This post is sponsored by Giff Gaff Money.
I remember crying.
How am I going to ever get away from this? Will this ever end? Im so stupid! This is so embarrassing. Im so ashamed. It would be better if I wasn't here anymore. Everyone else seems to have their life together but I don't. Im such a failure. Why did I do this? Why don't I have any self control? How did this happen? This is taking over my life..
.. And it did, for a short while anyway.
So here we go.
I, Gracie Francesca, is back at it again with an oversharing post (but who cares). I really wish people were more transparent with money problems, and just money in general. I know it can be quite tacky when someone is boasting about how much they earn, but sometimes, talking about money, especially with other women, can actually be quite helpful. You realise that not everyone has their stuff together and thats okay.
Back in January 2015 (which isn't even that long ago), I was struggling BIG TIME, and I continued to struggle until that summer.
It probably wasn't the best idea, moving out when Youtube income was so sporadic - but I was desperate to fly the nest and have a space that I could call my own. Yes.. I am super impatient lol.
Ive never been good with money (I definitely get it from my Mum) and I've always lived pay check to pay check. I've never saved, never put any money away for a rainy day and if I'm perfectly honest, I enjoyed spending money on whatever I felt like spending it on.
When I turned 19, my bank at the time, gave me an overdraft & a credit card. In the beginning the maximum I could spend on them was pretty low and every month (maybe not every but I'm still in denial lol) I'd pay off what I owed. After a while, I guess my credit score improved and by the time I was 23, I had a £3000 overdraft and a £7000 limit credit card. IMAGINE MY EXCITEMENT.
What can I buy? Where can I go? Do I need a new car? Well, duh. Of course I do.
You get the point right?
Soon enough, I was drowning in debt & panicking every single day. It was an absolute nightmare. I hated my reality and the constant worry.
Eventually, worry and panic turned into full blown stress and anxiety. Money, debt, bills, you name it - it was all I could think about. I worried about debt collectors, I worried about people finding out and the shame and absolute horror of everyone knowing this dirty secret. I worried that I'd never pay it off & that I'd end up going to court and losing everything. My imagination ran wild and I was too ashamed to tell anyone what was going on.
I was embarrassed.
I was on edge. Always on edge.
I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I couldn't do anything.
Those 4/5 months were dark, lonely & pretty depressing. I didn't know where to get help, how to get help and who to speak to. I googled 'debt problems' but nothing seemed to put my mind at ease. To put it bluntly - it was bloody shit!
However, in my greatest despair I became very lucky, very lucky indeed. Youtube work picked up and my career really took off. I begun paying off my debt and a system was put in place with my bank so that I felt more in control with managing my money.
The anxiety wore off and I was able to finally think straight again. It was a scary but necessary lesson that I had to learn, but I wish I learned it another way.
With that being said, I really understand what it feels like to try and keep your head above water when you're literally on the verge of drowning. The cost of living is going up, but wages are staying the same, and in some cases, they're decreasing. That girl you absolutely love to hate on Instagram has bought a brand new designer bag, and now you want a new designer bag but you literally cant even afford one from Primark so now you hate your life. I get it.
I really do get it.
I wish in my time of need someone I related to, or someone who had a voice, spoke about money, or debt, or ways in which to budget. Struggling to pay off my credit card and wondering how I was going to pay my rent really affected my mental health, so here are some money tips I wish someone had shared with me.
- Talk talk talk! Keeping money stress bottled up is horrible; thousands of people have been where you are and it's nothing to be ashamed of - talk it out with a friend and ask for support
- Keep a budget of all your incoming money vs outgoing costs and download one of the free money management apps to keep track of your spending
- Build up an emergency fund for unexpected expenses - it may help reduce the panic when you suddenly realise you hadn't budgeted for a surprise cost in your monthly planning
- Don't fall into the trap of yourself to your friends - there's a lot of glossy instagram snaps that can make you think you're missing out - a lot of it isn't real and definitely not worth the debt if you can't afford the lifestyle
- Keep a positive mental attitude. Lots of people have been in debt, paid it off, bought a home and now keep on top of their money; with the right tools, support and determination you can too.
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