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  • FIRST POST
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 14th Aug 17, 4:24 AM
    • 53Posts
    • 126Thanks
    SusieT78
    SusieT78 Debt Free Diary
    • #1
    • 14th Aug 17, 4:24 AM
    SusieT78 Debt Free Diary 14th Aug 17 at 4:24 AM
    Hello all,

    I'm quite new to MSE. I have another thread where I was asking for debt advice on the main board, so I won't duplicate my posting, but the details are here for anybody interested:
    forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5694050 (I can't link to it as I'm a new poster)

    In summary, I've got myself into a mess with debts that I can no longer afford to pay the minimum payments for, so currently my debt free date is 113 years away (that's if the creditors agree to freeze interest, if not it will be even longer). But, circumstances do change and I hope in the future mine will change for the better and that a debt free date 25 to 30 years may be achievable. At the moment I'm not sure of how I'm going to clear the debt but I've decided to start a diary to record steps I'm taking to reduce outgoings and increase income so I can pay my debts off quicker.

    I've been reading some of the debt free diaries and have found them inspirational with a lot of good advice for the other posters, so even if nobody replies I've decided to write one to keep myself motivated and record my day to day plans. Since I started the other thread I've found that starting to write things down is making me feel less stressed about my situation and helping me think a bit more clearly.

    So far I plan to reduce outgoings by:
    • Sticking to my budget religiously
    • Meal planning / finding low cost recipes / making extra portions so we have homemade 'ready meals' in freezer (to stop the temptation to order takeaway / go to a family friendly pub for tea to eat, as I'm guilty of doing this far too much in the past)
    I plan to increase my income by:
    • Doing surveys for Paypal vouchers - to cover the cost of birthdays/Xmas (any recommendations for good Survey companies appreciated - I've signed up to Swagbucks and MySurvey)
    • Getting a part time job once my youngest child starts school in September 2018, or if I could find a company that offers zero hours contracts where you don't need to agree your working hours until a few days in advance I could start work sooner (partner works fulltime unsociable hours, shifts and often doesn't find out what he's working until the week before, we have nobody that could help with childcare and paying for childcare would wipe out any wages), or if there is any genuine work from home opportunities I could do once the kids are in bed of an evening. I need to look into this once I've let all the creditors know I am in financial difficulty.

    My current unsecured debt is approx £45k
    I owe a relative £1k
    My remaining mortgage is £39k
    Total debt August 2017: £85k
Page 1
    • Poor_Single_lady
    • By Poor_Single_lady 14th Aug 17, 7:45 AM
    • 1,105 Posts
    • 4,173 Thanks
    Poor_Single_lady
    • #2
    • 14th Aug 17, 7:45 AM
    • #2
    • 14th Aug 17, 7:45 AM
    Hi Suzie.
    Welcome to diary land.
    Hope your diary is helpful.
    It is very friendly over here. You will get sorted even if it takes a long time. Quite a few of us are here for the long haul.
    And if you don't mind me saying your mortgage is tiny so that is a major positive.
    wishing you very best of luck. xx
    Last edited by Poor_Single_lady; 23-08-2017 at 8:29 PM. Reason: fat finger
    2017- 5 credit cards plus loan
    Overdraft And 1 credit card paid off.

    2018 plans - reduce debt
    • swimminginaseaofdebt
    • By swimminginaseaofdebt 14th Aug 17, 9:10 AM
    • 602 Posts
    • 3,232 Thanks
    swimminginaseaofdebt
    • #3
    • 14th Aug 17, 9:10 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Aug 17, 9:10 AM
    Hi Susie,

    Popping in to wish you lots of luck!

    Valued opinions, yougov, onepoll, prolific academic and ipsos are some other survey sites you might want to check out.
    SPC11 #564
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 14th Aug 17, 9:43 PM
    • 48,510 Posts
    • 178,584 Thanks
    beanielou
    • #4
    • 14th Aug 17, 9:43 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Aug 17, 9:43 PM
    Happy shiny new diary

    You could get in touch with one of the debt charity's for some help.
    Also you could pop up a SOA/income/ expenditure.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding***
    • Hayles70
    • By Hayles70 14th Aug 17, 11:06 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 50 Thanks
    Hayles70
    • #5
    • 14th Aug 17, 11:06 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Aug 17, 11:06 PM
    I just wanted to say hi and tell you that your not alone.

    Have you tried catering companies, my SIL works for one and she basically says yes or no depending on when she can work. She mainly works at functions like weddings etc at weekends.
    Also I used to work at my local chain pub/restaurant and it was zero hour contracts and we often had staff who needed to fit around their partner's shift work etc. Maybe worth a try.

    Good luck and stick with it.
    LBM 06/07/2017(Last updated 05/08/17) Total Debt = £25,811/£26,698
    BC £11,160/£11,121
    TCC: £6,688/£6346
    NWCC: £7,331/£7299
    Next: £382 My mum: £300
    OD1:£1000 OD2: £450/£150
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 15th Aug 17, 4:54 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    • #6
    • 15th Aug 17, 4:54 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Aug 17, 4:54 PM
    Hi Suzie.
    Welcome to diary land.
    Hope your diary is helpful.
    It is very friendly over here. You will get sorted even if it takes a long time. Quite a few of us are here for the long haul.
    And if you don't mind me saying your mortgage is tiny so that is a major positive.
    wishing you very best of luck. xx
    Originally posted by Poor_Single_lady
    Yes, the mortgage will be paid off in 13 years so I'm fortunate in that respect. The house isn't in the best of areas but we like it here. I expect I'll be here (on the forum) for at least the next 25 years, but I don't mind how long it takes to clear the debt so long as it gets paid back somehow.

    Hi Susie,

    Popping in to wish you lots of luck!

    Valued opinions, yougov, onepoll, prolific academic and ipsos are some other survey sites you might want to check out.
    Originally posted by swimminginaseaofdebt
    Great, I'll check them out.

    I just wanted to say hi and tell you that your not alone.

    Have you tried catering companies, my SIL works for one and she basically says yes or no depending on when she can work. She mainly works at functions like weddings etc at weekends.
    Also I used to work at my local chain pub/restaurant and it was zero hour contracts and we often had staff who needed to fit around their partner's shift work etc. Maybe worth a try.

    Good luck and stick with it.
    Originally posted by Hayles70
    Catering companies or a local pub/chain restaurant would be ideal if they can be flexible. I'll have a look to see if any are recruiting for zero hours locally.
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 15th Aug 17, 5:02 PM
    • 2,099 Posts
    • 9,704 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    • #7
    • 15th Aug 17, 5:02 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Aug 17, 5:02 PM
    'Yes, the mortgage will be paid off in 13 years so I'm fortunate in that respect. The house isn't in the best of areas but we like it here. I expect I'll be here (on the forum) for at least the next 25 years, but I don't mind how long it takes to clear the debt so long as it gets paid back somehow.'

    That is a great attitude right there. I wish you well
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,525
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 15th Aug 17, 5:17 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    • #8
    • 15th Aug 17, 5:17 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Aug 17, 5:17 PM
    Happy shiny new diary

    You could get in touch with one of the debt charity's for some help.
    Also you could pop up a SOA/income/ expenditure.
    Originally posted by beanielou
    I've been using Stepchange's online tool for help. Just deciding whether to get them to manage the DMP or to try it myself.

    My budget
    Housing Amount
    Mortgage £420
    Water £55
    Council tax £116
    Gas £54 (joint bill with gas/elec so have put half for each. It's an old house with old boiler/appliances so not economical to run. The direct debit is being reduced next month but they reduced it once before then put it back to this figure so I'm keeping this figure in to not kid myself )
    Electricity £54
    Household Services Amount
    Building/contents insurance £18
    Telephone/mobile/internet £68 (this is landline, internet and my mobile (PAYG £10 a month), we're tied in for another 12 months then I want to get cheaper internet preferably without a landline, Virgin Media is not an option to switch to)
    TV licence £12
    Repairs/maintenance £31 (contract, will cancel when it expires next May, we've had to claim on it so can't cancel before then)
    Life insurance/pensions £7 (it's a condition of the mortgage to have life insurance)
    Transport Amount
    Spares/servicing £15 (MOT and repairs needed, this figure might be a bit optimistic but I can't afford to put a higher figure on it right now)
    Road tax £16
    Insurance £90 (we did shop around for this the renewal came in at £1800 so obviously we didn't go with that, it's high because of my partner who needs the car to get to work, but we're hoping it will reduce next year as it was less than half this when only I drove the car)
    Breakdown cover £30 (Had to take this out when the car broke down and we needed recovering, but will cancel next year)
    Fuel/parking £100 (petrol for my partner to get to work)
    Food & Housekeeping Amount
    Food, toiletries, cleaning £340 (includes toiletries, cleaning products and any presents we need to buy which will have to come out of the food budget)
    School meals £9
    School trips/activities £5 (averaged out over the year)
    Medicine/prescriptions £22
    Dentist/opticians £14
    Hairdressing £5 (for kids not me, partner shaves his own hair)
    Personal & Leisure Amount
    Clothing/footwear £18 (school uniform and mostly kids clothes, we only buy for ourselves if something gets holes in)
    Sports/hobbies/entertainment £25
    Children's pocket money £5
    Sundries & Emergencies Amount
    Sundries/emergencies £25 This will be our emergency fund, currently have no savings.
    Loan from family/friends Payments put on hold. Outstanding balance of £1k
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 15th Aug 17, 6:02 PM
    • 627 Posts
    • 1,516 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    • #9
    • 15th Aug 17, 6:02 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Aug 17, 6:02 PM
    Re survey websites have a look at these two

    Prolific Academic

    And Opinion Outpost.co.uk

    There are other survey sites but these pay well.
    Debts 15981.64 total paid 2078
    Cashback Earnings YTD £167.10 Survey Earnings YTD £535.12
    • Doris17
    • By Doris17 15th Aug 17, 6:23 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 588 Thanks
    Doris17
    Hi Susie,
    Wishing you luck on you journey.
    Welcome to diary land.
    Doris.x
    • My Own Back Door
    • By My Own Back Door 15th Aug 17, 8:09 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    My Own Back Door
    Good Luck!!
    • louby40
    • By louby40 16th Aug 17, 8:16 AM
    • 1,161 Posts
    • 3,178 Thanks
    louby40
    Hi Susie and welcome - everyone is so friendly and helpful around here. I do a few surveys and although it's a slow process sometimes it soon mounts up.

    Are you signed up to Top Cashback too - if you click through them to buy insurance, anything really you get a payout e.g. I've just changed my gas/elec to EDF and went via TopCashback and got £70. It's basically free money!
    Parent loan PAID IN FULL
    Emergency fund £670/£1000. Christmas savings £50/£600 Car maintenance £50/600
    Kitchen July £12,493 OCT £10,493. 18% paid off
    Barclaycard £233
    Car loan £2890 Mortgage £95,391
    TOTAL DEBT (with mortgage) = £109,024 (without mortgage) = £13,633
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 16th Aug 17, 10:13 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    Thank you all for the warm welcome.

    Not had a good couple of days on the Swagbucks/Surveys front, struggling to find anything I qualify for. Hope that changes soon as I'm intending to pay for Xmas presents using Paypal!
    I'm not a member of Topcashback but do use Quidco - I think they're more or less the same thing?

    Spending wise I'm not doing too badly, been using up food from freezer to avoid doing a "big shop" and taking picnics when I take the kids on (free) days out.

    I am the world's worst procrastinator though and still haven't written to the creditors to tell them I can't afford to pay them anymore. I've finally admitted to myself there's a problem but I really need to tell the lenders too. If I don't do it soon then there'll be another month of payments coming out and that will take me over my overdraft limit for sure. The thought of moving all DDs for everything else to another bank account seems like a mammoth task too. I know it has to be done. I think I'm just a bit nervous because at the moment all payments are up to date, so once I tell them that's it, no going back, credit rating wrecked and no more borrowing.
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 17th Aug 17, 9:23 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    Still not written to my creditors, I don't know why I don't just sit down and do it, I think it's because it's so final once I do it that I'm a bit scared. I've set myself a deadline of the end of the month for getting the letter sent as after that payments will start to become due again.

    I've had a no spend day today. Took the kids for a walk with a picnic in the morning, and went to visit a relative with similar aged kids in the afternoon. Came home and cooked dinner using food we already had in. One of the many reasons I'm in such a financial mess is due to previously taking the kids on expensive days out too often, eating out too much and ordering too many takeaways so at least I've managed to stop those habits.

    I've also told a friend we can't afford to go out for their birthday next month, which I was dreading doing as I hate letting people down, but she was very nice about it and said if you can't afford it then you can't afford it.

    Managed to cash £5 out of MySurvey into Paypal today too, so that's something towards the Xmas fund (there's no room for presents in the new budget).
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 19th Aug 17, 1:15 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    I know it's still early days but I'm doing very well on the no unnecessary spending front, the only things I've bought have been petrol for my partner's commute, milk, bread and sandwich meat, still using up freezer food for meals, although will have to do a 'big shop' next week as the freezers are nearly empty now.

    Rather than go out for a drink a friend came over last night to keep me company while my partner was at work. I said I'd cook but my friend treated me to takeaway instead once the kids went to bed, which was a lovely gesture. We had a good night and my friend has asked to come over again next Friday. so that's nice, still socialising without spending and I'll cook as we can usually get an extra portion if I pick the right meal.

    I have also made a start on writing the letters making my £5 a month offers to the creditors, so they will definitely be received by the end of the month. I still need to finish them off but at least I've made a start.

    I've also signed up for Prolific Academic as suggested, but there's nothing there for me - probably the wrong time of year, I imagine it's a quiet site in August due to Uni holidays.
    I've done as much as I can on Swagbucks and MySurvey, but am still getting screened out alot.
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 19th Aug 17, 3:07 PM
    • 627 Posts
    • 1,516 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    I know it's still early days but I'm doing very well on the no unnecessary spending front, the only things I've bought have been petrol for my partner's commute, milk, bread and sandwich meat, still using up freezer food for meals, although will have to do a 'big shop' next week as the freezers are nearly empty now.

    Rather than go out for a drink a friend came over last night to keep me company while my partner was at work. I said I'd cook but my friend treated me to takeaway instead once the kids went to bed, which was a lovely gesture. We had a good night and my friend has asked to come over again next Friday. so that's nice, still socialising without spending and I'll cook as we can usually get an extra portion if I pick the right meal.

    I have also made a start on writing the letters making my £5 a month offers to the creditors, so they will definitely be received by the end of the month. I still need to finish them off but at least I've made a start.

    I've also signed up for Prolific Academic as suggested, but there's nothing there for me - probably the wrong time of year, I imagine it's a quiet site in August due to Uni holidays.
    I've done as much as I can on Swagbucks and MySurvey, but am still getting screened out alot.
    Originally posted by SusieT78
    Save on postage stamps see if you can email your creditors alot will let you x

    PA can be very seasonal if your spending an hour or two on line your best opening it in your browser and checking it repeatedly.
    Debts 15981.64 total paid 2078
    Cashback Earnings YTD £167.10 Survey Earnings YTD £535.12
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 21st Aug 17, 7:54 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    Save on postage stamps see if you can email your creditors alot will let you x

    PA can be very seasonal if your spending an hour or two on line your best opening it in your browser and checking it repeatedly.
    Originally posted by Scott_Weiland
    I was planning on sending everything recorded delivery so they can't deny they've received it, plus I'm going to ask them to only contact me by snail mail - I don't check my email every day and I can't face the idea of talking to anybody on the phone about it all at the moment. I plan to get a box file going where I can keep all correspondence.

    Thanks for the tip about PA I've had a couple of small tasks off there now
    • SusieT78
    • By SusieT78 21st Aug 17, 7:57 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    SusieT78
    Had a quiet weekend, only popped out to the local shop for perishables. A relative came over for a few hours yesterday afternoon whcih was nice and the upside of having people come visit rather than go out to see them is that we're keeping the house tidier than usual.

    Surveys
    I've had a few small tasks on Prolific Academic today - a couple of 10p, 25p and 45p ones so now got £1.80 pending but they were very quick, so in comparison to Swagbucks it was worth it.
    I've also managed to qualify for a MySurvey and a Swagbucks survey today, and I've managed to order a £5 Mastercard from Swagbucks (which will convert to £4.63 in Payapl), every penny counts for the Kids Xmas present fund, but I won't count the figures in my running totals until they actually arrive in Paypal!

    Cashback
    Quidco payment of £1.07 requested to savings bank account today

    Spending:
    Have decided to start logging every penny I spend from today rather than waiting for the new month on 1st September, so for August I'll just pro rata the figures from my SOA for the 11 days left this month.
    I will now do weekly shops where I buy enough food for 7 days, and then one or two top up shops per week for perishables.
    Have spent £52.56 on the weekly shop today and that should do us 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners plus my partner's food for work.

    Running totals:
    August groceries/toiletries/cleaning: £52.26/120.64 (pro rata for 11 days)
    August Petrol: £0/£35.48 (pro rata for 11 days)
    2017 Paypal Birthday/Xmas fund: £0
    2017 Quidco cashback: £1.07
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 21st Aug 17, 10:38 PM
    • 627 Posts
    • 1,516 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    Nice one re swagbucks and pa stick with swagbucks its a pain at times but i am upto 20 quid off it now :-)
    Debts 15981.64 total paid 2078
    Cashback Earnings YTD £167.10 Survey Earnings YTD £535.12
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 22nd Aug 17, 8:08 AM
    • 2,099 Posts
    • 9,704 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    I was planning on sending everything recorded delivery so they can't deny they've received it, plus I'm going to ask them to only contact me by snail mail - I don't check my email every day and I can't face the idea of talking to anybody on the phone about it all at the moment. I plan to get a box file going where I can keep all correspondence.
    Originally posted by SusieT78
    I found snail mail much less stressful with creditors. You can always scan the documents if you are worried about paper clutter.

    You are sounding very organised and motivated.
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,525
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
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