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  • FIRST POST
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 12th Feb 17, 9:56 AM
    • 939Posts
    • 8,015Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    £67,031.92 is a frightening number indeed....
    • #1
    • 12th Feb 17, 9:56 AM
    £67,031.92 is a frightening number indeed.... 12th Feb 17 at 9:56 AM
    £67,031.92. Seriously. £67,031.92. That is a SCARY number. I can't believe our debt has peaked (and it is the peak, I am determined) at this level.

    Our light bulb moment actually happened a few months back, but it's taken since then of wrangling utilities and carefully watching out income/outgoings (using You Need a Budget) to really figure out where we were overspending and how the monthly shortfall of anything from £200-£1,000+ was happening.

    We have literally nothing to show for this debt, it's just crept up over the past 8 years or so, and has always been at manageable levels, but back in October we realised we were spending more on credit cards each month than we were paying off.

    We committed that cardinal sin of taking out a consolidation loan, but alongside it we looked really carefully at our spending over the next couple of months, budgeted realistically for what we spend and have (I think) picked off all the easy 'low hanging fruit' of budget cuts and really identified why we were overspending.

    The main reason for the debt is, erm, me. Not that I'm the biggest spender (neither of us are amazing), but because I am self employed with a hugely variable income and basically worked out our budgets on the basis I would always earn my 'best' month's income. Which was, with hindsight, maybe a TINY bit deluded.

    The aim of this diary is to keep us on track with actually reducing our debt every single month, not doing it in a three steps forward, two (or four) steps back sort of way. Having sat down and put our numbers into the whatsthecost site, it appears that we are looking at 7 years and 1 month of repayments to clear the debt (and that's assuming we can get rid of the shortfall showing below). I REALLY want to reduce this term as that just seems bonkers.

    SOA below, with a couple of explanatory notes.

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information

    Number of adults in household........... 2
    Number of children in household......... 3
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 250 (variable, but this is the minimum I have earned in any month in the last 5 years)
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 2711.86
    Benefits................................ 192
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 3153.86


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 698
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 0
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 174 (including overpayment for a period when we messed up during a house move 18 months ago and didn't restart the direct debit for the new property. Will drop by a little under £50 after either March or April, can't remember which)
    Electricity............................. 52 (gas and electricity are one combined DD, I haven't checked the exact split but the total is £104)
    Gas..................................... 52
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 104 (also including a debt from previous property, but I think this will be included for another 6 months or so. I'm not sure what our actual usage is)
    Telephone (land line)................... 18.5 (includes internet)
    Mobile phone............................ 85 (£45 for my contract, which I use for work as well, £40 for DH)
    TV Licence.............................. 12.12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 0
    Internet Services....................... 0 (included in landline cost)
    Groceries etc. ......................... 520 (Includes £40 for one lot of school lunches. I am REALLY struggling to reduce this, but feel I could and should be able to!)
    Clothing................................ 100 (growing children, plus see notes below re clothes)
    Petrol/diesel........................... 225 (90% DH commuting costs)
    Road tax................................ 16.27
    Car Insurance........................... 25.22
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 30
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 50
    Childcare/nursery....................... 70 (this will disappear in April as child 3 gets free 15 hours)
    Other child related expenses............ 81.85 (music/swimming lessons x2, cubs and beavers, National Trust membership as they love visiting them)
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 5
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 27.07
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 16.26
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 90
    Haircuts................................ 20
    Entertainment........................... 135
    Holiday................................. 75
    Emergency fund.......................... 25
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2707.29



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 210000
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 800
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 210800



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 173733...(698)......3.14
    Total secured & HP debts...... 173733....-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Barclaycard....................6880.21...156...... .0
    MBNA...........................9614.71...98....... .0
    Parental loan..................20000.....0.........0 (see notes below)
    Tesco loan.....................21000.....377.......10
    Total unsecured debts..........57494.92..631.......-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 3,153.86
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 2,707.29
    Available for debt repayments........... 446.57
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 631
    Amount short for making debt repayments. -184.43


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 210,800
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -173,733
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -57,494.92
    Net Assets.............................. -20,427.92


    Created using the SOA calculator at stoozing.
    Reproduced on Moneysavingexpert with permission, using other browser.


    Regarding the (relatively) high clothes expense, it is a combination of 3 growing children (8, 6 and 3), plus the fact that my job is in the fashion industry, and as a self employed person I need to have the right sort of 'look' in order to get work (think along the lines of a self employed personal shopper - people need to see you looking good in order to book with you).

    The parental loan was for a house deposit. The parent in question has no idea about our debts. She is not desperate for the money back and isn't charging us interest, but has asked us to save £150-200 every month into a savings account and then once we've saved a decent sum to either repay them or 'reborrow' it for work on the house (basically they want us to be able to make repayments if they suddenly need the extra income, but meanwhile are happy for us to benefit from it. I am not saving the money while our debt payments are so high - we are hoping to have paid enough off that if the parent ever needs it that we can reborrow it and pay them back). This isn't great, but realistically I think the best solutions is to treat it as the lowest priority for snowballing - once we have paid back the other debts we will throw the entire £630+ at this debt.

    So, there is a freaking enormous shortfall every month, which is somewhat depressing. Most months it is covered by the fact that I earn more than my 'bare minimum', but it is those months where it isn't covered that the debt creeps up again, and I am a total disaster for going 'oh well, we've spent on the credit card, we might as well keep going' and buying more clothes or something for the house - this is probably a significant proportion of our debt problem.

    We have managed to get rid of the balance on the one credit card we were spending on, so the remaining ones are both on 0% deals (although one expires in September). I have not cut up the remaining credit card, because we don't have an emergency fund in case of eg boiler repairs, but it has not been used for all of a month, and I hope to keep it that way.

    A DMP or similar isn't really on my horizon right now - I feel like we should be able to make the cuts to make our budgets balance, and I am optimistic that as my income goes up (when I can work more as child 3 starts school) that we will be able to make overpayments.

    My plan for now is:
    1) Try to wiggle those budget numbers around enough that we don't have a shortfall any more.
    2) Make a plan for any months where I make extra - do I use it for an emergency fund, as a fund to cover future months' shortfalls, to throw money at the debt to try to reduce minimum payments in case of future 'shortfall' months?
    3) Try to make more money. Not quite sure how this will work as I am largely limited to working around DH's working hours (I work evenings and weekends and the 5hrs childcare per week we are paying for for child 3).

    Now that's all down in black and white I am feeling a combination of relieved (to be clear on the numbers) and immensely stressed (by the semi-regular £180+ shortfall).

    Onwards and downwards (for the debt, not me)!

    edited to add: the original £67,031.92 figure was based on the total figure for the Tesco loan, which included all interest payable over the entire term of the loan. I have updated the debt figure in my signature and in all posts going forward as at 4th June 2017 to reflect that actual current debt balance rather than the balance plus interest over the lifetime of the loan. This has knocked £7,911.62 off the debt figure, but means that each monthly payment will have the interest for that month deducted from it, so it won't affect the DFD if I don't make overpayments.
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 04-06-2017 at 2:58 PM.
Page 54
    • cocalls
    • By cocalls 5th Jul 17, 6:14 AM
    • 823 Posts
    • 1,902 Thanks
    cocalls
    sorry should have said the £60 is without veg, the veg box would be £15 but i get it in exchange for some childcare so that's £75 with only 3 people.
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 5th Jul 17, 6:36 AM
    • 392 Posts
    • 348 Thanks
    Sea Shell
    Just a thought, and I hate to say it, but as we were discussing our plans last night.....have you got a budget for Christmas yet???

    I know it still feels like miles away, but it'll be here before you know it, with presents to buy, extra food shopping and all the other £££ spends that just seem to go with it (ridiculously sometimes)
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow "
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 5th Jul 17, 8:05 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 21: Day 3

    Argh, so busy! I'm having such a pity party this week, but it will only last until the weekend, as I have a deadline on Friday. Hopefully come Saturday things will be a little calmer - this week is a perfect storm of work and child commitments.

    Yesterday completely got away from me, so the list is largely unchanged.

    to do today
    1. More laundry!
    2. Actually do the accompanying ironing.
    3. Write camping shopping list.
    4. Bake sourdough.
    5. Text last few people to plan play dates/lift swaps etc.
    6. Clean and declutter the children's room.
    7. HOURS AND HOURS of work squeezed in where I can while looking after DC3
    8. Continue to transfer stuff over from old computer to new one - old computer is so ancient that this is far from straightforward.

    to do this week
    1. Buy a washing up bowl!!! (bets on whether it happens?!).
    2. Order camping gear needed.
    3. Clean the house thoroughly one room at a time.
    4. scribble out some plans for the architect to look at (don't panic, I'm not commissioning him for any work for the near future!).

    Aims for July:
    1. Pay some extra off the MBNA card - I'd like this card gone asap.
    2. Pay for camping holiday commitments out of self employed income rather than adding to debt (it will mean not growing the cushion much more, but that can take precedence in September).
    3. Stick to the budget even more closely than in June!
    £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
    • in need of direction
    • By in need of direction 5th Jul 17, 8:37 AM
    • 4,582 Posts
    • 25,681 Thanks
    in need of direction
    Just noticed point 8 on your to do list. Do you not do external backups of your work stuff?
    Mortgage at 01.01.14 £119,481.83 today £81,750.18, target £75,000 by 31/12/17 Offset fund today £3,975.43 target £5,500 by 31/12/17
    Emergency fund £4.5/5.5k & £25/200 cash.
    Current weight loss 2/34 by 28 feb 2018
    determined to stop defining myself by my mistakes.
    Progress not perfection.
    • Savertobe
    • By Savertobe 5th Jul 17, 4:25 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 117 Thanks
    Savertobe
    I have dipped into these forums for a while now as I have tried to squeeze spending partly to cut down ahead of OH's retirement and to do home improvements. But anyway I wanted to tell you that you are doing all the right things just keep at it - I used to think we were well off and spent more than we could afford - this was partly because I did not look after the money - now my situation is reversed we have been very well off but still overspending and I now look after the money. I began to do this because we had huge debts, 5 children, dog, two cars, two mortgages!!!! We (at least I but helped by OH bringing home extra 'bacon') to clear all unsecured debt. It was around 65,000 at its highest between us including my student loan which was small and repaid. It can be done and often a bit quicker than you think. Now I don't consider myself well off more just in control. I do all sorts to save money. Areas still for me are alcohol, skincare, clothes, magazine addiction gone due to Readly where I can overdose to my hearts content for 7.99 per month (still an extravagance but you need some treats. Don't forget to enjoy the little ones while you can.
    • JoJoC
    • By JoJoC 5th Jul 17, 5:18 PM
    • 1,196 Posts
    • 3,735 Thanks
    JoJoC
    Just saw this online and thought of you:

    Heading camping this summer? Check out the Half Price Camping Sale at Tesco! >>> http://bit.ly/2tmokAw
    - Single Airbed £5
    - 2 Man Tent £12.50
    - Lounge Chair & Stool £10
    - Sleeping Bag £6.25
    ...and more!
    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*
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 5th Jul 17, 8:39 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Just noticed point 8 on your to do list. Do you not do external backups of your work stuff?
    Originally posted by in need of direction
    Yes, but the age discrepancy between the new and the old computer appears to be a problem. I think I could get round it by buying a convertor for a cable, but I am loathe to do so. With a bit of wrestling I think I have got there today.

    I have dipped into these forums for a while now as I have tried to squeeze spending partly to cut down ahead of OH's retirement and to do home improvements. But anyway I wanted to tell you that you are doing all the right things just keep at it - I used to think we were well off and spent more than we could afford - this was partly because I did not look after the money - now my situation is reversed we have been very well off but still overspending and I now look after the money. I began to do this because we had huge debts, 5 children, dog, two cars, two mortgages!!!! We (at least I but helped by OH bringing home extra 'bacon') to clear all unsecured debt. It was around 65,000 at its highest between us including my student loan which was small and repaid. It can be done and often a bit quicker than you think. Now I don't consider myself well off more just in control. I do all sorts to save money. Areas still for me are alcohol, skincare, clothes, magazine addiction gone due to Readly where I can overdose to my hearts content for 7.99 per month (still an extravagance but you need some treats. Don't forget to enjoy the little ones while you can.
    Originally posted by Savertobe
    Thank you for popping by! I do like an inspiring 'after' story.

    Just saw this online and thought of you:

    Heading camping this summer? Check out the Half Price Camping Sale at Tesco! >>> http://bit.ly/2tmokAw
    - Single Airbed £5
    - 2 Man Tent £12.50
    - Lounge Chair & Stool £10
    - Sleeping Bag £6.25
    ...and more!
    Originally posted by JoJoC
    Thank you! I'll go and check it out.
    £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
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 5th Jul 17, 8:42 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 21: Day 4

    Well the good thing about being so busy is I'm not spending any money! I'm not sure I've spent a thing since going food shopping the other day. Totally flat out still, hence the v short posts.

    Updating my computer I have been looking through old photos and realising how I am still far bigger than I was this time last year. Boo. More exercise, fewer sweets.

    to do today
    1. More laundry! done.
    2. Actually do the accompanying ironing. SO NOT DONE.
    3. Write camping shopping list. Done. Worryingly long, but lots of 'wants' as well as 'needs' so it can be pared down.
    4. Bake sourdough. Done. And very nice with pea soup for dinner.
    5. Text last few people to plan play dates/lift swaps etc. Done, finally.
    6. Clean and declutter the children's room. Not done, although DH has done a bit.
    7. HOURS AND HOURS of work squeezed in where I can while looking after DC3 . Done. Still more to go.
    8. Continue to transfer stuff over from old computer to new one - old computer is so ancient that this is far from straightforward. This is going slowly but steadily, which is good news - I thought I had hit a brick wall this morning.

    to do this week
    1. Buy a washing up bowl!!! (bets on whether it happens?!).
    2. Order camping gear needed.
    3. Clean the house thoroughly one room at a time.
    4. scribble out some plans for the architect to look at (don't panic, I'm not commissioning him for any work for the near future!). Done, he's coming tomorrow.

    Aims for July:
    1. Pay some extra off the MBNA card - I'd like this card gone asap.
    2. Pay for camping holiday commitments out of self employed income rather than adding to debt (it will mean not growing the cushion much more, but that can take precedence in September).
    3. Stick to the budget even more closely than in June!
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 07-07-2017 at 5:35 AM.
    £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
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 6th Jul 17, 4:53 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 21: Day 5

    Another day, another 4:15am start (I actually get up at this time every day, but I usually just chill out and do yoga, rather than having to squeeze in actually achieving stuff too!). Really looking forward to getting past current deadlines.

    Cover your eyes - I have the architect coming round for an initial chat this morning. I've got a vague plan in mind, it will be interesting to see what he makes of it. If he thinks it's workable, it will put off doing the two storey extension for a good 7 years I reckon, as it will all fit within a rear dormer extension (which is still expensive, but could be done just by adding to the mortgage within the next two years, if my sums are roughly accurate, and definitely a lot cheaper than a £60k+ extension). My aim is to be able to commission him for drawings at the end of this year/beginning of next year, with a view to actually building in 18-24 months. No idea whether that's feasible - am determined to avoid commissioning him until we have the money to pay him, as we don't want to remortgage until we are actually starting the build.

    to do today
    1. Ironing, before the mountain topples and kills us all.
    2. Pare down the camping shopping list and research prices/cashback.
    3. Tidy up sufficiently so I don't die of shame when the architect visits.
    4. Continue with contract work
    5. Continue with computer changeover.
    6. Do some social media, for both businesses.

    to do this week
    1. Buy a washing up bowl!!! (bets on whether it happens?!).
    2. Order camping gear needed.
    3. Clean the house thoroughly one room at a time.
    4. scribble out some plans for the architect to look at (don't panic, I'm not commissioning him for any work for the near future!). Done, he's coming tomorrow.

    Aims for July:
    1. Pay some extra off the MBNA card - I'd like this card gone asap.
    2. Pay for camping holiday commitments out of self employed income rather than adding to debt (it will mean not growing the cushion much more, but that can take precedence in September).
    3. Stick to the budget even more closely than in June!
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 07-07-2017 at 5:35 AM.
    £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
    • emmie26
    • By emmie26 6th Jul 17, 6:17 PM
    • 482 Posts
    • 1,775 Thanks
    emmie26
    We had an architect around 4 years before we actually did the extension. It was good in some ways because we had something to aim for but it was also really frustrating because I didn't want to wait and I had to. It was really difficult to get money added to our mortgage for the extension before the extension was built so we had to save £20,000 and also borrow money from family in order to get it all done and I've still been left with £24k worth of debt even after the remortgage.

    Total Debt: £24,359.79 £22,182
    debt reduced by 9%
    Debt free date: May 2019
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 6th Jul 17, 7:49 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    How about, for a change, tonight I don't have a one woman self pity party? Nah, I'm going to have one. SO BUSY. Did I mention? SO BUSY. And I just realised I have a day less to work with on the weekend than I thought I did, as we have friends coming for lunch. Gah. Bad planning.

    Architect visit was simultaneously interesting, inspiring, exciting and depressing. The first three for obvious reasons, the last for purely financial ones - it's easy to see how much more we could do if we could stretch more financially. BUT it has made it clear how having wiggle in our budget to remortgage will really be life changing in terms of getting the work done, so in some ways it's a great incentive to bash down the debt as much as we possibly can as quickly as possible. Anyway, he reckons we can gain what we want with just a rear dormer extension, rather than the full two storey extension, which is great news, and also reckons he can produce a design that will still be useful (ie not money down the drain) if we did at some later stage want to add on a single or two storey extension. We won't commission him for drawings until we have the money to pay for them, and the same will apply for every stage (planning, structural engineer etc) up until actually building the dormer, so we don't get tempted into borrowing for the whole project and then spending it before we actually get to the build (I would totally be at risk of doing this). Slightly tricky situation in that we have a wealthy family member desperate to lend us the money (they knew architect was coming and phoned shortly afterwards to offer the loan), and they don't know our debt situation, so we are looking a bit weird saying no, but we just could not stretch to the repayments - luckily they don't know what DH or I earn so we can just keep saying we don't earn enough to make repayments. I just cannot in good conscience borrow more money at the minute, we are hanging onto repayments by a thread, and will be for a good year or two until the debt reduces significantly and my income goes up when DC3 is at school.

    In shorter term MSE news, I haven't spent any money (apart from some business posting) since Tuesday, which is nice. Will spend tomorrow as am meeting a friend in nearby city though.

    to do today
    1. Ironing, before the mountain topples and kills us all. Done, amazingly. Took ages.
    2. Pare down the camping shopping list and research prices/cashback. Not done. DH is going camping with the DC next weekend so I'd better get on this tomorrow
    3. Tidy up sufficiently so I don't die of shame when the architect visits. Done.
    4. Continue with contract work. Done. Making progress. Might actually get some sleep one day soon!
    5. Continue with computer changeover. Ongoing, but going well.
    6. Do some social media, for both businesses. Not done, didn't have a moment.

    to do this week
    1. Buy a washing up bowl!!! (bets on whether it happens?!).
    2. Order camping gear needed.
    3. Clean the house thoroughly one room at a time. One room done. Does that count?
    4. scribble out some plans for the architect to look at (don't panic, I'm not commissioning him for any work for the near future!). Done, he's coming tomorrow.

    Aims for July:
    1. Pay some extra off the MBNA card - I'd like this card gone asap.
    2. Pay for camping holiday commitments out of self employed income rather than adding to debt (it will mean not growing the cushion much more, but that can take precedence in September).
    3. Stick to the budget even more closely than in June!
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 07-07-2017 at 5:03 AM.
    £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
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 7th Jul 17, 1:13 AM
    • 614 Posts
    • 3,904 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    The architect is great news, I think. Well done on saying no to the loan - that must be tempting but you're right not to, of course. But this gives you a nice realistic mid-term goal to aim for, and it's great to know that you don't have to do a huge expensive second storey extension to achieve it.

    (I had a builder round the other day to quote me on a couple of similar improvements: in my case I need a couple of rooms knocking through, in two separate places (so four small rooms into two bigger ones) and the second I had him in I remembered all the other things I wanted done. So tempting! He didn't help, either, with his casual mentioning of how lovely our vintage windows would be if the frames were restored and did I know he also retrofits double glazing GAH. Anyway, I hear you!)
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 7th Jul 17, 5:34 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 21: Day 6

    Busy day today (gosh, what a total change). Committed ages ago to meeting a friend today in a nearby city, and I could really do without it - not that I don't want to meet up (I do!), just so busy with deadlines and work. I'm going to have to email someone and explain I can't make a (self imposed) deadline today, it's going to be Monday morning instead, which is a real embarrassment. They won't be cross, but I feel bad about it. I badly under-estimated how much time a very drudgey piece of work would take.

    Will be rushing around making a picnic lunch this morning. Not quite sure what it will contain, but we definitely have plenty of food in the house, so I'm hoping to limit what I buy to train fare and a cup of tea (and attempt not to spend a tenner in a cafe making that cup of tea happen. I really must buy a thermos mug).

    Apart from current manic deadline work, I am very quiet this month - have no client bookings at all, which is not ideal as it's my most profitable work. Over the years I've been doing this I've found that very little I do affects business levels in the summer, it is always very quiet. My contract work (current manic deadline) will top up August's salary pot and most of September's too though, so as long as some more work ticks in by late September I'll be fine, but I'd feel happier if I was building my business account cushion again. Also I currently only have enough spare this month to buy new camping beds (the only absolutely essential piece of camping kit, although there are also a couple of essential bits of clothing, like walking boots for DH, me and DC2, and waterproofs for at least one child and I would be happier if I could resolve that this month too).

    Oh, just remembered, DH found out yesterday that his pay rise will appear in this month's pay packet, and will be back dated to June, so there will be an extra £100ish, which will cover his walking boots (his previous pair lasted 12 years, so I am not going to make him buy a cheap £30 pair as he definitely gets good cost per wear from them!). So only mine and DC2's to find money for.

    Gosh this is long. One last thing: DH was very much in agreement with my plan to save in advance for each bit of progress with extension planning (until remortgaging for the actual build at some stage), which I was pleased with as I know he would really rather dive in and get it done. The only slight concern is if rates suddenly go up, but I know family member will lend to us instead if we want (though I find this idea much more stressful than the mortgage!). Anyway, a problem for another day - getting the debt level down a little is priority 1, then saving a fund for expenses as we continue to reduce debt.

    It is all feeling like a very long slog at the moment (not that there is any alternative, which makes it easier in a way). Our debt, as we have often discussed here, is not a 'one year of mega frugal living and it will be over' one. Even if we cut back to the absolute bones it would be well over a five year job, and that would mean comrpomising our children's childhood more than we're prepared to. This constant balance of trying to still have a life while drilling down the debt is a tricky one, because we can't just go 'right, no luxuries or house work or anything at all fun until this debt is gone'. Every single spend has to be weighed up on its own merits of value/positive effect on our family vs impact on debt repayment.

    to do today
    1. Make packed lunch AND SNACKS (my usual spending downfall when out with DC3).
    2. Pare down the camping shopping list and research prices/cashback.
    3. Continue with contract work.
    4. Do some social media, for both businesses.

    to do this week
    1. Buy a washing up bowl!!! (bets on whether it happens?!).
    2. Order camping gear needed.
    3. Clean the house thoroughly one room at a time. One room done. Does that count?
    4. scribble out some plans for the architect to look at (don't panic, I'm not commissioning him for any work for the near future!). Done, he's coming tomorrow.

    Aims for July:
    1. Pay some extra off the MBNA card - I'd like this card gone asap.
    2. Pay for camping holiday commitments out of self employed income rather than adding to debt (it will mean not growing the cushion much more, but that can take precedence in September).
    3. Stick to the budget even more closely than in June!
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 07-07-2017 at 5:37 AM.
    £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
    • warby68
    • By warby68 7th Jul 17, 6:05 AM
    • 819 Posts
    • 8,825 Thanks
    warby68
    Sounds like you are 'grimly determined' at the moment - I'm hoping a month of grim determination will turn into, hey look what we've achieved and lived to tell the tale this month?

    Waterproofs - when my sons were small (and growing every time I turned round) I bought a few bits off Ebay such as this - Things that are quite vital but not actually worn many times mean you get nearly new brand names at low prices. It might still be the same. The outdoor shops are in sale mode as well (wet summer?) based on the mailers we're getting - they seem to think we camp every week rather than once in a true blue moon lol

    I think you need to meet your friend - you've sounded a bit low this week and moving the work deadline seems very much like the lesser of the evils.

    I won't bang on about the architect/extension as your plan to go very cautiously even sounds reasonable to me., yes me! I just wonder whether you have scope to look at increasing your income to achieve your aims - I know you're dedicated to your business but once you have more childcare I wonder if a paid regular job for a short while with business on the back burner would actually be worthwhile, if not what you really want. Short term pain, long term gain etc

    As far as debt being a long term slog, it looks as if you have potential for things to ease within a year or two from increased income anyway - try and keep that in sight as your aim - battening down the hatches completely but just until then and have a review.

    Finally (as I do go on and have to go to work), I know you're extremely time poor but do you do income boosting via surveys and such like. Over the years I've had less time (and also got very bored to be frank) but I do still use Prolific Academic - even my average of £40 a month would be useful to you and I've just had a record £140 month.
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 7th Jul 17, 6:41 AM
    • 385 Posts
    • 1,161 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Have you tried an agricultural shop for waterproofs and boots? I picked up a pair of waterproof over trousers for my DD last year for £5 which I thought was reasonable.

    The food budget is my sticking point too and I struggle to keep it low. I'm averaging £550-£600 a month for 9 of us. We rarely have meat but spend quite a bit on dairy. You mentioned fruit and veg...i tend to stick to a basic apples, oranges and bananas fruit list plus whatever else is on offer then buy frozen fruit as that works out cheaper. I have found referring to old cookbooks useful as I've been able to find a few frugal yet filling recipes.

    Well done on all you've achieved so far.
    paydbx #90 £325/£10,000.
    365 day penny challenge £37.66/£667.95
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 7th Jul 17, 7:11 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Grimly determined sums it up nicely! Or maybe just resigned. I think having no option (ie we cannot take on more debt and be able to afford repayments) helps enormously, as there is no internal debate to be had.

    Increasing income - hell yes. I have given myself until next spring to up my income with my self employed work and if at that stage it isn't looking good then it's going to be time to start looking at REAL jobs. However, I suspect that unless I found a school hours, term time only job, it would be difficult for me to earn significantly more than I currently do (have been self employed for 8 years, so a long time out of job market), so as long as I can up my income by £50-100 per month by next spring, with some likelihood of it growing further when DC3 is at full time school in Sept '18, I'll stick with what I do.

    Surveys are an interesting one - I signed up to a couple of sites back in February, but really struggled to make time to do them as I tend to use my spare time for self employed work. Might be worth focusing on over the summer though, when it's hard for me to do any 'proper' work while looking after the 3DC, but there's often the off spare 10 minutes to check for a survey.

    I think (as someone mentioned a few days back) one of the areas I also need to crack down on is using the safety net of my additional self employed income to allow us to break our budget constantly. Even though I have made a budget that balances with my bare minimum income (around £150), we consistently overshoot that by £3-400 per month because the money is available in my business account so it's easy to transfer and spend it.

    I wonder if, with my total absence of willpower, I would be better keeping literally just one month's business expenses and salary as a cushion and just immediately dividing any extra profit at all 70/30 between the debt and having extra in the current month. It is almost unthinkable that I could have a month without earning anything at all (as I have regular work which nets me a minimum of £150 and a maximum of £450 a month, depending on how the weeks fall) and if I had six months of throwing a couple of hundred extra at the debt every single month, we would virtually able to manage on just DH's salary in an emergency as the minimum repayments would be that much lower. I know that it's counter to standard small business advice, but I think we've established that my willpower is, erm, lower than the average small business owner.

    Whatever solution I find needs to be simple above all else - I am already spending a disproportionate amount of time balancing budgets (partly because of the overspending) and I can't afford to spend lots more time on it.

    Edited to add: interestingly, I have no trouble leaving alone the pots that are reserved for specific purposes (a new tablet for work, savings for the architect, a new bike for DS1) but struggle to leave alone pots that are more general ('Christmas', 'car repairs' etc. I think it's similar to the weekly budgets working - I can see an immediate effect when I withdraw money from 'DS1's bike' fund, but when it's 'Christmas' I just tell myself that I can make cut backs or rejig things).
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 07-07-2017 at 8:37 AM.
    £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
    • arsenalbarnie
    • By arsenalbarnie 7th Jul 17, 8:42 AM
    • 239 Posts
    • 1,414 Thanks
    arsenalbarnie
    Hi There I thought I would add my tuppence worth to try and cheer you along. Am a regular reader of your diary. I don't know how you do it all, you're amazing. As for your OH it sounds like you have a diamond there. Mine would never have taken ours camping on his own. (We have got 5 mind).

    As to worrying about the kids - don't. It sounds as though they have a great time. Camping, days out at weekends, trips to the beach and a hands on father. All sounds pretty idyllic to me. Most children at their age just want their parents around them doing fun stuff. At least they aren't cooped up in their bedroom in front of the telly like a lot of kids are. We had many camping holidays with ours and they loved it mainly! Fishing, swimming, crabbing etc. Took my daughter and 5 of her friends last year after gcse's and all they wanted to do was go crabbing under the railway bridge! Even at 16. They all said they wished they had done it as children. One summer holiday they slept in the small pup tent in the garden every night for 6 weeks! We couldn't afford to go away so made it fun by cooking outside etc. We had to move the tent round to keep the grass alive so my OH came up with different 'pitches' one being good as it was by the tap, another was premium as next to the water feature and the third was by the petting zoo, i.e. Next to the rabbit hutch😀 They still talk about that summer now and my eldest is 26.

    I could ramble on about the money saving but will save that. Try and spend as much time as you can with your kids as before you know it they have grown up and you will wonder where the time went.

    Keep up the great job it sounds you both do as parents, all that healthy cooking you do and making little changes to your spending which will all become second nature the longer you keep at it. Have a great weekend
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 7th Jul 17, 3:54 PM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Hi There I thought I would add my tuppence worth to try and cheer you along. Am a regular reader of your diary. I don't know how you do it all, you're amazing. As for your OH it sounds like you have a diamond there. Mine would never have taken ours camping on his own. (We have got 5 mind).

    As to worrying about the kids - don't. It sounds as though they have a great time. Camping, days out at weekends, trips to the beach and a hands on father. All sounds pretty idyllic to me. Most children at their age just want their parents around them doing fun stuff. At least they aren't cooped up in their bedroom in front of the telly like a lot of kids are. We had many camping holidays with ours and they loved it mainly! Fishing, swimming, crabbing etc. Took my daughter and 5 of her friends last year after gcse's and all they wanted to do was go crabbing under the railway bridge! Even at 16. They all said they wished they had done it as children. One summer holiday they slept in the small pup tent in the garden every night for 6 weeks! We couldn't afford to go away so made it fun by cooking outside etc. We had to move the tent round to keep the grass alive so my OH came up with different 'pitches' one being good as it was by the tap, another was premium as next to the water feature and the third was by the petting zoo, i.e. Next to the rabbit hutch😀 They still talk about that summer now and my eldest is 26.

    I could ramble on about the money saving but will save that. Try and spend as much time as you can with your kids as before you know it they have grown up and you will wonder where the time went.

    Keep up the great job it sounds you both do as parents, all that healthy cooking you do and making little changes to your spending which will all become second nature the longer you keep at it. Have a great weekend
    Originally posted by arsenalbarnie
    Thank you so much for the positive post! DH does pretty well - he was thrown into the deep end early as I have always worked evenings and weekends. Also at five children. I would be considering getting dressed an enormous achievement!
    £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
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 8th Jul 17, 7:31 AM
    • 939 Posts
    • 8,015 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 21: Day 7

    Woohoo, made it to the weekend! Still working, but knowing I have two clear days to get my final bits of work done before Monday makes things a little more relaxed.

    Managed to keep my spends down to only about a tenner while out yesterday - £6.50 on train ticket and £3.90 on some tomatoes and biscuits to go with our lunch. I was rather impressed with my non-cafe situation.

    I am also into week 2 of my weekly budgeting pots, which is good. We overspent in week 1 again, but not as badly as last month. Inch by inch, we improve!

    The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to go with my idea yesterday of just throwing anything extra at the debt for a few months, rather than building up a cushion that I inevitably fritter away five minutes later. I know it puts us in an insecure position, but it's less insecure than the current one of spending the cushion, rather than using it to attack the debt. I'm also thinking of further splitting some of those budget pots that I keep tapping (Christmas, car maintenance, holidays etc) so that they are for more definite things (e.g. Christmas divided by person, a category for food, a category for extra activities etc) so I can see very clearly what I'm doing to my budget pots if I snafffle money from them. Most of my budgeting seems to be about counter-acting my amazing ability to persuade myself that whatever I want to spend on right now is the most crucial thing ever and I can manage the fall out later. Slightly embarrassing, but I'd rather accept the way I am and plan for it than pretend I am suddenly going to get a responsible head on and go 'oh yes, better not spend any money.'

    I've had one small client enquiry - it will only be c.£70 for a couple of hours, but I am not looking that particular gift horse in the mouth! Fingers crossed it comes off.

    to do today
    1. Make packed lunch for DS1 who is off to a day for gifted primary pupils at the local uni.
    2. Pare down the camping shopping list and research prices/cashback.
    3. Continue with contract work.
    4. Do some social media, for both businesses.
    5 Tidy up a load of follow up emails and messages that have come in this week and been pushed to the back burner while I was in deadline hell.
    6. Think about teacher presents - there are absolutely loads of teachers and TAs, and the DSs always want to do presents for them all. Any ideas?
    7. menu plan and my supermarket - we have friends over for lunch tomorrow so need to do food shopping today. Am holding onto my receipts this month and am going to look back when I have a few weeks-worth and see where my key overspends are, to decide whether I just need to up my budget or if there are any more reasonable cuts.

    to do this week
    1. Buy a washing up bowl!!! (bets on whether it happens?!).
    2. Order camping gear needed.
    3. Clean the house thoroughly one room at a time. One room done. Does that count?
    4. scribble out some plans for the architect to look at (don't panic, I'm not commissioning him for any work for the near future!). Done.

    Aims for July:
    1. Pay some extra off the MBNA card - I'd like this card gone asap.
    2. Pay for camping holiday commitments out of self employed income rather than adding to debt (it will mean not growing the cushion much more, but that can take precedence in September).
    3. Stick to the budget even more closely than in June!
    £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
    • pennywisepoundstupid
    • By pennywisepoundstupid 8th Jul 17, 9:22 AM
    • 4,293 Posts
    • 12,879 Thanks
    pennywisepoundstupid
    Popping out of lurkdom to say what about something homemade for the teachers I'm a TA and its we always love to receive a HM cake/cupcakes or biscuits that can be shared in the staff room.
    Be mindful of your self-talk. It's a conversation with the Universe."
    Save for summer £500/£500
    EXTRA DEBT PAYMENT AUGUST -MBNA£1000/£373
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