When I was 19 I was not very sensible at all, not in any part of my life, but especially when it came to managing my money. I was going from one job to another not really wanting to do any of them and all I wanted to spend my money on was going out at the weekend and getting drunk. Which is what I did for a good few years. When we were still living with Mr C’s mum this wasn’t so bad as we didn’t have to pay very much rent but once we moved up to Bristol and needed to pay things like council tax and bills I struggled with getting my priorities right. It was so easy to go out and spend £100 on a night out which was of course the budget for bills, food and rent.
I already had a credit card by this point which had been taken out as a way to pay off a laptop that I had bought on finance six months previously. My aim to pay it off each month hadn’t gone to plan so I’d resorted to applying for a credit card which I then drew money out of a cash point from – MAJOR ERROR!! – so started paying loads of interest, in fact I was only paying off the interest.
Then when we were in Bristol I decided to quit my job and get a bank loan instead, I know, I know. It was so easy to get it but of course £1000 didn’t actually last that long so I had to get a job again. For the next few years I was keeping up with the payments but after a while I started to struggle and they were passed over to a debt collecting agency. This totally screwed my credit score which is still bad today, I can’t even get a mobile phone in my name but if I’m perfectly honest I’m quite pleased I can’t get credit in my name.
I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t end up in trouble with it again, I do pay things off when Mr C gets them out in his name and I am sensible with money these days choosing to pay my rent, bills and buy nappies over going out and getting drunk 😉 But I think I am better off just not having the option.
I think the problem these days is that it’s so easy for teenagers and young adults to get into debt, one of the biggest risks is store cards. It is so tempting to get these out when you young and want new clothes to go out in but the interest rates are shocking and I don’t think that’s always made clear when people sign up for them.
The thing about credit is that it can be done well and to your advantage as long as you do it carefully, sensibly and properly. Having the ability to borrow money is such a privilege, when our washing machine broke we bought a new one on a pay nothing for six months deal which was interest free as long as we paid it off in time, it was great as it meant we didn’t have to find that cash immediately. And as long as you make all your payments in time then it is great for your credit rating too.
Anyone who is struggling with a high interest store card can look at possibly switching the balance to a 0% interest on balance transfers credit card with TSB as well as seeking advice from a debt charity. There are so many out there today who can help you (free of charge) to take control of your debt situation. I actually spoke to one years ago, they help you come up with a plan as well as contacting the companies on your behalf sometimes.
Have you ever been in debt or taken out a high interest store card?
Post in association with TSB.