For years now, my wife and I have gone around in circles with credit card debt and overdrafts. On several occasions, we’ve come into money and paid off what we owed only to build it back up again.
I think we’re both equally to blame for it, we always wanted those holidays, treats or experiences. Never keeping a close enough eye on our finances always saw us overdrawn, we didn’t plan, budget or save, so out came the cards every single time, always with a promise to pay it back after.
I was deep in the consumerism trap, believing I deserved all this mindless crap and I should be treating myself every payday even though we were always overdrawn, pop it on the card and I’ll pay it never. I suppose in a stupid sort of way, treating myself when I knew I couldn’t afford it made me feel better for all the hours I’d worked.
We lived in the overdraft for several years, come pay day it would only ever bring us back to zero, and sometimes not even that. This played on mind for quite some time, the constant anxiety that it just wasn’t right to be living like this every month, many times I recall being close to tears when looking at our bank account. Obviously looking at the account didn’t happen very often, never helping matters.
The final straw came when we received a letter from our bank saying that after all these years, they were changing the overdraft facility on our account. They allowed us the same limit but introduced a daily charge when we were using our overdraft, and as I’ve said that was every day. We worked it out that our overdraft facility would cost us in the region of £75-£100 per month.
There was no chance in hell that we were paying that to the bank every month, we were already maxed out all the time, adding another £100 on top of it wasn’t even an option. Suddenly it became a huge kick up the arse, we had to get out of it.
We looked at every single expense in detail for the first time ever really, worked out what we did and didn’t need. We scrimped, saved and cancelled payments, changed many of our ways to at least enable us to get clear of our overdraft, all that information is a whole separate post on its own.
We haven’t been in the overdraft once since June 2018, which for us is a huge achievement and we’re hugely proud of ourselves. Being free of the overdraft cloud permanently over us was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders, I can’t begin to tell you the difference it made to all areas of our life, our personal finance journey truly started then.
Having recently read A Year of Less by Cait Flanders I’ve been totally inspired myself for one year to carry out a spending ban on all non-essential products. I always work better when there’s a goal involved, I thrive off a significant challenge.
I want to save more for us and put a plan into place to make our dream come true, and to me it’s the obvious next step and will be essential for working towards our saving goals. There’s still a massive amount of work to be done, but most importantly we’re finally on the right track and by doing this its only going to help us more in the long run.
I’m determined to do whatever it takes to better our future, I believe in this, I believe it will help and I believe I can do it!
So on February 1st 2019 my one year spending ban will begin, and you can come along for the ride right here! Check back on the 1st to see my full list of rules and how I’m going to do this!