CALCULATOR in hand, Gabrielle Kyriacous stared in horror at the master before him.
The single mother was left with £14,000 in debt, thanks in large part to the shopping habits of credit cards and store cards from companies such as Next and Very.
But the mother of two managed to pay off her debt in less than 18 months – and is now an expert on how to save.
Gabrielle, 36, said: “I felt nauseous when I saw how much debt I was in. I only make £9,000 a year as a nursery worker.
“I knew I had to do something, and I came up with the idea of saving cash in an envelope every month.
“I will mark each envelope with the money I save – for the house, for each child and myself – then put an amount in each envelope after I have paid all the expenses. mine.”
Gabrielle, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, got her first store card as a 19-year-old student in 2004, mainly to buy night out wear.
She paid off that amount but reverted to using a store card when her daughter Lily was born in 2006.
She said: “My budget as a single mother is not tight at all.
“In 2008 I opened a Very account, a Next account in 2010. Mainly emotional spending.
“I love being a mom, but I still want to feel like ‘me’. The new outfit has that power.
“I want Lily to have things that I didn’t have growing up.
“Staring at the lovely clothes in her wardrobe makes me so happy, like I’m a really good mom.”
Gabrielle didn’t miss a repayment until she had son Huxton in 2016 – after starting a new relationship in 2013 – and her finances started to slide.
“My income dropped during maternity leave,” she said. Given the age gap, there isn’t anything we can reuse for Huxton.
“If Huxton looks good in his outfit, I feel that is a positive reflection of me.
“Plus, kids grow up so fast – they always need the next size.”
The explosion of social media has also had an impact.
“Everywhere I look online, there are ads for great clothes for me and the kids,” she said.
“I want to see all these influencers, and it’s hard not to feel like I should have what they have.”
After her relationship ended in July 2017, Gabrielle’s debts grew like snow.
She said: “In addition to the shopping debt, I also have to borrow money to buy a car plus the cost of moving house after the breakup.
I feel nauseous when I see myself in debt. I only make £9,000 a year as a nursery worker.
“It’s a huge and scary number, but I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself.
“It was a hit on the back that I needed, so I cut my store tag.”
She discovered Dave Ramsey, an American personal finance professional who has a huge online following in the UK.
“He talks about the ‘snowball method’ of paying off debt: List them by interest rate and pay the highest first, then move on to the next,” she says.
“After repaying, I cash my remaining income every month.
“Putting it in the envelope really helped. And once the envelope is empty, that’s it.
“It makes things really simple and unlike using a card or a bank transfer, you can see the cash there in front of you.
“It makes you think about the purchase really carefully.”
Gabrielle also did the 1p save challenge – where you save a dime the first day, then 2p the next day, 3p the next day, etc.
By the end of a year, you’ll have saved £671.61.
“Small steps make a huge difference,” she said. Without even realizing that I was saving.
Gabrielle will buy food with yellow stickers, use supermarket cashback apps like Shopmium and CheckoutSmart and look for deals like Asda’s “£5 for five frozen items”.
Small steps make a huge difference. Didn’t even realize that I was saving.
And she has dramatically adjusted her clothing budget.
“I set myself a budget of £20 a month for clothes – charity shops or eBay only,” says Gabrielle.
“I bought tight gray jeans from Mint Velvet, colorful t-shirt dresses from Fat Face and shirts from Hush, all for £5 each or less. I recently picked up a £35 Boden jumpsuit for Huxton for £1”.
Selling the family’s old clothes on eBay, Facebook and Vinted brought in extra cash to speed up her repayments.
Gabrielle has also generated income through eBay and selling car booties, by buying cheaply to resell for a profit.
In December 2020, her last debt was paid. “I will never be in debt again,” she said.
“Now, when someone says, ‘I love your outfit,’ it’s a great feeling to know I only paid a few pounds for it.”
You can follow Gabrielle at instagram.com/mumlifemoney
Gabrielle’s Top Tip
- Use envelope method.
- Small The steps make a huge difference. I did the 1p savings challenge where you save 1p on the first day, then 2p, then 3p etc. By the end of the year you have £671.61.
- Sell what you don’t need anymore. From toys to unused sports bras, it all adds up.
- Lan Cost of school uniforms. Buying what you need before September means you can hunt for the best bargains.
- Involve children. Lily loves to hunt for brands with me.
- Prioritized what you really DO want to roll out. For me, it’s the right shoes for the kids, not the fancy t-shirts that will always be covered in mud.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/17677089/online-shopping-debt-cleared-tricks-tips/ I was in debt 14,000 pounds