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Mum-of-three shares saving tips that helped her clear £18,500 debts in a year

A mother-of-three has revealed how she managed to clear £18,500 of debt and save up £13,000 in less than a year – and has shared her saving tips so you can do it too.

Corinne Card, 40, a company director from Brighton, was left in crippling debt after splashing out on fancy holidays for her family, as well as pricey home decor and little luxuries such as TV subscriptions.

Soon, Corrine has racked up nearly £20,000 in debt from different lenders and was left with anxiety-inducing credit card bills coming through the letter box every month.

She stopped spending so much and started squeezing every penny and soon the debt was wiped out, and now Corinne has shared her story to inspire others.

She said: “I used to be terrible with money. Once, I spent my entire student loan for an upcoming term for a trip to New York.

“I lived the entire term in debt and was constantly in my overdraft, which set me up for failure straight away.

“Each time I received my next payment, I would pay off my overdraft and find myself with zero balance once again.”

The excessive spending habits only escalated as she got older and married husband Jon, 44, in 2005, with whom she shares three children; Harry, 10, Zoe, seven, Freddie, 11 months.

In 2019, Corinne took out her first credit card with the aim to take her family on a trip to the US, spending £6,000 on luxurious hotels, days out at Disneyland and Universal Studios, and expensive meals out.

The credit card statements were anxiety-inducing and made the mum feel as if her debt was now a “ticking time bomb”.

That’s when she knew something had to change.

Corinne continued: “After our trip to America, I finally realised how terrible my situation was.

“I was nearly £19,000 in debt and I was constantly reminded by bank statements and bills that the money would continue to mount up once interest was added.

“I felt like I had a ticking time-bomb to pay the money off and as I never had a credit card before this, it really creeped me out.

“I was disappointed in myself that I let my finances get this way and I was concerned about how I was going to find my way out of this rut.”

Corrine and Jon started organising monthly finance meetings where they would discuss how things were going, and they cut their outgoings – ditching takeaways and cancelling tv subscriptions.

Corinne also signed up to take part in a free online course by Rebel Finance, which she credits to changing her mindset on money.

Dedicated to clear as much debt as quickly as possible, the parents worked longer hours and took on more clients in their media consultancy agency, which saw them earn an additional £3,000 per month.

Within a month, they had already paid off £5,000 in debt.

She said: “Our first focus was the credit card, as that was the one thing that would set us back.

“We noticed that we had loads of direct debits for such unnecessary items, such as newspaper subscriptions, magazines, gift boxes – the list goes on.

“After we cancelled those, we moved onto looking at our monthly bill packages and used comparison websites to make sure we were getting the best deal.”

Corinne and Jon cleared the final bit of debt in April 2020 and have since saved up an additional £13,000, part of which the parents have invested in stocks and shares.

Of this amount, £6,000 is reserved as an emergency fund to avoid falling back into debt.

She said: “Finally, we were debt free. We were relieved and got excited about the future as we finally had money to our name.

“I felt proud and calm that we were in control of our own finances and for the first time in a long while, we actually didn’t feel guilty about the numbers in front of us.

“As we have three kids, we want to build up a strong set of investments for their future.

“I put £3,000 into stocks and shares each month and have £6,000 saved up in an emergency fund to ensure that we don’t get into debt again.

“I’m a big believer of the ‘truth will set you free’ as once you start accepting your situation, you can start to make your life better.”