Spiralling debt despite good income (MyBudget client case study)

Pictured here, one of our Victorian clients Jody has given me permission to share her story with you. Jody’s situation highlights what we know to be a fact—it’s not always low income earners who encounter money problems. It’s possible to find yourself in spiralling, unmanageable debt despite having a good income.

Thirty-three year old Jody joined MyBudget in September 2009, a month before her wedding. When asked what prompted her to contact us, Jody reflects, “I thought to myself I can’t get married and have all this debt hanging over my head—certainly not if we want to start a family in the next couple of years.”

Jody’s money troubles had started three years earlier. The balances on her credit cards were steadily going up and some interest-free purchases had reverted to high-interest bearing loans. “I was paying one credit card with the other and this was going on month-to-month,” explains Jody. “Friends thought I was living the high life with all the latest gadgets and things, but I was basically living beyond my means.”

Despite receiving a job promotion that came with a near six-figure salary package and included a company car, Jody had got herself into a position where her expenses significantly exceeded her income. “I realised I was never going to get ahead and I didn’t know who I could talk with,” says Jody. “I was embarrassed and guilty that it had got that far. I couldn’t talk to my fiancé because we had already had too many fights about money. And I didn’t want to talk to my parents because I felt like I had let them down.” The idea of disappointing her father was especially painful for Jody. Her dad is battling the final stages of cancer and she doesn’t want him to worry about her future.

Jody decided to call MyBudget after hearing an ad on the radio. “I was sceptical at first,” laughs Jody. “And I was nervous about laying my life out on the table. But the experience was brilliant. Everyone at MyBudget has been so friendly. I feel so comfortable with them, and living on the budget they created for me has been pretty easy. I’ve made other changes, too. I’ve started taking my lunch to work and, if I go out for drinks with the girls, I just have a couple of drinks and go home.”

Since joining MyBudget, Jody has paid off two high-interest loans and a credit card. MyBudget has helped to negotiate lower interest rates on Jody’s remaining debt and she is saving money every month. “The best bit,” Jody tells me, “is that I sat down with my dad last weekend and told him how I was budgeting and getting ahead. I haven’t seen him smile so hard in such a long time. I feel like I’ve done him proud.”

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jody. You certainly do have lots to be proud about. Your situation is an inspiring example that with money management skills and a little help people can quickly learn to live (and prosper!) within their means.

Written by Kylie Hughes for MyBudget, Australia

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