Dear Lulu Jeh,
I’m broke and I don’t know how to even start fixing it. I took a media job based in Wan Chai a year ago (first time stepping into the industry), and next thing I knew, my monthly expenses skyrocketed. It started with dinners and drinks with people around town, then it was hair, makeup, clothes and accessories. The list goes on, and so do my credit card statements. I’m four credit cards deep in spending instalment plans, and every month I spend more than I earn. How do I get out of this? – 50 Cents
Dear 50 Cents,
I hope you have since realized the fact that putting your expenses on credit is also a form of debt, and that’s precisely the reason why you should always make sure you can afford something before handing over the card, no matter how easy it felt at the moment.
But now that it’s a done deal, you can turn your life around by focusing on repaying your debt. Look at it this way, at least you’re doing this one month at a time, and when the last instalment has been paid off, you will have a fresh financial start.
So your objective now will be to limit your budget and ideally find an extra source of income. Bear in mind the ol’ “what you need versus what you want” rule, and utilize budgeting tools such as the in-app “Budget” feature by HSBC or the Mox in-app spending tracker to really get a good idea of how your finances look like.
At the same time, explore part-time or freelance working opportunities online. If you don’t know where to start, platforms such as Upwork host an established network of employers so you can start getting gigs right away. You mentioned working in media, so I believe it’ll be just a piece of cake for you.
Good luck and add oil, I’m rooting for you.