finance

Melissa's family were $50,000 in debt. Now, they've bought their dream home.

MyBudget
Thanks to our brand partner, MyBudget

It can take just one run of bad luck to throw an entire family into financial disarray.

Nobody knows this more than Melissa Drysdale, a woman whose family was faced with losing their home back in 2011 when her husband suffered a back injury that left him unable to work at a time when she was also not working.

“All of his overtime was paid in cash so we weren’t getting overtime payments anymore. It all just disappeared,” Melissa told Mamamia.

“His wage was also reduced to a Work Cover rate, which is only 80 per cent of what it normally is. So that was quite a dramatic decrease for us.

“At the time, we had my stepdaughter and we were looking at wanting to start a family and also thinking that it was probably not going to happen with the way things were.”

The couple started to get behind in their bills and payments, having to juggle and prioritise the most pressing ones just to get by.

“It just all started to snowball,” Melissa said. “So we looked at our finances and realised we were getting very close to the point where we would have to lose our house – just to prevent us from having to go bankrupt.”

Melissa said her family looked like they were out of all options when it came to getting help with their finances. Towards the end of 2011, a friend recommended they try the money management service MyBudget to help get them back on track. It was a decision that turned their lives around.

“We had heard of MyBudget but we did not know much about it,” Melissa said. “My friend told us that she had used the service and they had really helped her to save.

“We were a bit sceptical at first, but my friend had been with them for a little while by this stage, and when I told her about the issues we were having she said we should give them a go.

“We were desperate for help but when we actually went in and sat down in their office, I just kept thinking to myself ‘They will not be able to help us’. But, they were able to come up with a plan.

At first, it was very daunting because with the budget they gave us we were only going to have $220 a fortnight to live on, but it was what we had to do and it worked out.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Melissa said that at the time, her family were close to $50,000 in debt and unable to see a way out.

Their predicament isn’t unusual. According to a MyBudget survey of more than 1000 people, it was found that 80 percent of women think life is more stressful today compared to 20 years ago, and that only 16 percent of women have ‘other investments’ such as shares to draw on.

MyBudget also noted that in the 20 years since they were founded, the average Australian mortgage has jumped from around 9 percent of total income to around 30 percent.

So it’s no surprise that the survey respondents named mortgage repayments and ongoing bills their “most stressful commitments”, followed by daily living expenses, rent and credit cards.

In Melissa’s situation, relieving the financial stress of her commitments was top of mind.

One of MyBudget’s first action points for her was to negotiate realistic payment plans for the family.

“The biggest thing they were able to do was to help us negotiate with companies we owed money to,” Melissa said. “We had approached, just for an example, our electricity company and they were really horrible to us. But then MyBudget got them to accept $20 a month as a payment plan.

“Thanks to the payment plans we had with our bills and the budget we lived on, we were able to buy a house closer to my husband’s new job.”

“Then, two and a half years ago, we sold both houses and bought a property up in Victoria with just over an acre and a quarter of land with a big swimming pool. It’s a five-bedroom house and we’ve got a double story unit out the back that my parents live in so I can help look after them.”

Melissa, who is now a mother to a six-year-old boy, said she is actively able to keep across her MyBudget portfolio via their website and app so that if there are ever changes to their budget plans or bills she can easily keep across it.

“It’s awesome and if it was not for MyBudget we wouldn’t have this,” she added.

For expert money advice and more information on what MyBudget can do for your family, visit mybudget.com.au.

MyBudget

No matter what your goal is—to save money, tackle debt, stop living week-to-week, sort out your finances or simply free up time—MyBudget is here to help. Visit mybudget.com.au to find out more

Tags: finance-2 , money , mybudgetadv7 , real-life
00:00 / ???