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  • FIRST POST
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 6th Dec 15, 12:18 PM
    • 1,885Posts
    • 11,124Thanks
    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 ‘adult job’ (not that I’m 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 I’d 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 don’t want to make it seem like I’m making excuses for myself, but I didn’t 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 don’t 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 can’t 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 I’m 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 wasn’t 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. It’s nice to know I am not alone and that there are others like me. I look forward to sharing with you.
Page 35
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 6th Dec 17, 9:21 PM
    • 1,885 Posts
    • 11,124 Thanks
    Florence J






    Welcome to my 2 year Anniversary Party!!!!!!

    2 years ago today I started my debt free diary. My situation at that time was pretty dire. If I had continued to bend the plastic credit card friends then it would have been a matter of weeks before my minimum payments on my high interest bad credit credit cards would have resulted in a negative income.

    I knew I was about two bad decisions away from breaking point. I have made some very stupid decisions in life, but I finally had the sense to see what I was doing was crazy.

    Before starting my debt free diary I had ordered all of Martin Lewis's books (I will gloss over the fact it was on a credit card) and the universe seemed to be smiling at me as the parcel got lost in the post and because I had bought them through second hand sellers Spamazon refunded me the money. The parcel turned up the next day....

    So my situation has been up down round and round and all over the place, I have not been able to prevent the borrowing of money during the last two years but I have made great progress - most notably this year.

    I may not reach my debt free date of my 30th Birthday in March 2019, but I am doing far more to help myself then not. I know I will get there.

    Have a on me, I couldn't have done it without your support. xxxxx
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • abba1772
    • By abba1772 6th Dec 17, 10:10 PM
    • 4,371 Posts
    • 14,428 Thanks
    abba1772
    Happy anniversary xx
    NEXT TARGET HALIFAX CC WAS July 17 £3572.57 NOW £2590.38
    POAMAYC 2011 £6382.66 POAMAYC 2012 £5000.78
    POAMAYC 2013 £3480.04 POAMAYC 2014 £4085.14
    POAMAYC 2015 £7565.24 POAMAYC 2016 £8000.90
    POAMAYC 2017 £7278.80 POAMAYC 2018 £2228.74
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 8th Dec 17, 7:17 PM
    • 1,582 Posts
    • 9,443 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    Happy anniversary Florence! You’ve done so well since you started. I think you deserve some champagne!

    Hope the confirmation on the job is forthcoming soon.
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Save for New Kitchen!
    My diary: “Paid off the £31,0000! BUT- still scrimping!”
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 13th Dec 17, 11:37 PM
    • 1,885 Posts
    • 11,124 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi all,

    As this will be my 1800th post on MSE, i thought I would visit my diary.

    Still not started the job yet, a few more hoops to jump through.

    I went to my Dad/Stepmum's house yesterday and leave tomorrow for a short visit which was nearly 100% because it was the best opportunity and option I had for bringing down the presents. They were all mostly of the breakable and heavy variety and I managed to get a last remaining advance ticket so it didn't cost too much (I can almost guarantee the postage would have been more).

    Financially I have paid all but one bill for the month and have money left so not doing too badly. It is money I borrowed though, but having some left may prevent me from borrowing more.

    I get to see the new Star Wars film tomorrow so yey!

    I get to see Queen and Adam Lambert this weekend so triple quadruple yey!

    I am pretty much set for Christmas. I can't believe I survived this year, I feel proud, but deep down I know part of me is desperate for this year to be over so I can have a psychological boost from starting afresh in 2018.

    I have been making full use of the exercise bike and making better food choices so I have lost some weight, but to be honest over the last 18 months my weight has fluctuated up and down between the same 18 pounds, so until I reach the magic 19th pound lost I think I may be doomed to yo yo.

    When I gave up smoking I tried several times to give up and always failed on the 9th day when I cracked and smoked. One day I reached the 10th day smoke free and I haven't smoked since and that was over 2 years ago. So I think my weight may be similar, until I reach a new record weight loss I may just yo yo.

    I wish you all a happy December.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 14th Dec 17, 8:54 PM
    • 1,582 Posts
    • 9,443 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    Well done on your 1800th post Florence!

    Hope you have a lovely time at the Queen gig - it should be fantastic! And enjoy the new “Star Wars” as well!

    You must feel relieved that you’re just about set for Christmas. I think most of us are looking forward to setting our goals for the new year - mine are floating around in my head already!
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Save for New Kitchen!
    My diary: “Paid off the £31,0000! BUT- still scrimping!”
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 17th Dec 17, 10:00 PM
    • 1,885 Posts
    • 11,124 Thanks
    Florence J
    Well done on your 1800th post Florence!

    Hope you have a lovely time at the Queen gig - it should be fantastic! And enjoy the new “Star Wars” as well!

    You must feel relieved that you’re just about set for Christmas. I think most of us are looking forward to setting our goals for the new year - mine are floating around in my head already!
    Originally posted by Seasidegal58
    Thanks SSG!

    So we went to see Queen and Adam Lambert in Birmingham last night, staying overnight at a travel lodge. Queen have been my favourite band since I was 12 (I'll admit for someone born in 1989 this is a bit unusual). Unlike my other favourite band at the time (S Club 7) Queen have stood the test of time.

    As this was something like a 16 year dream come true, something I didn't dare believe would ever be possible as I would be too poor to ever see them live after they started touring again, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong. I pictured every scenario from me falling ill, to bad weather, to the hotel losing our booking, I even began to worry after the Manchester Bombings of something similar happening...

    The only thing that went wrong was we came into the arena with backpacks, then left to look at the merchandise and when we tried to go back in we found out that we weren't allowed back in because we both had rucksacks, and obviously after the Manchester bombings this is now a security issue. That was a small price to pay for safety, but it led to about ten minutes of going back and forth between staff members trying to find where we needed to go to leave our bags. I was fretting a little as it doesn't take much to make me fret, but it was all fine. Absolutely nothing went wrong, it was the best gig I have ever been to and was a dream come true. Adam Lambert gets my seal of approval as a stand in Freddie Mercury.

    In true Rock and Roll fashion OH and I were back at the hotel by 11 ish to have a cup of tea and watch Match of the Day.

    Sadly as we got our coach back to Cardiff this morning we found out about the horrific and multiple fatality car crash in Birmingham, in the centre and not far at all from the Coach station. I am so sad that whilst I had the best night of my life, so many people lost theirs.

    As readers of my diary will know I borrowed the money to pay for both the tickets and the hotel from my OH, and I agreed that I would pay for all costs as he can take or leave Queen and this was very much a night for me. This caused enormous financial strain around the middle part of the year for me, and sometimes I really doubted whether I should have indulged like this. But I dramatically cut back my spending, I sold just about everything and anything that could be sold from guitars to kitchen appliances to my bike and I worked my bum off and last night was 100% worth every second of struggle.

    Also it marked a notable thing for me. I have never been away with my OH in the whole 6 years of our relationship alone. We have gone on holiday with friends, or family (and usually the family have paid) but we have never been away and financed a trip just me and him. I felt like I was an adult at long last and also I did have to struggle to reach this point, but I wouldn't have been able to even consider this financially as little as a year ago.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 21st Dec 17, 8:53 PM
    • 1,885 Posts
    • 11,124 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hi all.

    In further evidence of dreams coming true, last night my football team Bristol City beat Manchester United in the Carabao cup and have gone through to the semi finals.

    OH was at the game, I wasn't due to lack of finances. It would have been very difficult to get a ticket anyway, and I would not have been sat with him which might have caused me anxiety.

    So I tried to find someone to go to the pub with me to watch the game as it was being shown on sky sports, but there were no takers. I wouldn't have been brave enough to go to a pub on my own so in a flash of 'why didn't I think of that before?' I bought a 24 hour to sky sports and watched it on TV. £6.99 but I would have spent at least that in drinks if I had gone to the pub so it was all worth it.

    Typically I was in the kitchen getting my dinner when the first goal was scored, but I saw the winning goal in the 93rd minute. Ya hoo.

    I then stayed up as I was waiting for OH to come home and I listened to the Wurzels as they are the Bristol city band.

    I am now watching Love Actually on Netflix waiting for OH to come home (again) as he is at his work's Christmas lunch.

    I am pretty much set for Christmas, just need to pack for when we go to OH's family, but I don't have to do that for another couple of days really.

    All is good.

    I have approximately £60 to my name. About £25 of that is in my ISA (my attempt at an emergency fund), £10 in my wallet and £25 in my current account.

    I do technically have £5 in paypal as well.

    In theory I would be pleased with that amount at this stage of a month, BUT I haven't paid for all but £8 of OH's family gifts, which in total will be about another £78-85, I haven't paid for a gig ticket OH has bought, so another £44, and there was the £1000+ I have borrowed off him to pay bills.

    Hmmmmmmmm

    I know what OH is getting me for Christmas, he is giving me money. He also got me a token gift, which is a Queen scarf he bought at the gig (I was with him) which I can't have till Christmas day.

    The deal is any money I borrow from him up to Christmas Eve I have to pay back, any money I borrow from Boxing Day I have to pay back, but whatever I receive on Christmas Day is a gift, it doesn't have to be paid back. So in theory if he gives me a large amount then I can pay my bills debt free.

    I have no idea how much he is going to give me.

    I really don't like being in this situation. I grew up to Independent Women by Destiny's Child. I take it as a point of pride that I pay my own way in life. But I also know my life would be very different if OH wasn't helping me out.

    Do you think I use him as a crutch? Like, maybe if I didn't have him as a 'security blanket' of sorts I might have sorted out my life job wise by now? I seem to only survive because of OH, is that fair?

    I really wish I could figure out my job situation. But I don't want to get down. A new year, a new hope.
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 24th Dec 17, 8:36 PM
    • 1,582 Posts
    • 9,443 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    I would just try and enjoy Christmas for the time being Florence. The New Year can be your time to re-assess your goals. I hope both you and your OH have a lovely time.

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

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Save for New Kitchen!
    My diary: “Paid off the £31,0000! BUT- still scrimping!”
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 31st Dec 17, 4:20 PM
    • 1,582 Posts
    • 9,443 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    Here’s to a very happy New Year Florence and all the very best for 2018 to you and your OH.
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Save for New Kitchen!
    My diary: “Paid off the £31,0000! BUT- still scrimping!”
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 10th Jan 18, 10:11 AM
    • 1,885 Posts
    • 11,124 Thanks
    Florence J
    Thank you SSG,

    As some of you may be aware by now, I have taken the decision to start a new diary, it is called Flo 2.0 and I believe if you follow this link you will reach it.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5771925

    But I am not brilliant at posting links so it may or may not work.

    I have decided to start a new diary as I want a fresh start and I want to begin this year anew. I want to focus on building up an emergency fund of at least £1000 and I feel that I have finally banished my shopping addiction demons after the no/low spend year I did in 2017.

    Although I have had a few low days recently I feel like my mental health is the best it has ever been, so new year, new diary, new Flo.

    I hope to see you all over on my new diary!
    Sealed Pot Challenge 11 #553
    £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253
    Wombling free 2017 = £2195.92
    Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3168.45/£3000)
    February 2018 Credit Card Debt: £3885
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