Money, Money, Money

finances

The world really does revolve around it. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of stigma associated with talking openly about it. Whether it’s how much you earn, how much you spend, debts or savings, it is a topic that is today, still regarded as taboo. 

In this section, I aim to get women in talking about money, whether it is to ask for advice or share stories of your own experiences with money. We want this to be a place of advice, a place where you can be directed to places that will help with financial options and more. I’m in no way an expert when it comes to finances, but I have had my fair share of issues that I’ve had to navigate over the years.

Personally, my relationship with money has been very unhealthy and emotional. I’m proud to say that I’ve dug myself out of the patch I found myself in. I’m steadily paying my debts off, but my credit score is healthy and I’m able to manage my finances in a way I never thought would be possible.

The biggest thing about money is that when it is bad, it is a black hole. Even if everything else is going great, if your finances are in hot water, your physical health, mental health, relationships and career can start to quickly slip away too. 

Here’s the bit people don’t like talking about.

I earn £25k, before tax. After deductions such as my pension and student loan, it comes out closer to £1600 a month. I rent a £750 pcm apartment in Southampton, and most of my disposable income goes on dinners out and weekends. We own two vehicles, one is my car, the other is my fiance’s motorbike.

I also have a loan that I’m paying off, at a rate of £150 a month. My debt is something I would once have been ashamed of, but now I’m open as to how I got into that debt, and more importantly, how I resolved to get myself out of it.

It started with my father stealing my maintenance loan when I was at university. At the time, I was dating someone who had moved into my place as a result of a family argument. She stayed with me for three and a half years. Due to the type of person I am, I tried to spread my money to keep us both above water and ended up getting myself into debt whilst borrowing to get by.

Very quickly, I realised that even with a part-time job whilst studying at university, I couldn’t cover two people’s rent and food. I also had bailiffs regularly knocking, due to my father’s various debts. All of this amounted to my nerves becoming more and more fraught and the onset of panic attacks. I’d be crying on the phone to my Mom about not being able to afford 10p reduced-section bread. 

That was just the tip of the iceberg and resulted in what feels like a long, drawn-out nightmare and a lot of debt that I didn’t think I could ever get out of. Looking back, it genuinely feels like it happened to someone else. When I do drop into the red, I find that all of a sudden I can’t sleep. I start stockpiling food and I find myself in an anxious state until payday rolls around again.

I spoke to both my now fiance and a close friend about my financial issues, and the severity of the debt I was in and was advised to go talk to my bank, and a financial advisor. My mom, whom I owed a chunk to, offered to let me work off my remaining debt to her as she runs her own business, which I accepted and still do some work for her, but this was a fraction of my total debt. 

My bank suggested consolidating the rest into a manageable monthly payment, given my new pay increase I was eligible to do so. That brings us to the £150 I now pay monthly, which I feel no resentment toward, and really enjoy watching the debt numbers drop every month, and the savings account slowly racking up for the first time. It’s just ticking away, slowly disappearing and as it does, that whole nightmare seems further and further away.

If you have found yourself in a situation where you owe more than you can afford to pay, my personal advice is to seek professional advice. There are ways you can reduce the stress and help balance the books much easier.

R29 Money Diaries

Listen Money Matters

Some helpful charities are

Turn 2 us

Princes Trust

Step change

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