“I paid off £20,000 debt WITHOUT giving up holidays and shopping – here’s how”
Shaurna Cameron, 29, says she has racked up £20,000 in debt with loans and credit cards spending on luxury items, but has put her finances in order and doesn’t have more debts
Image: Jam Press/@thebougiebudget_uk)
A woman has shared her top tips for saving money after paying her £20,000 debt – without giving up on frivolous delicacies.
Shaurna Cameron, 29, from London, first ran into financial trouble when she graduated from university in May 2013.
The money troubles started after she got her first full-time job with a salary of £17,000.
At the time, Shaurna was feeling ‘rich’ which prompted her to spend money on clothes, bags and ‘unnecessary things’ as well as expensive trips .
If she couldn’t afford it with her monthly income, she would go into debt using a credit card .
It wasn’t long before Shaurna was in debt.
“When I couldn’t afford to pay for my flights directly, I didn’t hesitate to put that money on a credit card,” compliance specialist Shaurna told news agency Jam Press.
“That meant that in June 2016 [three years later]I had accumulated around £20,000 in credit card and loan debt.
“At first I didn’t really take it seriously – I was 24, living at home and had moved house a few times, so by then I was making £30,000.
“I paid my bills on time, but I was only making minimum payments on my credit cards.
“It really started to get to me when I was talking about money to my peers and they were shocked at the amount of debt I had accumulated.
“I thought it was normal or at least not something to worry about.
“Hearing the shock from others was a real wake-up call.”
Shaurna took out a debt consolidation loan in August 2018 to pay off his credit cards, created a four step budget, took extra jobs to get more income and shared some other tips below on how from which she got rid of debt.
She said: “It’s not something I would recommend because it’s basically replacing debt with more debt.
“However, at the time, it was the best option for me.
“I also had to do a lot of work to prevent myself from instantly putting purchases on a credit card.
“It had become a bad habit for me to always use my credit card and it’s something I’ve struggled with ever since.
“However, I never went into debt again.”
To make sure she could afford the money, Shaurna set herself a budget, following a four-step ‘zero-based’ system.
This includes identifying income streams, tracking and categorizing expenses, ensuring that its total income stream minus its expenses equals zero.
In other words, all of his money is affected, including allowing treats – and, finally, being flexible and adjusting the budget if necessary, as with recent increases in the cost of living.
She said: “It doesn’t matter if you write it down on paper or electronically, but it’s so important to have a plan in place for your money and to understand where all your money is going.”
Shaurna also looked for secondary sources of income alongside his work.
She said: “There are so many different hustles you can do without taking too long.
“My personal favorites are virtual tutoring, surveys on AttaPoll and Prolific, and market research with Bunnyfield.”
She also set clear financial goals, which Shaurna says are key to saving money and paying off debts.
For the Londoner herself, this may include limiting the number of takeaways she orders and planning for future travel and shopping.
She currently has “medium and long-term sinking funds” dedicated to trips to Croatia and Mexico, as well as the purchase of a Dior tote bag.
Shaurna thinks not limiting yourself too much is crucial for long term success.
She added: “It gives me something to work towards and allows me to focus on continuing to improve my finances.
“A good budget allows you to do the things you love – it can be something as small as grabbing a coffee to go once a week.
“While a budget is the foundation of financial success, it’s really important to have a balance.
“I’ve been able to quadruple my salary since graduating in 2013 and I love spending my disposable income on nice things.
“To do this, I budget for treats, like getting my hair done, doing my nails and eyebrows, or going on a little shopping spree.
“If I want to go on vacation, I want the best room in the best hotel.
“However, I will do a lot of research to make sure I get the best deal and put a plan in place to make sure I pay cash for everything.
“I balance this with a zero-based budget, which ensures that all my bills are taken care of. I also prioritize savings and use online challenges to ensure I always contribute to my future.
“After taking care of these essentials, I use my disposable income to buy whatever I want.”
This way, Shaurna managed to enjoy trips abroad while paying off his debts.
She also sets aside leftover money from her budget, such as saving money she didn’t spend but had previously allocated for groceries, which can be used for treats.
However, another important part of paying off debt is reaching out and finding others who can support you on your journey without judgment.
Shaurna shares money saving tips on Instagram (@thebougiebudget_uk) and has also found her own community of people to turn to.
She became debt free in December 2021.
She said: ‘The British Debt Free Community on Instagram has been very helpful to me and I have learned a lot from them.
“If you’re not on Instagram, Facebook has similar accounts dedicated to saving money and it’s always worth reaching out to friends and family to discuss money and budgeting.
“I’m very lucky to have the career and income that I have and I know that in these tough times a lot of people don’t care about being ‘candle’.
“First of all, it’s really important to focus on your own finances and tailor the advice you receive to your personal situation.
“Second, comparison steals joy. As long as you’re doing the best you can with the money you have, there’s no point in comparing yourself to someone else.