United Kingdom

Mum reveals how she went from broke and homeless to property owner in five years

A mum-of-two has revealed how she went from being homeless and borrowing money for baby formula to running a successful business and buying her own home in five years.

In 2016, Cat Tyler, had just two garbage bags worth of clothes and an old car to her name. She was broke, scared and faced bringing up her almost two-year-old daughter alone.

The clinical nurse, now 37, remembers cradling her sleeping toddler in her arms as she sat terrified on the corner of a single bed they shared in a homeless shelter in Sydney.  

In 2016, Cat Tyler, now 37, had just two garbage bags worth of clothes and an old car to her name

Pictured in her home in Canberra, the clinical nurse has had a turbulent five years

Cat says she is now finally looking forward to the future, financial independence and teaching her daughters how to get ahead

Cat, originally from the UK, had pulled the chest of drawers across the door and listened as some of her new neighbours screamed through the night. She shivered through her threadbare sweater and knew she had hit rock bottom.

'I felt like I had my guts ripped out in front of me, you associate homelessness with drugs and mental illness,' she told FEMAIL.

'You don't think it can happen to someone like you, not so quickly and without warning. But it did and in that moment I lost everything I was, my identity was lost and knew I would never get it back.'

Despite having a job and a masters degree in clinical nursing from the University of Sydney, Cat ended up homeless after her relationship to her first daughter's father broke down.

Fast forward five years and she knows losing herself was a blessing because it gave her the shove she needed to become the best version of herself.   

'I probably would have just coasted along and never realised how capable I am otherwise,' she said. 

She is now married to 'an incredible and emotionally supportive man', has bought a house, owns two skin clinics and has had a second daughter.

Pictured left is the home Cat now lives in, right, is the one-bedroom flat she was going to rent for $550 per week after being homeless for six weeks

Cat got a call from an old colleague and relocated to Canberra to build a good life

But the pathway to her 'better life' was difficult and forced Cat to constantly look inside herself for more strength, perseverance and love just to survive.

The then 32-year-old mum lived in the shelter with her baby daughter for six weeks before she found a 'tiny, filthy flat' in Sydney she could rent for $550 per week. It was the cheapest on offer and all she could afford.

The day she signed the lease for the apartment she received a phone call from an old colleague in Canberra who asked if she would relocate to the nation's capital.

'I chucked my daughter in the car and we drove down immediately,' Cat said.

The phone call was the lifeline she needed to get on her own two feet - but her first year in Canberra was difficult and success came at a huge emotional and physical cost.

'I was paying $600 a week for childcare and working long days only to end up with less disposable income then people who are on benefits,'  she said.

'I wasn't prepared for how cold it was going to be in Canberra, so to add to the psychological trauma of my situation there was extreme financial trauma.'

After buying her daughter winter clothes, paying the bills and furnishing their humble apartment there was barely anything left.

Cat now has a second daughter, pictured, a husband and two skin clinics

Her spare time was spent with her daughter, visiting the park and going on fun but free family adventures.   

When Cat moved from Sydney she left all of her old friends behind. 

In Canberra the mum was exposed to a whole new 'type of woman'. These women were empowered and helped her learn how to take control of her own finances.

'I was so beaten down by life I didn't think I was capable of anything,' she said. 

But her new friends helped build her up.

And then Cat met her now husband who helped provide emotional support and helped her to believe in herself. 

In a few short years the sacrifices which came with working 60-hour weeks as a cosmetic nurse and building up a strong client base was worth it. 

The mum said she worked hard to build herself up after losing everything when she became homeless

After realising she was the person bringing in the money at her old clinic, Cat with the help of her husband, decided to learn as much as she could about the 'business side'.

'When the time was right to go out on my own I could, not only had I developed incredible clinical skills but I was now business-savvy too,' she said.

While she was developing her skills she got married, bought a house and welcomed her second daughter into the world.  

'Buying a house was a big one, now I know my daughters will always have somewhere to go - they will never end up totally destitute like me,' Cat said.

'I never thought I would own a house.'

In February Cat opened her first clinic a SILK Laser Clinics franchise, with a second due to open in June.   

She plans to open a third next year.      

'When the time was right to go out on my own I could, not only had I developed incredible clinical skills but I was now business-savvy too,' she said

In February Cat opened her first clinic - a SILK Laser Clinics franchise - with a second due to open in June

Cat plans to teach both of her young daughters to be financially and emotionally independent so they don't have to work things out the hard way, like she did. 

'I was taught how to be a hard worker, never how to get ahead,' she said.

'All the horrible things I went through were for the greater good.

'It taught me to value myself and to be ruthlessly single-minded in business.

'I also don't think I would have pushed so hard if I hadn't fallen so hard - and I would probably just be living some very average life,' she said. 

Cat believes all women should have a good understanding of money, including rights and super. 

The 37-year-old only recently told her mother the extent to her financial problems five years ago. 

'She was pretty sad,' Cat said.

Cat hadn't wanted to bother her mum with her sad state of affairs because she's 'very religious' and wouldn't have been able to help her from the UK.

'It would have just distressed her,' Cat said. 

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