Monday 8 July 2019

Taking control

Hubs and I have been together for over 14 years now. In that time, we have rented an apartment, got engaged, bought our first house which is still our home almost 13 years later, we had our eldest, then our youngest, so you could say a lot has happened in that time.

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We were very young when we first got our mortgage - and we didn't know how lucky we were at the time to get on the property ladder - but we also moved into a house with nothing in it. When we rented, our apartment came complete with everything, down to the cutlery. So when we had our first home, we had to buy it all, from the ground up.

Our first night we sat on the floor, eating Chinese and drinking warm Moet - a present from my in-laws, but we had no fridge at the time!

Over the years, we upgraded hand-me-down furniture to basic flatpacks to better pieces, as you do.

It took time to build our home. And, of course, money.

We've always been saving towards something, such is life, and getting a handle on finances is really important. It's a shame that this kind of practical, life skills and knowledge isn't taught in schools because I didn't know a thing about mortgages and money matters always baffled me.

When you start a family and build a home, you need to have a plan, set a budget and know what you can afford. Everyone has debt - in fact, one thing I have learnt is that having credit is important, as long as it is managed properly - but it can escalate if you don't keep a check on things. Using credit to pay for essentials or emergencies is one thing, but if it becomes habitual, trying to get things under control can be hard.

The important thing is to be clear on where you stand, what you owe and what you can afford. There should never be any shame in seeking advice and there is support out there, if you need it, to understand your situation and how you can get to where you want to be in a good amount of time, with as few setbacks as possible.

You can speak to a debt management company to discuss your circumstances and see if they can help; for instance, if you live in Scotland, you could contact Debt Help Scotland. There's lots of information available here as to the free debt advice on offer and what you can expect. If you do your research, it could end up being the best way for you to take control, so you can plan for the future you want, without money woes holding you back.

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