Debt free step 10: You’re not alone.

friends looking into the sun, we are in it together

It’s easy to end up feeling isolated and alone when you’re struggling with debt. It can feel like you’re the only person dealing with it, while everyone else is living the high life, without a care in the world. It’s understandable to feel this way, but that just isn’t true. You are not alone.

It’s not happy news, but there are 8 million people in the UK who are ‘over-indebted’, meaning they have debt that’s difficult to manage or have missed a payment in the last three months. So you are most certainly not alone.

In fact, serious debt is becoming the new norm. You might be surprised by how many people you know are seriously in debt, but are trying to hide it by spending on fancy restaurants and entertainment. It can be hard to be the first person to put your hand up and say “Sorry but, I can’t afford this right now, I’m saving to be debt free.”

Although to be honest, you don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to. It can be easier to say you’re busy or suggest a cheaper option when friends or family want to do something expensive. But being honest may, in turn, get them to think about their finances, and stop burying their heads in the sand.

Since I’ve been saving money and living more frugally, my friends and family have been much more open about their owns debts and money worries, and I think it’s good to be open about it – it brings us closer together. It also becomes a shared goal, where we all suggest meetups that are cheap or free, which benefits us all.

And so in the spirit of openness, I’ll tell you where I’m at now: I use my credit card occasionally, but I always pay it off on payday – it’s just for little expenses usually. We have one really big debt right now which is our mortgage, and it often feels insurmountable. Our current mortgage term is about 28 years, but I want to pay it off much quicker than that, so I’m still saving as much as I can. In truth, I feel like I got to a point where my natural reaction to any purchase was, “do I really need this?” and mostly now, I realise I don’t need much. I still use my local library for books, forego meals out and takeaways, and I cut my hair at home.

Please let me know with a comment, how’s it going for you? Have you found this series helpful? And have you had any success with saving money so far?

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I hear that many people are getting into financial trouble in the UK by taking out mortgages on a flat or home and then falling behind in payments when the renters don’t pay rent. Since space is at a premium, this is becoming a major issue. Is this correct?

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    1. I have not heard of that issue actually, I will look into it though!

      I think it’s a really difficult situation. The buy-to-let market had been really overinflated in the UK because it was less taxed / regulated than other investments. It has also pushed up the price of houses in the UK which has added to what is now known as the ‘housing crises’ – we have a serious lack of affordable housing. To be honest, I would not blame buy-to-let landlords for trying to sell up and considering other investments, because there are lots of new tax implications which came in in the last year. And social housing tenants are harder to house because of the bedroom tax – the tax on extra bedrooms which means that social housing tenants do not have their rent covered completely.

      To be honest though, I’m not sure how much financial trouble a buy to let landlord could get into – most people will buy their own home before looking at buy to let, because purchasing and owning your own home incurs much less tax. Buy to let mortgages then also require around a 20 – 30% down payment / equity. Also, even if you have trouble collecting rent from a difficult renter, you have the power to evict them, and you will still have made money on the appreciation of the house.

      I would say it’s far more common that people take out personal mortgages in the UK, which they themselves then can’t pay. And this could only get worse, with interest rates set to rise (slowly) Not many people now could afford their mortgage if interest rates went up to 4%!

      If you are thinking about becoming a buy-to-let landlord, I would say first pay off your personal mortgage, it will save you more money. And then I would say, really weigh up the pros and cons, compared to traditional investments.

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