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How we helped Courtney - in her own words

"I got into credit card debt after being offered a credit card at 18 years old, which I relied on because I was trying to keep up with all of my friends and never wanted to say no to nights out and holidays, which meant I always living above my means."

Using credit as a safety net

"At the time, I was working as a sales assistant at a phone shop and my income was low, and was partly commission based, and therefore I didn’t always know how much money I was going to have each month. I didn’t think much about the implications of having this debt whilst I was so young – I’m not sure many 18 year olds know much about how credit cards work and how best to manage them.

"Whilst I was able to make regular payments, the credit card company kept upping my limit over and over again. Little did I know, I was racking up thousands of pounds of debt, and when I stopped being able to afford the monthly minimum payments, my credit card company started taking money straight out of my debit account. I felt scared, ashamed and like the walls were closing in on me."

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Finding the courage to ask for help

"I felt like I’d reached a turning point, and so I went online and searched for debt relief and that’s when StepChange popped up. I used a mixture of the online tools and the telephone advice and instantly felt supported. It wasn’t until I filled out all the forms that I realised I was £8,000 in debt, which was a bit of a shock to the system – I felt like I’d been operating in the dark for a long time.

"I chose to go on a debt management plan and made an affordable monthly payment towards clearing my debts. Everyone I spoke to was non-judgemental and supportive, which I particularly needed after missing a payment one month. I found the whole process really beneficial and it’s made me a lot better with money going forwards."

Life after becoming debt free

"I’m now proud to say that I’m debt free, which honestly wouldn’t have happened without the help from StepChange. I’ve since gotten a new job and have been able to save for the first time ever, which makes me feel a lot more resilient. I’ve also gotten married and bought a house with my husband after an incredible honeymoon in Thailand.

"I will be forever grateful to StepChange for acting as my lifeline and helping me get out of debt, which for a while felt was impossible. Every person I spoke to was so helpful and non-judgemental, this helped me feel a lot less shameful about my position. I want people out there to know that help is available and that things do get better."

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