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  • FIRST POST
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 26th Jan 17, 12:20 PM
    • 1,196Posts
    • 3,735Thanks
    JoJoC
    Getting my shhh together
    • #1
    • 26th Jan 17, 12:20 PM
    Getting my shhh together 26th Jan 17 at 12:20 PM
    It's January 2017 and I want to make a stand against myself.

    I will let me sabotage myself no more and I will take control and make my finances better!

    Where to begin? Good question! Since my husband and I bought our first house together in 2009, we have bad financial decision after bad financial decision. Not through stupidity, but a combination of naivety, laziness and lack of foresight. We are very impulsive people and it's quite tricky to rein that in when it comes to finances but we've had endless talks over the last few months and 2017 is the year that we sort our sh!t out!

    A combination of astronomical childcare costs, unpaid maternity leave, paying the mortgage for our flat when it isn't let (second property) and a few other things has meant that the last 2.5 years have been really tight and we have built up some debt that I really want to reduce. I'll declare it below!

    Credit card 1: £6,000 (on 0% interest)
    Credit card 2: £3,800 (not yet on 0% interest)
    Overdraft: £600
    Owe to MIL: £120
    Owe to uncle: £700

    I CAN tackle this in 2017 because:

    - My eldest son is starting school in August, meaning i'll be saving on nursery fees
    - I have just started a new job and my earnings will increase by around £200 per month
    - My husband is busy with additional work in the form of 'homers' over the next couple of months

    Hurdles/ challenges/ costly things happening:
    - My sister's wedding in September
    - My sister's hen weekend in September
    - It's my mother in law's 60th and we are going away for a few nights to a cottage to celebrate
    - Husband is going on my brother-in-law's stag weekend to Prague
    - We need to save for spending money as my company is paying for myself and husband to go to Thailand for a week for work.

    As you can see, the opportunities to save, to rein in what we are spending and to pay off debts are there, but it's such a busy year of commitments so I know it's going to be hard going.

    How am I going to achieve this?

    Change the setup of our banking
    It's currently one big bank account for all income, bills and spending but that's not working for us at all, particularly because we have massive outgoings so I want to switch to having a bills account, a spending account and a savings account.

    Spend time weekly on budgeting
    I have set up a comprehensive spreadsheet detailing when money comes in, when it goes out, when money is transferred to savings and when money is transferred to spending accounts. I want to ensure that this is kept on target and we aren't left short so I want to spend time every Sunday night when my husband is at football going through our finances and the spreadsheet to make sure everything is running smoothly and tackle any adjustments that need to be made. I'm paid monthly and my husband is paid weekly so it's a tricky balance.

    Striking the balance
    I need to strike the balance between paying off debt that we have and saving up for the things that we've committed to this year - I know if I focus on debt alone, we'll end up further in debt to cover things. Vigilance is the key and I will need to keep on top of what we can and can't afford to do. Considered choices will work best and looking ahead to see what's coming up will help too. I want to tackle the family debt first, particularly as they are the smallest debts and the ones that I feel bad about the most.

    I appreciate that there's a lot of debt-free diaries on here and this one isn't solely about hammering debt, but I think it's important for me to be accountable and I want to make changes rather than plan then just bury my head in the sand.

    Any encouragement along the way would be appreciated!
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
Page 27
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 9th Jul 17, 5:11 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    A positive update for a Sunday afternoon - just got a £15 Amazon voucher from Valued Opinions and a £6 Amazon voucher from Opinion Outpost. Uploaded them so I have £21 sat in there to put towards birthday and Christmas gifts.

    Other than that it's been a VERY uneventful day. Happy Sunday!
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 10th Jul 17, 11:48 AM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Good morning all - the start of another week is upon us! Already!

    Today will be a little spendy, but it's all necessary and budgeted. We are away for our few days away as of tomorrow morning so i'll be buying some snacks for the car, filling up the car and generally getting organised.

    I need to get some work done first and get the house organised too (my parents are staying at our house with the kids) so this week is going to be a bit manic.

    I'm looking forward to my husband getting paid tomorrow with the extra overtime in his pay packet
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 10th Jul 17, 12:10 PM
    • 7,805 Posts
    • 40,356 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    That sounds like a well thought out decision on the loan - the key thing is making sure that you set the payments to a level so it's not just being seen as "free money" isn't it - and you've clearly done that so well done!

    Well done on the Amazon vouchers for the presents fund too - nice work!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 10th Jul 17, 2:19 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Thanks EH - yes, i think we're making a wise decision, however wrong it feels to be adding to my debt. I think i need to remind myself that we do still need to make our way through life and progress with the house while trying to be cautious with what we decide to do.

    I'm glad to be getting somewhere with the surveys! I've got £42.48 ready to cash out on PA with another £17 to be approved too.

    I need to find an app or a website of some description that I can record purchases for birthdays and Christmas etc. I've started picking up bits and bobs so want to stay organised. Any suggestions?
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 11th Jul 17, 12:40 PM
    • 1,477 Posts
    • 16,899 Thanks
    Suffolk lass

    I need to find an app or a website of some description that I can record purchases for birthdays and Christmas etc. I've started picking up bits and bobs so want to stay organised. Any suggestions?
    Originally posted by JoJoC
    Google sheets - you can enter all your friends & rellies down the left axis, their gifts on the cross axis and then add the costs and grey out when purchased. You can access it from any device through which you access google - and share a read-only version with chosen others if you wish (us on here, or your husband, for example).
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8112.39 saved (73.74%) after August - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 61.61/66.66% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • monz
    • By monz 11th Jul 17, 2:08 PM
    • 2,739 Posts
    • 7,708 Thanks
    monz
    Thanks EH - yes, i think we're making a wise decision, however wrong it feels to be adding to my debt. I think i need to remind myself that we do still need to make our way through life and progress with the house while trying to be cautious with what we decide to do.

    I'm glad to be getting somewhere with the surveys! I've got £42.48 ready to cash out on PA with another £17 to be approved too.

    I need to find an app or a website of some description that I can record purchases for birthdays and Christmas etc. I've started picking up bits and bobs so want to stay organised. Any suggestions?
    Originally posted by JoJoC
    I love my excell spreadsheets always keeps me accounted - from debt days, florida savings etc x
    Debt (1/9/14) £6,702.11 Debt free (30/11/2016)
    house deposit £5,781.18/10,000
    mums xmas vouchers boots (surveys ) 50/50 sisters xmas vouchers topshop (surveys ) 10/30 Dads xmas voucher amazon (surveys) 0/25
    holiday - £100/1064.72
    Australia 2019 - /5000
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 14th Jul 17, 12:45 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Back to it
    We're back after a few expensive but really amazing days away - it's so important for us to get away now and again to spend time as a couple without the day to day worries of life. We indulged in lots of lovely food, drinks and some fun activities so it was well worth the (budgeted) spends.

    I had some updates while we were away:

    Loan
    We have been accepted for the £15,000 loan that we applied on an interest rate of 4.1% . It's not as low as the 2.8% advertised but it's better than the 6.9% that our current loan is on.

    The man doing our driveway is coming round tonight so that we can pick the details and we have allocated £7k of the loan to that. I've asked my dad to call up for a settlement figure on the existing loan (around £7.5k) so that we know exactly where we stand on early repayment including the 50 days interest they charge. I'm glad we managed to keep the term virtually the same as we can now more than afford the extra monthly repayments in order to move things forward with the driveway and pay off the loan with less interest.

    The payments will start next month and will last for 30 months, taking us to 2020. My plan is to make overpayments to ensure that we pay the loan off by the end of 2019, starting a new decade loan-free!

    Other bits and bobs
    • I got £20 cash back for balance transferring my credit card (I may have mentioned this?) so that's been added to my credit card account
    • I've made £96 (before postage is deducted) on ebay sales and just waiting until next month to relist those that haven't sold for free, as I'm over my monthly limit
    • I have £46 cleared in Prolific and another £13 pending, so i'm doing well there and Onepoll is up to almost £23.

    Christmas planning
    My savings for Christmas are still going as planned and I hope to have £600 saved come November when the credit union payout is. I'll also try to pick stuff up as I go along when I see a bargain.

    Thanks for the suggestion of a Google Sheet for my Christmas planning - I'm not sure why the idea didn't come to me because all my budgeting is on there! I'm going to do that this afternoon and get organised as I already have bought a few things and want to keep track.

    Ho ho ho!
    Last edited by JoJoC; 14-07-2017 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Adding more details!
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • Peabody
    • By Peabody 14th Jul 17, 4:32 PM
    • 272 Posts
    • 355 Thanks
    Peabody
    Hey,

    how much do you get for the Prolific studies? I really need to get into these things

    Starting to plan Christmas here as well, it'll come around far to soon.

    Pea
    Total at 9th Feb 12 - £17,500 Now - £13,431.87
    Loan - £6992.20, Card 1 - £3224.60, Card 2 - £2225.07, Sofa - £990.00
    Card overpayment pot - £0.00
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 15th Jul 17, 9:06 AM
    • 1,477 Posts
    • 16,899 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Glad you had a good little break, it refreshes the parts and all that...

    How much do you intend having in Prolific before you cash out? I ask for two reasons. 1) Martin's guide suggests you cash out regularly and small so you don't lose out too much if there is a problem, and 2) I think you follow Hiddenidentity's thread - one of her posters referenced losing some disputed money from one of the survey companies (I didn't mentally note who as I don't do them myself - can't be bothered with another email account tbh).

    I wouldn't want you to lose out after all that effort.

    Have a good weekend
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8112.39 saved (73.74%) after August - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 61.61/66.66% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 15th Jul 17, 9:37 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Just checking in and saw your plans re the drive. It sounds like it falls into the 'horrifying but necessary' form of debt if it's actually causing a damp risk to the house, as you can't risk the structural integrity of your home. I agree that laying it all out here is a really useful part of the process - sometimes I've written about an 'essential' spend and realised it isn't, and sometimes I've realised that despite what others think, it's actually necessary for us.
    £67,031.92 is a frightening number indeed... The debt free diary of one family and their enormous debt
    LBM debt on 12th Feb 2017/DFD: £58,608.13/1st Dec 2026
    debt on 2nd Aug 17/DFD: £55,011.96/1st May 2025
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 15th Jul 17, 1:29 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Hey,

    how much do you get for the Prolific studies? I really need to get into these things

    Starting to plan Christmas here as well, it'll come around far to soon.

    Pea
    Originally posted by Peabody
    The prolific studies are great, although uou need to check regularly throughout the day. If you wait until you get an email it'll be too late. The surveys fill up fairly quickly with participants.

    Generally I've found surveys to be between £2-3 but I've had ones at £10.50 and others at 20P.

    I've only had my account a couple of weeks and I'm almost at £60 - half of last week I was away on holiday and I don't check it at weekends so there's a lot of potential.

    Worth signing up! There's a thread on it over on the making more money boards.
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 15th Jul 17, 1:33 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Glad you had a good little break, it refreshes the parts and all that...

    How much do you intend having in Prolific before you cash out? I ask for two reasons. 1) Martin's guide suggests you cash out regularly and small so you don't lose out too much if there is a problem, and 2) I think you follow Hiddenidentity's thread - one of her posters referenced losing some disputed money from one of the survey companies (I didn't mentally note who as I don't do them myself - can't be bothered with another email account tbh).

    I wouldn't want you to lose out after all that effort.

    Have a good weekend
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    You know, I hadn't thought of it that way. I was initially planning to get to £20 to avoid fees but then I thought I could just keep saving beyond that so I don't touch it.

    But you're right, I should be more cautious. I think I'll just cash in what's available and have it in PayPal. I was hoping yo save £100 so that it can pay for the dollars I'm planning to give to my sister for her wedding (my husband is making the other part of the present).

    Half way there with what I have now!

    Thanks for the perspective
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 15th Jul 17, 1:37 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Just checking in and saw your plans re the drive. It sounds like it falls into the 'horrifying but necessary' form of debt if it's actually causing a damp risk to the house, as you can't risk the structural integrity of your home. I agree that laying it all out here is a really useful part of the process - sometimes I've written about an 'essential' spend and realised it isn't, and sometimes I've realised that despite what others think, it's actually necessary for us.
    Originally posted by Treadingonplaymobil
    Yes, it does make me think properly about the spend. Ultimately, getting the drainage and the slabs sorted is essential and I'm just trying to be smart about it. I'm not paying thousands for a quick fix to just do it all over again in a couple of years.

    It's a hard decision but it's an affordable one and now that everything else is on 0% it's more manageable.
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 16th Jul 17, 7:40 AM
    • 1,477 Posts
    • 16,899 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    It does make a difference, having it all on 0%, doesn't it? We have both ours on 0% so only paying mortgage with any interest. Our old Base-Rate Tracker is still doing us proud at 0.49% above the BoEBR so only 0.74% at the moment. If rates start to shift we may need to go for a fixed rate but sticking at the moment.

    Have you considered moving your mortgage to a long-term fixed rate to give you greater certainty?
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8112.39 saved (73.74%) after August - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 61.61/66.66% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • Chandelier.
    • By Chandelier. 16th Jul 17, 3:28 PM
    • 492 Posts
    • 1,340 Thanks
    Chandelier.
    It sounds as if you've made the right decision JoJo and it's great to see you've got it at a lower interest then previous loan. At least you're making some savings and it's not setting your DFD any further away.
    Check out my Diary
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 17th Jul 17, 11:01 AM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    It does make a difference, having it all on 0%, doesn't it? We have both ours on 0% so only paying mortgage with any interest. Our old Base-Rate Tracker is still doing us proud at 0.49% above the BoEBR so only 0.74% at the moment. If rates start to shift we may need to go for a fixed rate but sticking at the moment.

    Have you considered moving your mortgage to a long-term fixed rate to give you greater certainty?
    Originally posted by Suffolk lass
    I haven't considered this actually, and i'm not sure why. I think because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the Government etc I'm wary of the right time to fix and how long for. I'm not really very knowledgeable when it comes to financial products and we use a local mortgage broker who helps us out. We last took a new product in May 17 on a 2 year fixed rate, freeing up £20k equity to buy out the shared equity on our flat and we got such a better rate that our payments actually dropped. We wouldn't have been able to do this if we'd fixed for longer. Also, we are pretty young (30) and I was hoping to use the short term fixed deals to enable us to bring down the term of our mortgage as we can afford it (i.e. after two years review the term and monthly payments to see if we can shorten it by overpaying). This isn't happening now but I'd like it to in the near future.

    Not sure if any of that makes sense, but it's a few things that I've thought about in the past.
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 17th Jul 17, 9:12 PM
    • 1,477 Posts
    • 16,899 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Normally when your mortgage goes past its' "deal date" (e.g. your 2 year fix from May 17-Apr 19) the penalty for overpaying is removed. However, lots of banks and BSocs offer to let you overpay by up to 10% per year (that is 10% of your balance, not the original amount). Our Mortgage is with Skipton BS and we have had it for around 12 years and the rate is so good (a base-rate tracker) that the temptation is to stick with it. We are considering a five year fix but I was reading the Money Section of The Times on Saturday and the analysts don't think the BoEBR will go above another 0.25% this year so I am going to stick and see what 2018 brings.

    I know it seems to be in the distant future but if you can round your payments up (maybe to the next round 50 or 100 round figure), it really starts to make a difference quickly. We did that when interest rates started to fall in the early 90s and when we moved we had paid off more than £8000 more than we thought. Mind you, we then upped the mortgage, reset the term and effectively started again. Mad!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8112.39 saved (73.74%) after August - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 61.61/66.66% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 18th Jul 17, 10:30 AM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Yes, we definitely want to get overpaying as soon as it's feasible to do so, particularly as we upped the mortgage this year to release equity. I'd lie to be mortgage free by 50 but I don't want to start throwing money at the mortgage when we still have a million and one other things on the go.

    To be honest, I feel like we're just recovering from the hideousness of childcare costs and we need to properly take stock, sort out the things that we want/ need to with the house then concentrate on building up some savings and overpaying the mortgage come 2020.

    In 2020 our loan will be finished, my second son will be starting school later that year and we'll be in a much better financial space to tackle these big things. We're lucky that we have time on our site - I have 20 years and 9 months until my 'mortgage free by 50' goal, so I think i need to take it one step at a time.

    You're right though, even £50 per month will make all the difference to bringing the term down.
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 18th Jul 17, 10:51 AM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Not much to report here Ė things are pretty slow mid-month as always but bills are coming out, the account is still in the positive and things are uneventful which I should be grateful for.

    My husband has just spent £200 on materials for a job that heís doing at the weekend but I just moved it across from the savings account because what he earns from this job will all go back into that account so hopefully I can continue to keep the savings account looking healthy.

    Aldi shopping was £58 this week so keeping on target in terms of shopping and we donít need anything like loo roll/ washing powder for a while so that helps to keep the costs down. The only thing I need to buy is potatoes before Friday to make our roast chicken dinner.

    Quite a few of my colleagues are out on annual leave/ client meetings this week so I think Iíll be working from home the rest of the week now. That means my train tickets arenít getting used Ė Iíd have used 6 this week but instead will be using 2 

    Itís beautiful here today so Iím going to take my lunch out to the steps outside the office to try to grab some vitamin D while itís on offer. Itís on short supply here in ScotlandÖ

    My husband is due to be paid today - what are the chances of him being paid on time this week? Slim!
    CC1: 3,774.32/4,200 | CC2: 5,077/5,393 | Loan: 7,430/15,000
    Total: 16,292.57/20,032 Paid since Feb17: 3,739 or 18.66%

    Mummy of two boys - Working hard to make better financial choices!
    *My debt busting and savings diary*
    • GeorgianaCavendish
    • By GeorgianaCavendish 18th Jul 17, 11:03 AM
    • 513 Posts
    • 2,305 Thanks
    GeorgianaCavendish
    Does the railway company offer a partial refund for unused train tickets? Or do you mean that you won't be buying / using tickets that you can use another time?

    I think your plan to reevaluate things re: mortgage overpayments properly in 2020 is a good one, it sounds like that will fit really well with some of your other financial commitments coming to an end.

    Enjoy the sun Sunshine is glorious here in London too, I went for a walk around the nearby park yesterday lunchtime and seem to have caught a slight tan without turning bright pink ... what a result!
    Georgiana, Duchess of Debt-shire's July 2017 Debt Totals: HSBC Loan £11,362.14 / MBNA £3318.34 / Barclaycard £6360.70 / Lloyds £3560 / Tesco £972.50/ Dreams £259

    And don't forget the Student Loan! £10,765.93 (April 2017)
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