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  • FIRST POST
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 25th Jan 17, 10:45 PM
    • 995Posts
    • 3,546Thanks
    angelpye
    The Marching Minimalist
    • #1
    • 25th Jan 17, 10:45 PM
    The Marching Minimalist 25th Jan 17 at 10:45 PM
    So this is my journey.

    Like so many I have started a diary to motivate myself into staying on the right track...the track that leads to living a more simple, happy, guilt free, low stress, debt free, possession light, experience heavy, financially secure life of freedom. Just the idea of that brings me a moment of peace. I can do this.

    Today was the second thing in a week to go wrong with my car (the first would normally send me into a tail spin and back into denial) so need something to keep me on track.

    How did I get here? Stupidity would be the short answer. The long one is a catalogue of bad behaviour, a series of unfortunate events, a few conscious decisions that have made me money poor but life more fulfilled and spells of low mood. The perfect storm.

    LBM. My finances took a serious nose dive recently due to ill health, bad planning and refusal on my behalf to face it. I am now on the lowest monthly budget I have had in over 13 years...If I got struck by lightening my hair would be an amazing glass sculpture due to the amount of time I have stuck my head in the sand! But seriously, it's bad, really bad (for me) but I can and I will fix it.

    LBM blues...oh how hard the last couple of weeks has been facing up to the mess I made. The guilt, shame and panic has been overwhelming at times but I have had support on here and just reading other peoples plots and plans has motivated me to be brave. Reading peoples signatures has made me believe.

    Time for action. My SOA is tight, so very tight, until April when my income will rise by £150. Not a lot but enough to make it manageable and close enough to make it tolerable. I hope.

    The bottom line. The thing that makes the weight of the debt so heavy is not the amount of debt (although any debt is not good) it's the fact that my budget is so tight there is nothing left to pay the debt off quicker. I have things I can sell so I will have to start there. Things I don't need, don't look at, and are stored. Getting rid of excess belongings and every penny I make by doing so will bring me that one step closer to freedom. My house needs quite a bit of work as I bought a 'project' due to circumstances at the time.

    The good. I am blessed in my life to have wonderful people whom I love and love me. I have a home that is safe and is slowly becoming a beautifully calm place to live as I make the necessary renovations. I am creative and this brings me great joy and challenges my mind. So many things to be thankful for the list could go on and on.

    The aim. At the very least I want to be debt free, house sorted and small emergency fund by my 40th birthday. That gives just over 3 years to achieve that. I can't find the Snowball thing again at the moment but it is telling me about 60 months...nope, not acceptable. These first couple of months will be hard as very little time and the tightest of budget so will be easy to see no progress but I will not accrue more debt so it will still be a win. My income will rise as circumstances change but this low moment is my chance to realign myself to a simple way of living so when finances improve its all about security and experiences.

    I am calling this my 'march' because this is not going to be a walk in the park but with determination I will get there.
    Last edited by angelpye; 25-01-2017 at 11:31 PM.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
Page 10
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 12th Mar 17, 9:26 AM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Thanks Ada, not wanting to wish my life away but can't wait until May and i can properly review my finances with increase of income.

    There are two solo trips I am desperate to do - one could be done for less than £800 for the week and the other is Japan and haven't even looked to price it up. My DD goes away with her dad twice a year so solo trips can be taken at those times. This year is probably not realistic, all 'spare' money going on trip away with DD in summer, but maybe next year. I do want to and have taken DD on adventures abroad but I also like to use the time I have without her to explore. I hope that doesn't sound selfish.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • VelvetFreak
    • By VelvetFreak 12th Mar 17, 10:50 AM
    • 87 Posts
    • 206 Thanks
    VelvetFreak
    Wanting to make the most of your time alone does not sound selfish at all.
    Family Loan $3851/$8000 = -$4149
    Emergency Fund $1475/$10,000
    Mini Cash Savings = $10/$100
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 12th Mar 17, 4:42 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Thanks VelvetFreak

    I have done one city trip totally solo and absolutely loved it. Loved exploring/getting lost at my own pace and to my own interests and really enjoyed dining solo - I was lucky enough to be approached by locals who realised I was English and just wanted to chat. I have been a mum for best part of 20 years as I had my eldest young and so really appreciated the ability to do as I pleased. I really enjoy showing my children new things and experiencing their reaction to new adventures too though.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • ada-or-ardor
    • By ada-or-ardor 12th Mar 17, 8:46 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 292 Thanks
    ada-or-ardor
    Not selfish at all, it's not like you're leaving her in a local pub and going on holiday!!!

    Japan is my lifetime destination too!! Some serious saving to be done for that one! But we will get there - I'll bet you a sake ;-)

    Ada
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 12th Mar 17, 9:25 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Will drink to that Ada! but will then dare you to some karaoke I read tons of posts on travelling as a single female in Japan etc. Love the idea of capsule/pod hotels. Just the idea of getting there someday perks me up no end! Its tempting to take the little one although will restrict what I do but as its more of a longer term goal I won't worry about details yet!

    I did start a little scrap book of 'life dreams' and think I might find it and start building it up again. Probably sounds a bit sad but will keep me focused on debt busting. So many places to see with and without my girls!
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 13th Mar 17, 1:10 PM
    • 7,089 Posts
    • 37,736 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Your plan of wanting to do things just for you doesn't sound in the least selfish to me! Life on your own with a child can be so isolating - to me if you can find a way of maintaining your own sanity/mental health like that, then you owe it to both of you to do that? Yes of course there are sacrifices that have to be made for the lifestyle choice of having children, but turning your entire focus of being over to that child isn't any healthier for them, than it would be for you, in my opinion.

    Scrapbook also sounds ace - what a lovely think to be able to look at - maybe when the money thing gets a bit hard going - as an incentive for the future!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£276.01
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 13th Mar 17, 1:55 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    That was exactly my thoughts EH. I usually just put a newspaper clipping of say cycling holiday in denmark or a photo of an interesting place just to remind myself of all the places I dream of going to. I agree with what you said about maintaining good mental health - taking care of myself will benefit DD too as well as keeping our relationship healthy.

    I think because I have debt that is my doing and we are now on a tight budget I feel guilty about wanting things for myself. Guilt, there's that very unhelpful feeling again! Must push it one side
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 14th Mar 17, 11:50 AM
    • 7,089 Posts
    • 37,736 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Yep - ditch the guilt. You've made mistakes, you've acknowledged that, and you're now taking steps to deal with it. In my book that makes you one of the good guys. Plus you're also making every effort to ensure that DD still gets a happy, fun childhood - and I'd happily put money on in years to come she'll appreciate the budget fun stuff FAR more than some of her friends will appreciate the expensive stuff. Memories are worth more than things - give it 10 years and the "things" will all be broken, stored away or charity shopped - the memories will still be intact and periodically making you laugh and say "remember when...?!"
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£276.01
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 14th Mar 17, 2:58 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Oh definitely! All my most treasured memories from being a kid are simple things. I don't remember any presents I got other than the Mr Frosty slushy maker I got one year.

    On the cheap days out/things to do subject I have found a £3 easter egg hunt trail out in the country side by National Trust and ordered the raspberry canes. RHS sale had stopped but managed to find same canes on W@itrose garden still at 40% off and cheaper delivery plus its tracking £1.68 in cash back! Survey money depleted to pence now but DD will really enjoy both activites
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 14th Mar 17, 3:20 PM
    • 7,089 Posts
    • 37,736 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Ace work - and if you've used survey money, c ash neutral too - well done you!

    Ahh yes - funnily enough the present I remember the best from childhood was also a cheapy one - a water game with a press button - inside was a swordfish and some rings, and the aim was to repeatedly press the button which "whooshed" the rings into the air so you could try to catch them on the swordfish's "nose" - HOURS of fun!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£276.01
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 14th Mar 17, 3:51 PM
    • 477 Posts
    • 3,314 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Mr Frosty is practically the only childhood gift I remember too! Also sleeping bags, because my parents let us sleep under the tree in them (which suggests, as has been mentioned many times in minimalist blogs/podcasts etc, that experiences are longer lasting than physical items).
    £67,031.92 is a frightening number indeed... The debt free diary of one family and their enormous debt
    LBM debt on 12th February 2017/DFD: £67,031.92/1st December 2026
    debt on 6/3/17/DFD: £65,133.07/1st August 2026
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 14th Mar 17, 4:16 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Exactly - even the gifts we remember were cheap! Before my parents separated we would get an absolute tower of presents each and I can't remember a single one other than Mr Frosty.

    For a long time now the focus has been on experiences - I always buy my girls tickets to something as their main present and this year I bought the ex in-laws restaurant vouchers to compliment the theatre tickets my ex bought. They had a lovely night out and its much better than books, bird houses and toiletries etc. (yes, a bird house! Desperation all over that one!)

    ToP Sleeping out under a tree sounds idyllic! What a lovely past time to have.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 15th Mar 17, 7:08 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    'Normal' life resumes...
    Since I started this third and final march to debt freedom I have been totally obsessed with my budget. I was often frantically rewriting the budget every time something occurred, which thankfully the discovery of YNAB stopped, and checking and rechecking figures all the time... obsessing about food, DFD, all the guilt, the feeling of not having enough and the fear of the future. This has dissipated.

    I think it lasted as long as it did partly because I am of an obsessive/anxious nature, partly because I feel truly committed to living within my means and clearing my debt once and for all and partly because I was scared if I didn't obsess at all times I would fall off the wagon. I feel strongly I won't now and that my finances need to start taking a bit less headspace than they were.

    This has partly naturally happened due to getting on so well with YNAB but I have decided to make a conscious effort so that 'normal' everyday life resumes and I start truly enjoying it again albeit frugally.

    I think my LBM caused a tail spin (rightly so and just in time so I can actually pay everything) but the rest of my life seemed to turn to chaos. I was finding it hard to keep on top of everything because the debt situation felt so enormous that I couldn't focus on anything else - although I did ensure I was present with DD as always.

    I need order to function as although I am naturally quite free in my approach to life I am also prone to feeling overwhelmed due to my spells of low mood. I need a tidy house to have a tidy mind and I need some routine although I also need to be spontaneous - oxymoron!!

    So I have decided to give my financial dealings a routine along with my housework so I am not tempted to obsess and won't fall off the wagon.

    I am going to commit to checking YNAB and my banking app in the morning - gives me reassurance everything is on track. But only do this once a day.

    I will of course input when I spend anything which at the moment is only a couple of times a week on average.

    On the last week of the month I will set aside time to fully reconcile YNAB for the next month ahead.

    I will 'flylady' my housework whenever possible. This gives me structure I need without headspace being taken up.

    Surveys when daily schedule allows.

    I will meal plan every weekend and do the necessary shopping.

    I will do my gym classes and book them on time so I don't miss out.

    I will use fitness pal to monitor my diet.

    I will tell myself everyday that 'I have got this' and 'this too shall pass' and when my resolve is faltering 'Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you can be violent and original in your work.' I find repeating things to myself soothing when anxious.

    I will swipe guilt out of my mind when it rears its ugly head. I am a good enough mother, a kind friend and a good person. I need to be kind to myself and accept I am not perfect, the mistakes I made I have learned from and life is good...will only get better.

    Sorry to list everything out but I think I need to record it somewhere other than my RL diary so I can put it out into the universe. Tonight I will work out a list of daily tasks and realistic timings etc in the hope it just becomes routine. Then plot the weekly and monthly tasks.

    the peaceful feeling I feel has been growing with all the steps I have taken to control this situation and finally I feel at ease with it all.

    I have got this!

    Marching on...
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • Bobarella
    • By Bobarella 15th Mar 17, 10:18 PM
    • 10,278 Posts
    • 65,948 Thanks
    Bobarella
    Great post! You sound very focused.
    "You're not rich until you have something money can't buy."

    Debt neutral 27/03/17 from £40k in the hole 2012.
    Roadkill 17 £52.96 2016-£62.28 2015- £84.20)
    RYSAW17 £1530.02 2016 £2,535.16 2015 £1027.20
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 16th Mar 17, 4:50 AM
    • 477 Posts
    • 3,314 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Lots of things there! I have a similarly ordered life (not so much to be violent and original in my work, but just to make sure stuff actually gets done - three children, two businesses and a house to manage) and I find a combination of strict routines, Evernote for daily planning and a Filofax for weekly planning really helps me stay on top of everything. It's taken a long time to get a system that works for me, but I am MILES more efficient now that I do. I don't think there's one single solution that works for everyone, or even one system that works for one person forever, but once you find the system that works for you I'm sure you'll find a lot of those little routines will just slot into place.
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 16-03-2017 at 6:49 AM.
    £67,031.92 is a frightening number indeed... The debt free diary of one family and their enormous debt
    LBM debt on 12th February 2017/DFD: £67,031.92/1st December 2026
    debt on 6/3/17/DFD: £65,133.07/1st August 2026
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 16th Mar 17, 10:33 AM
    • 7,089 Posts
    • 37,736 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Ahh yes - the power of repetition, I know that one! I also use "this too shall pass" - and very true it is too. I've also found huge value in learning coping strategies for anxiety - I started last year suffering quite horribly with anxiety issues around a couple of things that had been ongoing in my life - to the point that it was affecting my sleep, my everyday life and all sorts. Found a "self-help" thing on a Scottish NHS website which proved to be incredibly helpful and from about day 4 of working through their steps simply haven't looked back. Another thing which really works for me is writing things down - I've got a "private" online journal which I can write anything in and that helps me empty my head out when it gets a bit full. It's also proved interesting to look back on as I can see how far I've come.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£276.01
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 16th Mar 17, 11:37 AM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Thank you Bob, ToP and EH - your support is much appreciated and knowing others have similar struggles and found ways to manage is always a boost in knowing I am on the right track.

    EH - will check out that website next week when I have some time to properly look at it. Anything that keeps anxiety at bay is worth a try
    Last edited by angelpye; 16-03-2017 at 11:39 AM.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 16th Mar 17, 11:46 AM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Played with snowball just now, as last CC payment of the month is out, and thought I had brought my DFD forward but then realised I had miss typed the amount I pay off. The good thing is if when my energy bill dd decreases I add £10 to regular debt repayment I will bring forward my DFD by 13 months...I think thats a plan. As it is the DFD is unchanged.

    Marching on...
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 16th Mar 17, 1:10 PM
    • 7,089 Posts
    • 37,736 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Thank you Bob, ToP and EH - your support is much appreciated and knowing others have similar struggles and found ways to manage is always a boost in knowing I am on the right track.

    EH - will check out that website next week when I have some time to properly look at it. Anything that keeps anxiety at bay is worth a try
    Originally posted by angelpye
    Indeed it is - google "Moodjuice Anxiety" and that should find it.

    Played with snowball just now, as last CC payment of the month is out, and thought I had brought my DFD forward but then realised I had miss typed the amount I pay off. The good thing is if when my energy bill dd decreases I add £10 to regular debt repayment I will bring forward my DFD by 13 months...I think thats a plan. As it is the DFD is unchanged.

    Marching on...
    Originally posted by angelpye
    That does sound like a plan! That was how we dealt with the mortgage initially - adding in "money we didn't know we had" - so savings on bills etc. Works a treat, that! Also really shows you how adding just a small amount to payments can make a big difference!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£276.01
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 16th Mar 17, 2:05 PM
    • 995 Posts
    • 3,546 Thanks
    angelpye
    Thanks EH, that just led me to look at what would happen if I put all of the energy cost saving onto debt and would add another 4 months! That would mean 17 months saved with money I don't have right now anyway. No brainer! It would take my DFD to Dec 2020. Still want to improve on that but will take that! Should be able to do this from next month.
    Last edited by angelpye; 16-03-2017 at 2:09 PM.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: £2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF £0/£4200
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