'I'm $62K in debt. I have no idea how I'm going to afford Christmas.'

The stress of Christmas for most people is already an awful experience.

The planning, the cooking, the decorating, the running around like a headless chook - things tend to get intense over the holiday season.

But the stress of Christmas for those with immense debt - now that’s a whole other level of angst.

I have over $62,000 worth of debt. Sounds terrible doesn’t it?

I’m not even 30 years old yet I already have a colossal amount of debt to my name. Half of it is thanks to my HECS debt, for a degree I don’t even use by the way. And the rest of it is made up of credit card bills, vet bills, and money I owe my loved ones.

It admittedly was a real struggle breaking down the ins and outs of my finances for this story. Especially since most of my debt comes from bad decision making in my early twenties.

I’m still paying off a credit card that I haven’t used in over four years. I’m still paying off my dog’s vet bills, despite him passing away several years ago. I’m still paying back my brother, who lent me $7,000 more than five years ago. And I still owe my grandparents over $9,000 for a car I bought 6-7 years ago.

I assume you’re all wondering - how am I in so much debt? And why haven’t I paid it off? First things first... in my early twenties I made little to no money. 

I was studying full time at university and had this weird fixation with finishing my four year double degree in three years.

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

I still don’t know why I did this - I guess my competitiveness in finishing my degree early got the better of me. 

Anyway, because of this, I barely had time to work so I lived off Centrelink payments. But it would be ignorant of me not to mention my heinous spending habits in my early twenties. 

Every leftover dollar I had went towards alcohol and takeout. Kebabs and cheap vodka were tragically my kryptonite back in those days. And when I did eventually get a job, my terrible spending habits persisted. 

I think my worst financial decision came when I graduated university and wanted to travel overseas to celebrate. I mistakenly got myself a credit card and booked myself a trip to the UK.

However, due to careless spending on my credit card I had no money for the holiday, which led to me cancelling the trip. It still makes me cringe thinking about those poor financial decisions, mostly because it reminds me of my father.

He was TERRIBLE with money. He constantly spent money he didn’t have. He would always gamble away his savings in an attempt to make more. He even put my mum in debt when they divorced. And he would repeatedly borrow money from relatives and not pay them back. 


My father is no longer in my life but I worry his money habits may have brushed off on me. I hate that I still owe my loved ones money. I hate feeling that constant sense of dread every time I see my brother and grandparents.

They never mention the debt - probably because I borrowed money from them so long ago. They probably think I’m never going to pay it all back. Sometimes I worry that that may be true. 

I don’t want them to ever think I’ve forgotten about the money I owe them. Because trust me I remember - I think about it everyday. I feel like I have this dark cloud following me wherever I go. I wish I could work a regular 9-5 office job five days a week so I can finally pay off all my debts. 

But I tried that - I’ve tried and failed so many jobs like that. In the end they were all detrimental to my mental health. 

As someone with depression, anxiety and ADHD I struggle with full-time jobs.I don’t work well under pressure and I have an incredibly short attention span. 

Listen: Girlies Managing Their Own Money. Post continues after podcast.

I need breaks in the day to recoup otherwise I completely shutdown. 

And I have a terrible memory - even though I write everything down in my planner and phone calendar, I will always forget something. 

No wonder I kept losing work in my early twenties. The job I have now may not pay too well, but god do I love it.

It’s flexible, my boss is amazing, the work isn’t mentally straining and it gives me time to work on my business and do freelancing. 


But since it’s only part time, I’m not earning a great deal of money. Trying to pay off your debts with a $36,400 yearly salary is not an easy task. 

Hopefully as my business continues to grow, I’ll be making more money soon. But sadly ‘soon’ just doesn’t feel soon enough.

This is why I get so nervous about Christmas every year. Honestly, how do people do it? How do people afford the food, the presents, the time-off work? How do people keep within their budgets and not go overboard on spending?

There’s so much pressure to spend all this money on your loved ones to show them that you care.

But what if the money you’re spending on them is seen as the money you should be paying them back with?   

We’re told Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but how does one feel the joy when they’re broke AF?

I hate how careless I was in my early twenties. And I hate that past me didn’t give a damn about future me.

Because it’s future me that’s in debt. It’s future me that always has to make a walk of shame whenever I see my relatives. It’s future me that’s had to deal with the consequences. 

I just urge all the young people out there to please be smarter with money. Educate yourself and work towards becoming financially literate. 

The reckless spending is just not worth it in the long run. 

Feature Image: Canva.

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