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A SINGLE mum has shared her top money-saving tips after paying off £24,000 of debt in just 15 weeks.

Yasmine Camilla, 35, from London, has been “in and out” of debt for most of her adult life, struggling through the pandemic with paying for increased life expenses including childcare, food bills, and activities to keep her children entertained.

5Single mum Yasmine Camilla has shared her top money-saving tips after paying off £24,000 of debt in just 15 weeksCredit: Jam Press 5Yasmin Camilla says she would happily put £3,500 on a credit card for a family holiday to Portugal and not think about how it would be paid off

By August 2021 she had racked up a total bill of £38,000, after paying for holidays, food delivery services, clothes and therapy on her credit card.

Speaking to Fabulous of the fashion buys, she said: “They were totally unnecessary.

“We were in the middle of lockdown so I didn’t need to buy fancy clothes. 

“But after the kids had gone to bed, I’d spend three hours browsing internet shops. 

“I was spending money on stuff I would probably never wear.” 

Her addiction did not stop at clothes, though. 

She also splashed out on a fashionable Peloton exercise bike for £2,300.

She says: “I saw it on social media and had to have it, but I haven’t used it loads and now I just hang my clothes on it.”

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She paid £600 for a piece of art, too, and £400 on a mirror after seeing it on Instagram — even though friends showed her a similar one for £50 from B&M.

Takeaways were another huge expense, with Yasmine blowing £5,000 on Deliveroo in a year.

She realised she needed to take drastic action to tackle her debt and focus on spending less.

Yasmine said: “Being a single mum, I know I have a big responsibility on my shoulders and I decided to start taking the financial side of that seriously.

“I had a mental health crisis at the end of 2020 due to the pandemic and my job, I changed jobs and began therapy, which helped, but I knew if I was to feel free from being forced to work such long hours I needed to get my finances into a better place for my future.”

Yasmine set herself a strict, tight budget and cut out all unnecessary spending in a bid to get her finances under control – sharing her journey on TikTok with her 60,000 followers.

She said: “I started with working out my income and outgoings and listing all the opportunities for making savings.

Yasmine's total debts

- Virgin credit card (used to consolidate other debts) £14,138.24 - minimum payments being made every month, 0% interest for 12 more months

- Personal loan First Direct - £2,069.28 paying £344 off every month, debt will be cleared in six months

- Two additional personal loans of £9,194.40 and £6,278.30

- John Lewis credit card £4818.46 with interest

- Car loan - £611.67

- Klarna bill - £1,522.44

Total: £38,632.79

“For the first time in my life I started meal planning and budgeting, shopping in Aldi with a list, rather than Waitrose on a whim.

“I also focused on bringing in as much freelance work as I could, getting my limited company back into a good position and being able to pay myself dividends once again.

“I have also been selling things, using my social media platforms and affiliate links to make more money from my recommendations, and continuing to keep my eyes open for more opportunities to save or make money.”

Incredibly, Yasmine has managed to reduce her debt and pay of £24,000 in just 15 weeks and aims to be completely debt-free by August 2022 – a year after she first started cutting back.

The thrifty mum has now shared her top six tips and tricks for saving money.

LEAN ON A LIST

Yasmine said: “Listing everything I owed was really essential for me. Part of me wanting to pay back my debt and get on top of my finances was all about taking ownership and not feeling ashamed.

“It was the beginning of better financial management for me. I was able to list my debts and work out how much I need on a pound a month fee basis, as a minimum.

“I was then able to look into things like interest rates and that really empowered me to make decisions about what to do next.”

REDUCE REPAYMENTS

Yasmine was surprised to learn via social media just how many people are struggling with debt and says there is a “lack of awareness” on how to consolidate finances.

She said: “It’s always worth calling people and, depending on your situation, it might be worth speaking to your individual creditors to see if they have any other options. At the moment, I’m trying to keep my credit rating intact, so I’m aiming to pay everything off.

“Obviously there are lots of different ways that you could consider consolidating, but for me, I knew that a 0% interest balance transfer credit card would be a good option.

“I set about trying to find the longest period with a low enough transfer fee and consolidated lots of little debts onto one credit card.”

BE SAVVY WITH SAVINGS

Although Yasmine has some larger purchases she would like to save up for, the only saving she is doing alongside paying off her debt is routine payments to an emergency fund – something she says is “critical” to giving her peace of mind.

She added: ““I also save small amounts for everyday occasions, like birthdays and Christmas - saving a little each month to ensure I don’t get into further debt when the celebrations begin. This also applies to things like my car insurance and any health or home spending that I might make on a yearly basis.”

Money-saving expert Alina Jaffer, who is part of Virgin Money’s Red Team, advised: “You should always prioritise paying off your debts before thinking about saving.

“If you can, it’s a good idea to dip into your savings account to rid yourself of some repayments. This will also help reduce some of the pressure from rising interest rates.”

BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET

For Yasmine, budgeting has been “life-changing” – and wasn’t something she had ever had to do before finding herself steeped in debt.

She said: “Now, as part of my debt journey, I budget absolutely everything. For the first time I was ready to spend on Christmas presents in September – if I carry on like I have been, I guarantee that by next year I'll start my festive shopping a lot sooner!

“It makes me feel so much more at ease knowing that even if I don’t have the money right now, I have a plan to get to where I need to be.”

PRIORITISE PAYMENTS

Another helpful trick for Yasmine has been prioritising which payments are most important to pay off.

She said: “I actually still had some debt on a credit card that was accruing interest at around 19%, so I decided to try and pay that one off first.

“I am continuing to pay the minimum for my other debts and working on one debt at a time. I actually just paid off the first credit card, and let me tell you, it's amazing to owe £0 on a card!”

Alina agrees, adding: “When you make that initial list, having your debts sectioned by seriousness will put you in a better position for paying those high-priority debts back first. Ranking your debts will allow you to prioritise those more urgent repayments on secured loans, such as a mortgage.”

Finally, the mum says it is crucial to ask for help when you need it.

She said: “There are advice helplines and charities for people who need some help with understanding their situation, their rights and their options.

“I also think that everybody should try and find a trusted person in their life, whether that’s a family member or a friend, as I truly believe that having support around you can make the world of difference.

“Most of all, the reason I don’t want there to be a stigma or shame in relation to debt is because I believe shame is the biggest reason that people don’t get out of debt, or worse still, give up.

“When people hide away from their debts, the debts continue to multiply – meaning that they don’t get the headspace or the energy to work out their repayments with support.

“If you’re too busy hiding from your debts, you’ll find it very difficult to change your habits and learn from past mistakes.”

5Yasmine's debts are made up of a variations of loans and credit cards 5Yasmine's shopping addiction saw her racking up £38,000 worth of debt on credit cards and buy-now-pay-later services 5Yasmine Camilla revealed she is over £38,000 in debt - and has defended her recent holiday to Ibiza

A woman shared how she paid off £10,000 debt and bought first home by giving up smoking and using discount scheme.

Meanwhile, a single mum & paid off £24.5k debt in 17 months.

I paid off $20,000 in credit card debt with a zero based budget, here's how it works

News Source: the-sun.com

Tags: money saving tips don’t get for the first time on a credit card debt in just in credit card to things like interest rates to consolidate something she continuing the pandemic credit cards social media a single mum her debt i decided yasmine every month my finances

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Majority of borrowers say taking on federal student loan debt is not worth it, survey finds

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Nearly one-third of undergraduates borrow money from the federal government to pay for college. That's about 43 million Americans who owe a staggering total of nearly $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans.

A new survey found that 54% of federal student loan borrowers said taking on that debt was not worth it. Overall, however, 44% said taking on that debt was worth it, according to the CNBC + Acorns Invest In You Student Loan Survey, done in partnership with Momentive. (The online poll was conducted Jan. 10-13 among a national sample of 5,162 adults.)

Yet, many millennials and Gen Xers are far more skeptical. Some 63% of respondents ages 35 to 44 said, considering their current situation, it was not worth it to take out federal student loans. 

The average loan amount for federal student loan borrowers is $36,510.

Kate Bernyk, 39, finished graduate school nearly 15 years ago with two communications degrees and about $100,000 in student debt.

Kate Bernyk, 39, finished graduate school with two communications degrees and about $100,000 in student debt.CNBC | Andy Tenke

"I used to be really proud that I had a master's degree, but now it feels a little bit foolish," said Bernyk, a New York-based senior communications specialist. "It feels like maybe I shouldn't have gone because it's really hard to put a price on what  the advantage has been versus the disadvantage of getting into debt."

She still owes more than $30,000 in student loans. 

A bachelor's degree holder earns a median of $2.8 million during their career — 75% more than if they had only a high school diploma — although when broken down by gender, women with a BA have median lifetime earnings of $2.4 million, compared to $3.3 million for men.

Loan repayment pause ending

Borrowers got a reprieve from federal loan payments when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. That relief has since been extended five times and is now set to end in May. The payment pause has given many borrowers more money to use for everyday expenses (48%) and pay other debts (35%), the survey found.

Yet, when federal loan repayments resume, one-third or more of the borrowers surveyed said they'll have to delay other financial goals, such as paying off other debts (42%), investing money (40%), saving for retirement (38%) or buying a home (33%). 

Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwardsSource: CNBC + Acorns Invest In You Student Loan Survey, conducted by Momentive

"It's like a mortgage without the house at the end of it," Bernyk said.

The potential drag on the economy is one reason supporters of student loan forgiveness, like economist Kristen Broady, are pushing for more.

"If people don't have to pay back that money," said Broady, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, "that's more money that they can spend on durable and non-durable goods or services. That money goes directly into the economy."

More from Invest in You:
Most Americans want Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness, survey says
Student loan holders are more likely to be women and people of color
81% of adults with student loans say they've had to delay key life milestones

A majority, or 57% in the survey, said they believe President Joe Biden should make student loan forgiveness a priority, but views are mixed on how to do it. 

About a third of respondents said all student debt should be forgiven, nearly the same amount said forgive loans for only those in need and about one in four said there should be no forgiveness.

Every dollar they borrow is going to cost them two dollars by the time they repay the debt, and they don't really think about that.Mark KantrowitzFinancial aid expert

Biden campaigned on a proposal to forgive $10,000 in student debt. Some Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., are calling on the President to cancel student debt up to $50,000.

However, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, said blanket loan forgiveness would be a "massive mistake" -- and the extension of the student loan pause has already cost taxpayers over $150 billion.

Overwhelming to think about

Denisse Quintanilla, a CNBC intern and first generation college student, plans to graduate in May. She is unsure what the terms of her loan will be once she will have to begin making payments.

"It's still overwhelming to think about how much I should be paying each month in order to not be into my 30s or early 40s and still have my student loan debt," Quintanilla said.

While students may receive counseling when they first borrow the money, financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz says it often falls short.

"Every dollar they borrow is going to cost them two dollars by the time they repay the debt, and they don't really think about that," he said. 

Bernyk, who held jobs at non-profits and in government for over 10 years, has had a great deal of time to think about and try to tackle her student debt burden. She may have found a solution to get to the finish line. 

Last fall, the Biden administration eased requirements to qualify for public service loan forgiveness. Bernyk said she's been working with her loan servicer to qualify under this federal program to have her remaining loan balance wiped clean. The new rules are in effect until Oct. 31, 2022.

VIDEO3:3703:37Five ways to get your employer to pay off your student loansInvest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.

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