Money epiphany moments of credit report agency staff
Staffers at credit reporting agency Credit Simple have revealed their money "epiphanies"- the moments when they woke up to the downsides of the dumb ways they were managing their money.
With money lives having got significantly tougher thanks to low pay, insecure work, a housing crisis and high rents, the perils of wasting money have become sharper.
But in every life, a moment comes when it's time to become financially responsible, and for many of the staff at Credit Simple, which gives the public instant access to its credit reports for free online, that was prompted by a nasty money shock.
Often it involved ruinous consumer debt, but piles of "junk", which cost a fortune, but were worth very little, also caused financial rethinks.
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For others, it was the result of a desire to become mortgage free.
For Hazel Phillips, Credit Simple's head of communications, it was the desire to be mortgage-free.
"I sat down to do some hard budgeting, using an online budgeting tool. I knew I had some frivolous spending, but I also had some spare cash."
"By crunching the numbers, I figured out how to live the life I want while still being able to overpay my mortgage so I can become mortgage-free sooner. Instead of sticking my head in the sand, I looked at the cold, hard truth of the numbers."
Some of her colleagues were shocked into their epiphanies.
One of its bloggers, David Slack was shunted into the real world by the closure of the parental line of credit.
"The day my Dad closed the bank of Mum and Dad when I was in my twenties. If things got tight, I'd just go to him and ask for a loan. Finally he said, 'You've got to do this on your own', and of course he was right."
It's very easy for financially inexperienced young people to make ends meet using debt.
"I racked up a pretty nasty credit card debt when I was 19-20," said Simplicity tech specialist Emily Price. "I realised I needed to pay it off and just not spend what I want. I've also recently gotten married and we're looking to the future – really investing and budgeting in the right way to buy a house, go on nice holidays and enjoy life without the worry."
It was a stuff-crunch that woke Emma Kendal up to how much she was spending on nice-to-have possessions.
"I realised how much junk I had wasted my money on which I had to throw out because there was no space for it. Then when I had to start paying rent and bills and food at the same time I realised I couldn't just 'wing' my finances – I needed a reliable system."
Most people wake up to the perils of consumer debt without having to face a personal financial crisis, but not all.
Elena Moskalenko experienced hers in the Ukraine. "My money moment was when I was living in the Ukraine and we borrowed a substantial amount of money, then there was the financial crisis. It was worse than the global financial crisis. The price of groceries went through the roof, and I was expecting my daughter at the time. We had to get by on almost nothing."