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6 months

30 June, 2012

So we are now at the end of June, halfway through 2012. In 6 months it will be 2013, are for me it can’t come quick enough. In 6 months, i will be free of debt.

 

Since i got a credit card at age 18, i have had some level of debt against my name. And since i got that first card, i have treated credit cards as Free Money that you never have to think about – you buy stuff, and then you get a piece of paper once a month with a number on it that you can pretty much not worry about. Wonderful. But the numbers get bigger and harder to ignore,  so i got another Free Money card, and another, and some loans. …

Fast forward to 2006. I was earning a decent wage – not huge, but about 1.5 times the national average – but my debts were about tipping in at twice that. As long as i could still pay my way each month though, it never hugely worried me. I could still go to gigs, buy CDs, go on holiday, service the car, go for beer and curry every saturday, it was fine. Then i lost my job. Okay, i got a decent payoff, i walked away with nine months salary taxfree. Lovely. I paid about a quarter of my debts, put the rest in the bank and looked for another job.

Nine months later, having worked in lowpaid temp jobs, I finally got something permanent, but earning half what I was. The rest of my redundancy money was gone, i had used it for food, rent, petrol. My free ride was over. For the first time i couldn’t make a monthly payment.

I phoned a debt councillor, cried, explained everything. They were incredibly supportive and talked me through my options, spoke to my creditors, arranged for me to speak to insolvency practicioners. I was extremely close to bankruptcy, which was a serious option, but i could just afford (by taking a few liberties about my spending when completing my application form – something i was well practiced at) to enter into an Individual Voluntary Agreement. They would accept 25p in the pound which i would pay off over six years, 72 payments, and i would declare my earnings and expenditure every year.

So since the end of 2006, i have had to count every penny. When i have had a holiday (twice in that time) i have stayed with friends. i go for a night out in the pub maybe three times a year. I make up excuses not to see friends because i am too embarrassed to admit i can’t afford the petrol to drive to their house and i don’t get paid for another week yet. 2 summers ago the clutch started playing up on my car and i still haven’t got it fixed. I gave up going to watch football, my one true love and the last luxury on the list that i desperately held onto. My computer, my clothes, my furniture, my television, everything in my home needs replacing. But i only have 6 more payments to go. Being free of that debt won’t mean i am suddenly rich, i am still in the same job, with a salary which has gone up 2k in six years, but it will give me a little more freedom.

I am aware that i am very lucky. I have no wife, children, dependants that have suffered. I have a job, a home (rented), a car, a computer, my health. I have family and friends, in particular a brother and sister who have loaned me small amounts when the car needed repair, or i was sobbing at the emptiness of my bank balance and my reserves of hope.

In my head i have spent the spare money i will have a hundred times over. I know i can’t have it all, and i will have to prioritise, wait and be sensible.  I will NOT apply for a credit card. I have learnt my lesson. I can see the end. I can count the days.

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From → Blogging

8 Comments
  1. TheOthers1 permalink

    Hard lesson to learn though. One you won’t forget I’m sure.

  2. Gillian Colbert permalink

    Congratulations! Having filed bankruptcy before, I’m happy you are almost debt free. Best wishes 😉

    • Thanks Gillian. it’s been a LONG struggle and i wonder if bankruptcy wouldn’t have been easier but i’m almost there now…

      • Gillian Colbert permalink

        It’s not easier, just it’s own form of struggle.

      • There was never an easy option available (as i’m sure you know), and i count myself lucky i had options at all. But i made my choice six yeards ago, i am lookig forwards, not backwards.

  3. On the day of your final payment you should post that it’s done so we (your readers) can share a toast in celebration with you!

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