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Woman explains how she became debt-free after taking out £28,000 in ‘secret’ loans

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A woman who had maxed out six credit cards on top of two loans has been inundated with interest repayments of £1,300 a month but managed to turn things around and says she has her life back

Businesswoman sitting at the table in the restaurant and resting her head on her hand
A woman fell into problem debt after her cash dropped during the pandemic

A woman running secretly debts of £28,000 with six maxed out credit cards and two loan revealed how she got her “black cloud” of debt under control.

credit card lending rose by £1.5 billion to £59.5 billion in February, the highest since records began in 1993.

The average adult owes more than £1,100 on a credit card and the number of households struggling with debt has increased by a third.

A woman, who wishes to remain anonymous because her husband is unaware of the debt, began borrowing money when she ran into financial difficulties during the year Pandemic last year.

“I’ve never had the best relationship with credit cards. They’ve haunted me for years and they’ve gone from being a short-term fix to a long-term problem,” she said.

“During the pandemic, I thought I had my credit card usage under control, but it started rising again with the cost of grocery bills and fuel, and it was snowing.”

During the first lockdown, she continued to receive her base salary of £1,600 a month but not the £300-400 a month in expenses she would normally have received.

The woman, who works in education and is in her 40s, started to rely more on credit cards and ended up using five or six at a time.

She also took out two high-interest loans, one from TSB and one from Honeycomb.

The woman ended up paying £1,300 in interest each month, leaving £300 for all her living expenses.

She ended up borrowing money to pay off a credit card and then using it for next month’s payments.

At worst she was £28,000 in debt.

“On cards alone I once owed £22,000 and on credit I owed TSB £5,000 and Honeycomb £1,000,” she said. “I would put the minimum amount back on a credit card and then use it for the next grocery purchase.”

But her debts were all secret, unbeknownst to her husband and family.

“He’d be disappointed if he knew,” she said. “We don’t have a joint account and we don’t really discuss finances. I’ve always made it seem like I have money in my bank. I put on a facade and a brave face, but it was all an act.”

She said her plan to pay off any debt is to wait until she pays off the two loans and then use the extra money she saved to pay off the credit cards.

But in hindsight, she says that plan never worked.

“It was stupid, and sometimes I thought I was beyond help,” she said.

Then, out of the blue, she got a call from her loan provider, TSB.

“They asked if I wanted to talk about my finances,” she said.

The woman was nervous about speaking to the company about all of her debts because she felt it might somehow get in her way.

But she said TSB staff eventually approved her for a debt consolidation loan.

“I went to TSB and was embarrassed to admit what a mess I was in, but I had no judgment from them at all,” she said.

TSB lent her £25,000 to pay off her debts and then set a monthly repayment of around £525 for five years – £775 a month less interest than she was paying on the loans separately.

She also got a three-month buffer with no repayments whatsoever, which also allowed her to build up some savings.

“Money isn’t on my mind 24/7 now, I don’t lose sleep over how to juggle it all,” she said. “It’s like a black cloud has cleared.

“I would say to anyone in debt, don’t be shy and ask for help.”

The Mirror has a guide on how to help tackle problem debt, here .

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/woman-explains-how-debt-free-26822738 Woman explains how she became debt-free after taking out £28,000 in 'secret' loans

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