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    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 9th Oct 16, 6:25 PM
    • 281Posts
    • 271Thanks
    Slimming the Wallet... and Me!
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 16, 6:25 PM
    Slimming the Wallet... and Me! 9th Oct 16 at 6:25 PM
    I am a long time lurker of the MSE forums, and even when I was not in debt I loved to read the diaries here as there are just so many inspirational people on this board who really prove you can make the best of a bad situation! For a long time I have had the luxury of not having to 'relate' to those in debt but unfortunately in the past year this is no longer the case. I am no longer an arm's length lurker- I am a fellow DFW!

    There isn't a good reason why the debt has crept up in the past 12 months,but I like to think that what the money was spent on was worth it, even if my net worth disagrees!

    The main factors were:

    Getting Married
    Definitely worth it- although could have been cheaper. The memories are priceless though- unfortunately the wedding itself wasn't!

    Losing Weight
    Since January 2016, I have lost 3 stone 2 pounds to date, going from an obese BMI, size 14, to a normal BMI and size 8/10. On a 5'3 frame (on a good day), it has made such a massive change. I am so much happier in myself, in (and out!) of clothes and the gym has become my salvation. My OH likes to potter around the house in the evening after work so I would be sitting on my own in the living room feeling dejected- now I'm spending that same time in the gym, getting fitter and healthier and no longer dwelling thinking that he loves the house more than me! At times, I do still think he does

    Basically, having to re-buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes, plus gym clothes AND replacing said gym clothes when they got to big, plus a gym membership has totted up to a lot. A fair estimate would probably be about £1000 since January

    Buying a House
    Definitely worth it but my expenses on the household (rent/mortgage, utilities) has gone up from £500 to £800 per month. This is due to us borrowing a deposit from OH's dad and we are paying this back at £400 a month (£200 each). Our mortgage is cheaper than renting and we were fortunate with the deposit so I can't complain really. Since April 2015 when we bought the house, it has raised in value by 40k.

    Changing Career
    Basically I decided to change careers to pursue different interests as my previous role just wasn't fulfilling me as it used to. So I moved from marketing repossessions for lenders to working in tax! Quite a difference, but I'm loving it. While my base salary stayed pretty much the same, unfortunately I lost the quarterly bonuses I used to get which could be anything from £300-£1000 after tax. It always meant I balanced in the black on average. My new role is a training role, fantastically flexible with hours and with magnificent people. They are paying for my study costs and paid study leave (appox 7k), so technically I am on a better salary- I just don't see it!

    Debt as follows:

    MBNA: £5,165.93
    £2,392.00 - 0% until 17/03/2017
    £2,826.11 - 0% until 16/12/2017

    AA: £972.00
    0% until August 2018 (unsure of exact date)

    Barclaycard: £938.54
    0% until 28/09/2018

    So all in all, over the past 15 or so months my savings have decreased from £1,500 to zero and debt has crept up to £7076.47

    The Barclaycard has been taken out recently for 0% on purchases to cover my car insurance and MOT/Service. My car has cost me so much in the last year (new tires, new radiator) and I will have to get the cambelt replaced at some point next year... Trying to put it off as long as possible but it is said it needs to be replaced every 5 years, and it has been 7! Another thing to note re car expenses is that with my new job, my petrol costs have tripled. I used to be able to fill up once for a whole month at a cost of £35~, now that covers me for about 10 days.

    My salary will increase as I pass my qualifications- my first pay rise should be to 25kish in November 2017 and then I am hoping for 32-35k in November 2018 when I finish my other qualification. It would be easier if I had it now though!

    My plan is to try and eliminate the debt by December 2017, so I can squirrel away my pay rise to fund some house overhauling (i.e. new bathroom/kitchen). At the very least, I would like to get rid of the MBNA. My OH is brilliant and while he doesn't know the exact totals of my debt, he knows I have some and is happy to pay for the little bits which are required for the house. Obviously when I am debt free, I will be contributing towards it. At the moment, I feel a bit useless

    If you have made it through all of that ramble (very cathartic!) then please join me for a , although mine will be water as I am not that fond of alcohol! Thankfully, it is nicer on the wallet!
Page 4
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 20th Jan 17, 10:14 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Just a quick one. Payday from Sainsbugs, which brings the part time jobbie total up to £1,923.12! So close to the £2,000 mark. May be able to make it next Thurs from the cinema, but will probably be Thurs after as I don't think I have done enough hours.

    Treating get ourselves to a Chinese tonight. No cost to me as coming out of the surplus in the joint account. Free food! (Kind of!)
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 22nd Jan 17, 3:43 PM
    • 1,098 Posts
    • 5,984 Thanks
    Just catching up with your diary Alarae. Wonderful news on the exam passes. It'll be great if you can get that pay rise and drop the Sainsbury's job. Hope you enjoyed your concert.
    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!"
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 24th Jan 17, 8:10 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Thank you Seaside! Major relief when those passes came through.

    Unfortunately the concert was a mixed bag. One of the support acts were fab but the main headliner just lacked something- just didn't have the stage presence they used to. Didn't help on the way back that they decided not do any direct trains from Paddington to Reading, so ended up having to go to Twyford and then get a bus back to the station! It was about -3 by then and my friend and I were frozen solid so got a taxi back to hers where my car was parked. £8.10 that sub-5 minute journey took! Must remember to transfer my share to her as she paid.

    Monday I swapped my usual cinema shift (to today! Currently on break as I type) and got to enjoy a couple of classes at the gym. Had a fab workout and I'm starting to regain some strength I had lost over Christmas when I couldn't go due to cinema shifts.

    Had some payday news. Every Tuesday I get my payslip emailed from the cinema which gets paid on Thursday. Well, I am earning over £80 for last week after tax so I am officially over £2,000 earned since starting my part time jobbies in mid-Octover! Not bad for three months for additional after tax income.

    Means I am right on track for blitzing this debt before the interest starts and don't have to bother with balance transfers
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 27th Jan 17, 10:48 PM
    • 1,098 Posts
    • 5,984 Thanks
    Sorry to hear the concert was a bit disappointing, but great news on all the extra job income. £2,000 is fantastic!
    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!"
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 14th Feb 17, 8:44 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Thank you Seaside!

    As always, very tardy with keeping up with my diary

    Not much to update on. Three jobbies still plodding along, with a fab total of £2,118.38 sitting in the extra income account! Just had my payslip through for weekly pay for the cinema, and due to be paid £98.84 on Thursday which is fab, bringing the total up to £2,217.22! I also get paid from Sainsbugs on Thursday which will be just over £300 (may be a bit more- unsure how much overtime pay I have to come) which means at the end of this week I will smash my first target of having enough to pay off the first bit of the MBN* balance of £2,392 by 17 March!

    Makes the suffering of all this extra work worth it.

    On the home front, OH and I were discussing the bathroom. It is a state. All the taps and the shower leak and the suite is easily from the 90s (council installed- hideous light blue suite) and it really needs an overhaul. We were going to look to have it done by the end of the year after I have paid off my cards, but we have opted to take a 0% card in OH's name so we can get it done now rather than later. At the cost of £90 for the 32 months, we really didn't want to wait. We should have the funds to pay off the spends in six/seven months anyway through savings we have now and OH's replenishing the joint savings from what he owes so kind of debt neutral. At the very least, it's a necessary evil so we don't eventually flood the kitchen with the leak... it's already happened twice before

    The bathroom will be sourced by ourselves from good ol' Victor*a Plumb and we will do most of the work ourselves to strip everything out first, so just need the bathroom installed, walls tiled (and one rebuilt as we are knocking through to the adjoining toilet and blocking up a door) and the floor done so hopefully will save on that. Probably still looking at around £4,000 but we have £1,500 in savings already so not too sad.

    Anyway I have been in London a few times in the past month and have an expenses claim going through work to cover travel/study costs at around £350 and should get that back this month, so I can pay off my monthly spends card. I'm in the office tomorrow and next Tuesday but then off at home on study leave until my exams next Friday.

    Did I mention I got the Asda cash back card? We do most of our shopping there and I've already managed to get £17 of vouchers from them

    We are looking to wind down our freezer stocks over the next week so that we can defrost the fridge/freezer as it has iced up quite badly. Not to mention I want the space so I can go on an all mighty shopping trip on Monday as I have received my Sainsbugs discount card and the discount is going up to 20% next weekend!

    Updated my signature to current paid off totals. Total debt is now under 5k, which is brill considering I started at over 7k!

    It's only down from here (if I ignore the bathroom... )
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 18th Feb 17, 4:35 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Well, cinema and Sainsbugs paydays have been and gone and I am sitting on part time jobbies earnings to date of £2,533.71!

    That means the £2,392 balance finishing at 0% in March is definitely well and truly gone! Next on the list is the other part of the MBN* balance which currently sits at £2,570.39 which comes off 0% on 16 December 2017. I'm looking to pay off all the debts before this, so no worrying about this deadline needed, and definitely no need to think about a potential balance transfer! As this transfer is the first one I made on the card all the DD payments I make come off this balance (why the £2,392 has stayed the same) and I have a fixed amount going to it at £55 a month. I'm aiming to have enough money to pay off this card by July, which gives £265 in DD, leaving £2,305.39 to find. I will have another four weeks of weekly cinema pay and another Sainsbugs pay before I need to pay off the £2,392, so that should be another £550 to the jobbie pot. I'll have £691.71 leftover after paying off balance 1, so leaves £1,613.68.

    Five months to find £1,613.68? Challenge accepted

    My combined jobbie earnings is roughly £550 per month, so should hopefully smash that target by mid-June.

    As long as I pass my two computer assessments next Friday then I just have one more written paper in May to do then I have completed my first qualification! I won't get confirmation of my results until July, but all things well and I pass, then I will be knocking on my employer's door for a nice payrise! If it is enough, I am hoping to be able to quit Sainsbugs but still maintain the current level of monthly income so I can keep up the speed of my debt repayments.

    On top of my three jobs and studying I have also found myself in the position of organising my friend's hen do! I have told her outright I won't be out of pocket and book places for people who don't pay me, but it is definitely going to be interesting. So far 9 out of 25 have paid me- lets see how many others pay up before next Friday!
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 12th Mar 17, 11:27 AM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Been a busy bee as of late

    I've had a bit of a shopping spree as of late on eBay; nothing massively expensive but probably spent about £50 in total. I do now have some lovely new clothes for bargainous prices, and a lot of my clothes are now too big, so it was a good purchase. Means I can wear more clothes rather than the small amount at my disposal! All are good labels and purchased for around £6 each including postage, so very happy. This money has come out of my normal salary, so I haven't touched the part time job money.

    One thing I can't justify though... I booked a ticket to V Festival for August at a cost of £99 I did however buy Ticketmaster gift cards via my employee rewards scheme, so saved about £20. So still a lot of money, but it does mean I can go with my sisters and it is a fab day out.

    Good news to update- I officially passed my Law/ Ethics exams so I officially only have one written exam to go in May, and all things well with my results and I am qualified! Payrise will be requested and I am hoping it will be high enough to match my Sainsbugs salary, as I am handing in my notice as soon as I can.

    I've also done my own kind of snowball spreadsheet and on my current income, I've estimated I will clear everything, and have approximately £100 leftover, by the end of July This also means that I can happily hand in my notice to Sainsbugs at the beginning of July and get my mornings back. I have considered maybe continuing for a month after paying off my cards for a bit of a cushion, but as I'm not planning on giving up the cinema and my payrise should bridge the gap for the loss in salary I kind of want to get rid as soon as I can.

    OH and I had a conversation a few nights ago about when we want to start a family. I have made it clear I will not start to try until I have my qualifications behind me, so I have an easier route back to work should I leave and go back. This will put me at exam qualifying, if I pass first time for everything, May 2018. We also both want to go to Canada for snowboarding, and since I can't do that if pregnant, that holiday has been bumped up to next year! If we can afford it that is, but being debt free by summer (ignoring the bathroom money as that will be jointly serviced via joint account) I should be able to save a fair bit to it.

    It's weird to think that in a couple of years we could potentially have a little human in our lives. I've never been a maternal person, but lately I have genuinely been looking forward to starting a family with him. He's such a wonderful man and I know will be a wonderful father

    Gushiness aside, current totals:

    MBN*: 4,962.39
    AA: 840
    BCard: 810
    Total: 6,612.39

    Less in savings: (£2,811.96)

    Total: 3,800.43

    Since starting my diary to today, my debt is now 46.29% paid off! That's amazing considering all I have been doing is saving my part time job money and also making fixed repayments at £115 a month. The £115 comes out of my normal salary, so all my part time work money is an extra repayment against debt. My average extra earnings has been at £560, which is basically another 1/3 of my net salary.

    Writing these numbers down makes me really wish I could be saving it for myself... ah well. Instant gratification has to be paid off at some point!
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 17th Mar 17, 8:57 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    Small money development- I have been accepted by the following;

    - Tesco Home Panels
    - Shop and Scan (as of today!)
    - Life of Mail survey (via Royal Mail stamp survey) - still waiting for details; starting in April

    Now the above won't make me millions, but it's an extra added money making exercise that won't take up a lot of my time. S&S should make me around £80 in vouchers over the year, which isn't something to be sniffed at! I've also signed up for Angelfish which does marketing surveys. Was tempted by a two hour shopping survey for £55 but unfortunately I can't do next weekend. Still, hopefully I'll qualify for something else.

    Today was payday by Sainsbugs, and I'm about £20 short on what I calculated my wage would be, taking into account an extra 5.5 hours of overtime. Need to pick up my wage slip and query it with HR. It looks like they calculated my wages on 50.5 hours... Which even if they disregarded 1.5 hours of the overtime as it wasn't strictly requested (I stayed on my shift to help finish things off) 4 hours of it was definitely an overtime shift. Ugh. They are really irritating me, they have caused me nothing but problems with my wage/holiday since I started.

    OH is out at Cheltenham today, so I'm by my lonesome until Sunday. Considering I am doing a long shift at the cinema tomorrow (12pm - 9pm) and hopefully sneaking into a showing of Beauty and the Beast afterwards, I don't really have the time to miss him! Although the bed isn't as warm. (I honestly didn't marry him as a hot water bottle).

    Small matched betting profit from the horses ~ £15. Not too shabby for ten minutes of time! If I had realised earlier I could have made more from the festival but completely forgot and didn't check my emails for offers.

    Now... on to the not so MSE part. I may have purchased myself some Christian Louboutin heels.

    *ducks from having the MSE book thrown at her*

    There is some- well, sort of- reasoning to this. Hand on heart, I was going to buy myself some in July anyway when I qualified, so the expense was coming sooner or later. I then found a pair of the perfect shoes for me up for sale, brand new. Let's just say I put a lowball offer in and didn't expect for it to be accepted! Still, they are going to be absolutely beautiful and I will definitely post some pictures when I can!

    In a further attempt to somewhat justify the above purchase, I have finally booked my car in to have a cambelt/water pump change. I've been meaning to since my MOT last September, when they told me I should have had it done when my car was 5 years old... my car is now 7 Still, got a quote from the garage I use near me and they wanted £385. I'm going back to surprise my mum for mother's day so got another quote from a recommended garage used by a friend... £200!! So £185 back in my pocket for doing nothing. Or at least £185 towards my shoes

    I've made it my mission to make my shoe purchase 'cost neutral'. And yes, I am counting the car saving towards it as I'll never get there So adding up the car savings and the matching betting profit, I am currently at...


    I also signed my OH up for a Nationwide Flex Direct account and referred him, so we will both be getting a £100 bonus from them next month, which can go straight to the shoe pot!

    Only leaves £32 to find. I'm good at this MSE malarky

    Ending on an actual MSE note, part time jobbie totals earned since mid October currently sit at £3,212.67

    I've also worked out I could have everything paid off by the end of July at the current rate I am working, meaning I can hand my notice in at Sainsburys at the beginning of July and never have to do 2:30am get ups or 16 hour days again! That is, if I stop buying pretty shoes...
    • Alarae
    • By Alarae 19th Mar 17, 11:21 AM
    • 281 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    First big payment made off the cards yesterday. The first part of the MBN* balance at 0% came to its end so that was paid off in full. Rounded up the payment so the balance has gone down by £2,400

    Nice to see the big chunk actually coming off, even if I had the money stashed away anyway.

    Best part is I still have £812.64 leftover, which technically will pay off another card. Not too shabby
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