A single mom shared her top money-saving tips after paying off £ 24,000 in debt in just 15 weeks.
Yasmine Camilla, 35, of London, has been ‘in debt’ for most of her adult life, battling the pandemic to pay for increased living expenses including childcare, food bills and activities to entertain her children.
By August 2021, she had racked up a total bill of £ 38,000, after paying for vacation, food delivery services, clothing and therapy on her credit card.
Speaking to Fabulous about fashion shopping, she said: “They were totally unnecessary.
“We were in the middle of the lockdown so I didn’t have to buy any fancy clothes.
“But after the kids went to bed, I spent three hours browsing the Internet stores.
“I was spending money on things I probably would never wear.”
Her addiction didn’t end on clothes, however.
She also splashed around on a trendy Peloton exercise bike for £ 2,300.
She says, “I saw it on social media and I had to have it, but I haven’t used it much and now I’m just hanging my clothes on it.”
She also paid £ 600 for a work of art and £ 400 on a mirror after seeing it on Instagram – although friends showed her a similar one for £ 50 from B&M.
Take out was another huge expense, with Yasmine spending £ 5,000 on Deliveroo in a year.
She realized that she needed to take drastic steps to tackle her debt and focus on her spending.
Yasmine said: “As a single mom, I know I have a big responsibility on my shoulders and decided to start taking the financial side of it seriously.
“I had a mental health crisis at the end of 2020 due to the pandemic and my job changed jobs and started therapy which helped me but I knew if I had to feel free to be forced to work such long hours, I needed to put my finances in a better place for my future.
Yasmine has set a strict, tight budget for herself and cut all unnecessary expenses in an effort to stay on top of her finances – by sharing her journey on TikTok with her 60,000 subscribers.
She said: “I started by calculating my income and expenses and listing all the opportunities to save money.
Yasmine’s total debts
– Blank credit card (used to consolidate other debts) £ 14,138.24 – minimum payments made each month, 0% interest for 12 additional months
– First Direct personal loan – £ 2,069.28 by paying £ 344 each month, the debt will be cleared in six months
– Two additional personal loans of £ 9,194.40 and £ 6,278.30
– John Lewis Credit Card £ 4818.46 with interest
– Car loan – £ 611.67
– Klarna invoice – £ 1,522.44
Total: £ 38,632.79
“For the first time in my life, I started planning and budgeting for meals, shopping at Aldi with a list, rather than Waitrose on a whim.
“I also focused on bringing in as much freelance work as possible, putting my limited liability company back in a good position and being able to pay me dividends again.
“I’ve also sold things, used my social media platforms and affiliate links to make more money from my referrals, and I continue to keep my eyes peeled for more opportunities to save or earn money.”
Incredibly, Yasmine managed to reduce her debt and pay off £ 24,000 in just 15 weeks and aims to be completely debt-free by August 2022 – a year after she started cutting spending.
The thrifty mom has now shared her top six money-saving tips and tricks.
RELY ON A LIST
Yasmine said: “Listing everything I needed was really essential for me. Part of my willingness to pay off debt and control my finances was to own a home and not be ashamed.
“It was the start of better financial management for me. I was able to list my debts and calculate how much I need based on monthly fees, at a minimum.
“Then I got to look at things like interest rates and it really allowed me to make decisions about what to do next. “
Yasmine was surprised to learn via social media how many people are struggling with debt and says there is a “lack of awareness” on how to consolidate finances.
She said: “It’s always worth calling people and depending on your situation, it may be worth talking to your individual creditors to see if they have any other options. At the moment, I’m trying to keep my credit rating intact, so I’m aiming to pay it off.
“Obviously there are a lot of different ways to look at consolidation, but for me I knew that a 0% interest rate balance transfer credit card would be a good option.
“I started trying to find the longest period with low enough transfer fees, and lumped a lot of small debts onto one credit card. “
BE TASTY WITH SAVINGS
Although Yasmine has larger purchases that she would like to save on, the only savings she realizes besides paying off her debt are routine payments to an emergency fund – something she says is “essential.” to give him peace of mind.
She added, “I also save small amounts for everyday occasions, like birthdays and Christmas – saving a little bit each month to make sure I don’t go into more debt when the celebrations begin. This also applies to things like my car insurance and any health or home expenses I might have each year. “
Money saving expert Alina Jaffer, who is part of the Virgin Money Red Team, advised: “You should always prioritize paying off your debt before you think about saving.
“If you can, it’s a good idea to dip into your savings account to get rid of some repayments. It will also help alleviate some of the pressure from rising interest rates. “
BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET
For Yasmine, budgeting was “life-changing” – and wasn’t something she never had to do before finding herself in debt.
She said, “Now, as part of my debt journey, I budget absolutely everything. For the first time, I was ready to spend on Christmas presents in September – if I continue as I have been, I guarantee that next year I will start my party shopping much sooner!
“It makes me so much more comfortable knowing that even though I don’t have the money right now, I have a plan to get to where I need to be. “
Another useful tip for Yasmine was to prioritize the most important payments to repay.
She said, “I actually still had credit card debt that was earning about 19% interest, so I decided to try paying that first first.
“I continue to pay the minimum for my other debts and work on one debt at a time. I actually just paid off the first credit card, and let me tell you how amazing it is to owe £ 0 on a card! “
Alina agrees, adding, “When you put together that initial list, categorizing your debts by severity will put you in a better position to pay off those priority debts first. Ranking your debts will allow you to prioritize the most urgent repayments over secured loans, such as a mortgage.
Finally, mom says it’s crucial to ask for help when you need it.
She said: “There are hotlines and charities for people who need help understanding their situation, their rights and their options.
“I also think everyone should try to find a trustworthy person in their life, whether it’s a family member or a friend, because I really believe that having support around you can make all the difference.
“Above all, the reason I don’t want there to be stigma or shame about debt is because I believe shame is the number one reason people don’t. not go into debt, or worse yet, give up.
“When people hide their debts, the debts keep multiplying – which means they don’t have the free space or the energy to settle their repayments with support.
“If you are too busy hiding your debts, it will be very difficult for you to change your habits and learn from the mistakes of the past. “
A woman explained how she paid off £ 10,000 debt and bought her first home by quitting smoking and using a reduction program.
Meanwhile, a single mother has paid off a debt of £ 24.5,000 in 17 months.