Video: Donna pays off her credit cards

Donna pays off her credit cards

Video transcript

Donna Maslan, a teacher in her 30s, talks about the effects of overwhelming debt and how she was able to break the debt cycle.


Donna Maslan: I ended up becoming a teacher through finding out I actually enjoyed working with kids and interacting with kids and their minds are the most amazing things, they see things that we'll never see, and every day I'm learning from them.

Surviving for ten years in a profession that is, I would say, pretty undervalued in terms of what we get paid is difficult, but I think sometimes we have to look at job satisfaction as well and what I get out of, you know, life in general.

And money isn't everything, it's really hard to live like money isn't everything but we try our best.

When I was at school the only money education I had was how to fill out a cheque so, spending money (laughs). My relationship with money has been a complicated one - addicted to spending in the past. I was in a past relationship and it wasn't a healthy relationship. We tended to spend when we felt depressed to make ourselves feel better and we also tended to spend, using credit cards, spend frivolously on things we didn't need. And that led basically to a debt being, you know, amassed of about thirty grand.

Yeah, $30,000 worth of debt is soul-crushing, it's just so suffocating and it feels like it's sitting over you at all times. So that's really, oh, it's awful, you know.

I used to have, I think it was three credit cards at one - at the worst - point in time. Using one credit card to pay off bits of the other all that sort of stuff and barely making minimum payments

About two years ago, the revelation came and it was just like, whoa, this has, this has got to stop. The main thing I've done to get myself under control is a budget and then sticking to that budget, which is so difficult.

And to help make me stick to that budget I kind of have it up in places and reminders everywhere. Setting a limit, so every week my limit for what I can spend is $100. That's it, after I pay all my bills and, you know, pay all the debt and all that sort of stuff, $100 a week is all I have to spend and that has to go on petrol and any public transport I take. If I want to go to the movies, if I want to eat out, that's all I've got and once that's gone, I do nothing.

I'm about halfway through paying it off, constantly checking on it I find helps and actually trying to be excited every thousand you get down, like, now I'm at $16,000, yeah!

You know all of that sort of stuff - when I get to $16,000 (laughs).

The minute you get in control of your finances and the minute you, you know, that burden is lifted off your shoulder, you start becoming a calmer person and so, you know, I'm less anxious about paying bills, I'm less anxious about whether I can afford things.

Live within your means, never spend anything you don't have and always keep a fund for a rainy day. When you start to drag yourself out of that debt and you can see improvement then you start to feel better.

But it's about living every day like you need to achieve those goals and remembering every day about those goals.

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Last updated: 09 Aug 2016