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  • FIRST POST
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 6th Dec 15, 12:18 PM
    • 1,819Posts
    • 10,278Thanks
    Florence J
    Flo's Debt Free Diary
    • #1
    • 6th Dec 15, 12:18 PM
    Flo's Debt Free Diary 6th Dec 15 at 12:18 PM
    Hi there,
    After reading through many of the debt free diaries, I feel brave enough to start my own.
    In many ways 2015 has been one of the best years of my life. I finally fulfilled my dream of getting a full time Ďadult jobí (not that Iím implying some jobs are more worthy than others) which meant for pretty much the first time in three years I have been able to pay rent and bills without borrowing the money off my boyfriend, or living off him. My previous jobs were wonderful, I worked for great people and enjoyed the work, I had three jobs, working for my friends animation company part time, working part time in an independent arts Centre, and volunteering for essential admin experience in an art gallery. I loved all the jobs, but despite working 6 days a week, I was making negative income, and that was before I bought anything non-essential (such as clothes, which is almost an addiction for me). I have five credit cards, which I foolishly gained the majority of in 2014, when I was working less and needed money. Did I spend the money on anything useful, like paying bills or food shopping? No, I went out all the time, I bought clothes, I bought magazine subscriptions, I got takeaways, I bought gifts for my friends, even though they knew the money was coming from dodgy credit cards and usually tried to stop me. I thought Iíd be ok, I had no thoughts about what this would do to me financially or to my credit rating. I was an idiot.
    I also used to smoke, but have finally kicked that habit 13 weeks ago today. I was smoking so much, ruining my health and straining my relationship with my boyfriend who detests smoking. Hiding the smoking habit from him made me feel like the worst person in the world, I am not a dishonest person by nature, but I was addicted to smoking and to shopping. I donít want to make it seem like Iím making excuses for myself, but I didnít learn much financial guidance from my family. My mother was an alcoholic and used the money from her job to buy booze at an increasingly alarming rate, my family was not well off to begin with, and the strain of this caused my father to lose his business and go bankrupt. We were on benefits for many years, my grandparents bought us food out of their savings and pension. I used to spend my pocket money as soon as I got it because otherwise my mum would steal it to buy alcohol. As a result I never learnt to save.
    I donít want to seem like I had a terrible life, I consider my life blessed in many ways. I have a great relationship with both parents, though they are no longer together, which is fine. Ultimately I knew I was loved by both, and to hate my mum for being an alcoholic would be wrong as alcoholism is a disease. I canít hate her for that.
    Due to these traumatic events and others, I suffer from depression and until this year the last few years have been very bad mental health wise. I have suffered from depression and panic attacks and am on a large dosage of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, which actually seem to be working as I feel so happy with my life, except when I think about my debts.
    I have finally paid off a debt I owe to my brother of 540, but I owe my sister a much smaller debt and my boyfriend a far, far larger debt. This is in addition to my credit card and overdraft debt of 5150 which the payments for I am just about meeting. Each month I have been paying the minimum and interest each month, and each month I then spend the minimum again. This cannot happen any longer.
    So 2016 will be the year I get serious about paying off my debts, and I have to live with a realistic budget and accept I cannot live the way I have been. It will be hard, but Iím 26 and I need to think about the future. I want to marry my boyfriend, I want a pet, I want a house, I want to continue my studies with an MA and another degree, If it wasnít for my bad job decisions and even worse spending habits I would have been able to do a couple of these things.
    The root of my money problem stems from going abroad to do an internship through a company when I left University. I borrowed the money of my brother, originally 1700 which I thought I could easily pay back. The company was fraudulent however, and I left with nothing except a debt to my brother, a debt on my credit card and all my saving gone. Due to the dodgy company status, after I consulted a lawyer, it would cost me over 3grand to take them to court, with no guarantee of winning due to a technical loop hole the company could go through, which is less than what I am owed. I had never used a credit card before that trip, I have had to leave it and try to put it out of my mind, the anger I feel drives me insane and I have to put it out of my mind in order to not make my mental health worse.
    So this is the time to put my finances in order. After reading the other debt free diaries, I know that this will be the way to chronicle my journey and get support, which will be great. Itís nice to know I am not alone and that there are others like me. I look forward to sharing with you.
Page 33
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 4th Oct 17, 8:08 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    To up date.

    My contract is not being extended. My last day is 26/10/2017.

    My manager gave me the option to resign instead of failing my probation and being dismissed. I don't know if it was the right decision or not but that is what I have done. Part of me thinks I may have been shanghai'd in some way, but I don't know.

    I have been feeling very stressed. I am very confused about what to do.

    This is going to sound ludicrous, believe me I know, but deep down I have this belief that I will only ever be able to get a job at my current place of work and I will certainly never get a full time job in my home town. This is because I believe the universe wants me to suffer.

    My quality of life has suffered so much. I don't know why, as I actually take more flexi time in this job then my previous roles, and I don't go to my football sessions anymore, but I seem to have no time left to myself in the evenings. I have had to ban TV/DVDs/Catch up shows (other than the news) during the week as it is the only way I can fit in the basic life skills such as washing on a semi regular basis.

    And yes soon I will have plenty of time as I will be unemployed. But I think the problem will still exist because I am convinced this is the only place that will ever hire me.

    Aaargh. Well, like I said. I have one 'up' and one 'down' post.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 5th Oct 17, 8:37 AM
    • 699 Posts
    • 1,557 Thanks
    reality_check
    Sorry you aren't being kept on in your job, but I think that was good of your manager to give you those options. I know this is a debt free diary and you want to pay off your debt but I think maybe you need to put this on hold for the moment. Call everyone up, don't just start missing payments, explain the situation and see what the bare minimum is they will accept...i don't know if you can do this but worth ago, or seek advice from this board/debt charities.

    With work, I know a job to you is important, but why don't you try charties? I know it is working for free, but I think maybe this would be good for you? Help you to feel worthwhile and that you are making a difference? Surely loads of places need help....places that feed the homeless/food banks etc?

    If I were you I couldn't handle that amount of travelling for work, and especially the expense. Maybe take any job in your area? Places like supermarkets are hiring for Chrsitmas staff right now so this would be my first port of call. It might not be the 'dream' career you want, but a job is a job and will give you back time, which money can't buy. But I know I'm not you, so whatever works for you. Good luck xx
    Starting debt £18,675.63
    Current debt: £8,000
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 5th Oct 17, 9:55 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    Sorry you aren't being kept on in your job, but I think that was good of your manager to give you those options. I know this is a debt free diary and you want to pay off your debt but I think maybe you need to put this on hold for the moment. Call everyone up, don't just start missing payments, explain the situation and see what the bare minimum is they will accept...i don't know if you can do this but worth ago, or seek advice from this board/debt charities.

    With work, I know a job to you is important, but why don't you try charties? I know it is working for free, but I think maybe this would be good for you? Help you to feel worthwhile and that you are making a difference? Surely loads of places need help....places that feed the homeless/food banks etc?

    If I were you I couldn't handle that amount of travelling for work, and especially the expense. Maybe take any job in your area? Places like supermarkets are hiring for Chrsitmas staff right now so this would be my first port of call. It might not be the 'dream' career you want, but a job is a job and will give you back time, which money can't buy. But I know I'm not you, so whatever works for you. Good luck xx
    Originally posted by reality_check
    Thank you for your lovely response.

    I told my OH's parents that my contract was ending (I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not but I work in the same office as my OH's Dad) and they have told me not to worry, and they even offered to support me. But I will not let that happen.

    I volunteer at a food bank. I have been looking at charities for jobs.

    I'll admit there is a chance I may have made a mistake, but I did a benefits calculator check for the scenario of if I was to sign on when I become unemployed and apparently because I live with my OH, who has a good job I would be entitled to about a tenner a week. Boo.

    I know there will be an influx of retail work soon, and I am seriously considering it, but I am anxious about customer service work due to my whole 'being afraid of conflict and people' thing. I'm not one of those people who thinks retail/customer service is beneath them, nothing like that, I mean somehow I worked in that field for 10 years. I have never been rude to a customer, even if they, maybe, would have deserved it. I am incredibly anxious round people and I'm worried my health would deteriorate.

    If you look back over the last two years I have taken on jobs that I knew would be unsuitable/difficult for me due to my anxiety and I have severely struggled with all of them. One I had to leave, and then there is this one and we all know what happened in this job.

    I haven't had the option of taking on a job that would be good for me. I have taken jobs I was actually dreading just because they were all that was available to me.

    I don't know if this qualifies me as being disabled. It's hard enough accepting that my mental health is severe without having to accept the fact it may be a disability for me.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 5th Oct 17, 10:05 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    In terms of my debt, yes I still have debt, but my debt is spread across 2 0% balance cards which means my minimum payments each month amount to less than £50 a month. I pay bank charges on being in my overdraft, but my overdraft is now £80 (it was £1000 in January) and my bank charges will now only be about £7 until I pay off that £80.

    I'm not saying I shouldn't try to limit my bills as much as possible, but my debt repayments that I have to pay each month amount to £57 at most. I wouldn't say my debt is the least of my worries, but when the debt repayments minimum is so low, I would rather scrimp on the food budget and still make those payments. Maybe I am too proud.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • reality_check
    • By reality_check 6th Oct 17, 8:12 AM
    • 699 Posts
    • 1,557 Thanks
    reality_check
    That is ridiculous!! £10 a week!! The system is one extreme to the other, so many people have ruined it over the years! I didn't think that at all about you thinking you were better than anyone, sorry if it sounded that way, I forgot you have said loads about not dealing to well face to face/conflict, and let's face it the general public can be idiots, a lot!

    What about....dog walking?! My dog walker is £10 a walk, he does 2 a day and has about 8-10 dogs per day! Or put a gumtree ad/print leaflets saying you will do ironing?! That way you are you're own boss, still earning...just a thought! My daughter done both of these and made money! The dog walking she found harder to get dogs but had 4 a day! Was only when she was off uni one summer so couldn't last forever. Then with the ironing she made her prices so cheap she got loads! Then realsied she hated ironing and made up excuses and had to return half of it - don't copy her lol She also decided to do cleaning...this is a girl who is so messy and I make her bed every morning and she is 20! Anyway she got a job for a man who wanted a one off full clean...she told him £50 thinking he would haggle, he never! I told her she wasn't to go alone, so I went with her, his house was spotless! In the end I ended up doing all the cleaning and she was hopeless, so good job it wasn't dirty, she thought it was great but I told her to get the ad down as I wasn't doing it again!

    Take time to relax this weekend, have a bath, read a book, go a walk...look after yourself xx
    Starting debt £18,675.63
    Current debt: £8,000
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 8th Oct 17, 9:45 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    Thanks RC, don't worry, what I said wasn't directed at you. I get the feeling there are people out there who feel some jobs are 'beneath them', like cleaning or customer service or something like that. I think I feel that way because of my dad. During the years when my mum had left us and my Dad went bankrupt and we lived on benefits, he was saying something about trying to find the right work. I suggested he try getting a job at B&Q because he used to run a building and decorating business and he just looked at me disdainfully and was like 'Florence, I have a bachelors of science degree' and I just thought (but would never say because we were all terrified of him) So what? What has that got to do with anything? We are living in poverty and you are too proud to work a job you feel is beneath you? Suck it up!

    So I don't feel that certain jobs are beneath me, but I know now that I would severely struggle with any more customer service then the barest minimum. I know that dealing with conflict is a life skill and it will never be avoided completely, but the averages of dealing with conflict more frequently then I can manage are greatly increased the more customer service a role is for me.

    I feel positive, to an extent. I am a cockroach. I have survived so much I can probably survive more.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 10th Oct 17, 5:38 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    In other news I may be appearing on TV.

    I was filmed today (for about 20 seconds) for a BBC Wales show called X Ray, which is a consumer/magazine show and it was in relation to the food sharing/anti food waste app OLIO. The show X Ray is going to do a feature on food waste and they were making a meal with items they had collected off OLIO users, I was one of those users.

    So that was interesting. It should be broadcast at 7.30pm on BBC Wales on the 23rd. If you fancy finding out what I look like have a gander.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Lumanous
    • By Lumanous 19th Oct 17, 9:49 PM
    • 128 Posts
    • 323 Thanks
    Lumanous
    Intrigued by the app - thanks for sharing, I'm going to check it out

    Hope all is going well with you - just a quick stop in but hope to catch up on your diary properly soon

    No, my username is not a typo
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 27th Oct 17, 3:32 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    Intrigued by the app - thanks for sharing, I'm going to check it out

    Hope all is going well with you - just a quick stop in but hope to catch up on your diary properly soon
    Originally posted by Lumanous
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It is much appreciated.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 27th Oct 17, 4:18 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi all.

    Yesterday was my last day at work. I was given a card, a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates and my team went out for lunch. I really appreciated all this as my office is quite b!tchy to an extent and I know from things I have overheard that they won't go out of their way or bother to do things like that for people they don't like. So the fact that they did all that is a sign that I was at the very least liked and appreciated by my team.

    So I feel on a mental high, because if 'failing' at my job resulted in that sort of reaction to me leaving then maybe...I didn't fail?

    (I'm sure you're all thinking, 'Well of course, Flo!')

    It has been hard at work, I'm not going to lie. I am bad at goodbye's and prefer to just sort of sneak away. More people then I would have liked found out I was leaving and naturally they were asking good nature questions like 'Where are you going on to next?' and I had to just say that I had nothing lined up. Which made for some pretty awkward moments.

    But at least I am over my funk of 'I can never apply for a job again because if I get one I will just fail and make a mess of my life again'. I am still a bit wary, but I will apply for jobs, I'm not going to be an idiot about it.

    It is payday today. Currently this is my last confirmed payday of the year, but who knows what the future brings. I cleared my overdraft today, it hasn't officially cleared yet, but it is gone. I opened that account as a student in 2008. It has fluctuated in size but one thing has been constant which is that I have almost exclusively been living in it in the last 9 years.

    I'm not going to say I am never going to have an overdraft again, as an interest free one would have a certain use and security to it, but I am not planning on having one at any point in the near future. It took so much effort to clear this, it was kinda my obsession this year, well it's gone now.

    I rounded down the H U G E debt I owe OH to a nice even crazy amount of money. He is not in a hurry for it, he is very good in that he wants me to clear my other debts first before I think about paying him back and also it is interest free. I have decided that as soon as I can I will take out a life insurance cover, maybe just a term one, for the money I owe OH so that if (god forbid) anything happens to me he will get his money back.

    I also rounded down the debt on the Mr L CC so that is under £1200.

    I can't make the payment yet but I am going to pay a hefty amount to my Mr T CC to bring it into a new hundred category, bringing it to under £2795.

    After that payment is made my credit card debt will be £3970. It was £5996.12 at the start of the year.

    Now that the overdraft is clear and my credit card debt is all at 0% and is a smooth running machine in terms of paying it back I am going to prioritise building up an emergency fund as I have £0 in savings. That's not a euphemism. I have an ISA with a 0 balance. What I am going to do is instead of rounding down my pay and bank account to my debt I will just pay it into my savings account. I paid £16.75 into it today. Every little helps.

    I have gone home to my Dad and Step Mum's house for a week. My plan is to do nothing other than writing, surveys and applying for jobs. Maybe seeing a few friends and family members of course.

    I currently have £119.21 in Amazon Vouchers which is the most I have ever had saved up. I am a long way towards meeting what I would need to cover Christmas presents for my family if I wanted the cost to be £0. This is why I feel like I can afford Christmas potentially.

    All in all things could be worse.

    I have a few expenses I will have to find funds for. Train fare to Birmingham to see Queen. And I support Bristol City Football Club and they are inexplicably through to the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup and have been drawn to play Manchester United at Home in December. When I was a child I loved Man U (although there is this saying that only people who know nothing about football support Man U which in my case at the time was very, very true!!!) so this is like a dream come true, but then we all know the mess I got into earlier this year when it was a 'dream come true' to see Queen live.

    I have done something that might not be the wisest decision, but I have decided I am going to see my sister and her kids in November. She lives in Norwich which is very expensive to get to, so I am going by coach to save half the cost of the train fare (it will take 8 hours to get there though!! good thing is I like long journeys as it forces me to relax and be still) The reason why I am seeing my Dad/Step Mum this week and then travelling again to see my Sister, and therefore incurring costs when funds are limited is because I don't know what sort of job I will get next and whether I will have any time off over Christmas or in the early part of next year to see them, so I am making the most of the opportunity now.

    I had this idea that if I could make it to September then I would survive the year. Now I am sort of thinking if I can survive this year then I can survive anything.

    The 25th marked the 18th anniversary of my childhood friend's death from Leukaemia. That alone puts things into perspective. I have so much to be grateful for, so many reasons why I am lucky, there are so many ways in which I am blessed, if I can just be a little kinder to myself then all will be ok.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 27th Oct 17, 10:19 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 786 Thanks
    helsbell
    You're sounding very positive, Flo. It's great to hear.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 27th Oct 17, 10:55 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    You're sounding very positive, Flo. It's great to hear.
    Originally posted by helsbell
    Thank you.

    My life is what it is. The strange thing is the big disasters in life I have always been able to cope with. It is the little day to day things that cripple me.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 29th Oct 17, 9:33 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    I went to a place called Arundel with my Dad and Step Mum today. I normally love going there but today there were a few iffy and bad customer service experiences in more than one shop which left a bad feeling about the day. Also the area I'm from is ultra conservative (which is why I effectively ran away from it) and I was a bit put out to see a job advertisement in an Italian restaurant where the first things it stated were the applicants must have fluent English and the right to work in the UK. Fair enough, those things are usually a good factor in selecting applicants and a legal requirement, but did it have to be so blatant?

    (I remember my first job in my home town was in a Hotel Restaurant with a lot of European staff and the main question the customers asked me was 'where are you from?' which as a rather innocent 16 year old confused me and I was like 'I've come from the kitchen....')

    But thankfully there was a lovely bookshop where I saw a book about Rock and Roll Gig Posters which I knew my OH (A graphic designer on a part time basis, a lover of Rock Music and who frequently designs gig posters for a company in Cardiff) would love it. It was...£20. As it was the biggest, fattest hardback book I have ever seen and in perfect condition, I knew it was worth that price. It will be one of his Christmas presents. I know my plan was to buy everything on Amazon with survey earned Amazon vouchers but sometimes you can't put a price on gifts.

    My wallet is also falling apart and I had been keeping an eye out for a new one when I saw one in an antique's shop there. It was beautiful and yellow (I love yellow and try to buy everything in yellow, how ironic that a person who is frequently depressed would love such a bold sunny colour). But it was £10, again worth it, but as I am now unemployed I can't spend when the impulse strikes me (also doing the whole 'No Spend Year' thing). A hasty text to my OH and the wallet is mine but OH is paying me back and it is one of my Xmas pressies.

    I had a dream this morning which was just awful, about my mental health deteriorating and abruptly quitting my job because I couldn't cope and feeling like I had ruined my life. I woke up startled as the dream was so vivid it took me a little while to realise it was just a dream, but on reflection it is just an extreme version of the situation I am in now.

    I have had real moments of happiness today. The feeling that everything I want to have in life is within my grasp. I haven't felt like that for a long time.

    I usually judge how good my mental health is on how I answer the thoughts of 'Will I have children and Will I learn to drive?' Usually the answer is 'dear god no, I would never cope' but today I was thinking about both and I only saw happiness and confidence in having/doing both.

    Today was a good day.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 30th Oct 17, 5:57 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    In today's news I wombled £123.96 off an Amazon order that was all Christmas presents (and December/January birthday presents that are included in the Christmas budget). Total cost of the order was £4.27.

    The people that are covered are:

    Step Mum Christmas
    Step Mum December Birthday
    Sister December Birthday
    Mum Christmas
    Mum January Birthday
    Nephew 1 Christmas
    Nephew 2 Christmas
    Niece 1 Christmas
    Niece 2 Christmas
    OH Christmas

    People definitely left to buy are:

    Dad Christmas (Getting him a bottle of Welsh Whiskey so will look out for a deal)
    OH's Mum Christmas
    OH's Dad Christmas
    OH's Sister Christmas
    OH's Sister December Birthday
    Brother 3's GF Christmas

    Possible people left to buy for:

    Sister 1 Christmas
    Sister 2 Christmas
    Brother 2 Christmas
    Brother 3 Christmas

    I say possible as I was talking to Brother 2 today and we are of a similar opinion that as I am currently unemployed, and his job isn't great and he may leave, that we would rather not stress ourselves out getting presents we may not be able to afford so we may forgo the whole thing.

    Brother 1 does not get a present for several reasons, none of which are to do with ill feelings towards him. He is impossible to buy for as he does not want or need anything ever, he has interests but he is not active about any of them so wouldn't appreciate a related gift, he isn't passionate about anything other than Seinfeld which he already has, he lives in Vietnam and therefore sending him anything would be difficult, likewise him reciprocating to us would be just as troublesome. So we have decided to not do presents.

    So if I was to buy presents for every potential candidate then I am currently about half way through my shopping.

    Need to negotiate how OH is contributing to my families gifts. I go half on his sister's bday and xmas presents with him and 1/3 on the combined OH Dad and Mum gifts with OH and his sister. But OH's family consists of 3 people, whereas I have more than that in siblings alone. Also OH's parents do an unbelievable amount for us so we spend more on them then we do my parents.

    I just feel a bit awkward as OH does so much for me, and unless I get a job soon I may be borrowing money off him, so do I do what may technically be fair and split the present money with him, or is that splitting hairs?

    The crucial thing is the gifts to his family are from both of us, and the gifts to my family are from both of us, so the costs should be split?

    But OH knows that I buy most of my gifts on Amazon using vouchers I have earned, he's never had a problem with it in the past, but technically my orders cost little in cold hard cash (just the effort put into the money making) so do I 'charge' him full 1/2 price on what the order cost, vouchers and all?

    I guess I shall have to have this discussion with him.

    Last year I said he could refund me a 1/3 of the total cost of my families gifts (mostly bought with vouchers) and he was fine with that. Maybe that is the way to go.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 31st Oct 17, 2:13 PM
    • 1,819 Posts
    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    Time to do an updated SOA of sorts.

    These will be my bills at the end of the month. Remember at this moment in time I have £0 income.

    BILLS

    Mr L Credit Card - £15 (that is a rounded up minimum payment)
    Mr T Credit Card - £30 (that is a rounded up minimum payment)
    Phone - £21.50 (Tied into contract until July 2018)
    Internet - £29.99 (New contract, about 10 months left till can renew)
    Gas and Electricity - £65 (Currently in Credit, out of contract, could move if better deal, but like being in credit when approaching winter)
    Rent and Council Tax - £169.52 (These two bills come out of OH's account, so this is my half of the bills once I have deducted his half of all the bills I take care of)
    Food - £250 (For simplicity sake I call this category 'Food' but it is really 'Home' costs. So food, drink, toiletries, medication, replacement utensils and/or tupperware's as needed, cleaning supplies, alcohol, laundry stuff between the OH and I. Basically if it is used within a home by a human then it comes under this category)
    Water - £19.57 (OH pays the water bill yearly, I never have enough money to pay my share then, so I divide my half of the bill by 12 and pay him monthly)
    Counselling - £60-75 per month (£15 a session, every Monday, based on how many Monday's fall between paydays, which I no longer have)
    Labour Membership - £4

    TOTAL = £664.58-£679.58 Per Month.

    I have cleared my overdraft so I may have one final interest/charges bill to pay which will be around £7 but after that I will have no debt that is charging me interest.

    Some may argue that I should get rid of the Labour membership and I did look into it, but it is not simple to leave. It is not like cancelling a direct debit you don't use, I had a look into it and leaving is basically akin to denouncing your belief in the party and switching sides. There didn't really appear to be an option for 'I just can't afford it anymore' and I think my OH would rather contribute to that bill and have me remain a member then quit (unsurprisingly he shares the same beliefs). It would also be so much simpler for me to create a reduction in the Home Expenses category to make up that shortfall.

    When it comes to food we nearly always buy own brand supermarket label items. The one thing I can think of that both OH and I agree we won't swap from is Marmite, I hope you all forgive me for that

    OH eats some meat, but very little of it and is happy with vegetarian products most of the time. I don't eat meat but occasionally eat fish. As we eat so little meat and fish we try to buy sustainable products when we do.

    The trouble is whilst I could quite happily eat lentils and pulses most of the time, OH detests those things. So the usual tip of stretching out a bolognese or chilli or lasagne with lentils causes OH to protest. Believe me I've tried.

    There's not much I can do at this moment as I am away from my home with OH, but when I get back I will devise a food plan based on a full inventory of the cupboards. I hate food waste and love cooking, so can be pretty inventive when I want to be.

    I am building up my EF so that when my phone contract comes up for renewal I can buy a new phone outright and get a cheap contract. I am not fussy, I have never had anything like an IPhone, but I do feel I benefit from having a smartphone for cashback and money making/market research apps, but as long as it does the job I don't care if it is the latest model or the oldest model. There have been many a time in my life when my more style conscious friends have told me I have a 'brick' for a phone

    We don't have any TV subscription's other than the WWE Network. It is £9.99 a month. OH pays it each month, and as we pay our council tax across 10 months when we have the two months 'free' when they come around I continue to pay them to OH as my half of the year's WWE Network fees and TV license fees. If the council tax bills don't cover all those fees then I add the rest.

    So that's all my bills. Any suggestions much appreciated.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
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    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 31st Oct 17, 3:27 PM
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    enthusiasticsaver
    Are those bills just your half or for both of you? £250 each is horrendously expensive for food if just you even if you add toiletries, household stuff and the odd bit of alcohol in. Presumably cutting back on alcohol would bring that down depending on how much you spend.
    3 days to go until early retirement. Debt free and mortgage free.

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    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 31st Oct 17, 5:00 PM
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    Florence J
    Are those bills just your half or for both of you? £250 each is horrendously expensive for food if just you even if you add toiletries, household stuff and the odd bit of alcohol in. Presumably cutting back on alcohol would bring that down depending on how much you spend.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Hello, sorry, I didn't realise I had been unclear. The costs are split between us, so food is £250 for the both of us ( £125 each), all the bills that come out of my account are split between us, so the £29.99 broadband bill is £15 and so on.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 31st Oct 17, 5:03 PM
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    Florence J
    In terms of alcohol, we aren't big drinkers, we would typically buy a 20 pack of beer each month on average, and I love gin but a 1lt bottle of gin would last me about 6 months minimum. I'm willing to hear any suggestions
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 8th Nov 17, 9:20 PM
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    Florence J
    Hi everyone.

    Not much to report. I am back at home with my OH, my time away visiting my family did me the world of good, I had such a lovely time.

    Been very busy each day since my return but it seems to have resulted in little of long term benefit. I have also done something to my neck in that my neck and up to my ears seems to be really sore and stiff, not painful as such but a sense that something is 'wrong'. I'll wait to see how it pans out.

    Going away this weekend (Fri - Sun) on an already paid for trip to Norwich to see my sister and niece/nephew. I am looking forward to it and I don't think it will be too expensive.

    Still nothing on the job front. I feel good and feel fine and on top of my mental health, but I need money, and quickly.

    I will try some agencies tomorrow.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 14th Nov 17, 11:19 AM
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    • 10,278 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi all,

    I spent the weekend just gone in Norwich seeing my sister and nephew and niece. My niece in her delightful 8 year old way shamed me by pointing out it has been 11 months since I last saw her and she had forgotten what I looked like. So no matter what happens next I will not let the same time go past till I next see that part of my family and I will make more of an effort to find the time and money to see them.

    It turned out to be a very cost effective trip as other than the 30p to use the toilet and £3.05 on a coffee (both on Friday) I didn't spend any money that weekend. On Sunday I had a terrible time getting home due to a variety of reasons, none of which were National Express's fault. In fact I would say they went above and beyond in their service, and if that is how they handle a crisis then I would happily use them again.

    (In fact I just have as OH and I will travel to Birmingham via National Express when we go to see Queen in December, it was so much cheaper then the train by about 60% and the times were more convenient then Megabus)

    In money disaster news my energy company have contacted me to cheerfully say my energy bill is going up from £65 ... to £97 So just 50p short of a 50% increase. OH and I are far from the most conservative of energy users, but we are also very far from being wasteful, so whilst I can admit our consumption has increased due to it being Autumn/Winter this seems a bit extreme.

    Naturally I have been looking at deals and 1st Utility seem to be the best deal in that they offer a very competive price (still £80 per month though ) and there is £40 cashback on TCB. I have just submitted meter readings to our energy company to see how in debt we are and then I will discuss this with OH but he trusts me.

    Anyone had any experience with 1st Utility?

    Still not even a sniff of a job. My confidence has taken such a dive that I am finding it hard as I look at jobs and either think 'I can't do that' because I don't have the experience or think 'I can't do that' because I am worried I wouldn't cope. I know I have to get over this, but it is hard. I am applying for jobs, I am being proactive, but I am still scared and nervous.

    Time suddenly seems to be accelerating and this is going to sound unbelievable but I seem to be getting less done each day despite being unemployed. And sure, I'm on MSE now, but there are days when I'm not on it at all. And I am getting up at the same time that OH does.

    I think I feel the pressure to have a tidy house for OH so he doesn't think I have been sitting on my bum all day, but then that leaves me less time for the important things like job hunting....hmmm.

    Well, I will just have to structure my day better.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2129.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
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