skint dad, skint dad's wife, skint mum, real life debt stories, debt, repay debt, debt free, debt freedom,

Real Life Debt Stories – Skint Dad’s Wife – aka Skint Mum

skint dad, skint dad's wife, skint mum, real life debt stories, debt, repay debt, debt free, debt freedom,

Welcome to my series of 'Real Life Debt Stories'. The series is dependent on you sharing your stories, so if you are interested I'd love it if you'd complete this questionnaire. There are just 10 questions.

Skint Dad's Wife - aka Skint Mum

Thank you so much to Skint Mum for completing my questionnaire.  Skint Mum along with her husband founded the website Skint Dad which is a brilliant resource for all things money saving and money making.

What was your Lightbulb moment?

We went to make dinner one night and realised there was no food. We counted the pennies in the bank, what we could find in our bags, in coat pockets and down the back of the sofa. We managed to scrape £6.20 together for our week’s food shop. It was at this point we knew enough was enough. Our “lightbulb” moment is written up here.

How much did you owe at the time of your Lightbulb moment?


How did you feel when you had your Lightbulb moment?

Scared for having so little money and not knowing how we were going to feed the kids. Stupid for letting us get into such a bad situation and not sure how we’d manage. But, at the same time, I felt empowered that we were finally going to do something to kick the endless cycle of debt and change our lives.

What/who were the circumstances which caused your debt?

It started out when I was 18. I was asked in a shop if I wanted credit, instead of paying cash for a few items of clothes. Not having had a clue about credit, I jumped at the chance of free money. I was not earning much but was keeping on top of paying it back (although paying interest each month).

Then, a few years later, I was made redundant and the next job I took was a huge pay decrease. The debt kept creeping up, without us really buying anything. That’s when problems really started to happen. The car engine broke, the washing machine packed up and the fridge died all within a week.

This all had to get paid via credit as we had zero in the way of savings.

By this time, we were robbing Peter to pay Paul and started down the slippery slope of pay day loans. Trapped in these month in month out for over half a year, we managed to break the cycle by refusing one month to pay it.

While this gave us a bit of breathing room to pay it back over a few months, the debt built up over the previous years was getting bigger and bigger. Interest was taking over any repayments and, quite stupidly, we started to bury our heads in the sand. We couldn’t work out how we were going to escape our debt trap so just tried to hide from it.

What were the first steps you took in taking control of your debt?

A lot of tea and a lot of facing up to what we’d been hiding from.

We got all the letters we’d been hiding out of the drawers and started to work out what we really owed to everyone.

Once we knew how bad it was (we never guessed it was over £40k!), we started the soul destroying process of calling each creditor - one after the other - and explaining what had happened. Every call made me feel more ashamed about the situation we'd got ourselves into, but started to feel like the dark cloud was lifting and we were getting somewhere with sorting it all out.

Where are you now in your journey to being debt free? Do you have a target ‘debt free’ date?

We are now debt free. We gave ourselves three years to be clear of debt, but it did take us a little bit longer.

Are there any debt repayment ‘methods’ that you would recommend? What has worked for you?

Snowballing worked well for us. Due to our finances (and how far down the line we were), some of our creditors agreed to freeze interest and allow us to make a token payment of £1. When we had extra money, we made payments over and above the £1 token payment. When one debt was clear, we’d take the spare £1 and start paying this to another debt (so be paying £2). This just carried on, until we were able to increase payments and make more lump sums.

Just to state that while this worked for us, it certainly won’t work for everyone, so anyone else in debt should get free impartial advice from an organisation like StepChange (who we have also got advice from).

What advice would you give to someone who has just had their ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Get ready for a long journey and keep reminding yourself that there is an end and life will be better.

How do you stay motivated?

 In our budget, we built in household bills and essentials, debt repayments (and eventually started saving a little), but also factored in some “fun” to our budget.

While it’s not a lot, we wanted to give ourselves a treat every now and then so we wouldn’t throw the towel in.

In our very early days, this was something like hiring a film and getting popcorn – so not even a lot of money, but enough to make us appreciate what we had.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Skint Mum.  That's great advice about allowing some 'fun' money.  Even just a few pounds can make a big difference to staying motivated.

It's also interesting to see the range of emotions you went through, from being scared and feeling stupid but also feeling empowered that you were finally taking control.

Would you like to Share Your Story?

My aim is to feature ‘Real Life Debt Stories’ from people who have experienced debt. This could be debt of any size, type or reason. Debt that has been paid off, debt you want to start paying off or debt that you are currently in the middle of paying off. I want to share failures as well as successes including the reasons why you found yourself in debt in the first place – as everyone’s story is different.

It is important to show people that they are not alone. I also want to highlight that different methods of getting debt under control work for different people and that there is not a ‘One Size Fits All’ solution.

This is where you come in. I am looking for anyone who is willing to share their story with my readers. I have developed a questionnaire for you to complete and this can be completely confidential and names will not be shared OR if are happy for your name to be used, I can use it. If you also have a blog, I am happy to link to your blog too, alongside your story.

I will then email you to let you know when your story will go live.

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