Welcome to our latest interview in the series – Earn Extra Money From Home.
I really enjoy writing these articles and hope you enjoy them too.
By sharing these stories I hope to give you some inspiration.
Maybe you have an idea about making some extra money online?
Or maybe you are interested to see how other people earn some extra money online and from home?
Whatever your reason I hope throughout this series something really stands out or helps you to start on your journey with earning extra money from home.
Today I am very happy to introduce you to Sara, debt adviser, Wonga basher and hero of the people.
1. Please, can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I became an adviser at Citizens Advice over 15 years ago and that developed into a deep interest in debt advice and how it can be improved in Britain.
I’ve lived in London since I was 21 and in the same house in South London since 1987. I live with my partner, who is retired, and my springer spaniel.
I have two children in their mid-twenties who also live in London so we meet up for dinner every few weeks.
I write articles that answer the common questions people have about personal debt and credit ratings in Britain. And I also blog about debt policy – talking about the changes I would like to see.
On Sundays, I publish a round-up of the week’s debt news which is read by a lot of debt advisers.
3. What were your initial goals?
I wanted to provide a common-sense overview of the options people had if they had debt problems.
So people looking for information on the internet could get sensible, good quality advice but delivered in a way which is a bit less stuffy than the big national debt charities – a few pictures, a few exclamation marks, just more casual, and with as little jargon as possible.
I guess I wanted to focus on some important things that aren’t taught at school!
And they often aren’t very well covered in newspapers and magazines either.
People tend not to read the small print about loans, credit cards or credit reports.
Partly because it doesn’t look important and partly because, if you don’t know what you are looking for, it can all seem confusing.
For example, everyone knows know they will pay off a credit card sooner if they pay more than the minimum.
But millions of people don’t realize that it could take 12, 15 or more years if they only pay the minimums and they are horrified at that.
4. Have these changed over time?
After Wonga was made to refund some of its customers, I wrote a blog saying that perhaps a million people in Britain should be able to get refunds of the interest they paid on payday loans.
That led to me telling people how they could complain to a payday lender and how easy it is to take a case to the Financial Ombudsman.
By late 2015 I had added a free template letter to the article. Now, 3 years later, it easily my most read article and readers have left more than 10,000 comments.
So much of my last few years has been responding to those comments and writing other articles helping people with the process.
Also, readers wanted to know if they could do the same for other sorts of expensive lending.
And they can, but it’s a bit different complaining about a guarantor loan, or a doorstep loan, or a large, medium-term bad credit loan. – so they all need separate articles.
The other area that I never expected to be writing about regularly is credit ratings. A whole industry has grown up around credit reports in the UK in the last few years, but too many articles in the press just repeat the same things, not answering with the real questions people have.
5. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Well, there is a steady stream of people saying what large refunds they have got from payday lenders!
It’s also great when someone leaves a comment saying they followed my article and got a default removed from their credit record, or they got the mortgage they wanted, or they got the courage to go bankrupt and they are so much happier now.
And although I started out as a debt adviser blogging, somewhere along the way I have turned into a journalist as well… and it is good fun to be on the trail of an interesting news story.
6. What is the most challenging thing you have faced in blogging?
Pictures. Bane of my blogging life.
A good picture can help to get over part of a story in a way which has a lot of impact.
But pictures about debt and credit rating are so dreadful!
Beautiful people in their 20s sitting on a white leather sofa looking at their Apple laptop pretending to be horrified.
Yuk. Not many of my debt advice clients look like that!
Sometimes I wish I was interested in clothes or goldfish or gardening – where you can get an interesting picture to illustrate blog.
Most of my readers find me through organic search, so Google is more important for me than social media.
But I am active on Twitter which I use as a source of news for what’s happening in debt advice, benefits, poverty and other topics that I am interested in.
And I am a member of a blogger Facebook group which is a great place to discuss the technical side of blogging that the rest of the world has no idea about – or interest in.
8. Finally, where can readers find you?
I’m @debtcamel on Twitter and my Facebook page is Debt Camel.
Thank you Sara!
I highly recommend you to check out Sara's blog, it is jam-packed with lots of helpful articles and insights to getting your finances back on track.
If you enjoyed this interview then you will love some of our other interviews.
These include how to make money writing, a blogger who paid off $60,000 of debt, a pro seller on Etsy and much more.
Check out the interview series —–> Here.
Other articles you may find useful include:
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Thank you again for reading today’s article.
Take Care & Keep Smiling