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  • FIRST POST
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 6th Dec 15, 12:18 PM
    • 1,814Posts
    • 10,227Thanks
    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 34
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 14th Nov 17, 1:47 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Not going to switch to first utility, just read the reviews and feedback on the energy section of this site. Will look again.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 14th Nov 17, 2:34 PM
    • 4,851 Posts
    • 9,171 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Why not set yourself a few challenges each day to help keep you motivated? Something that is MSE for example like using up leftovers for tea, something to help with the job hunting like getting signed up to temp agency or start a job application, something to help with your mental health like going for a walk, listen to music, declutter a drawer or some such thing?
    1 week to go until early retirement. Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 15th Nov 17, 9:08 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Why not set yourself a few challenges each day to help keep you motivated? Something that is MSE for example like using up leftovers for tea, something to help with the job hunting like getting signed up to temp agency or start a job application, something to help with your mental health like going for a walk, listen to music, declutter a drawer or some such thing?
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Thank you ES, those are some good ideas.

    I'm concerned there aren't enough hours in the day, somehow time seems to be escaping from me and my OH seems to think I should be able to keep the house tidy, apply for millions of jobs and do exercise each day. Maybe I should be able to, but somehow my days don't work like that. And bizarrely my OH wants my day to be absolutely filled so I am free to watch endless TV with him in the evening, which seems a bit counter productive.

    Each day he asks me what I've been up to when he was at work and even if I feel like I have been really productive, somehow he makes me feel that I have failed.

    Naturally I agree my number one priority is getting a new job, but just what would quantify as a good amount of work to do towards that each day? And where do the other chores fit in?

    I can see that OH would be !!!!ed off if he comes home from work every day and all I've done is sat on my bum watching Netflix...

    Aargh!!!!

    And I'm not even allowed to get up early (I like getting up between 5-6am in an ideal world) as the alarm would wake OH and he is enjoying having a decent amount of sleep now that I don't have to get up ridiculously early for work.

    So...that's the way things are at the moment.

    On another note I did some great money saving today. I took advantage of the Sainsbury's double up to get some new clothes. There was a massive sale on so I got clothes with a before sale price of £64, for a sale price of £22, which I used my £10 of points doubled up for, so in conclusion I got 4 items of clothing for £2. 2 Skirts, a long sleeve white shirt and a yellow sweater vest. I then went to Morrison's on the same industrial estate and used my £5 More voucher to get 2 sandwich tins, a baking sheet, and some bramble jelly.

    A good day, I caught up with my blog, now relaxing on here with Stranger Things 2 on in the background. Might make a cup of tea.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 16th Nov 17, 6:31 AM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    I didn't think to check Martin's Cheap Energy Club, despite having previously put in my details, which is silly. I've looked again and the deals are so much better then the other comparison sites. I have put in a switch to change to a supplier called Bulb. Admittedly there was limited feedback, but all the feedback was either 'great' (93%) or 'ok' (7%) which seems fine to me. I don't need much from an energy supplier, just a way to submit monthly meter readings.

    Am looking to save about £20 from my new, increased direct debit amount. It is about £11 more then I am currently paying, but we all know the cost of living has increased.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 16th Nov 17, 6:35 AM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Good news is I woke up naturally at 5am today - so I didn't wake OH up with an alarm, and I am going to get a good head start on the day. I only have a few hours in the morning before my friend comes round as we are going to make a cake to celebrate and commemorate me clearing my overdraft (unusual way to celebrate I know, but I thought it would be low cost).

    I am also celebrating as Martin's credit club emailed me to say my rating had been updated - I checked and for the first time I am in the 'good' rating. Previously I was extremely high in the 'fair' category, so this is another cause for celebration.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 18th Nov 17, 5:38 PM
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    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi Everybody,

    Another day where I woke up early and stayed up. Woke up just before 6am, I love it, honestly I do. I would rather get up early and be tired then sleep in late and be well rested.

    I made £5 in Amazon vouchers today on Opinion Outpost, went for a 5k walk in the light rain which was actually lovely, and other than a bit of washing up all chores are done.

    OH is treating me to a night out at the cinema and a burger tonight. I say treat, but it's because I bought the coach tickets for Queen in Birmingham so money wise we are equal. That sounds like I am discrediting it, which I am not as it is a lovely treat and it means I get to claim a NSD today

    I feel fine, I applied for a job on Friday, one that I hope to get.

    Our house is falling apart and the landlord isn't doing anything about the damp and it is so bad that my lovely friend who is an architect came round and worked up the courage to politely tell me that it is really bad and needs to be looked into, saying that it is a clear sign of structural damage/a leak. Well, the landlord sees it differently....

    The trouble is our house is fine in most parts, but it has always had a problem with damp. The other trouble is how house is crazy cheap, even by Cardiff prices, (it is a 2 bedroom terraced house with 2 living rooms and a garden for £550 a month, we haven't had a single increase in rent since we moved in 6 years ago) so I have made my projected time frame for paying off my debt based on always living here, but OH hates the house and it is not fair to make him stay in a house he hates, so I have said to him if I get a job in Cardiff then we can look to move.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 21st Nov 17, 7:22 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    As if the stress of living in a damp house wasn't bad enough, things are getting a bit worse on my street.

    I don't live in the nicest area of Cardiff, but I also live far from the worst areas of Cardiff. I live very close to the city centre-about a 20 minute walk away-in the student area of Cardiff, so because of those two factors my street can be a bit 'lively' (there is also a pub halfway down the street).

    We seem to be getting an increase in the old 'knock on the door and run away' type of people on our street, it's not like it happens every day (or even every week) but it is annoying and it's loud and disruptive and it means I will not answer the door after dark if my OH isn't in the house.

    And last night at about 9pm, so not late late, our neighbours car windows were smashed in and she had her possessions stolen by thieves. She was distraught and was going up and down the street with her flatmate asking if anyone had seen anything, and it seems it may have been guys in bikes. I am pretty sure she was a student so I feel really bad for her as that will be a huge financial burden to her and/or her parents.

    I've lived in this house for 6 years, and things like this didn't happen in the past but they seem to be getting a bit more frequent. I know this is the price I pay for living in the Centre, but I don't drive, so I have to live in the centre, I don't really have a choice.

    Ok, so I don't drive, so my car is never going to be smashed into, but it sure puts me off ever investing in anything on this street.

    Because of my anxiety and lack of self confidence, I am never going to climb a corporate ladder, my earning potential is limited, I wonder if I will ever get out of this mess. I wonder if I can ever afford to have children. I wonder if I will ever live in a nice area or have the things that so many people take for granted....

    Ah, I'm rambling. I just want to somehow future proof my life, which is impossible, that will never happen.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 23rd Nov 17, 9:09 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    My OH contacted our letting agency as he had been to the doctor with ill health, most likely caused by the damp and mould in our house, also plaster had started falling off the ceiling, so a maintenance man is coming round tomorrow.

    I am planning on doing what will probably be my last big job spotter app walk of the year tomorrow to give the final boost to the amazon voucher fund to buy the last of my family's Christmas presents.

    I feel that I finally have a handle on the old losing weight business, and am making good strides with that.

    My mental health is fine other than the fact I have no money and will have to borrow money off my OH and thus get into debt. 0% interest debt, but still debt.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 24th Nov 17, 7:03 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Howdy do everyone.

    Today was quite profitable. Applied for 2 jobs, called a temp agency which seems promising, went on a walk with my job spotter app and made £7.64, and finally was able to cash out a £5 voucher on shopprize, so all in all it was a good day.

    Managed to cross everything off my to do list, it was a NSD for me as my OH bought the milk we needed, it was an economical day as well as had leftovers for lunch and dinner.

    I feel very content. The only thing that could make my life better at the moment would be a job, obviously.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 26th Nov 17, 8:57 PM
    • 1,191 Posts
    • 6,660 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    Hi Florence - you very kindly posted some excellent advice in my diary so I thought I would find your own. Iím enthralled and have subscribed! You write so very well. Iíve only got halfway through at the moment - and also read the latest page.

    Iím was so sorry to read of your anxiety problems and do hope that the job applications turn up trumps. Your OH sounds lovely as well. Hereís to your landlord getting his finger out and doing something about the damp. Fingers crossed for a job in Cardiff so that you can make a move there.

    Iíll be back to read some more.

    SSG x
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Save for New Kitchen!
    My debt free diary - " Paid off the £31,000 - BUT still scrimping!"
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 26th Nov 17, 9:17 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi Florence - you very kindly posted some excellent advice in my diary so I thought I would find your own. Iím enthralled and have subscribed! You write so very well. Iíve only got halfway through at the moment - and also read the latest page.

    Iím was so sorry to read of your anxiety problems and do hope that the job applications turn up trumps. Your OH sounds lovely as well. Hereís to your landlord getting his finger out and doing something about the damp. Fingers crossed for a job in Cardiff so that you can make a move there.

    Iíll be back to read some more.

    SSG x
    Originally posted by Seasidegal58
    Thank you, you are too kind
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Karonher
    • By Karonher 26th Nov 17, 10:50 PM
    • 439 Posts
    • 2,006 Thanks
    Karonher
    Good luck with the job applications. I work for education agencies, and over the past few years have worked virtually all of the school terms. Hope the ones you have applied to are as good.
    Getting ready for Christmas 2017

    Aiming to make £4,500 online in 2017.
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 27th Nov 17, 11:52 AM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Good luck with the job applications. I work for education agencies, and over the past few years have worked virtually all of the school terms. Hope the ones you have applied to are as good.
    Originally posted by Karonher
    Thank you, the temp agency is the one I was briefly with last summer, it can be a good way to get an 'in' at the Universities in Cardiff.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 27th Nov 17, 12:06 PM
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    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Well I have just bought the final lot of my side of the family gifts, so I am about 90% set for Christmas. What remains left to buy are:

    A cushion for niece (got her one of those emoji sequin cushion covers where when you brush it it changes face, so naturally can't leave her without a cushion)

    A bottle of wine for Step Mum (Part of her gift is a wine decanter, so again naturally I can't leave her without wine)

    OH's Sister's XMas Present

    OH's Sister's Birthday Present (born on the 27th of Dec)

    OH's Parents Main Gift (1/3 split of present)

    OH's Parents stocking gifts (1/3 split of present)

    I have bought all of OH's gifts and my family's gifts almost exclusively with amazon vouchers, so I have 'spent' about £200 of gifts so far and in terms of money leaving my account it has cost me about £36.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 2nd Dec 17, 4:26 PM
    • 1,191 Posts
    • 6,660 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    Well done on the present buying Florence! £36 spent for £200 worth of gifts is excellent money saving.

    Your OHís sisterís birthday is the same as my DDís Step-son. Youíve reminded me that Iíve got to get his card and allocate his birthday money from my gifts budget on YNAB.
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Save for New Kitchen!
    My debt free diary - " Paid off the £31,000 - BUT still scrimping!"
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 3rd Dec 17, 11:58 AM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Well done on the present buying Florence! £36 spent for £200 worth of gifts is excellent money saving.

    Your OHís sisterís birthday is the same as my DDís Step-son. Youíve reminded me that Iíve got to get his card and allocate his birthday money from my gifts budget on YNAB.
    Originally posted by Seasidegal58
    I learnt about 2 years ago the hard way, that I need to include the family December and January birthday presents in the Christmas budget, otherwise I kill myself trying to pay for Christmas and then remember the birthdays!

    I have posted all my family/OH's family Christmas Cards - I saved money by writing them very early and sending them second class.

    Total spends on Christmas this year is £81.65, which includes cards, wrapping paper, stamps, postage for bigger items/international items and all my family's gifts. I think the only big costs left are the Boxing Day football ticket and all of OH's gifts, which will be about £80.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 3rd Dec 17, 12:24 PM
    • 4,851 Posts
    • 9,171 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Well done on doing such a frugal Christmas Flo.
    1 week to go until early retirement. Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 4th Dec 17, 2:16 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Well done on doing such a frugal Christmas Flo.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Thank you
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 4th Dec 17, 2:29 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    I've got 'sort of' good news.

    It went well at the Temp agency, I had been with them in 2016 so the process was quite straightforward as they already had all my previous details and references. I just had to do an excel and word test, which I was a bit scared about but I got 80% + on both (and the pass rate was 40%) . They just need references from my last two line managers (the work I had done since being with their temp agency).

    Anyway, they were supplying a lot of staff for big governmental organisations, and one has accepted me and would like me to join them. It is dependent on references and a DBS check. The DBS check I had to pay for (£31) but I get it back after 6 weeks of employment.

    I am a bit nervous. Since I have never even been in a Police station for any reason needless to say I passed the DBS fine and I got it back today. BUT, anyone who has read my diary from start to finish will know about the business I once had years and years ago about starting a job without a reference and then the ... erm ... 'see you next Tuesday' of a line manager at my old job, the one I was forced out of by bullying towards me, she gave me a bad reference and I lost the new job I had started. It is sad to say that that job I was let go from was still the only full time permanent job I have ever had....

    So although I know how hard I have worked, and I am on good terms with my previous line manager from my latest role, there is still the fact I was signed off for 4 weeks with stress and anxiety, so even if that hadn't have happened I would still be anxious about this waiting for references business given my past experience.

    So, because I am always expecting the worst to happen to me, I am not going to get my party hat on until I am safely in the role, but if anyone else wants to crack out the party hats and prosecco then go for it
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 4th Dec 17, 2:30 PM
    • 1,814 Posts
    • 10,227 Thanks
    Florence J
    Also it was my 2 year anniversary recently of joining MSE Forum, but I celebrate the date I started this Debt Free Diary, which was the 6th December 2015, so I will definitely be cracking out the party hats, beers, and any other happy emoji's that MSE offers on that day.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2118.64
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3133.08/£3000)
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £3980
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