A History of my Debt Free Journey

Good evening my darlings,

So I imagine most of the people reading my blog have been here since its inception and know all my secrets by now. However, I have had a few new followers and also given that there was over a year between the last time I posted on here pre-lock down and posting now during lock down, I thought I would do a little recap of my journey.

DECEMBER 2015

In December 2015 I had what was called my ‘light bulb moment’ and realised I couldn’t live the way I was living anymore. My financial management was disastrous. I was about one bad decision away from having a negative income, and I was for the first time earning a full time contracted wage and I wasn’t going to ruin the hard work I had put into getting that job in the first place.

On December 6th 2015 I began my debt free journey by starting a debt free diary on the subsection of the forum on the Money Saving Expert website. Sorry for those who know, but the Money Saving Expert website is an absolute hero of a site and it was set up by Martin Lewis who is the UK’s consumer champion, like the UK’s equivalent of Dave Ramsey if you’re American. I started my diary and called it – obviously – Flo’s Debt Free Diary and began seeking help for all the terrible decisions I had made up to that point.

My goal debt free date was set as my 30th birthday that would be in March 2019. I had at this point about £5150 debt.

2016

In 2016 I tried really hard to pay off my debts and save money and be frugal. I began getting into side hustling and learnt all about that world. Sadly I had bad health problems and ended up being unemployed for 4 months and that meant I ended 2016 with a higher debt total than I began the journey with – £5996.

2017

Inspired by a book I had taken out of the library I decided I would do a ‘No Spend Year’ and I started this blog. The premise was that I wouldn’t buy anything unessential. This book interestingly was not ‘The No Spend Year’ by Michelle McGagh and was instead ‘In the Red’ by Alexis Hall, meaning my idea was totally not original. I reduced my spending by 80% compared to the year before and paid off about £3000 of debt but ended the year unemployed – again – and with my debt not significantly smaller than I started the year with at the total of £3980 . This was because of a mental health breakdown that was chronicled on this blog that saw me signed off work for 4 weeks. I hit rock bottom, but without sounding like a stupid cliché it really was the best thing that ever happened to me as it was what I needed to sort out my mental health and since that point I have never been better. Plus I had paid off my £1000 overdraft during this time!

2018

I started a temporary job and needed more money so I got a second job at the weekends and was working 7 days a week. I got a better temporary job in a role I loved, but still had to keep the weekend job. This was the start of things going well for me, and my debt significantly reduced and I was able to save. An enforced house move meant I didn’t save as much money or pay off a much debt as I would have liked to, but compared to the last few years I ended 2018 in better financial shape with £2900 of credit card debt. But…and there’s always a but isn’t there…I had borrowed money off a friend and owed them £1300 at the end of the year as well.

2019

My 30th birthday came, but I wasn’t debt free. I carried on though and ended the year with savings and my debt at the lowest level since pretty much ever, £1600

NOW

I have £900 of debt that is soon to reduce to £750, a small emergency fund and I am on track to be debt free by late August this year.

That’s my story, like most debt free journeys it has had many downs and a few ups and it is finally in a steady trajectory. I will be debt free this year!

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