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  • FIRST POST
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 21st Feb 14, 6:56 PM
    • 1,499Posts
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    ani*fan
    Tales from the city
    • #1
    • 21st Feb 14, 6:56 PM
    Tales from the city 21st Feb 14 at 6:56 PM
    Hi there

    How is everyone? All good I hope. I had a diary on here for a few years called Tales from a Country Cottage. I won't bother with a link, it really wasn't exciting, but I do remember the wonderful support you lovely people offered me, and the joys of matched betting, mystery shopping, online free bingo (that was a good one) and various other strategies for making cash. All good stuff.

    I have since moved to the city, hence the new diary and its new name. This feels very much like a fresh start and my goodness, I need one.

    I was previously determined to clear my debt and at times actually managed to make it go down. Then life happened, threatened redundancy, separation from ex- OH, a house move, and then another one, then an application to do a PhD and various other expensive things that meant I took my eye off the ball.

    And boy, did I...

    My debt is now eye- watering and bigger than it has ever been in my life. I'm scared that I won't make ends meet every month and I have managed to max out 2 credit card in the last 6 months. I am constantly worried that something will go wrong with my car and not only do I have no money to get it fixed, I have no credit either.

    Things are desperate, more so than they have been in years. I have moved to one of the most expensive places in Britain (not my choice, it was where I was offered a training post, £15 for fish and chips...really??) and am currently in a panic that I may need to give up my PhD and move back home. My debt repayments every month are massive and sometimes I can't cope with checking my accounts online.

    So I was sat here feeling helpless and depressed and wondering what on earth I was going to do. Then I remembered this place. And suddenly I'm all inspired again.

    Maybe, just maybe, there's a chance I can sort this out.

    I know what needs to be done. I have to sort out my spending, I have to cut back on everything, I have to find ways to make extra cash, I have to seek out freebies, I have to find ways to live cheaply and most importantly I need to PAY OFF THE DEBT.

    I can do it. And you are all my inspiration.

    Thank you so much for reading and if you want to drop by and share your thoughts, feel free.

    Time to get started!

    a*f








    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
Page 42
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 18th Apr 17, 9:06 AM
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    greenbee
    I'd advise waiting until you're in before you start buying things for the new flat. Once you're living there you might find you want different things to those you'd envisaged. Plus having the space to get work done and give the place a really deep clean is always a bonus in the first few weeks! You don't want your 'new' stuff getting damaged/dirty, or to be constantly moving boxes around.

    Trust me ... I've been living amongst my renovations for 3.5 years now!
    • Fortune Smiles
    • By Fortune Smiles 18th Apr 17, 12:19 PM
    • 2,570 Posts
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    Fortune Smiles
    Don't worry Ani. As a wise forumite once said to me "What's for you won't go by you".

    Fortune x
    Mortgage: 2.02% paid House Deposit Contribution: 84% Emergency Fund: 43%

    All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us - J R R Tolkein
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 19th Apr 17, 5:15 AM
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    ani*fan
    Ay-men to that

    There will be more carpets/tables/buyers for your expensive 'thing'...........no need to rush and make mistakes - been there
    Originally posted by Igamogam
    Thanks Igamogam, I needed to hear that when I'm jumping head first into this. I'm worried that I won't even want to stand on the carpets though, they're so old and manky.

    I'd advise waiting until you're in before you start buying things for the new flat. Once you're living there you might find you want different things to those you'd envisaged. Plus having the space to get work done and give the place a really deep clean is always a bonus in the first few weeks! You don't want your 'new' stuff getting damaged/dirty, or to be constantly moving boxes around.

    Trust me ... I've been living amongst my renovations for 3.5 years now!
    Originally posted by greenbee
    3 and a half years? That's a long time, how are you managing? You're so right about keeping the amount of stuff down, we did need a bed to sleep in and a couch to sit on though. We have no other furniture, not even a coffee table. Oh, almost forgot the ridiculously large dining table...

    Don't worry Ani. As a wise forumite once said to me "What's for you won't go by you".

    Fortune x
    Originally posted by Fortune Smiles
    I think that's a Scottish saying Fortune, I love it. Still no word from the buyer, incidentally. I think that opportunity has gone, and I was hoping for one less thing to carry during the house move!

    Our plan is to have a week's overlap between getting the keys to the new place and moving out of the old flat. We'll have time to get the electrics sorted, clean properly, move stuff in and tidy it away in the 3 big walk in cupboards, thank goodness for our minimalist declutter earlier in the year.

    Me and OH are really starting to feel the strain now and reminding each other daily that everything will be ok. Despite the fact that buying this house has been very straightforward compared with other peoples' experiences, it is still a stress. I'm beginning to think this year will be the end of me. Finishing my course and all the work involved in that, buying a flat that needs so much work, getting married, and trying to do it all on the cheap, I must have been banged on the head or something.

    Still, onwards. Have a wonderful debt busting day everyone.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 19th Apr 17, 10:14 AM
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    greenbee
    3 and a half years? That's a long time, how are you managing?
    Originally posted by ani*fan
    Better when the builders aren't here than when they are!

    You're so right about keeping the amount of stuff down, we did need a bed to sleep in and a couch to sit on though. We have no other furniture, not even a coffee table. Oh, almost forgot the ridiculously large dining table...
    Originally posted by ani*fan
    Definitely wait. Bed, bedding and something to sit on to start with. You can use boxes as bedside tables/coffee table etc, and take your time to find things you love.

    I ripped out ALL the flooring in the week between getting the keys and moving in as it stank of dog and was filthy. Most of the kitchen came out in the first couple of months, and the rest not long after!

    I have floorboards upstairs, so these are lightly sanded, colour-washed and varnished, and I have old persian carpets/rag rugs/idea rugs where I need a bit of warmth in winter (but wood is generally warm underfoot). Downstairs is concrete, so friends and acquaintances have donated unwanted carpet and underlay, plus some old persian carpets - it's a bit of a patchwork, but warmer than concrete and a LOT warmer now that I've also got underlay (also donated and patchworked!). A friend who works putting up exhibition stands found vinyl that was being disposed of to do the kitchen/utility/dining room, although that's pretty chilly.

    The utility room was kitted out from ikea just before my first Christmas here so I had some storage and a sink. The kitchen currently has a second hand (unreliable) cooker, an ikea kitchen trolley, a 'rustic' storage unit made from old potato crates and a couple of narrow tables against the walls. Stuff is kept in crates under the tables or on some random shelves I've stuck on the walls.

    I've done the heating, roof, loft insulation and windows, which was the important stuff. And most of the electrics. One bathroom went it two years ago, and last year I did the ensuite, four bedrooms landing and moved the stairs (which meant putting in a new staircase). I've had nearly a year of peace and clearing up - and the builders are due back shortly to do downstairs - screed the floors, do the electrics, decorate each room and put down flooring. Hopefully they'll also be installing a new kitchen as I've sourced one second hand (just waiting for a date, as it's being replaced) and then I'll be getting a working cooker

    In the meantime, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden when the weather has been suitable, and slowly finding the right bits for the rooms that have been finished. Lots of it is second hand from friends and family, and I got a great wardrobe from a local house clearance place (I need another one really).

    Take your time, and be patient. You're creating a home and you don't want to fill it with stuff that you then end up getting rid of.
    • Igamogam
    • By Igamogam 20th Apr 17, 11:32 AM
    • 5,422 Posts
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    Igamogam


    We have no other furniture, not even a coffee table.
    Originally posted by ani*fan
    For our first house we bought a new bed. Someone gave us a WM and a fridge. I got a table - old teachers desk out of a barn from where I was working at the time and a couple of chairs. The cooker came with the house and we had 2 deck chairs in the LR. Coffee table was an upturned tea chest for a while until OH made one at an OT class after he had an injury to his hand.........and nothing bad happened in that we still had people round for dinner/parties/to stay and we still had to go out to work and to pay the mortgage/bills I dont know - different times/attitudes I guess The carpets where in situ and fine - I guess we would have pulled them up and had bare boards or got them cleaned had they not been! When we moved 2 years later we had gained a new sofa we had bought in sale, 2 wooden famed arm chairs from a skip and a rabbit. We took the sofa,bed, rabbit, table and arm chairs with us.The tea chest had been re purposed as a bed side table for OH and then used as a packing case for the move.We left everything else for the friend who bought the house from us as new house was coming with fridge freezer cooker, WM DR table and a greeehouse.Oh and 3 cats On our third move we 'swapped' houses which is a tale in itself but we left behind the fridge freezer and the barn table and chairs. The rabbit was no longer with us but cats came and the faithful coffee table, sofa, arm chairs,greenhouse and tea chest and we gained a much bigger house, garden,mortgage, bills and 3 chickens. Eventually had we 2 kids to fill the space too.............and now we have soooo much stuff.......we are reducing it, responsibly, every spare minute.

    What I am trying to say is that dont rush into thinking everything has to be 'done' straightaway. Not everything has to be brand spanking new/latest colour/fashion/design. I think some one has already posted its best to move in somewhere and live in it and then you will know how it will work for you. Hire a carpet cleaner to start with! Save your money and buy good quality - 'buy cheap buy twice' and all that. It has taken 30 years to build up our 'stuff'. We are only on our second sofa now because we bought top quality having saved for it. We still have the coffee table OH made - now in conservatory and the DR table from the second house but thankfully the tea chest is no longer
    Last edited by Igamogam; 20-04-2017 at 11:37 AM.
    Be the change you want to see -with apologies to Gandhi
    In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn
    'On the internet no one knows you are a cat'
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 21st Apr 17, 5:14 AM
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    ani*fan
    Those stories are brilliant greenbee and Igamogam. You're making me think this is entirely possible and completely within my capabilities. I especially love the livestock you collected along the way, Igamogam, I'd love a rabbit or another cat or 3.

    Not much news on the debt busting front. Everything's ticking over as it should be. Payday next Thursday. I've been walking to work and taking packed lunches, so has OH, we'll need to stay right on this now that we're almost house owners.

    We got the survey report back so it looks like we're going to sign our mortgage agreement on Saturday. Very handy that they open at the weekend. We have a few bits of ID to hand over, and need to close the help to buy isa, then we're almost there. I don't know how I will stand the wait until we get the keys, so exciting.

    My assignment is going well and I'll be getting some help with it next week. All on track.

    Thank goodness it's Friday.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 21st Apr 17, 8:38 AM
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    • 215,926 Thanks
    greenbee
    It's all perfectly possible - just remember it doesn't all have to be perfect NOW. Living in the house and working out how you use it is great advice - I've changed my mind on so many things multiple times before having to reach a decision due to timescales! Some things I might have done differently, and furniture is constantly churning as rooms are vacated for renovation and then start to take shape. I know that I won't really know what I need in terms of furniture until it's all done, and even then I'll need to to develop organically.

    You can get real bargains in 'antique arcades' and similar, as 'brown' furniture is out of fashion, so there is some lovely (if rather well loved) good quality furniture available if you're not worried about following current fashion (avoid the house magazines - save your money!). You can buy an well-made victorian or georgian chest of drawers for the same price as a flat-pack from ikea 'Furniture warehouses' and house clearance agents are a good bet - you have to pick through the stuff to see what is worth buying, depending on your renovation skills, but it's good to get to it before the shabby-chic brigade chalk paint it without repairing it first...

    I love the fact that some of my furniture is from my grandparents, some from my parents, my godmother, friends etc. It all has a story - even the table lamps (I need more of those, but am reluctant to buy anything at the moment, as I want something that will complement what I already have).

    Pity you're not local to me as I have a few spare (mismatched) kitchen chairs in the garage at the moment!

    Second hand curtains are usually a good deal. When I lived in London and had HUGE Georgian sash windows I got a whole lot from a curtain exchange. A friend recently got hers from a CS and as she's not great at sewing, tacked good quality (new, washed) dust sheets over the top of nice thick, interlined but ugly, curtains. So she had a neutral look but nice warm draught-excluding curtains!

    Enjoy making your home, going to car boots/junk shops etc together and taking your time.

    Spend money on decent plumbing, heating, windows, insulation etc. The rest can come later.
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 23rd Apr 17, 5:44 AM
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    ani*fan
    Greenbee, that was very inspiring to read. I love the tips for getting things cheaply, it's exactly how we want to do it. We also had a big minimalist declutter earlier in the year and are now thinking about how much furniture we could do without while still making our flat homely. It's all so exciting, but we do have an idea in our heads about how we want it to look so maybe we should put that to one side and see how we feel once we're in there and living in it.

    Ooh I can't wait!!

    On the debt bustng front there is not much to report. I'm sure I've lost my buyer for the expensive thing, he hasn't been in touch all week. Ah well.

    The table arrives today and god knows where we will put it. Slightly worried about this.

    We've managed without overspending but still need to pay the flat deposit this week. It will feel very strange having NO savings once the flat is bought and the wedding is paid for. I definitely got used to the comfort of having a good amount of money in the bank. So the next target will be an emergency fund. But first things first.

    Happy Sunday everyone.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 26th Apr 17, 5:57 AM
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    ani*fan
    It's payday tomorrow and it can't come soon enough. I'm entirely skint right now.

    We're waiting to hear about the electrics today, we have an electrician checking the place over. Fingers crossed it's good news, who knows, maybe nothing will need done. It would be like winning the lottery.

    Everything is just ticking over, waiting for pay day, for moving in day, working on my assignment. Oh, and I'm going to have my wedding dress fitted today, that might be fun.

    Happy debt busting everyone. Keep on keeping on.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 26th Apr 17, 7:28 AM
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    greenbee
    If you DO need anything doing to the electrics, bite the bullet and get additional sockets put in each room. Even if it doesn't need anything doing, check the number of sockets in each room and consider having more added before you start decorating. Electricians make a LOT of dust. Plus you have to move stuff out of their way, so much better done when you don't have much stuff

    Most places need more sockets - my last house had ONE in each bedroom and a double socket in the sitting room and kitchen. This house had 2 double sockets in each room, and as a minimum I'd doubled this so there is a pair in each corner, giving more flexibility in how the furniture is arranged.
    • in need of direction
    • By in need of direction 26th Apr 17, 8:39 AM
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    in need of direction
    I agree with greenbee. Each room in my house only had sockets on one of the walls.
    Mortgage at 01.01.14 £119,481.83 today £79,389.12, target £75,000 by 31/12/17 Offset fund today £4,055.43 target £5,500 by 31/12/17
    Emergency fund £5k/5.5k & £90/200 cash.
    Current weight loss 8/34 by 28 feb 2018
    determined to stop defining myself by my mistakes.
    Progress not perfection.
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 27th Apr 17, 3:04 AM
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    ani*fan
    We heard back from the electrician and the news is good. There's about £350 of work that needs urgently doing to make the flat safe and liveable. The living room needs some serious work, which we knew given how the sockets looked. Also the cooker switch is not working and various other bits. He's going to get this done for us, and is also doing a full quote for everything else that needs doing but recommends we get a lot of it done as we go, once we're in, including the addition of more sockets, currently 2 in each room.

    The bad news is that we only just realised we need to give 2 months notice on this place, not one. This could cost us £700. I'm very annoyed about this but having checked the letter after our last lease renewal, it did say. We just forgot. We have requested the lease gets ended early, and we plan to do our best when new tenants come to view. Surely if there is someone there to take on the property they won't hold us to 2 months' notice? I can't believe I overlooked this.

    It may be that the rush to get the electrics fixed doesn't matter if we're stuck here for another month. Ah well.

    Onwards to another debt busting day.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • misstara
    • By misstara 27th Apr 17, 6:21 AM
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    misstara
    How annoying about the lease, 2 months is a long notice period. I hope you get it sorted.
    Debt at LBM Jan 2014 £10458.09 Now £0
    New flat debt Jan 2017 £2302.75 Now £1349.50 (41.4% paid)
    Mini Targets
    Exercise target - Run 2/8, Gym 0/4. Groceries target £106.86/£150. NSD target 10/18.
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 29th Apr 17, 9:48 AM
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    ani*fan
    Yes it is misstara, but we have someone interested in taking on the lease so it's all good.

    I'm having a fairly miserable day debt busting wise.

    I've been looking at the totals, still massive, and realised I've been resting on my laurels because the debt is so much smaller than it used to be. It is, however, still huge. Over £8k is a lot for one person to be dealing with.

    And we're about to add the cost of new windows and also £6k to the future in- laws.

    At that moment, I paid £25 of my monthly spends off the virgin credit card. But it's not enough, not even nearly enough.

    I need to get my act together with it all.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • hiddenshadow
    • By hiddenshadow 29th Apr 17, 10:11 AM
    • 2,257 Posts
    • 10,213 Thanks
    hiddenshadow
    Don't be too hard on yourself - I wracked up over $40k in debt on my own. We all make mistakes.

    You're moving in the right direction, even if the steps are super baby-esque.
    MFW: Dec '13 £197,100 / Dec '14 £180,691 / Dec '15 £161,669 / Dec '16 £119,669 / Nov '17 £105,759
    2017 MFW #56: £13,909/£15,000 92% / MFiT-T4 #15: £53,740/£90,000 59%
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 30th Apr 17, 5:46 AM
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    ani*fan
    Thanks hiddenshadow. I really needed to hear that. Just need to keep moving forward.

    I have to say, my nerves are now jangling about the flat purchase. We need to close the HTB isa but the banks are shut now til Tuesday by which point another £200 will be on it's way to the account. Good news for us, extra £50 bonus, but we'll need to wait then a day or two til it clears. Then transfer all the cash to our current account and get a closing statement to our conveyancer so he can issue a new bill, minus the anticipated bonus. Then the deposit and fees will be paid. That will be the biggest bill I've ever paid in my life.

    This is nerve wracking. There is so much to think about my brain may be about to explode. The table is not as long as was advertised and is going to be a great fit. And it's beautiful, and a bargain. Relief! We have a bed to sleep in but it needs a mattress topper. And we have a sofa to sit on. That's all the furniture we're taking to start us off. We have a couple of garden chairs to use at the dining table so it's all good.

    The fridge/freezer (free!) will be delivered a couple of days after we get the keys. The electrician is in that day too, fixing everything. I will be picking up the oven from my mum before then. We have boxes at OH's work that just need to be brought home to start packing.

    We need to inform the coucil, the gas and electricity people and our phone/tv/internet provider. We need to clean this place until it's spick and span, really want all of our deposit back although the cats have damaged the sofa a bit so we'll see. We need to book a van for moving day, but we're not exactly sure when that will be yet.

    I think it's all in hand, but it's very nerve wracking. I'll be so glad to not be renting anymore. This place has been great, but how much better to not have your home inspected every 3 months by strangers who walk in and nose around. I really can't wait to be in the new place. I've struggles to concentrate at work this week, I just can't seem to settle, there is too much to do and I want to get on with it now.

    Happy Sunday everyone.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
    • in need of direction
    • By in need of direction 30th Apr 17, 10:21 AM
    • 4,695 Posts
    • 26,464 Thanks
    in need of direction
    You're doing really well. The big difference here is that there will be something tangible for the debt. Don't be getting confused between buying an asset and just frivolous spends.
    Mortgage at 01.01.14 £119,481.83 today £79,389.12, target £75,000 by 31/12/17 Offset fund today £4,055.43 target £5,500 by 31/12/17
    Emergency fund £5k/5.5k & £90/200 cash.
    Current weight loss 8/34 by 28 feb 2018
    determined to stop defining myself by my mistakes.
    Progress not perfection.
    • Igamogam
    • By Igamogam 30th Apr 17, 5:29 PM
    • 5,422 Posts
    • 43,552 Thanks
    Igamogam
    If you are having new sockets put in or replaced consider having some put in with USB port fir charging etc We have had some done around the house and it's really handy
    Be the change you want to see -with apologies to Gandhi
    In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn
    'On the internet no one knows you are a cat'
    • hiddenshadow
    • By hiddenshadow 30th Apr 17, 6:45 PM
    • 2,257 Posts
    • 10,213 Thanks
    hiddenshadow
    I recommend keeping a chart/diary of key dates/things that need to be done, and only worry about whatever things are on that day. I remember anxiously waiting for our house purchase, but there's only so many things you can focus on/worry about at one time.

    Glad the table size worked out ok.
    MFW: Dec '13 £197,100 / Dec '14 £180,691 / Dec '15 £161,669 / Dec '16 £119,669 / Nov '17 £105,759
    2017 MFW #56: £13,909/£15,000 92% / MFiT-T4 #15: £53,740/£90,000 59%
    • ani*fan
    • By ani*fan 7th May 17, 7:29 AM
    • 1,499 Posts
    • 3,680 Thanks
    ani*fan
    Thank you everyone for the good advice. USB ports Igamogam, BRILLIANT idea. Thanks!

    Thought I'd do a quick debt tally as all the minimum payments have gone out and I've managed a few overpayments too.

    Debt total today is £8,290



    Smaller than it's ever been.

    Still a long way to go, but I'm keeping on going.
    If you know you have enough, you're rich.
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