Wednesday 18th July 2018. For the first time in my entire adult life, I was debt-free.

No loans, no finance repayments, no overdraft, no credit card bills, no monthly contracts.

My journey into debt started when I was offered my first personal loan and credit card at age 18. Of course, I maxed out on both of these. But that was fine because owing money to the bank was like a rite of passage. Monthly repayments and finance agreements meant I was definitely an adult now.

Fast forward 11 years and at age 29 I owed just over £10000 to various banks and finance providers.

I never considered myself to be a reckless spender. My attitude was that some debt was unavoidable and as long as I could afford the monthly repayments, there was no problem.

Well recently my attitude towards debt changed and I made it a priority to become debt-free.

Here are my 2 pieces of advice for anyone struggling to clear their own debts.

Use opportunity money to pay your debts

There are times in our lives when for one reason or another, money comes our way. This might be an annual bonus at work, maybe a relative has left you some cash after their passing, or even after a lucky evening on the lottery.

Whatever the case, if you have outstanding debt you should use these opportunities to pay off as much of it as you possibly can. Don’t spend that money on a new wardrobe or a holiday. This is important. When you are flush with cash, use that money to pay your debts. Your future self will thank you for it.

Sell some stuff

I recently sold my entire vinyl collection. Around the same time I also sold my car, as well as some other smaller items. None of this was primarily financially motivated, but the extra cash allowed me to pay off the last of my debts. Specifically an £800 credit card balance and a £1000 overdraft.

What items could you sell to raise some cash to help clear your debts?

Do not be afraid of letting go of your possessions. I loved my vinyl collection but felt a huge sense of liberation after letting go of something that had gradually come to define my identity over the past decade.

You’ll need to make some short-term lifestyle sacrifices to clear your debt. But it’s worth it. Making smart decisions with your money will become a habit. After you regain control of your money and wave goodbye to your debt, you’ll naturally continue to be intentional with your finances and create a simpler, more stress-free life.

I am taking the next step by exploring smart saving and investment options. Something I could never do while in debt.