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Alison Hammond reveals money struggles before fame and who she’s backing for Strictly 2019

Alison Hammond reveals life before TV was spent in her overdraft (Pictures: REX)

Alison Hammond might be a regular face on TV now, but she reveals she’d rather spend money on experiences than belongings since finding fame and financial stability.

She revealed that she used to live in her overdraft before finding fame: ‘Oh my God, yeah! That was like the norm, really. Literally my happy days were when my bank balance would say zero’, she told Metro.co.uk as she teamed up with the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure people don’t miss out on claiming back their PPI before the deadline.

‘Those were like the happiest days, when I used to see zero I used to think “oh thank god!” I used to live in an overdraft, I think it was like £1000 overdraft I used to have and I think I used to need to go into it every single month.’

She admits that while having financial stability is important, she finds money less important now that she doesn’t have to worry about it every month.

Alison, 44, explained: ‘It’s a funny question, I mean what do we need money for really, truly in life? We need it for shelter, we need it for food, for clothes – that’s all we really need money for.

‘So now I am like “oh I’m not bothered about money” but back in the day I was bothered about money, everything was surrounded by money and I wanted to make money.

Alison forged a successful TV career after finding fame on Big Brother (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Now that I have money, it’s a weird one. Now I realise it wasn’t really that important. There’s no amount of money that will ever truly make you happy.’

She says she encourages people to spend money on experiences rather than possessions, as the memories will last longer: ‘I think happiness comes from – it sounds so cliché me saying it, but it really does come from the relationships that you have, that you’re stimulated by your job, you’re not bored in your life, it’s the things that money can’t buy.

‘You can have money but you can be really sad and lonely and not happy at all, but ultimately I think money is obviously important it controls how you live your life, it controls what opportunities you can give to your children, it means you’re not going to be destitute. So obviously money is important but ultimately relationships with your family is more important.

‘I always say to the youngsters nowadays, go and buy an experience rather than buy a thing, don’t buy things, save and buy an experience, just go and enjoy your life because they’re memories that you’ll keep forever.’

Speaking of memories, Alison revealed that the new series of Strictly Come Dancing has brought back fond ones for her – and who she’s backing for the win this year. (Clue: it’s whoever is going to end up with her former partner Aljaz Skorjanec.)

Alison said: ‘It’s a difficult one, I never know how to call it, really. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really know who anyone was this year!

Alison is backing whoever is partnered with Aljaz to win this year’s Strictly Come Dancing (Picture: BBC)

‘Dev Griffin looks good, I think he’s got a bit of rhythm going on with him. Emma Barton might do really well, she looks amazing.

‘Anyone who’s with Aljaz Skorjanec I think they’re going to do well, because he was my ex partner. I’ll always support my Aljaz, I think he’s going to get someone really good this year, I don’t know who, maybe Alex Scott, she looks like she could be really good.’

In terms of advice for this year’s contestants, Alison recommends: ‘Just enjoy the whole process, don’t get too caught up and too nervous with the fact it’s live TV, just enjoy it because it really is a lovely experience and once it’s over you can never do Strictly again, so it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

‘Everything is based around making you look amazing and making you look fantastic so just enjoy it, the dresses, the make up – I’m so jealous even talking about it!

‘It’s a lovely feeling though, I’m not upset to watch the show or with who Aljaz’s new partner is, I just really love watching it because I can remember what we were doing at that time and on the launch night thinking “oh they’re going to be so nervous going out there!” and it’s a lovely opportunity, a lovely thing to do.’

Alison’s working with the FCA to encourage everyone to get their PPI claims in before it’s too late (Picture: Rex Features)

Alison’s also encouraging everyone to make sure they claim back their PPI before the deadline of 29 August 2019, explaining: ‘I do think people should make a decision to make a complaint because many were mis-sold policies back in the day.

‘There’s only one day left and you might not even realise you had it so you don’t want to lose out on that money because obviously you can have some amazing experiences with it!

‘We all leave things to the last minute and I’m like “mum why haven’t you done this!”, my brother’s done it, he got about £7000 back.

‘There are so many claims management companies that can take up to 20% but if you go online to the FCA’s website they literally hold your hand, with a list of providers to jog your memory so you can claim directly for free.’

FCA support is available online at fca.org.uk/ppi or by calling the FCA helpline on 0800 101 8800.

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