I currently owe £31,138.27 on unsecured debt. I'm about halfway through paying it off. That's a measure of how much debt I used to owe. If you're reading this far, you're probably wondering how this happened?
It wasn't overnight.
I had my children when I was very young. Consequently I had nothing. I was the "single mum in a council" flat the Daily Mail liked to think was undermining all aspects of society.
The truth was I spent a large proportion of my time trying desperately to prove I could be a wonderful mother. I think I did an OK job.
But...having nothing meant I had nothing to give. And I didn't want that for my children. so I got a job, cleaning in a local factory to pay for my wedding to their father (yep, still with him!), then in an office working three days a week. My parents had surpassed themselves, having got over the initial shock of being young grandparents they became model grandparents instead.
Now I had an income, and a measure of self-respect back. But the income was very low, and I was spending 80% of my pay in childcare, even after the government so generously paid for some of it...which left nothing for the fundamentals of a positive childhood. I got a credit card to take us on holidays (nothing exotic, just down to my parent's caravan in Wales) each year. To pay for those clothes and shoes they needed, oh and food.
I got a new job, working full time, got more credit, because I couldn't see a way to not put the weekly shop or my petrol on the credit card - there still wasn't any spare cash, and the government had stopped "helping" with childcare.
I did this for 7 years.
I couldn't make my repayments and called Payplan. If you're struggling, they're amazing, I can't recommend them highly enough. Don't get a payday loan and survive this month, sort the problem at the cause. I owed almost £60,000. But couldn't think about it. At all.
The kids now get by with the essentials, they have the cheap version of the latest trends, and ebay is a must. but it's Ok. I can cope with this. Just.
But I still wake up some nights panicking about how I'm going to pay this all off.