Debt free: ‘How I cleared half my debt in one day’ – one woman’s unconventional approach

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Rewind Vicky’s life ten years and it was a completely different story to the one she lives today. Drowning in more than £8,000 worth of debt racked up by continually overspending and living beyond her means, she decided she’d had enough and was desperate for a solution. When she heard about a friend’s dad winning some money on a quiz show, her ears pricked up.

Vicky explained: “It all started when a friend’s dad had been on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’. He had won some money and my friend had appeared on a couple of quiz shows as well.

“I have never for one minute wanted to be famous, but by this point I was in debt management and I felt rather desperate,” she continued.

“I never imagined I’d ever get through the audition process, let alone get on a show or even win something, but I had nothing to lose.”

Once the seed had been planted in her mind, Vicky started to do some online research and came across a website that lists shows looking for contestants called Be On Screen.

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She filled out a form to go on Tipping Point, at that time, it was relatively unknown and had only been on TV for one series, and she was called almost immediately and asked to audition.

“I was in shock when I was shortlisted, but absolutely delighted,” Vicky said. “It was the first show I’d applied for and I’ve learnt now that it’s a good idea to apply for shows that aren’t too well known as they have less applications.

“On the day, there is a lot of waiting around – but you are looked after so well. Food and drink, hair and makeup, and they iron your clothes for you! I had a really good day and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone because it was an enjoyable experience.”

Apart from the fact it was a day she would never forget, Vicky won £2,750 even though she was so nervous that she couldn’t get a word out to start with.

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“When I told my debt adviser I had won the money she nearly fell off her chair,” Vicky laughed. “It’s definitely not a recommended approach to paying off debt, but it worked.”

Since then she’s developed a bit of a taste for going on quiz shows – winning a further £2,000 and publishing her own E-book on her blog, to help others who might be interested in following in her footsteps.

Vicky spiralled into debt when she lost her job not long after saying goodbye to her beloved dad, but thanks to the help of a local charity called Christians Against Poverty she’s now debt-free.

Recalling how she got into debt, Vicky said: “Time went by, and I hid my head in the sand. I wasn’t earning enough money and kept putting things on credit cards.”

Her story is one that is all too familiar – like many other people in debt she felt ashamed to admit that she couldn’t afford to do some things.

Now, she would like to open up the dialogue about debt, because she says half the problem is that British people don’t like to talk about money.

“I was too embarrassed to admit I couldn’t afford to do things, and kept doing them anyway,” Vicky said. “Whether it was going on holiday with family, or going out with friends.

“When one card was maxed out I did a zero percent balance transfer and moved it to another card and started again.

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Vicky’s story is a little unconventional and going down this route won’t be for everyone. That said, she does have some tips that she’s picked up over the years for anyone who might be considering trying their first quiz show:

  • Consider applying for newer shows as these will have a fraction of the applicants compared to the more popular ones.
  • Don’t be afraid to be yourself. If called for an audition don’t panic – producers are looking for a mix of people.
  • Have fun and enjoy it for what it is. Vicky never in a million years thought she’d win – so when she did it was a bonus.

It might not be too long before Vicky graces TV screens once again. It was only recently that it crossed her mind that it’s been a while since her last TV quiz show appearance.
She concluded: “I’d absolutely love to be on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’. But like I said, it’s not easy getting on popular shows like this, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

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