This is a guest post from Mike Brains.
We’ve all got one of them. A mate whose finances are an apt indicator of their chaotic life. Debt reminders, overdue bills, and warnings from bailiffs regularly litter their doormat. They’re always asking to borrow money. But yet they’re also always seemingly wasting money on the most trivial of things.
I’ve got a friend who fits this bill perfectly. Or, at least, he used to, after finding a great deal on a 0% balance transfer credit card (more on that later).
I won’t name him for obvious reasons, so for the purposes of this post, let’s call him ‘Steve’. You see, Steve had been a bit of a high spender since his uni days – at the first opportunity to take out a credit card and get an overdraft facility on his bank account, he was away. Always the first with the hottest new designer clothes, always the first person to get a round in. Cars, holidays, flash jewelry, nothing seemed out of his reach. After we both did the bit with the mortar boards, we gradually lost touch – I moved to London for work, he stayed up north.
Then a few years later, a meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding put us back in each other’s lives. He too was now living in London. And he had quite a story to tell. After crippling himself with debt, Steve had decided enough was enough. He ditched the flash gear, cut back on the holidays, knuckled down and got a better paid job.
But he didn’t get rid of his credit card. In fact, he took on another one – a balance transfer card which allowed him to consolidate all of his outstanding balances on one card. He said it gave him the breathing space to pay off what he owed, without worrying about racking up further debt through interest.
Now 18 months on, the debt is largely cleared. He’s taking on another credit card, but it’s a reward credit card, which offers cashback on everything he spends and he’s vowed to be more careful with how he spends his money.
Oh, and one final thing. I’ll admit it, there is no ‘Steve’. It’s me. I turned my financial life around. And, after getting over the initial embarrassment over my situation, I’m happy to talk to others about my experiences – and let people know that there’s always a sensible way out of debt.