More Debt and Motivation

 

If you’re a member of my Facebook Group, you’ll already know that recently I have been finding my Financial Journey really difficult and am seriously lacking motivation.

I find that nobody ever talks about how being Debt Free is NOT the end of a financial journey but is the start of one. STAYING Debt Free is (in my experience) just as difficult as BECOMING Debt Free.

Unless I am the only person on the planet struggling with this (and I’m pretty sure I’m not!) then I hope this post will be helpful to someone else.

A few months ago, I decided to try and use a credit card sensibly, by buying all of my food using the card, and paying it all off in full. Well, fast forward a month and I now have £1k on the card and not enough money to pay it back in full. Plus, I had Direct Debits to pay and not enough money in the bank to cover them.

So, having learned my lesson, I am now trying to get back on track. These are the 4 things I am doing to help me:

  1. Cut up that Credit Card!

This was the first thing I did once I got my act together. I would love to be one of those people who can use a credit card responsibly, and maybe I will be one day, but at the moment I am not. So, to stop myself getting further back into debt, I cut it up.

  1. Get back to Budgeting.

While I was spending frivolously, I abandoned my budgeting altogether. I have gone back to writing out my fortnightly budget as I feel like this always helps me to see where my money is going, and how much I can spend/save/pay off debt.

  1. Meal Planning!

I normally ALWAYS meal plan, as you can see here: How I meal Plan. 

But with buying so much food and takeaways, I just totally fell off the wagon with meal planning. I KNOW this saves me money, as I have done it consistently for months while paying off my original debt, so I know I can do it again. It saves me time and effort as well as money.

  1. Sharing my mistakes.

It’s really important to me that I don’t keep this kind of thing a secret. For me, not admitting to it means that it’s not really happening, and I can keep getting away with it. I told the members of my Facebook Group that I was struggling and asked for support. I was worried about being a disappointment to them, as they were so supportive during my Debt Free Journey the first time round. But they were amazing, and I needn’t have worried.

 

Hopefully some of these strategies can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation. I know what I need to do, and I am doing it to the best of my ability. I am aiming to be Debt Free (again!) by the end of September.

 

 

 

 

Paying off Debt as a Single Parent.

 

If you are a Single Parent paying off your debt, you are no doubt already aware of some of the negative things about doing this by yourself. But there are also positive things too. As a Single Parent myself and having gone through my debt free journey as a Single Mum , paying off £12k over 2 years, I thought I’d share some of those positive points about being a single parent on a debt free journey. I’ll also share some things I did to help myself combat those negative things.

Positives of being a Single Parent when Paying off Debt

 

You don’t have to worry about anyone else being ‘on board ‘with your plans.

The only person you have to make sure is on plan, is yourself (and that can be hard enough!). This is one of the best parts of being a single parent is that once you decide to do something, you don’t really need to consult someone else. If you have older children, you might want to ask their views and opinions, or at least tell them that things will be changing. When I started getting serious about paying off my £12k debt, my children were 16 and 12. Up until that point, they had been used to getting toys, sweets, PlayStation games etc pretty much whenever they wanted. I explained to them that our money situation was changing and used it to teach them about why debt is bad, and how important it is to spend less that you are making. Luckily for me, my children were fine with this, and old enough to understand.

 

You have total control of the budget.

As a natural Control Freak, I love that there is nobody’s opinion to take into account, except mine. You don’t have someone telling you to put more/less money towards debt, less/more towards sinking funds, or to add new things into the budget. The only arguments you will have about the budget, is with yourself. Of course, this has its downsides too, but we will discuss this later.

 

You don’t have to be concerned about another person’s debt

This is hands down the biggest positive about being a single parent on a debt free journey. You won’t have unexpected or unknown about debt popping up! One of the main issues that I hear from married/co-habiting couples is the fact that they didn’t really know ALL debts that their partner had. As single parent, you don’t have to worry about that!

 

Generally, your expenses will be cheaper.

Things like Gas, Electricity, Water and Food bills should all be cheaper if there is only one parent in the house. Also, you will probably only have 1 car (so 1 monthly petrol amount, 1 insurance, MOT and Tax to worry about), 1 set of hobbies to pay for, 1 category for adult clothing. The list goes on!

 

Negatives of being a Single Parent when Paying off Debt

 

Now on to the not so positive aspects of being a single Parent and paying off debt. This is NOT meant to be a downer, but it is meant as a tool to keep us Single Parents on the ball, and aware of the pitfalls so we can avoid them or find ways around them.

 

You only have 1 income

This is the biggie, and the biggest barrier to Single Parents paying off their debt. We may only have 1 set of expenses and debt, but we also only have 1 income. Of course, this may not be the case if you have more than 1 job or have more than 1 income stream. But for the majority of us Single Parents, we only have 1 income. A great way around this is to add more sources of income. Things like Matched Betting, Freelance Writing, getting a 2nd job,

 

You may not have any real-life support

I found this one really hard. Nobody is as invested in your financial future as you are. Therefore, nobody wants to talk about it 24/7. If you are anything like me, you LIKE to talk about it 24/7 and are slightly obsessed. So, I set out to build that support, even if it wasn’t in ‘real life’ but online.

This is one of the reasons that I set up my own Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/744129762449972/)

Although it is a small group of approximately 780 at the time of writing this (May 2018), I love the support and accountability we give each other.

When I get home from a long day at work, I don’t have a partner to tell how I didn’t spend any money that day, how I stuck to my budget, or how I felt I had failed and needed encouragement. That’s where this Facebook Group comes in. We all support and encourage each other, and sometimes give each other a ‘nudge’ if we are going off plan.

 

I hope this post has shown you that Single Parents can pay off Debt too! It may take us slightly longer, but the end result is just the same.