How I slowly got myself into crippling debt and how I got out

Woman not pictured (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Woman not pictured (PHOTO: Getty Images)

My life as a child wasn’t easy as we struggled financially. Money issues continued to plague me into my adulthood.


In 2005, my dad decided to get a second wife. Myself and my sister were moved from our home and school to live with him, leaving my mom by herself. In 2006, he bought himself a house in town and we were left back at our old home in the township, which was in a very bad condition.


I passed matric in 2010 and I was accepted into university. Going to class every day was painful as I had no proper clothes.

I remember my dad going to a store to buy me sneakers. It cost R100 and had to last the whole year. My mom was running an informal day-care and decided to open a clothing account so that I didn’t feel left out. When my dad died, I was still a student.

It came as a huge blow as he was responsible for my welfare. My uncle made promises that he would take care of us since my dad passed on. When I called him to ask for assistance, he was nowhere to be found. My mother had to give me money for my upkeep, which she had to borrow from other people.


My dad’s pension fund money was paid out. Due to peer pressure I bought myself a car and we renovated at home. The same year I sold the car to further my studies and completed my honours degree in political science. Towards the end of 2015, I got a call from a big insurance company saying they wanted to interview me. I got the job and started working in February 2016. My own financial problems started here. I owed the university about R8 000 and I took out my first loan to pay off this debt. I also had a whole new lifestyle of clubbing that required money. I took out yet another loan and I bought a new car. I didn’t need it, but I felt that I had to prove a point to certain friends. I struggled from month to month.

I left my current employer to join another company after I got a better offer. The company I left paid out my pension fund which I spent on useless things. My mom also put a lot of pressure on me to help out financially at home.


Now, at the age of almost 30, I am more financially stable. I’ve paid off my loan and the credit card. I can enjoy a meal or two seeing that I’m no longer in debt. I sat down with my mother and explained my financial situation and she stopped pressuring me with all the black tax entitlements.

I’ve started with the process of unveiling my father’s tombstone and I met with his family to plan how we can do this together rather than placing myself in more debt. My life has been amazing after realising that I should not pace myself by others’ standards.

That if I have to buy something on credit, it means I cannot afford it. I’ve also learned that communities play a pivotal role for us on how we should live our lives. My advice is to have a good understanding of financials and have mentors who will help you make better decisions

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