For a compulsive spender, reality can be an expensive awakening.
In the case of Nataasha Torzsa, her deepest debt was a $2000 credit card debt and a $13500 car loan in 2014.
Not even that was enough to stop the spending.
“The car was my first car and I was so excited to get it that I didn’t really think about the debt. I don’t regret buying it. It was my first car and still is my only car and I love it.”
She’s not alone there. The bank offered her her first card at 18-years-old.
“I got my first credit card at 18 and it was my highest debt besides my car loan. [If I could go back in time] I would tell myself to not get that credit card.”
But Nataasha couldn’t go back, so instead she made some big steps forward.
Spending without a care
“I spent without any thought and come the week before pay day (I’m paid monthly) I would often live on my credit card just to buy food to eat.
“I would write a budget but not actually track my spending or even try and stick to it.
“I didn’t think ahead for expenses like my registration and would often just take it all out of one pay and then spend the next few weeks totally broke.”
The light bulb moment
Like many an Australian in recent years, her lightbulb moment came in the form of The Barefoot Investor’s book.
“It kind of all hit me at once how I had been living and I told myself I didn’t want to do that for a minute longer,” Nataasha said.
“My mindset has completely changed. Previously, I never thought about what I was spending money on or even if I really needed an item.”
Changing her patterns
“These days I budget and stick to it mostly. I save for future expenses such as my car rego from each pay and I track my spending daily.
“I try and think about whether I need an item before I purchase it and more often than not.
“I will put things back and just walk out of the shop. Of course I do splurge sometimes but my spending on shopping/entertainment etc is rarely ever more then 10% of my income which I’m ok with.”
I never had a full relapse but I did have moments where I thought that I wasn’t making any progress.
“This was usually due to interest on my loan or feeling like I wasn’t earning enough to put on debt even though I was working 7 days a week. I learnt to not compare myself to others who maybe had two incomes and two people working together to pay off debt.
“Over time my spending on certain things such as shopping, or food goes up and down. Those are the two things that I could improve on.”
“I don’t really have any regrets because I’m the type of person who really researches any large purchases.
“I’ve always been someone who tries to spend as little as I can on things like clothing etc, I go for cheap rather than expensive. I value all of my possessions for their own purposes.”