaller monthly instalments. This year – I took some advice from a friend who said that sometimes in order to get yourself into a good place financially you really have to ‘batten down the hatches’ and be strict with what is going out every month. Ultimately, one day I want to buy a house and having lingering debt won’t help me when it comes to applying for a mortgage! Plus – I am only holding myself back from being able to save more for a deposit. So I sat down recently and worked out exactly how much I still owe, and what I had put away in savings so far. It worked out that I had enough to almost wipe out my debt – and if I put myself on a strict spending schedule I would be totally debt free by November. That’s no loans, no credit cards and no Topshop store cards! So I took a leap and used the money I had saved to pay off what I could. It was disheartening knowing that I had saved that money up – however if I really thought about it, with debt – it was never really mine to spend anyway. The next two months are going to be hard when it comes to saving. After my rent, bills and debt payments have come out I won’t have much at all left – but two months isn’t that long to make a sacrifice. I’ll be working out what ‘spare money’ I have each week and I plan to draw it out as cash every Monday. That way, I know exactly where I am and how much I have left to play with that week. By November, it will be so worth it – I can up my savings by a big proportion and have money left to spend on luxuries! I am so excited to be debt free for the first time in what seems like forever. Sometimes you have to take a hit to benefit later on. Now – to get saving for that house!