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  • FIRST POST
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Jul 15, 1:30 PM
    • 615Posts
    • 2,488Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Battling Debt and Mental Illness — and (hopefully) Winning!
    • #1
    • 30th Jul 15, 1:30 PM
    Battling Debt and Mental Illness — and (hopefully) Winning! 30th Jul 15 at 1:30 PM
    Hi everyone

    I've been lurking on the Debt-Free Wannabe forums for ages and thought it was high time I joined in. I'm also hoping that having my own diary will motivate me to keep going — I've been reading some of the other diaries on here and feel inspired.

    About me: I'm 31, single, unemployed and living with my parents. Ain't life great? After many years of mental illness, I can finally see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. I have depression and borderline personality disorder as well, but my anxiety is my biggest obstacle at the moment.

    I got into debt partly to fulfil a lifelong dream and get a BA and an MA. I lived at home while I was studying, but travel expenses and book buying take their toll. As did my chocolate bar habit and learning to drive... I was also prone to compulsive spending (still am, but less so since I have more of a handle on my mental health issues) and made many ridiculous decisions.

    The upshot is that I ended up owing several thousand pounds to my parents, over £6,000 on my credit card and a £2000 overdraft. I gradually reduced my debt a little, then was helped by a £2000 inheritance when my grandmother died. However, I was also struggling to keep a car on the road and my beloved dog died a couple of weeks before my grandmother, which was a horrible shock and led to me buying a new dog to give me a reason to live. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it's true. My old dog kept me hanging on during the dark times and I couldn't face life not only without her, but without any pet of my own.

    Anyhoo, I was struggling to pay £60 a month interest on my credit card and make overpayments every month. I slipped into putting more unnecessary purchases on the credit card because I thought "what difference will it make?" I had a LBM at the end of June 2015 and realised I needed to do something drastic.

    Since I couldn't get a loan to pay off my credit card, let alone what I owed my parents, I hatched a plan for my parents to take out an unsecured loan for £13,000, covering the £7000 I owed them and my credit card balance. I did the maths and realised it would take me 5 years just to pay off my credit card, without paying a penny back to my parents, if I continued as I was. If my parents took out a loan on my behalf, I could clear the whole debt in 6 years. My parents agreed that taking out a loan was the sensible option — especially as it would relieve them of being £7000 out of pocket. My credit card balance is Nil and, strangely, I'm not even tempted to spend on it.
Page 33
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 26th Jul 17, 9:54 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Added £80 to EF

    Feel very subdued this week — not very motivated at all. Hope ot passes soon.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 2nd Aug 17, 10:43 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Paid Mum £80 and added £20 to fun fund — though plans are afoot... I want to open a savings bond with NSandI, which has to be funded with a debit card. So instead of adding EF money to my main savings account, I will save it in FF until I get £500 and then transfer it to my current account (with the same bank, so less hassle) so I can open the savings bond. Sounds complicated, but the upshot is that I will hit my target of having £1000 in EF by end of the year

    Cut down on my impulsive spending recently, but put £30 on the cc today for the best possible reason — a friend of mine was inspired by my Machu Picchu trek to volunteer with deaf children in Africa. She recently started her dream job as a deaf support worker. She had £70 this morning, so I got her to the first £100! It's my way of paying forward the generosity and kindness of everyone who sponsored me, including people on this forum The cc is interest-free for another few months, so I can spread the cost while giving my friend a boost. She also has mental health problems and didn't think she would be able to do anything like this until she saw me achieve my goal, which feels pretty good

    This week is going well — blogging, novel writing and volunteering are firing on all cylinders. Want to work on short stories to hit a couple of deadlines, too. Feeling in touch with my values and goals.

    Exercise is not going so well: running is on hold because I have hurt my foot. Still walking, though in pain, and giving kettlebells a try tonight. Been comfort eating a lot too, thanks to PMT...

    So things are looking up and my mood has improved
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 7th Aug 17, 3:14 PM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Found out I will get a student loan, so I can do a Psychology BSc with the OU!

    I haven't let myself believe it would actually happen, until now. Though I knew I should be eligible for a loan, I didn't dare hope. I'm really excited about this opportunity and what it could lead to

    Hoping this signals the start of another good week. Last week was the best I have had for ages, culminating in my counsellor bringing a surprise to our session — the latest book from one of my favourite writers, signed by her, with a personal message to me! When you do good things for others, good things happen for you

    Feel like I'm finally back on track with my life. From now on, I can reduce my debt and save more. I can focus on my strengths, especially fiction and mental health blogging. I can be proactive, working towards a better life. I can finally believe in a better future. Guess the Machu Picchu trek has altered my mindset more than I realised!
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • crazy_cat_lady
    • By crazy_cat_lady 8th Aug 17, 8:46 AM
    • 3,369 Posts
    • 28,913 Thanks
    crazy_cat_lady
    Huge congratulations ABA - enjoy doing the course. My sister is a psychologist and really loves it.
    I'm really pleased to read that things are going so well for you at the moment - that's great news.
    NSTSeptember #32 NSD 8/18 RYSAW17 #1 £1313.42 20p Savers #88 £1 a day for Xmas # DFD 6 Nov 15 - paid £28,447
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 9th Aug 17, 8:56 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks ccl — OU emailed confirmation of my enrolment today Feeling quite excited!

    Paid some of my cc, getting it back to £300. It's interest-free until November, but I'm not comfortable when it goes above £300.

    Added £40 to my fun fund, which will become ef money when I transfer it — now got £310. Want to transfer to ef when it hits £500.

    Been getting some stuff done this week, but wish my motivation was higher and I was more productive.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • chanie
    • By chanie 9th Aug 17, 1:58 PM
    • 1,683 Posts
    • 8,346 Thanks
    chanie
    That's great news about your course!!!
    2017 challenge to save £800
    Savings on purchases £807.18
    My spending diary - Spend Less, Live More
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4327401ht
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 12th Aug 17, 11:47 AM
    • 690 Posts
    • 1,487 Thanks
    reality_check
    Fab news about the course, you will do great! Everything sounding very positive for you. How exciting about a personal message from your fav author! xxx
    Starting debt £18,675.63
    Current debt: £8,250
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 16th Aug 17, 6:45 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks guys

    It's been a fairly good week; not a lot has happened, but I'm running again and I've blogged when intended. The novel isn't progressing as quickly as hoped, but it's still going. Been a bit more anxious, partly because my mum and I are starting a new gym class on Monday. It's ridiculous, since it's the same place (albeit a different room) and the same instructor, but that's anxiety for you...

    Paid £5 off cc, because that's the minimum due. Added £90 to "fun fund" which is being transferred to emergency fund when it hits £500 — it's now £400. Think I will feel a lot more secure when I transfer it, because I will have hit (actually, surpassed) my savings goals for the year and can focus on repaying the debt.

    So things are running smoothly. Sometimes I get frustrated at the lack of progress, but compared to how I felt at the beginning of this year, it's all good
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 23rd Aug 17, 6:08 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Added £50 to fun fund, so it is on course to become £500 in my ef next week

    The past week has been okay — finished novel draft, started new gym class (went well; quite enjoyed it), blogged, ran 3 miles on treadmill for the first time in a few years, gave my dog a sock ball for his birthday (very mse!).

    Been getting up at 5am, because I kept reading about how it helps people to be more productive. It's kind of working already, but I'm still adjusting to the new sleeping pattern. Most of all, it helps me feel like I have accomplished something just be getting up, rather than rolling out of bed st 8-8:30am, which starts my day on a positive note

    Still bit frustrated at feeling more anxious than I have been, and for no particular reason. Exercise is helping me cope, but I always feel I ought to be doing better.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Aug 17, 6:08 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Transferred most of fun fund into a bond, so now have over £1000 in ef and £20 in ff
    This means I have hit my savings goals for the year

    Now back on focusing on debt reduction...

    Still getting up at 5am, haven't been on treadmill this week but did a 6.5 mile walk on Monday (fell down towards the end and grazed my knee!), didn't get around to blogging on Monday as planned. Done quite a lot for my volunteering role — we are launching a crowdfunding campaign on Friday — so that's good, but part of me feels like I should be doing more/better.

    Horribly aware that autumn is nearly here and scared that it might mean another dip in my mental health. I say "dip" but for the past 2 years, it's been more of a plummet. Hoping to break the pattern.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • misstara
    • By misstara 30th Aug 17, 7:36 AM
    • 2,456 Posts
    • 17,122 Thanks
    misstara
    Well done for meeting your savings goals for the year ABA and 4 months early as well!

    I really hope autumn is better for you this year.

    Sounds like you've been getting on with plenty. I could not get up at 5am every morning
    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 3/8, Gym 0/4. Groceries target £106.86/£150. NSD target 11/18.
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 30th Aug 17, 10:37 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, tara The debt goal, on the other hand, has fallen behind... My aim was to not add to my debt, but I've been usig my cc because of the zero interest deal giving me more flexibility — should be able to reduce the overall amount very slightly though

    I kept reading that people who wake up early are more productive and successful, so when I woke up accidentally at 5:30am a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd run an experiment! I used to get up about 8:15 most days, sometimes up to an hour later. So far, the main effect is that I feel awake by 8am, whereas it used to be noon before I felt alert. Hoping things will improve further when I get used to the new sleep pattern — I'm assuming the first 3/4 weeks will be the most challenging as I adapt.

    It does seem a bit extreme, but we'll see... Trouble is, the rest of the household uses the bathroom constantly from 6am to 7:30am, so potential waking times are limited. I do quite enjoy the quiet hour before anyone elee is up, too
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 4th Sep 17, 2:25 PM
    • 690 Posts
    • 1,487 Thanks
    reality_check
    I am so much more productive in the mornings. I can fit in far more in the hour before I got ready for work as oppose to an hour in the evening, I'm talking things like housework so nothing that requires much thought. I am amazed at people who can write, I can just about manage messages on here lol

    Hope you're feeling better still, have you tried one of those clocks that wake you up with light? No idea of what they are called and if they actually work, but could maybe make you feel better with the dark mornings that are soon on the way! xxx
    Starting debt £18,675.63
    Current debt: £8,250
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 7th Sep 17, 6:30 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, rc I don't have one of those alarm clocks, but I do have an SAD lamp! I will probably start using it again soon. It doesn't work miracles, but it helps

    Paid £70 to cc yesterday and have £35 earmarked for writing group annual subs.

    Feeling a bit stressed this week. New term of writing group starts on Saturday, so anxious about that. Also running a crowdfunding campaign for the local mental health charity I volunteer for — it's started very slowly, with the £15,000 target nowhere in sight. Any advice on running a crowdfunding campaign/engaging people would be much appreciated!
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 20th Sep 17, 7:29 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Paid my mum £80 and cc £20, which brings it down to £210.

    Had a really bad couple of weeks, but feeling better the past few days.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • misstara
    • By misstara 20th Sep 17, 8:03 AM
    • 2,456 Posts
    • 17,122 Thanks
    misstara
    Sorry to hear that you've not been great but glad you're a bit better. Not long to go on the credit card now
    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 3/8, Gym 0/4. Groceries target £106.86/£150. NSD target 11/18.
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 27th Sep 17, 7:39 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Thanks, tara

    Paid £45 off cc, so now £165. Determinec to clear by the time the interest-free period ends in November.

    Been swamped by crowdfunding, which could be going better. I'm not going to stress about it — I'm doing as much as I can and we have raised nearly £1400 so far, which means it was worthwhile. Trouble is, we need £15,000 to guarantee that our support groups in a particular town will be allowed to continue. The groups were funded by a company which has been unable to renew its funding due to financial difficulties, which means a lot of young people who need mental health support will be left in te lurch if we have to close the groups.

    I feel awkward because I can't expect my friends to donate (though bestie has!) after they were so generous when I did my Peru trek. Trying to get our supporters on social media to donate, but with little effect. We have over 1000 followers and our reach is improving, but only 43 people have donated — one of which was a test donation and 3 me, my mum and brother! Even the volunteers and families of young people in our support groups aren't donating much

    If anyone has any idea for how I can make drastic improvements in the next 3 days with just my iPad/laptop, please, please tell me

    I'm actually feeling pretty good this week. My mood has improved. I think the crowdfunding campaign has given me more of a sense of purpose, so I feel like I'm doing something valuable with my days. It's hard to keep faith when I'm writing and blogging without getting much feedback. It's been nearly a year since my last writing success though I aim to enter the novel in a competition at the end of the year, once I kick it into shape
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 4th Oct 17, 5:39 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Paid £95 off cc — now £70. Should clear within the next couple of weeks
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • AspiringButAnxious
    • By AspiringButAnxious 11th Oct 17, 6:10 AM
    • 615 Posts
    • 2,488 Thanks
    AspiringButAnxious
    Cc now £30, so will be cleared next week.

    Crowdfunding madness is over — and we hit our target! Was a small miracle, involving Crowdfunder letting us put offline donations towards the total and Santander match funding the maximum £7500. It means the support groups for young people with mental health problems are saved, so I'm delighted and very relieved!

    Started OU course this week. Early days, so nervous about my ability to keep studying consistently. Hopefully my mental health will remain pretty good for the foreseeable.
    Rainy day fund — 580/500 Emergency fund — 1009/1000
    Loan — 100/19,300 = 0.5% Fun fund: 10 Credit card balance — 0
    • misstara
    • By misstara 11th Oct 17, 6:54 AM
    • 2,456 Posts
    • 17,122 Thanks
    misstara
    Fantastic news that you hit the target for the crowdfunding appeal, well done. I work in mental health and although there's a lot more awareness these days, there hasn't generally been a corresponding increase in funding so I'm so happy that you've managed to keep the support groups running.

    Also well done for almost clearing the credit card and good luck with your course.
    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 3/8, Gym 0/4. Groceries target £106.86/£150. NSD target 11/18.
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