This is my story – Amy Rankin

Written by Tracey Davies on 19 November 2014

LR My Story 3

Growing up, I’d always known that I wanted to be a hairdresser. I worked hard at college and was delighted to land a job as an apprentice for a local hairdresser.

I was prepared for the hard graft and long hours but I wasn’t prepared for an apprentice’s wage, which wasn’t very much.

I was living with my partner but we kept our finances separate. We were young and thought it would be better to be responsible for our own expenses.

At first, I didn’t worry when I didn’t have quite enough for my electric or water bill as I just extended my overdraft to cover the excess. I applied for the extension online and it was always granted. But as my wages never covered the amount I needed to pay my essential bills, I kept on applying for overdraft extensions until I wasn’t able to anymore.

It was then that I turned to payday loans. At first it was just the one lender but when I couldn’t afford to pay them back on time, I contacted another payday loan company and it went from there. I lost count of the amount of loans I had.

It wasn’t like I buried my head in the sand either. I was very aware of my financial situation. To everyone else – including my boyfriend, who was unaware of how much debt I was getting into – it seemed like I was really good with money. I was always counting every penny and wouldn’t hesitate to turn down invitations. It wasn’t out of choice though – I just never had any money as it all went on paying one of the payday lenders.

I would have felt like I was getting somewhere if I was actually paying off my debt but all I was doing was paying one payday loan off with another.

It was only when I found out I was pregnant in 2013 that I realised that I needed to seek outside help and contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau.

They gave me PayPlans details and I phoned straight away. As they took me through my options, I immediately felt a sense of relief. I had £6,000 worth of debt when I entered into a debt management plan in 2013. That might not seem a lot to some people, but to me it was a huge amount.

Entering into a debt plan was a turning point for me. I felt like I’d been given a fresh start.

Although I felt very relieved to finally be sorting my debt out, the last few months had taken its toll and my mum was the first to notice that I wasn’t my usual self. After I told her everything, she encouraged me to tell my boyfriend.

He was very shocked as he’d always assumed I was in control of my finances as I was always counting each penny, when in reality it was just because I was counting how much I had to keep my payday lenders at bay for another month.

I am now open with everyone about being in debt. It feels great to see the amount I owe reduce each month.

Alecia was born in March 2014 and I’m determined to show her that you can have a great life without getting yourself into debt.

Filed under Client Stories

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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