But his out-of-pocket spending continued throughout his 20s, resulting in Joe having a fortune of £6,000 debt.
Until his priorities change and he sets a purchase goal his first housethat the young professional begins to control his money.
Joe, now 31 and working as an academic consultant, said it took around five years to clear his £6,000 debt and save £7,500 on a down payment on a home.
“I graduated from the University of Brighton at 21, so I literally started at 18,” he told The Mirror.
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“Right out of school, I had a student overdraft, up to £2,000.
“I also have a student credit card with a maximum value of £1,000, so I ran into £3,000 worth of debt right out of college.”
Joe worked in retail after graduating from the University of Brighton but often saw his hours cut, as he did not have a full-time contract.
By the age of 23, Joe was already making £19,000 – but he says he is spending it as if he were earning twice that amount.
Joe quickly moved in with a partner in a rental house, but when the couple split, he stayed in their one-bed apartment.
This means he is now paying twice as many bills as he used to, putting extra financial strain on his wallet and spending.
“This is where I got into a debt of £2,000,” he said.
“I tried not to stay too long on that property, but I ended up spending a lot on credit cards that I shouldn’t have, including general living expenses that I couldn’t afford. pay.
“At that time, ignorance was bliss. As long as I pay the minimum payouts, it’s almost not real money.
“I started putting personal workouts on my credit card and said my debt was around £6,000 by this point. This is in 2015.”
‘I want to buy a property…something has to change’
Joe was in his early 20s when he decided to overhaul his finances, with the aim of buying his first home in Brighton.
He described the process as “ripping off the plaster” and began writing down a list of everything he owed and which companies.
Since Joe has several debts with more than one lender, he decides to lump everything he owes into one loan.
Looking back on the process, he says it made his life easier as he only had to pay it once, but admits that he ended up having to pay back more than interest.
You should always check the terms and conditions of any consolidation loan before taking one out, as you don’t want to end up on a loan more than you can afford.
If you want to borrow a relatively small amount of money for a short time, it may be cheaper to look at credit card 0% to transfer your debt.
All you need to know about loans
“I didn’t get a good interest rate on the loan. I know I ended up paying too many odds, but I think having it all in one place helped me make sense of it all,” he said.
“But in hindsight, if I could go back in time, I would try to figure it out myself so I wouldn’t have to spend so much interest.”
Joe also credits signing up with online banking giant Monzo for helping him clear his debt, as he says it allows him to see more clearly what he’s been spending.
For example, the spending categories Monzo uses show Joe he’s spending an “absurd” amount on club play, signaling a red signal where he needs to cut back.
It took Joe about two and a half years to pay off his debt and wanted to get back to normal before he started saving for his dream home.
With debt now behind, Joe used features on Monzo such as the “round up” function, where your expenditures are rounded to the nearest pound and put into a own “pot”.
He also uses the Monzo “IFTTT” linking feature, which is where you connect your Monzo account to the “If This, Then That” app.
This essentially allows users to set up savings scenarios, while also allowing Monzo to transfer funds when those conditions are met.
For example, Joe used IFTTT to do a 1p savings challenge. 1p challenge is where you start by saving 1p on Jan 1st, then 2p on Jan 2nd etc.
Joe also assigns his IFTTT to add £2 to his Monzo savings account every time the temperature drops below 10C.
“At the end of the month, I can see how much I spent on Monzo eating out and other expenses, and then I use that to cut back,” says Joe.
“Monzo also allows me to spend more on things that are valuable to me, such as less fast fashion and more on health and fitness.
“Clubbing was the biggest spending shock for me. It only took a few nights out with Monzo to realize something needed to change in that regard and that’s a big reason I was able to save. ”
It took Joe two and a half years to save £7,500 needing a 5% deposit on a flat with a garden in Brighton with his partner.
This couple used Mortgage guarantee program for 5% depositwith Joe’s partner also dropping £7,500 to put a total deposit of £15,000 on their £307,500 home.
“I would never get my deposit back unless I cleared my debt,” Joe said.
Where to get free debt help
Joe says his main piece of advice for anyone struggling financially is to talk openly about your debt.
“Talk to someone because as soon as you start talking about it, you can start doing something about it. People don’t talk about money enough,” he said.
“You also need to understand what you owe, who you owe and how much interest you’re paying. Ignorance is not happiness when it comes to money.”
There are free organizations that will help you clear your debt if you’re really stuck:
Always be wary of companies that try to charge you for debt help, as you can get advice without paying a dime.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/penny-challenge-giving-up-clubbing-26358580 'The penny challenge and quitting the club helped clear my £6,000 debt to buy a flat'