A WOMAN has revealed the money-saving advice she followed to get herself out of £10,000 debt in just three years.
Fernanda Fletcher, 31, has found herself thousands of pounds in debt after getting divorced.
Fernanda, from Worcester, has drastically reduced her lifestyle, including selling her car, handbags and even books to pay off half the £20,000 debt she and her ex-husband have racked up over the of their five-year marriage.
When the couple separated in 2017, they had no money to split, but instead had debt from overspending on credit cards and funded payment plans.
The couple used the money to pay for a new take-out car each week.
Now debt-free, she shares her saving tips on her Instagram account, Her Finacial Edit, to educate people about budgeting and how the financial system works.
After the split, Fernanda wanted a fresh start and started by canceling her gym membership and streaming services.
She also said she only buys ‘yellow sticker’ items from the supermarket.
Fernanda’s first step was to set up an emergency fund so that if something went wrong, she wouldn’t have to borrow any more money.
She said: “To do this, I cut everything. At this point, most of my salary was tied up with bills and monthly debt payments, so I had to make money out of nothing.
“I started by cutting my budget to the bare minimum: streaming services were gone, gym membership was gone, I only shopped in the yellow sticker section for food.”
After cutting her expenses as much as possible, Fernanda then decided to start selling whatever she felt she didn’t need.
She said: “Then I looked around and realized that everything I had bought with the credit cards was cash, money that I I could use to pay off my debt, so I pretty much sold everything. Bags, clothes, books – if someone wanted to buy it, I sold it.
“I even went so far as to sell my car. I was roughing it on the bus to work every day, I was so desperate to get rid of my debts.
“There was no big secret, really. I just cut my expenses and tried to hustle extra money any way I could and sent every spare penny to debt.”
Fernanda said she only thought about the accumulated debt after the divorce.
She confessed that neither of them were good with money and ended up using her credit card for things like takeout.
The problems started when the couple started paying the minimum amount they could repay.
“On top of that, buying a massive car on finance and after two to three years we were in consumer debt of £20,000.” She says.
But getting out of debt was not a linear task.
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In October 2019, she had to buy a car ahead of schedule, which meant she had to take out more credit.
Although she had already saved up £3,000 to buy a car with cash, she was in dire need due to a traffic problem which meant she couldn’t spend the winter waiting outside in the cold for a bus.
“I bought a car for £4,600 and financed half of it,” she continued.
“At the same time, I made two unexpected back-to-back trips to Brazil to see my father who sadly passed away from cancer in February 2020. Each return ticket to Brazil cost almost £1,000 pp, I so had to use the credit card for that.
“I ended up taking out another debt consolidation loan to cover those costs.”
But in September 2020, Fernanda was finally out of debt.
Now Fernanda uses her Instagram accounts to help others who want to get their finances under control.
She now has a five-figure investment portfolio of index funds and individual stocks.
Fernanda shared three tips for cutting costs, she said to make sure you budget and keep tabs on your inflows and outflows.
She also recommended cooking meals from scratch as much as possible to cut costs and buy second-hand.
Fernanda started her Instagram page after seeing other people share their debt-free journey.
She said: “I’m now sharing everything I’ve learned about budgeting and finance along the way, and also trying to educate people on how the financial system works and how you can derive take advantage of the opportunities it presents.”