Today, I have another awesome debt free interview for you! Hayley blogs over at diseasecalleddebt.com and she is a rockstar! She not only got serious about debt, but became debt free in 22 months and now has her own successful online business! Read more about Hayley here!
1. Could you tell me a little about yourself? What is your blog URL? Where are you from and do you have a family/are you married?
My name is Hayley and I blog over at Disease Called Debt, a personal finance blog about getting out of debt and building wealth. I’m in my mid thirties and live in the UK. I’m married and have one daughter, aged 5.
2. Could you tell me a little about your personal finance story? When did you start your financial freedom journey and what made you decide to start on this path?
My personal finance story started because of my family’s debt problems. My husband and I been in debt for many years until eventually, the debts we had became unmanageable, and we were forced to deal with them. This was a turning point in our lives, looking back. We owed a huge $62K on credit cards and loans! We ended up in a debt management plan, where our repayments were lowered for a while so that we could afford to make ends meet. It was a wake-up call. We began to learn about budgeting and saving so that we could overpay our debts. We managed to clear our debts completely in just 22 months (after struggling for 15 years)! Our daughter was very young at this time, so I was earning a low part-time income due to me raising her at home. It’s amazing what you can do if you try!
3. How has your attitude changed since you started following a budget? Have you
My attitude has definitely changed. I actually struggle to spend money these days, even though I now have more disposable income than ever before. I always find myself wanting to save money so I can make sure that I’m using it wisely. I have made a lot of financial sacrifices to become debt free, but I have never regretted making them. I haven’t reversed to my old ways – I don’t have cable TV, or a gym membership, I still cook in bulk and plan for my purchases. Budgeting has become a way of life now and it’d feel a bit strange if I did start spending again in those areas.
4. What helps keep you motivated to following a budget?
I find budgeting a natural thing to do these days. I don’t check my bank and spreadsheets every day anymore, but I do check it a few times per month to make sure I’ve not had any unforeseen expenses. I’m quite happy to follow a budget because I love seeing my savings increase a little every month! That in itself is so motivating! I like knowing I have rewarded myself and my family with a little extra financial security.
5. What is the biggest benefit that you have noticed since starting and following a budget? Why would you encourage others to follow a budget?
I think I value things so much more now that I know how much I’m spending and where my money is going. I don’t like the thought of paying unnecessary bills – lining the pockets of big companies – and I can avoid that if I keep on top of budgeting. I would encourage anyone who wants to improve their finances to follow a budget of some sort. It’s crucial really, because if you don’t know where your money is going, how will you ever be able to put your money to good use?
6. What are 3 big tips you would give to others who are just starting their journey todebt freedom?
Firstly, just start. Don’t think too long about how much to overpay your debt or which one to pay off first and don’t wait for a better time. There’s no better time than today and once you’ve started, you’ll have made progress! Secondly, set your dream debt free date. That’s not the date when you’ll become debt free if you make your minimum payments on time. Set a date for when you want to become debt free and work out how much you need to overpay in order to achieve your goal by that date. Thirdly, don’t give up. There will be times when you can’t pay off any more than the minimum payment and that’s fine. As long as you don’t give up, you will be able to get out of debt. Just don’t go back to square one and rack up more debt.
7. I find that reading motivational books helps me stay motivated. Are there any books that helped you along the way?
To be honest, I found most of my motivation through other personal finance blogs. I could read real life stories of how other people (who I could relate to) were improving their finances. Reading blogs online about how other people were getting out of debt made me believe that I could too. Debt is still a taboo subject in “real life” but online, I found so much support that helped me along the way.
8. Were there any big struggles you have faced along the way or was there ever a time when you felt like giving up? What kept you going?
I never felt like giving up. It was a like a switched had been turned on in my head! I knew that I would get out of debt because I would do what it took to make sure of it! Debt was such a big burden in my life. I couldn’t wait to be rid of it – I’d just had enough. Once I saw that I could overpay my debt by working hard and saving hard, I knew that nothing would stop me! There were hurdles to face of course. Some months, I had big expenses to pay and so I couldn’t afford to overpay much. But I still overpaid some of my debt every month without fail, even at Christmas. I just overpaid smaller amounts sometimes.
9. I love your blog and all of the practical tips you give others to make money and budget. What are some tips you could give others (that are easy) to start either making money or saving money?
Making money and saving money takes a bit of effort. And it’s that effort that can put people off, so they don’t bother. So, my biggest tip is to start small. Find a tiny way to save every month, for example, cut back on one thing. The gym membership is an easy one, as you could just exercise from home if you really wanted to. There are so many ways to start earning money from home, just using your laptop. You could sell a few things on eBay, start a gig on Fiverr, or even start a blog.
Earning money from home requires minimal effort – it’s not like having to go out and get a second job.
10. What has been the best part of your financial journey?
The best part so far was the day that my husband and I cleared our debt. It was such a fantastic feeling, to not owe money on a credit card or loan anymore. I don’t take that feeling for granted even now, I still feel grateful to have had that wake-up call every day! I have many other financial goals now as I have to make up for a lot of lost time. But even though I save a lot of my income every month, I love the fact that I do have a choice about how much to save and how much to spend. I prefer to save rather than spend but going out for the odd meal isn’t a drama anymore, because I know I can afford it. My stress levels have gone down hugely! Debt does equal stress and without debt, life is a lot calmer. Just the way I like it!
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
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