A mum-of-three who found herself deep in debt after splurging on luxury holidays and other treats has revealed how she managed to not only pay off nearly £20,000 she owed on her credit card debt, but save and extra £13,000 into the bargain.
Corinne Card, 40, has always been a bit of a spender. When she got her first student loan cheque she blew the lot on a trip to New York and had to live in her overdraft until her next pay cheque.
After graduating in 2003, Corinne was skint and worried about the future – but was determined to clear her debts and find financial freedom.
Unfortunately, the reality was very different.
Her excessive spending habits only escalated as she got older and married husband Jon, 44, in 2005, with whom she shares three children; Harry, 10, Zoe, seven, Freddie, 11 months.
In 2019, Corinne took out her first credit card with the aim to take her family on a trip to the US, spending £6,000 on luxurious hotels, days out at Disneyland and Universal Studios, and expensive meals out.
The credit card statements were anxiety-inducing and made the mum feel as if her debt was now a "ticking time bomb".
That's when she knew something had to change.
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Speaking about the moment when she knew things had to change, Corinne added: “After our trip to America, I finally realised how terrible my situation was.
“I was nearly £19,000 in debt and I was constantly reminded by bank statements and bills that the money would continue to mount up once interest was added.
“I felt like I had a ticking time-bomb to pay the money off and as I never had a credit card before this, it really creeped me out.
“I was disappointed in myself that I let my finances get this way and I was concerned about how I was going to find my way out of this rut."
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Not sure where to start, the mum started by being honest with herself and her husband about the severity of the situation.
The couple scheduled in monthly finance meetings, laying out their outgoings and income, and put together a plan – with the aim to first tackle the credit card debt, before moving onto direct debits and overdrafts.
Corinne also signed up to take part in a free online course by Rebel Finance, which she credits to changing her mindset on money.
Dedicated to clear as much debt as quickly as possible, the parents worked longer hours and took on more clients in their media consultancy agency, which saw them earn an additional £3,000 per month.
The couple also cut down costs by giving up little luxuries such as monthly newspaper subscriptions, TV packages and eating out and compared their monthly bills to find cheaper deals and save money.
Within a month, they had already paid off £5,000 in debt.
She said: "Our first focus was the credit card, as that was the one thing that would set us back.
“We noticed that we had loads of direct debits for such unnecessary items, such as newspaper subscriptions, magazines, gift boxes – the list goes on.
“After we cancelled those, we moved onto looking at our monthly bill packages and used comparison websites to make sure we were getting the best deal."
Corinne and Jon cleared the final bit of debt in April 2020 and have since saved up an additional £13,000, part of which they have invested in stocks and shares.
Of this amount, £6,000 is reserved as an emergency fund to avoid falling back into debt.
It’s all about facing the ugly truth, says Corinne: “I’m a big believer that the truth will set you free,” she says, “ as once you start accepting your situation, you can start to make your life better.”
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