37-year-old Tasnime Rotherham didn’t realise how much debt she was in and even rang up her creditors as she thought she’d been a victim of fraud.
“My circumstances were a bit different to other peoples,” Tasnime explains. “I was a mature student at the time that I got into debt.
“I’d met my husband young and we had a house together but that meant I had a mortgage to pay as well as rent at university.
“I worked one day at Boots which paid me £100. My mortgage was £400 and I rented a room in Manchester for £250 – so it just didn’t add up.
“You didn’t have to go university to work that one out,” she laughs.
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That was the wake up call she needed.
Tasnime then focused on her debts, paying off those with the highest interest rates first.
She also set about looking at ways she could make money.
“If it wasn’t bolted to the floor I sold it,” she recalls. “I started doing car boot sales, completing surveys online and did a bit of mystery shopping.
“It became a bit of an obsession – if I sold something for £2 I would transfer it straight to the debt I was paying at that time.”
It took four and a half years of really reigning things in and living off just £100 a month, but it was certainly worth it.
“I’ll never forget how good it felt to ring up the credit card companies one by one after clearing the debts to close my account,” she said.
“It was an amazing feeling.”
They did go on holiday – even jetting off to New York – but thanks to a little bit of forward planning, they enjoyed it a fraction of the cost.
Tasnime now runs her own business Very Craftea and is a lot more sensible than her student days. She has some useful tips for others looking to pay off debt including:
Stop burying your head in the sand – confront it head on
Look at where you can save money and plan ahead
Focus on one debt at a time – if she’d have focussed on the figure of 40k it would have been unachievable