How I became Debt Free!

I am FULL of hope. The nicest thing has happened. Along with so many well wishes on my own debt free journey, I have received so many messages from many of YOU, who are so eager to get going on YOUR OWN journey to Debt Freedom.

So as a summary to share some ideas, I’ve put together a quick list of things that I did; so that I could pay off over €27k in debt in 18 months, while still paying all the usual bills (plus some rather large expenses too!). Over the coming weeks I’ll go into more detail on each of these, but as a quick summary, here we go…

💚Step 1 – I looked at where my money was going

💚Step 2 – I divided ALL my spending into NEEDs and WANTs

💚Step 3 – I started to Budget and give every single Euro a purpose

💚Step 4 – I started to Meal Plan and stick to a Shopping List

💚Step 5 – I cut or reduced every single expense I could, switching providers in most cases

💚Step 6 – I calculated all of my debt, set a clear plan for paying it all off

💚Step 7 – I explored ways to bring in additional income, no matter how small

💚Step 8 – I committed to using what I had – clothes, makeup, cleaning products etc – only buying new when replacements were needed

💚Step 9 – I built an Emergency Fund so that I had the security/comfort blanket that I would have previously relied on the Credit Card to do

These are the main steps I took to get on top of my finances and reach debt freedom. It has been a complete shift in mindset, and I am truly thankful for my changed relationship with money!

I am Debt Free!!

For the very first time in my adult life, I woke up on the morning of Friday April 9th with no consumer debt.

I have done it – I am now Debt Free!!!

I can’t describe to you how good it feels to say this! In 18 months, I have paid off €27,759.70. I have been very determined the last few months and made some changes to my budget which allowed me bring my debt freedom date forward by 7 months. This debt was spread across Credit Card(s), a Personal Loan and a Car Loan.

The feeling of freedom comes not only in knowing that I no longer owe money, but in knowing that I was able to achieve this – something I thought impossible and completely out of reach for me just over 18 months ago. I’ve done it on a single salary, while paying off all my usual bills, increasing my investments, building a solid rainy day fund, starting a business…while still maintaining a pretty nice lifestyle!

I stopped WASTING my money and started WATCHING my money instead. More to come on a summary of what I did to reach this goal and my future plans etc. But for now I shall revel in this achievement.

I won’t do the usual Irish modest take on it – instead I will say that I am really darn proud of myself and look to the future with JOY. And finish off by saying, with all the honesty in my heart – if I can do this, YOU can too!

Let’s catch up!

So, I have been neglecting this blog a little over the past few months. Things have been busy with work, and I’ve started to work on honing in on some new skills for a new business venture. I’ve been keeping active on Instagram, so I thought I’d do a highlights round-up of what I’ve shared over there since I last posted here!

In early November I shared how I moved mobile phone providers to save €624 a year! I’m beyond delighted with the move, I have unlimited calls, text and data for the super price of €7.99 a month, compared to the €60 a month I was paying before! Not only that, but with 48’s referral scheme, I have managed to have at least half a year’s bills taken care of so far! You can read my post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CHQ0h3anOjg/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I then shared some tips for keeping energy costs low – everything from turning off the immersion (takes me back to my teenage years!) to taking care of your applicances. You can read my post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CHqjDNYHhQe/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I shared a post on popular marketing techniques designed to make you part with your hard earned money! I took a look at the movie The Joneses; where a family of stealth marketers are sent to influence their neighbours to buy the latest and greatest products. You can read my post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CH6DJj7HMO5/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Towards the end of November I declared my interest in disposing of the term ‘Disposable Income’! I have since firmly replaced this term with the far better ‘Opportunity Income’. You can read my post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CH-3x5Znkdk/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In December I did a daily Advent Calendar – each day focusing on a new suggestion to develop a better money mindset. You can check out my highlights for all 24 reels!

I also shared an open and honest post about how I needed to reconsider a product launch for One Foot in the Save at the start of the pandemic. I wanted to highlight that dreams don’t have an expiration date – if you fail, try again. You can read that post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIleXn9n5IW/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I then shared some DIY Gift Ideas in the run up to Christmas – but worth a look for any time of the year! You can check that out here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIwJ683ncS8/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I had some fun creating a Frozen style song for Budgeting – Do you wanna build a Budget?! Check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CI-hIBNHRMQ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I also shared some tips to help aid conscious spending on Christmas food – over spending, and subsequently wasting, at this time of year is something we have all been guilty of. Check it out for next year here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJCJwHZHEKq/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In January 2021 I announced my plans for my ‘Yes to the Future Year’! This contract (yes I drew up a contract!) outlines my financial, health and personal goals for 2021. If you want to check out my contract, see it here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJWiR0VHELo/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I also started an IGTV series in January called Money Matters. You can check out the first 3 lessons in the IGTV section of my Instagram page.

At the end of January I shared an updated version of my Pay Day Routine. This does need updating again, but definitely worth checking out to see if you can adopt any of my habits into your own pay day routine. You can check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKboU-8HHo0/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

At the start of February I shared some Side Hustle totals for January. This extra cash came from online surveys, market research, phone referrals, reselling online, tax refunds and sales from the Etsy store. If you’re looking for Side Hustle Ideas, you can read the post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKwgRT-nn8s/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I then shared some clever ways to save money at the supermarket. Food Expenses make up such a large portion of our monthly expenditure, so it’s important to seek out savings where we can. Check out those tips here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLhcV7engXp/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In March I shared a few different ways to save money on Netflix, one of which is an amazing hack to cut your bill by 2/3! If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you don’t want to miss this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CMCh6cUHfTU/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

So there’s a few highlights of what I’ve been sharing over on Instagram for One Foot in the Save. I’ll be back to regular posting here now also, with a big announcement coming in my next post! Thanks for sticking around!

Goodbye Personal Loan

The day has arrived….! I have the 2nd of my 3 consumer debts paid off! It brings me no end of joy to say goodbye forever to my Personal Loan, having made the final payment to clear it today.
💚
I took out this Loan when I bought my house a few years ago. My mindset back then was ‘how much will they give me’, rather than ‘what do I need’. So, although I used a lot of the loan to buy things that were needed for the house, a LOT of it went on “things”. Things I didn’t need. So let me tell you, I’ve felt like a fool every month making those payments a few years later, after essentially wasting some of the loan.
💚
Since paying off my Credit Card debt a few months ago, I’ve been throwing everything I could at this Loan to get it cleared before the end of the year. I’ll be honest, I made a really large payment today, and ideally would have split it over 2 paychecks, but I was so desperate to get this cleared!! The feeling to know that this is gone forever is way better than me splashing out in the Charlotte Tilbury 25% off sale that has been plaguing my dreams the past couple of nights!!!
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I’ve showed you all how I’ve managed to pay down my debts, and I haven’t done anything outside of what I share in My Story or PayDay Routine (both in my highlights). I haven’t had to change my lifestyle too much, I’ve still lived, had holidays etc – the only difference is that my mindset to spending money has changed.
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Believe me, I know how lucky I am to be able to continue to bring in an income to allow me do this. I’m grateful every day.

Choose your M.A.S.K.

Choose your M.A.S.K.
 
Mindset About Saving Kit
 
This is the must-have kit – suits all seasons, never goes out of style! Once you stock up on this kit, you’ll wonder why you ever went without!
 
In fact, this kit is so must-have, that you already have it! It just needs a recharging every now and then!
 

Details of what’s included in this life-changing kit:

Goal Record
Write down your Saving Goals and review them regularly


Ability to Automate
Automate your Savings – send your money where it needs to be, without having to manually take care of it

A Vision Board
Visualise ‘future you’ when you reach your saving goals – see yourself on that holiday, in the new house or getting through Christmas without incurring debt

Spot the Difference Game
Learn how to identify what is something you absolutely need, versus something that is just a want.

Savings Challenges
Turn your savings into a game! Challenge yourself to various savings targets by using or creating fun Savings Challenges

Progress Tracker
It really helps to track the progress you’re making towards a Saving Goal – the sense of achievement is motivation to keep going

Party Time
Celebrate those successes – halfway to a goal calls for a treat!


 
Bonus, Limited Offer!
3 Pack of ‘Before you Spend’ Flash Cards:
1.       Do I already have this/similar?
2.       Will something else go to waste if I buy this?
3.       Is this a planned Purchase?

Don’t delay, M.A.S.K. up today!

Let’s Talk About Debt, Baby!

As you know, I took a break from my page for a while but I’m now back – motivated and committed. Raring to kick debt’s ass!!! While I took a break from the page, and certainly treated myself to far too many non-essential items, I didn’t stray too far off my financial journey. ⠀

Financial wins over the past few months:⠀
💳 Paid off my Credit Card debt ⠀
💰 Had a large Expense but was able to use Savings to cover⠀
📈 Only decreased debt figure – no increases⠀

When I started on this journey, my Personal Debt figure was over €27,000. Just FYI, for me, Personal Debt is Credit Card, Personal Loan and Car Loan – so doesn’t include the Mortgage. When I took my break, that figure stood at just under €19,500.⠀

I am pleased to say that right now my Personal Debt figure stands at just over €11,000. (Exact figures are in my Bio). I have been able to do this by budgeting, planning and spending consciously. ⠀

I am so ready to say Goodbye Forever to this Debt and so glad to have you all on this journey with me!⠀

It’s a Match!

In my continued efforts to maximise the money I have, I have been looking into the various different ways of making my money grow. Matched Betting is something that has come up in a lot of searches so I wanted to see what it was all about.  

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it – Matched Betting is often described as ‘gambling with no risk’. The idea is that you use the many different online bookmaker free bets and special offers, together with a betting exchange site. To simplify it; you are betting on both outcomes of a sporting event – both the win and the loss. For example, you bet on the horse to win with the bookmaker, and you bet on the horse to lose on the exchange.  

Online Bookmakers give free bets for a variety of reasons – new joiners, big sporting events – all to entice you to use their site. Examples of these might be ‘Deposit €10 and get €30 in free bets’ or a free €5 bet in a specific event. So when you are matched betting, the idea is that you find and use these free offers, along with the ‘lay’ bet on the exchange site.  

There are a number of sites that will help you with odds calculation and finding the offers; and I used Oddsmonkey to help me. Oddsmonkey has an easy to use interface and their Oddsmatcher tool shows you realtime bet and lay information, along with step by step guides to availing of the free bookmaker bets. They have a free trial version, but also offer a premium subscription service. They also have a busy forum where tips are shared daily. 

My Matched Betting Stats over a week period: 

  • I signed up to 7 Bookmakers 
  • I used Betfair Exchange 
  • I lodged €71.95 in total to the Bookmakers 
  • I lodged €300.42 in total to the Exchange 
  • I made 19 bets in total 
  • The profit I made was €69.06 

So my thoughts on Matched Betting are that it is possible to make a tax-free profit, it isn’t that hard to get your head around and it doesn’t take up much time. There are plenty of people who are making a lot of money from it, and it seems like a nice little side hustle. However, I don’t think it’s for me at this time. I’m not sure I can put my finger on why, but I just didn’t enjoy the gambling side of it. Yes, it’s not gambling in the true sense of the word – as long as you don’t make any mistakes, the element of risk is removed. Perhaps it’s the influx of promotional mails and notifications from the bookmakers, or perhaps it’s that I don’t have any big interest in sports.  

It may be something that I look into again, when I have paid off my debts – the lure of tax free profits is too tempting to completely give up on! How about you, have you tried Matched Betting? Are you turning over a nice profit from it? Or perhaps you have some questions – let me know! 

Save €30k on my Mortgage? Yes please!

One of the major reasons that I am doing everything I can to get out of debt is because it absolutely sickens me that we are charged so much interest on our loans, and given so little on our savings. If we take out a mortgage to buy a home, we pay interest to the bank. If we need to take out car finance, we pay interest to the bank. We keep a balance on a Credit Card – we pay interest to the bank. Yes, I know they are providing a service and I know they need to make money. But it would sit a little better if there were comparable interest rates on savings accounts as there are on loans. 

I suppose in the past I never gave much consideration to the amount of interest that I was paying each month. I was living paycheck to paycheck and just happy that the minimum payments were being met, I never looked at the cost of the credit. Since I made the decision to get out of that mindset, I have made sure that my debt pay-off plan is ensuring that the debt that is costing me the most is the one to go first! When I talk about becoming debt free, I have always only considered consumer debt – in my case that is a Credit Card balance, a Personal Loan and a Car Loan (figures in my Insta bio). But over the weekend I was reviewing the amount of interest I am paying each year on my mortgage – it’s a lot. At this time, I don’t have any plans to start throwing piles of money at my mortgage, but what I did do was look at what the difference could be if I slightly increased my monthly payment. I was pleasantly surprised. 

If I paid an additional €200 off my mortgage each month – I would reduce the term of my mortgage by 8 years and reduce the cost of the interest I pay by a staggering €29,000. That slight adjustment would make such a difference to my retirement plans. Of course everyone’s circumstances will be different, with varying interest rates making the difference higher or lower for others – but it’s at least worth checking out the ‘Extra Mortgage Payments Calculator’ on ccpc.ie to see what difference it could make to your mortgage. As a rough guide, let’s say you have 25 years left on your mortgage, with €200,000 left to pay on an interest rate of 3%. If you are able to pay an extra €300 per month, you can pay it off in 17 years (rather than 25), saving €30,000 in interest payments. 

If you’re in a position to increase your payments, and like the sound of cutting years off your mortgage, it’s advisable to talk to a financial advisor. They will help you assess if that’s the best solution for your specific circumstances.  

The Break-Up

The Break-Up

After much consideration over whether this was the right time to share this with you all…I wanted to announce that we have broken up. We have broken up with Sky TV and we haven’t looked back since… 

In our house, we watch TV! We have it on in the background, we catch up on favourite programmes, we keep up to date with what’s going on in the world. Getting rid of TV in order to save money was never going to be an option for us. But getting rid of monthly fees and still watch all the TV we like, well sign me up!  

We were previously paying €70 a month, which works out at €840 a year. When we started to look at different ways to reduce our monthly outgoings, we reduced this to €54 a month by dropping some of the features that we didn’t really need. However, this was still working out at €648 a year and in an effort to further reduce this, we looked into other options. 

That’s when we came across Free-to-Air satellite television, specifically the FreeSat service. With over 90% of the most watched channels (and 100% of what we need) available to watch for free, it was the perfect replacement for us. I’m not at all an expert in this area, but what I know is that we still have all the channels we want, with no monthly fee. We paid a once-off €200 to get a Freesat box, it’s made by Humax, we got it on Amazon and it’s completely legal 😊 We have over 200 channels, a really easy to use TV guide, we can record/pause/rewind/forward, can control it using their mobile app and we’ve access to various Catch-Up and Players through the box.  

As the FreeSat service provides the UK channels, we just needed to pick up an aerial so that we could receive and tune in the Irish channels, you can pick these up for less than €20. We haven’t missed anything from Sky, in fact aside from getting rid of a monthly bill, we haven’t noticed any difference! I really do recommend it for anybody looking to save money on their TV bills, we’ve been using it for 3 months now and I’ve no complaints at all – we’ll be saving almost €650 every year and that makes me happy! Take a look and see would their program offering suit you and your family! 

Like I say, I’m not an expert on this by any means, but do let me know if you have any queries, I’d be more than happy to help out if I can! 

“Influenced” into Debt

When I look around the house at all of the “stuff” I own, I realise that I was ‘influenced’ to buy the majority of recent purchases. Everything from kitchen gadgets, to clothes, to cosmetics – I was buying things I didn’t need, but was convinced that I did.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a huge respect for people who have managed to make a career (or make any money) from promoting products on Social Media. I also know that most people that I choose to follow on Social Media give honest reviews and are not intentionally trying to put any of their followers into debt. 

However, it was my own lack of self-control that allowed these purchases to happen; allowed me to be influenced. Making the decision to spend less, and more importantly waste less, has enabled me to stop the bad habit of spending “just because”. 

I do still follow the fashion, lifestyle, food and beauty bloggers that I admire, I just now know that I don’t need to have the products that they’re promoting. I enjoy seeing the new clothes, the latest makeup and the fancy homewares. But my ‘shopping trips’ happen in my own wardrobe, my ‘beauty salon appointments’ are at my own dressing table and I am influenced to use the things I already have 😊 

If you’re at all like I was, just take a few minutes to think about the ‘why’ behind your purchases. Ensure that you are spending consciously and with good reason. Ensure that by buying something new, you’re not letting something else go to waste. Be more ‘influenced’ into using what you already have.