For step 4 of our debt action plan, we're serving you a bit of motivation to help you achieve your money goals. Dealing with debt isn't easy, but these ClearScore users prove that whatever your situation, it can be done.
Dealing with debts can be a big challenge, and it can often feel like a lonely place to be. But it’s something that a lot of us will deal with at some point in our lives and while it’s easy to keep it all bottled up, we think talking about money can help.
Here are the stories of 4 users, with 4 very different situations, who prove that taking back control of your debts is possible. They've done it - there’s no reason why you can’t.
“I used to dread picking up the phone for fear of debt collectors. 2 years on, I’m debt free and I’ve saved up the deposit to buy my dream home” – Harj, 36, West Midlands
I was left in an extremely difficult situation with my finances after I was made redundant. A constant reliance on payday loans, credit cards, and my overdraft got me into over £11,000 of debt. I dreaded getting letters through the door and picking up the phone.
Now, a lot has changed since I made the decision to take control of my finances.
How I paid off my debts
ClearScore has been pivotal in getting my finances together. I was able to consolidate my debts with a loan that I applied for via the ClearScore app. ClearScore helped me choose a low-interest loan which meant I was paying more towards my debts and less towards interest. Two years on and I have cleared my debts completely.
Once I paid my loan off, I set simple and achievable monthly targets. I put some money into my savings and cut down on unnecessary spending. Before long my savings pot was beginning to grow. Now I’m very happy to say that I’ve saved up the money for a deposit to buy my dream home.
"We couldn't get by with the debt and wage we had, so we used credit cards to fill the gaps. But now we have a plan to be debt free within the next 2 years" - Ali, 28, Wales*
Our debt built pretty slowly, starting with a wedding, then a master's degree, then I became an agency worker for a while so I didn't have a stable income. My partner and I had a budget but it was really tight and something unexpected always seemed to come up that we didn't have the money for. So, we used credit cards to fill the gaps. At first, I thought it was brilliant that we could borrow so much money with no interest. I grew up in a family who always had loans and credit cards into the tens of thousands and it was the norm to me. But it started to get out of control.
We were in deep denial about how much debt we had but at the same time, I was also really embarrassed. I didn't tell a soul about how high the debt was. I was constantly searching and applying for new cards to shift the debt onto which could be really stressful.
Even when we had a more stable income and had more money available each month, our credit repayments were so high that we'd end up borrowing to fill the gap again. We couldn't break the cycle. I felt frustrated because we didn't spend recklessly, we just couldn't get by with the debt and wage we had.
How we took back control
Realising how much our debt affected our credit scores and potential ability to get a mortgage was a shock. I think what really brought us out of denial was looking at the ClearScore Timeline and noticing how the debt had increased every month for years and not really being able to pinpoint why. When we had our daughter, we knew we had to do something to survive maternity leave and life beyond with a young child.
We started using ClearScore’s Coaching plans which, amongst other things, helped. We managed to clear £3000 within the first year, even with 10 months maternity leave in that time.
We have a plan to be debt free within the next 2 years. We are busy selling our old things, using cashback sites and haggling bills and it has all added up. We've also worked hard to reduce our grocery bills and buy as much second hand as possible.
It's been hard but it's satisfying to watch the numbers go down instead of up on our ClearScore timeline!
“As soon as I turned 18 I got myself into bad debt with a payday loan. Without ClearScore, I’m not sure I could have rebuilt my credit score” – Luke, 23, East Anglia
I took a loan out and couldn’t pay it back it’s as simple as that. Being 18 and ‘clever’ I ignored it and thought it would simply go away. How wrong I was. My credit score was ruined and I had debt collectors chasing me. I had £12,000 of debt and I didn’t know what to do.
And then ClearScore came along...
I joined up initially to see what damage this debt had had on my credit score. I managed to stick to a budget and pay down the now massive debt and with the help of ClearScore I got a credit card. At first, I was really worried the same would happen again but I was more sensible this time. With the credit card I managed to get through ClearScore, my credit rating has increased massively!
Currently, I have secured a personal loan also through ClearScore which has helped me to consolidate all my credit cards into one monthly payment. Without ClearScore, I’m not sure I could have rebuilt my credit score to the level it’s at now or even have the options for borrowing as I do now. For that, I am forever grateful to the amazing people at ClearScore.
For more information on rebuilding your credit score have a read of our article.
“My debt caused so much worry that my health started to suffer. I am still short of funds sometimes but the load is off me and the debt is almost all paid back” – David, 66, South East.
For many years, I didn't worry about how much I was spending, or where the money would come from. I had three credit cards, several loans, and at one point a mortgage. I used to look at the bills and think: "never mind plenty of time to pay it all back". But, as time went on the debts increased to the point where I couldn't pay even the minimum. This meant my debts started to increase faster and faster.
It started to worry me to the extent my health and relationships started to suffer. I ended up spending some time in a Psychiatric hospital because of my situation. Eventually, after the climbing debts destroyed my relationship, I took myself firmly in hand and contacted a debt management group.
For me, it was the best decision I ever made. They took over and liaised directly with the companies I owed money to. The interest was frozen on all the loans, they made and handled all my payments towards my debts, and best of all, I now don't have money worries anymore. Yes, I am short of funds sometimes, but I can manage that, I’ve lots of practice! But the main thing is the load is off me and the debt is almost all paid back. I am now getting my life back together to the point I have won back my partner and am again in a stable relationship.
If David’s story sounds familiar you can find out more about how debt management options work and where you can go for help if you need it. Dealing with debts is different for everyone and there's no one-size-fits-all approach - what worked for one person may not be right for another. Make sure you do your own research before taking out any products and always seek advice before undergoing a debt restructuring plan. That way you can make sure you're doing the best thing for you.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.