“Good afternoon. I’m just wondering… is it possible to get a loan just to, um… afford my life?”
This was an actual phone call I made to a bank just a few years ago.
I already had a student loan, car loan and HECS debt, and found myself in urgent need of money to pay a large bill. That’s living in Sydney on a junior advertising salary for you.
I decided then and there to start making small changes. I downgraded my expensive phone plan, stopped buying coffees and started bringing lunch to work.
I didn’t exactly live some swanky lifestyle, so I couldn’t live much more frugally, but I could live slightly more frugally.
Then, I asked a credit union for a low-interest loan (it was almost half the rate I was paying), and they helped me consolidate my debts.
I also got a credit card.
This may seem counterproductive, but I used it smartly to help with cash flow, as I was only getting paid calendar-monthly. I kept the limit to $1500 and paid it off each pay.
Next, I made the biggest change of all and moved cities, which saved me money on my biggest expenses like rent, car insurance (which was half the price in my new city) and car rego.
I also had spare cash, so I started adding $30 to each loan repayment, and before long I was hundreds of dollars in front.
At tax time, I noticed I only had $29 left on my HECS debt, so I transferred the amount immediately. One debt down!
I also worked harder in my career, almost doubling my Sydney salary. I paid lump sums into my loans whenever possible.
In April this year, I paid off my loan, making me debt-free!
Here’s the lesson: when it comes to debt, small changes implemented consistently equal big success.
Not only can you pay off your debts, but you can still enjoy life while doing it. I have a penchant for makeup and Mimco (if you search Mimco on YouTube, I come up… not even kidding), but now I also know how to clear debt and save.
I’m looking forward to an overseas trip later this year, as well as buying a house and getting into investing to grow my wealth.
And now I can remove the bank’s number from my emergency contacts.