Soccer, lottery bets add up

PHOTO: Soccer, lottery bets add up

Steve, 46, works in IT, and father of one

Then: He was $65,000 in the red in 2006, which he took six years to pay back.

Now: He saves at least $1,000 a month and no longer has credit cards.

"My debt started growing in the late 1990s. Initially, I had only one loan account, then I applied for more and ended up with seven, eight cards from seven banks. I didn't have savings, and I needed cash because I was in an overseas relationship in 1999 with my girlfriend, who is now my wife.

Air tickets were expensive and I travelled about four to five times a year. Sometimes I would give her money as well, for her and her family. I also used to bet on football matches.

Even though my bets were only $5 to $20 each, this added up to a few hundred because there were so many matches. I also used to spend $60 to $70 on 4D (lottery)... I didn't win much, so I had to take out more money for other things, and I couldn't pay it back so it just snowballed.

My loan amount per account was not much - $7,000 to $8,000 - but it all added up in less than two years or so. I can't apply for new loans now and don't want to. I don't want the same thing to start all over again, so I only have an ATM and debit card.

If I need money, for example, for a holiday, I will have to save up. I also have insurance plans which will help in emergencies."

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