A WOMAN has revealed the money-saving tips she followed to get herself out of £10k worth of debt in just three years.
Fernanda Fletcher, 31, found herself in thousands of pounds of debt after getting a divorce.
Fernanda, from Worcester, made major cutbacks to her lifestyle, including selling her car, handbags, and even books to pay off half of the £20k debt she and her ex-husband accumulated over their five year marriage.
When the couple parted ways in 2017, they had no money to split but instead had debt from overspending on credit cards and financed payment plans.
The couple used the money to pay for a new car to weekly takeaways.
Now debt-free, she shares her money-saving tips on her Instagram account, Her Finacial Edit, to educate people on budgeting and how the financial system works.
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After the split, Fernanda wanted a fresh start and began by cancelling her gym membership and streaming services.
She also said she only shopped 'yellow sticker' items in the supermarket.
Fernanda's first step was to build an emergency fund so that if something went wrong she would not have to borrow any more money.
She said: "In order to do that, 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 from nothing.
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"I started by cutting my budget to the bare minimum: streaming services all gone, gym membership gone, only shopping in the yellow sticker section for food."
After cutting back her outgoing as much as possible, Fernanda then decided to start selling anything she felt she didn't need.
She said: "Then I took one look around me and realised that all the stuff I had bought on the credit cards used to be cash, cash that I could use to pay off my debt so I basically sold everything. Bags, clothes, books – if someone wanted to buy it, I was selling 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 be rid of debt.
"There was no big secret, really. I just cut down on my expenses and tried to hustle extra money any way I could and sent every spare penny to debt."
Fernanda said she hadn't thought of the accumulating debt until after the divorce.
She confessed that neither of them were great with money, and ended up using their credit card for things like takeaway.
The problems began when the couple started to pay the minimum amount they could back.
"Pile on top of that buying a massive car on finance and after two to three years, we were in £20,000 worth of consumer debt." She said.
But getting out of debt wasn't a linear task.
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In October 2019, she had to buy a car earlier than planned, meaning she had to take more credit out.
Although she had already saved £3k to buy a car in cash, she was in urgent need due to a circulation problem that meant she couldn't go through 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 had two unexpected back-to-back trips to Brazil to see my father who unfortunately passed away from cancer in February 2020. Each return ticket to Brazil was nearly £1,000 a pop so I had to use the credit card for it.
"I ended up taking another debt consolidation loan to cover those costs."
But in September 2020, Fernanda was finally out of debt.
Now, Fernanda is using her Instagram accounts to help others who want to get on top of their finances.
She now has a five-figure investment portfolio of index funds and singles stocks.
Fernanda shared three tips to keep costs down, she said to make sure you budget and keep an eye on your incoming and outgoings.
She also recommended cooking meals from scratch as much as possible to keep costs down and to buy second-hand.
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Fernanda started her Instagram page after seeing others share their debt-free journey.
She said: "I now share everything I learned about budgeting and finance along the way, as well as trying to educate people on how the financial system works and how you can take advantage of the opportunities it presents."
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