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Martin Lewis frequently offers his insight into a number of money related questions and queries in the quest to help Britons. As Christmas draws closer, the Money Saving Expert explained how sadly debt can prove an issue. The festive period can be a difficult time, and thus Martin had plenty to say to provide support to those who need it most.
Tonight, he let one woman named Lisa Marie tell her story of how she finally managed to overcome her debt worries.
Lisa Marie found herself facing debt after taking out a £3,000 overdraft in her university years.
However, she found this quickly spiralled out of her control, meaning she was in very difficult financial circumstances – £13,000 in debt and with bills racking up.
At one point, when her car broke down, she was even forced to borrow money from her grandmother, an act she described as ‘awful’ and the last thing she wanted to do.
However, after spotting Martin Lewis’ advice in 2015 on gaining debt help, she approached Citizens Advice.
The organisation, designed to help people with financial worries amongst other issues, helped her to plan arrangements for each of her debts.
This enabled Lisa Marie to be able to tackle the issue far better, compartmentalising her debt and gradually working towards paying it off.
She commented: “You worry about it for so long, but then finally the pressure is then released.
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“It proves to be a real weight off your shoulders.”
Lisa Marie was required to make many sacrifices, including curtailing her social life and cooking solely at home, but with perseverance, she was able to push through.
However, this was not the end of her journey, and another piece of advice she spotted from Martin could potentially help thousands of people.
Martin explained many Britons may be able to claim back from banks when it comes to charges.
This option may be available to those who have been placed in financial hardship as a result of charges.
In total, after actioning this, Lisa Marie was able to claim £1,600 back – a further victory to the debt she had already managed to liberate herself from.
As a result, she is now working towards owning her own home – a goal she was unable to achieve throughout her 12 year debt journey.
To achieve similar successes to Lisa Marie, Martin stressed Britons should take action sooner rather than later.
For those struggling with debt, he explained, the matter should not be put off until after Christmas.
This is because many debt advice companies often deal with a backlog in January, which can potentially cause debt to snowball for individuals.
Firstly, he suggested, Britons should go through all of their finances to determine the extent of their debt.
Next, they should maximise paying off debt they have with the highest interest rates.
For most people, Martin explained, this could indeed be an overdraft due to the standard high rates spotted here.
In the journey to paying off debt, the Money Saving Expert said the most important consideration is to not let the matter fester.
Confronting the issue head on, Martin said, can be painful, but will be worthwhile in the end.
Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of MoneySavingExpert.com. To join the 13 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/
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