How I paid off £15,000 in 9 months

31 comments

There are many different ways of tackling debt, but for me the only way I knew was to get my head down and attack it with full force. Back in November, I set myself the goal of becoming debt free within a year – and I did. It took me nine months to be exact, and is one of my proudest achievements to date.

I work as a graphic designer and earn £25K a year. Not the best wage in the world but enough to live off of comfortably. That is, unless you have a shit load of debt to pay off. The only way I could live and pay off my debt was to take on extra work. I looked at various options, until one day I had a light bulb moment.

Babysitting.

Ah ha! I said to myself, there’s something I can do… I love kids and have plenty of experience. I stuck an advert up on Gumtree and within days I had my first booking. Soon I was working up to 30 hours a week on top of my day job and I loved it. I started working for some wonderful people and felt proud to be redeeming myself.

I took pride in my babysitting work and made myself business cards and a website. I loved it when people contacted me on the recommendation of other clients; there is something very touching about being trusted with another person’s most prized possession and I didn’t take the responsibility lightly.

I became obsessed with paying off my debt. I lived and breathed it every day. Whenever I had some free time I read blogs about other people’s experiences with debt and felt even more inspired to keep going. One man I must mention here is Adam Baker of Man Vs Debt. We’ve never met but I feel like I know him and his family so well. His honest, frank and genuine writing was exactly what I needed at the time. It was also the first blog I ever subscribed to and is definitely one of the reasons why I am here today writing my own. So thank you Baker – you’re a rockstar.

I also took very much to heart Baker’s principal message: “Sell your crap, pay off your debt, do what you love”. I began to realise how little I needed, or really wanted, the majority of my belongings. I bought Baker’s Sell Your Crap eBook – it’s a fab resource I highly recommend – and began the long process of selling my things on ebay and Amazon. It’s tedious work but worth it. I also started doing car boot sales (similar to American yard sales but you sell everything out of the back of your car). Slowly but surely my crap is dwindling. By the time we leave for India next year I will be down to just one backpack of belongings, and I find that idea strangely thrilling.

This is like a whole new realm. I have never had savings before in my life and the world of being in credit is very foreign to me. But, like any new and unchartered territory, I am thrilled to be able to experience it and share my tales of discovery.

On a slightly more cheesy but nonetheless important note, I would like to say a public thank you to my boyfriend Lee, who has not only forgiven me for hiding my debt from him, but has put up with me working like a maniac and dragging him to many a car boot sale. He has allowed me to grow and discover new things about myself and is a constant source of love and support. I’m just crazy about him.

While I’m dishing out gratitude, I feel I must also say a big thank you to a few other people who have supported me in a variety of different ways, and shown me love without judgement.

My mum… as a single parent she was both mum and dad to me and my incredible sister Ceri; my grandmother who thinks I’m perfect… her love is blind and that’s just the way I like it; my BFFs and tequila partners Phillipa, Danica and Anna; my best friends from afar, Mara and Claire… there’s an ocean between us but they make it feel like a mere puddle; Naomi and Ruben Clark, always a pleasure never a chore; Kate and Al Roberts and their sleeping angels… for their generosity and kindness; Iren, Nick, Jiya and Khubi Brown, who have made me feel like part of their family; and to the Smith’s and everyone else who has hired me.

::

So that’s it. Work hard, sell your crap and appreciate the people around you. You are more capable than you know.

break

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarahsomewhere December 9, 2011 at 14:28

This is an awesome post, and offers hope for those in debt. Good on you girl! Your hard work and sacrifices paid off, which will no doubt make your RTW trip all the more sweet!

Reply

Hannah December 10, 2011 at 11:13

Thanks Sarah! I really appreciate your words of support and encouragement – ‘meeting’ you has been such a gift xxx

Reply

Dayna December 17, 2011 at 20:39

So inspiring! Even though we have been traveling for nine months, I still have loads of debt back home for stupid things (like when my parents advised me to put my TUITION on my credit card that I had never used in my life)! Loved this post, thanks for sharing!

Reply

Hannah December 17, 2011 at 22:36

Thank you Dayna, I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment 🙂

Reply

Lisa January 20, 2012 at 21:51

This is such a great post. I too am paying off debts from a short sale, on my dad’s house. Buying a house of my own after he died, in this market was not my best decision. Paying for two houses drained me. But your posts remind me, I will get there too.

Reply

Hannah January 20, 2012 at 23:46

Thank you so much Lisa. I hope you are able to resolve you debt issues and wish you all the best for the future. Do stay in touch and let me know how you get on 🙂

Reply

Katherine - Kapcha The World July 2, 2012 at 00:38

Wow – well done. Very inspiring. I’m in a similar situation at the moment. Have debt, must travel internationally! Am getting there slowly, but love reading posts like these that show me there is an end to all the saving and paying off and not shopping!

Reply

Stephen S. November 19, 2012 at 20:31

I do have some debt which I am working frantically to keep under control, while saving to travel. Working like a mad man can be so frustrating sometimes when you friends are begging you to come hang out or go somewhere and you know you can;t spend the money. I just remind myself that I am working and fighting for the life I want, and it puts everything in perspective. Congrats on working so hard and accomplishing your goals.

Reply

Pauline November 23, 2012 at 04:45

What an inspiring story. I managed to save for a rtw trip while in college and graduate with savings. Everyone said it was impossible but when you really put your mind to something you can achieve it quite easily.

Reply

Curious Nomad March 2, 2013 at 20:33

Congrats on your accomplishment! This is inspiring! After recently paying off my credit cards, it’s a weight off of my shoulder. Now I can figure out how to take life to the next level.

Reply

Annie March 29, 2013 at 09:38

Woohoo! Congrats…that’s an awesome feat. Enjoy y’all’s journey!

Reply

Hannah March 29, 2013 at 09:52

Thanks Annie, we sure will 🙂

Reply

OCDemon April 1, 2013 at 04:06

Selling garbage on eBay is the greatest thing ever. If I’m not using it, it’s getting a new home. I’ve even sold used stuff for more than I originally paid for them. That only happened, um…twice. But still, minor victory!

Reply

Hannah April 1, 2013 at 07:58

That is a victory – well done!

Reply

Jacquie @ MFW August 29, 2013 at 19:33

Such an inspiring post, congratulations! Gives me hope for my own debt 🙂 x

Reply

Hannah September 1, 2013 at 02:27

Thank you Jacquie, I’m so glad you found it helpful, and wish you all the best on your own journey towards becoming debt free.

Reply

Kim January 13, 2014 at 17:02

Thank you for this wonderful post. You’ve made me feel so inspired and uplifted from the burden of debt. I live in Colorado and just returned from a trip from Paris and all I want to do is travel! The only thing holding me is the debt that I’ve acquired from my twenties. I am now thirty-three an ready to get it under control. Thanks for this inspiration to give me the push. Live your dream!

Reply

Hannah January 13, 2014 at 18:11

Thank you Kim, I’m so happy to hear that! I hope that my story will help show that you can get through this. The most important part of your journey towards becoming debt-free to finally being ready to make a change, and it seems like you have already tackled that part. The rest will just come down to hard work, grit, and a steadfast determination. I wish you all the best as you pursue your dreams.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge