Taking on the advice that everyone else here has shared like consolidating credit cards into a 0% one for 12 - 18 months and trying to negotiate a payment plan for your hospital bills is a good idea.
As others have mentioned, you need to have a budget and be able to stick to it. Have you taken the time to go through your last 3 months of bank statements and work out where your money is going? That's the only way to identify areas that you can cut back. I'd categories them as:
Then look really hard at each item in those categories, even the must-have (e.g. are you living in a bigger apartment than you need? Do you shop at a fancy grocery store as opposed to a more affordable one?) to see where you can make cutbacks. The only way to get out of debt is to spend less than you earn, use what remains to clear it.
There are plenty of tools out there to help you, like Every Dollar and YNAB. Also worth checking out podcasts by the likes of The Minimalists and reading Your Money or Your Life, which offer very practical advice.
In terms of tackling the debt, you have 2 options:
All the best with your situation. You can do it, your debt is definitely not insurmountable, you just need to be disciplined and make some sacrifices to clear it.
So I’ve just started out also, and in not too much of a dissimilar scenario.
I heard a podcast, read a blog and I was hooked! So like you it started to spiral even further but the 1st real stop for me was this book.
Your Money or Your Life , 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence - Vicki Robbin
There are plenty more out there but this basically gave me a good starting point, leading down a path of more and more resources.
fairly certainly that's the one OP was talking about
It was written many decades ago, and the actual investment advice was very much tied to the times, but the philosophy is still valid, it is entitled “Your money or your Life” . https://www.amazon.com/Your-Money-Life-Transforming-Relationship/dp/0143115766
MMM (Mr Money Mustache) blog and forum are somewhat international, but English speaking based. The blog is a great resource for understanding the math behind savings rates and time to retirement https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/
This guy is a little too out there for me, but Jacob Lund Fisker. Aka “early retirement extreme” or ERE, is a Scandinavian guy who lives by extreme frugality https://www.amazon.com/Early-Retirement-Extreme-Philosophical-Independence/dp/145360121X
He has his own website and forum too
I’m really glad that you’re being honest with yourself, introspective and detailed with your relationship with money. There are a lot of fantastic recommendations already so I won’t belabor the point.
However I’d like to recommend two books that may be of great use for you:
In addition to implementing those tactics, I would encourage you to read this book which does a wonderful job of also adding more logic, data, perspective, “oomf” and meat to the feelings of “this has to stop” you currently have. It’ll be a book that helps your attitude stay changed if you are tempted to relapse.
You might want to read *Your Money or Your Life * - I saw it recommended somewhere here recently, although I haven't started reading my copy yet.
Try not to sweat it - this trust just means that your fiancé has enough money to pursue his art, and to for you to pursue your academic interests.
Assuming you're happy with the way you've been living your lives together, then you can keep doing that, and you have loads of security.
You don't need to worry too much about maximising the earnings from this money. Assuming the £25k loan from your dad is to last you the 3 or 4 year length of your PhD then, even invested quite conservatively, this inheritance will return a bit more than you're used to.
For me, the biggest risk of such a large sum would be of me doing something "clever" and stupid. Buffet is a sophisticated investor, and he has stated that he will instead favour index trackers for his wife. You should probably read up on what those are - one of Bogle's books (Common Sense on Mutual Funds, perhaps?) might be a good start.
It sounds like you are doing everything right. Just don't fall victim to lifestyle creep, keep your savings rate high.
Reading list: (most of them recommend other books within their pages, which are all worth your while to check out also)
If You Can [PDF] author's website: http://efficientfrontier.com/ef/0adhoc/2books.htm
Millionaire Next Door [amazon link]
Your Money or Your Life [amazon link]
Bogleheads' Guide to Investing [amazon link]
Do yourself a favor and read your money or your lifehttps://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0143115766