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  • FIRST POST
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 12th Feb 17, 9:56 AM
    • 932Posts
    • 7,926Thanks
    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 80
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 11th Sep 17, 5:28 AM
    • 932 Posts
    • 7,926 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Food shopping. This is the first 'proper' food shop we've needed to do since the summer holidays, and it's quite a big one. My food spend for August and the beginning of September was moderately good (a little high for the last week of August when we were on holiday thanks to dividing food shopping with people who eat more meat and drink miles more than us - must remember to include that in holiday budgeting in future as it always happens), so an expensive week was inevitable, especially with DC1's birthday this weekend.

    Menu plan as follows
    Monday - baked potatoes, tuna and cheese
    Tuesday - chicken and leek pasties
    Wednesday - leftover columbian black bean stew
    Thursday - dal and rice
    Friday - leftover bolognese
    Saturday - leek and potato soup
    Sunday - burgers, party food
    Lunches - ham, cheese, crackers, quiche, leftover pasties, houmuous and veg
    Snacks - fruit, cereal bars, hm flapjacks, hm ginger cake

    The total food shop was £114 (ouch!), broken down as follows....

    £11 on party food - pretty pleased with this.

    £29 on lunch and dinner - this is mega high, thanks to (a) chicken, which will be cooked and stripped so will be available next week, and (b) running out of lots of things like rice and lentils all at once. Plus that extra £5 or so on packed lunch bits.

    £16 on snacks/treats/puddings (including fruit) - again this is high. DH bought a bit too much fruit (although not acres more) and we needed more ice cream and dark chocolate (well, not needed, but you know what I mean)

    £13 on breakfast (includes milk) - again quite high, although £6 of it is milk.

    £11 on baking ingredients (some of the butter counted here gets used for toast etc as well).

    £34 on household stuff - crazy high. One of those annoying weeks where we ran out of two spray cleaners, laundry liquid, washing up liquid, AA batteries, toothpaste, plasters and a bulb went.

    So the big culprits were the household stuff, which is unavoidable and hasn't been stocked up for a few weeks, and the party food. Averaged out with last week's shop it comes to £80 per week. Not horrendous, but I'd like it lower, hopefully next week's will be back down to <£70 as there should be leftover chicken, dal and soup to make evening meals from.
    £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
    • PurpleFairy26
    • By PurpleFairy26 11th Sep 17, 7:14 AM
    • 1,834 Posts
    • 12,331 Thanks
    PurpleFairy26
    Hi TOPM I don't think £29 on lunch and dinners is too bad for all of you, it's the household stuff that hurts your spend. We never buy household stuff from the supermarket, £ shop or home bargains here make all the difference, do you have any nearby you can try? You need to know price per litre of whatever you want from supermarket (pictures of shelf labels on your phone helps with this) so your not drawn in to it just being cheaper but well worth a look. 12 branded AA batteries are £1 in the £ shop

    Also milk - well worth looking at the ys section and freezing any that is reduced, we've just started doing this and it works very well. Last week 2 pints for 9p each can't necessarily have it for all our milk but any helps, plus having the odd pint in the freezer saves those top up shops too. Often find organic milk in there too.

    Your menu sounds lovely, can I come for tea
    • Savertobe
    • By Savertobe 11th Sep 17, 8:43 AM
    • 22 Posts
    • 107 Thanks
    Savertobe
    household stuff
    When younger and poorer I used only bleach (a little here and there) and washing up liquid for cleaning (obviously needed wash powder and softener too). I might have indulged in a spray cleaner for some furniture and white vinegar to clean 'antique" (read just old) furniture. Its worth looking at what you use and interrogating whether its all necessary - I've heard some never even buy lu roll - must have great bidets - I think this is going too far but my budget is set at 20 per month now and we'll see how we go. I'll get back and report once I off decorating and back on weekly household chores.

    I agree good menu lots of variety and some veggie stuff which I would eat more of but its rarely popular with OH.
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 11th Sep 17, 12:36 PM
    • 7,774 Posts
    • 40,236 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Honestly agree about shopping around for household/cleaning stuff. I DO use the supermarket but as with most things we buy we have "target" prices to aim for - usually buy own brand stuff but if a brand is on offer and so works out cheaper then I'll buy that instead. The Aldi & Lidl cleaning stuff is excellent - I confess that I will only use the mild green liquid fairies for washing up but I do make a point of buying the HUGE bottles and again when they are on special. our worktops demand Cif Actifizz being used on them but again - I grab it when it's on special. Aldi Magnum dishwasher tablets are amazing - I'd definitely recommend. check out prices for various things in Home Bargains or B&M iof you have either nearby, and think where you can use stuff like white vinegar. The Old Style board swear by Stardrops as an all-round cleaner - it's extremely good but can be tricky to find. If you buy a limescale removing loo cleaner that savers you buying a separate one for sinks/taps etc too. We don't use separate fabric softener but usually buy the "2 in one" powder or liquid instead. A splash of white vinegar in the softener section of the drawer before tumble drying bedding/towels etc helps keep it all softer too.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 11th Sep 17, 12:52 PM
    • 367 Posts
    • 1,327 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Hi TOPM - that is an excellent shop particularly bearing in mind you have party food included.

    With regard to household stuff I have switched to @ldi washing tablets ( called @lmat in a green box - costs £2.79) ) They are absolutely fine and I have a couple of delicate little flowers who find some washing detergents make them "itch". I also use the white fabric conditioner (c0mfort pure equivalent) which again is fine. I also shop in Home Bargains for toiletries and other branded cleaning stuff. I don't know if you have a store locally but it well worth a look, they also do toys, cards and gift wrap at a fraction of normal price, which are great for buying in for children's parties.
    • emmie26
    • By emmie26 11th Sep 17, 6:40 PM
    • 482 Posts
    • 1,775 Thanks
    emmie26
    That is a good shop considering it was a cupboards empty shop. It is definitely household stuff that ramps up the spend, I've switched down as much as I can but still it makes a big dent in the budget when I need to stock up.

    Total Debt: £24,359.79 £22,182
    debt reduced by 9%
    Debt free date: May 2019
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 12th Sep 17, 4:54 AM
    • 932 Posts
    • 7,926 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 31: Day 3

    I find myself slightly disappointed that my tarantula friend hasn't put in an appearance this morning. Not.

    re the household shop - we use Lidl/Aldi laundry powder (don't use softener), the big expenses are the Method spray cleaners and ecover washing up liquid, both because other brands make me sneeze a lot. Although I go through them so slowly (use a microfibre cloth and elbow grease most of the time, and the washing up liquid lasts ages) I don't resent that. The big costs were batteries and light bulbs, both of which could definitely be bought more cheaply elsewhere. The annoying thing is that i don't pass a HB/Wilko/poundland etc in my day to day life, so would need to make a special trip somewhere. Will ponder, when I have time to do more than make a cup of tea and head back to my computer for more work.

    Have made green quiche yesterday (finely chopped frozen green veg, cream/egg/cheese quiche filling and hm shortcrust pastry) and DC1 has asked for it for lunch every day until it runs out as he loves quiche. Cheapest meal ever, so I'm not complaining.

    Today I need to make a costume for DC2's Roald Dahl day tomorrow. Naturally, he wants to go as a grasshopper, rather than, ooh Charlie, or Danny, or George, or James or any one of the perfectly normally dressed children in Dahl's books! He has green pyjamas, so I popped out for green fabric yesterday which I will somehow construct into wings today, and we have green pipe cleaners for antennae, and green face paint. Just in case I was in danger of relaxing while working nonstop of website copy and keeping up with my normal work. Even for me, I'm a bit too busy at the moment, It will ease off a fraction after today, but not a lot! I love that I thought I would be less stressed and busy when DC3 started preschool. Not until the website baby was also sent into the world too, it appears.

    For added fun, all the clubs are running again, so today I have DC1 and 2 swimming lessons, then have to rush back, stuff dinner down everyone's throats (hence pasties/quiche/pie every Tuesday - quick to serve and eat!) and get DC1 back out the door to Cubs.

    Have decided to try to empty the freezer over the coming weeks - it needs defrosting, and seems to have all manner of unidentifiable leftovers and random frozen fruit in it. Suspect we will get a few puddings out of whatever fruit I find lurking in the depths, and some strange meal combinations.

    to do today
    1. make grasshopper costume.
    2. make chicken and leek pasties.
    3. buy wrapping paper and ribbon for DC1's birthday presents.
    4. website work.
    5. can't think beyond website work, it is all consuming! Number five can just be keep everyone alive until dinner time. We'll call that a win today.

    to do this week
    1. keep the packed lunches coming in on budget. Going surprisingly well.
    2. pick up the social media again, which has fallen very much by the wayside recently, and does help increase income.
    3. ebay old pram now that DC3 has stopped using it. It's got a broken part, but might get £20 for spares as it was a really expensive one originally (nine years ago! One of those 'buy better, buy once' incidents, where we researched obsessively for weeks and ended up with the perfect pram, which has survived all three DC and only broke a couple of weeks ago Good timing, as DC3 is 3.5).

    to do this month
    1. keep the total spend for the month below £3,500 (last month was miles better than the previous average £3,900, going to try to repeat the feat).
    2. get my new website finished and launched (crosses fingers, toes and eyes).
    3. just work as much as possible and make some money back to recover the enormous shortfall that faces us this month!
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 12-09-2017 at 4:56 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 12th Sep 17, 4:56 AM
    • 932 Posts
    • 7,926 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Ooh, that was a long post. Sorry.
    £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
    • ellen vannin
    • By ellen vannin 12th Sep 17, 8:42 AM
    • 179 Posts
    • 734 Thanks
    ellen vannin
    You are doing very well Tread

    Points to bear in mind for next fancy dress ideas - I volunteer in a chaity shop and we have a lot of people buying fancy dress items - also buying ordinary clothes , sheets etc just for the material to recycle into fancy dress items.Usually much better quality and price than fabic shops.
    Also if you don't intially see what you want ask as sometimes more in stock room.
    Wool blankets are always fav for felting projects.
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 12th Sep 17, 9:37 AM
    • 316 Posts
    • 1,372 Thanks
    redofromstart
    I really like the sound of the green quiche, it'd be a good freezer use up for me too.
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 12th Sep 17, 9:56 AM
    • 932 Posts
    • 7,926 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    You are doing very well Tread

    Points to bear in mind for next fancy dress ideas - I volunteer in a chaity shop and we have a lot of people buying fancy dress items - also buying ordinary clothes , sheets etc just for the material to recycle into fancy dress items.Usually much better quality and price than fabic shops.
    Also if you don't intially see what you want ask as sometimes more in stock room.
    Wool blankets are always fav for felting projects.
    Originally posted by ellen vannin
    Ooh, good idea. Thank you! Haven't thought about just going in and getting sheets etc for fabric.

    I really like the sound of the green quiche, it'd be a good freezer use up for me too.
    Originally posted by redofromstart
    I make the filling with whatever I have. Yesterday it was an onion, a sad courgette, some frozen broccoli, peas and spinach, mixed with 250ml cream, a good grating of parmesan, one egg and two yolks.

    Simple. You need to earn more than £250 a month. Go and get a job.
    Originally posted by Chappers27
    I wrote a massive long reply detailing all the childcare costs attached to this, but actually both of us have better things to do than debate that issue. Suffice to say it wouldn't work for us right now.
    £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
    • JWPopps
    • By JWPopps 12th Sep 17, 11:39 AM
    • 239 Posts
    • 1,212 Thanks
    JWPopps
    Hi TOPM I don't comment often, but yours is one of my favourite diaries to read.

    Just felt the need to comment now however to say that I thought that comment from Chappers27 was totally rude and unnecessary. I'm glad you didn't respond, it's not worth it.
    Credit Card Debt: £572.37
    Loan Debt: £6,454.65
    Savings: £170



    [B]PAYDBX 2017 - #19 : 57% paid 4715/8280[/
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 12th Sep 17, 11:57 AM
    • 7,774 Posts
    • 40,236 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Simple. You need to earn more than £250 a month. Go and get a job.
    Originally posted by Chappers27
    a) Rude - there is a rule on here about being polite to all moneysavers - please try to follow it.
    b) if you'd read the thread you would have found that this had already been covered.
    c) not your business to "tell" anyone in these terms what to do - had you put it constructively it would have been a whole different ball game.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 12th Sep 17, 12:01 PM
    • 7,774 Posts
    • 40,236 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    TOPM you've made me want quiche now!

    Busy Mee Thanks for the tip about those washing powder tablets - I might take a look at those. I can't use Ariel or Persil as I react to both, so generally stick with MrT's own brand, Surf or Bold, whichever is best value.

    Amazing work on that fancy dress costume. A grasshopper indeed - love it!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 12th Sep 17, 12:24 PM
    • 549 Posts
    • 1,141 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    Simple. You need to earn more than £250 a month. Go and get a job.
    Originally posted by Chappers27
    Really! Read the actual journal in full there is no need for comments like that.
    Debts 16274.64
    Cashback Earnings YTD £162.02 Survey Earnings YTD £485.18
    • mfmaybe
    • By mfmaybe 12th Sep 17, 12:45 PM
    • 980 Posts
    • 3,087 Thanks
    mfmaybe
    I'm another that shops around for household stuff. I still use Method etc but always on the look out for it at a lower price.

    Re the food shop, I'm in no position to advise, really. But how about for a month or so just not having pudding/ice cream/chocolate in the house (we never ever do unless it's entertaining); and porridge for breakfast?
    Create credit card buffer fund £12.93/£1000 1.4%paid. Pay by Christmas 17

    Other debts paid since 1/1/14: £17,005
    • The Arrowmaker
    • By The Arrowmaker 12th Sep 17, 10:00 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 89 Thanks
    The Arrowmaker
    Have had to keep spending on the CC this month to keep cash flow free in my account for DDs, as all the hours of work I'm putting in are not client facing and not yet reaping their own income, so I'm still not actually bringing in much money this month. I do have a few bookings, but stressing slightly that things aren't picking up as much as I'd hoped in September. Need to pause and take stock at some stage. I know I will earn enough this month to pay off everything I've spent so far on the CC, but my concern is that I haven't yet got enough guaranteed income to get out of this new loop of spending on CC one month, paying it off again next month but needed to spend on it again.
    I really sympathise with your cash flow issues. My OH is self-employed and cash flow is one of many challenges we face. But using a credit card for groceries really sets alarm bells ringing with me. You are committing future income to current spending which is not only unsustainable, but is fraught with danger if you have, for example, a client who doesnít pay (it does happen).

    to do today
    1. make grasshopper costume.
    2. make chicken and leek pasties.
    3. buy wrapping paper and ribbon for DC1's birthday presents.
    4. website work.
    5. can't think beyond website work, it is all consuming! Number five can just be keep everyone alive until dinner time. We'll call that a win today.

    Iím sorry as it may seem trivial but buying ribbon for a nine year oldís birthday present when you are putting your groceries on a credit card makes no sense to me at all.

    You crave nice things for your children. We all do. But you donít have some of the choices open to you that other people might have. The fact is that the money you are currently spending is not yours. You already owe a huge amount in relation to your income but even though your level of debt is there, big and bold at the top of your diary, sometimes it feels like the elephant in the room.

    I think most of us here have experienced financial difficulties at some point in our lives. Many of us have had to resort to drastic measures. The Arrowmakers havenít always had a holiday. We cut the school dinners and replaced them with food we had in the house. We took in students for a while to help us get on a firmer financial footing. We didnít want to do any of this. It wasnít easy or nice. But in the context of the bigger picture it was necessary and it didnít last forever.

    Your budget has experienced pressure over the summer, but there are always things that are needed: holidays, birthdays, the car. Christmas too is now looming and even for the most frugal here that presents a challenge.

    Children themselves donít get any cheaper. You may no longer have to pay for childcare but as they grow so do their needs and demands. School day trips are replaced with week long residentials. School sweatshirts become blazers. Adult shoes are needed. Branded trainers are wanted. Mobile phones, social lives. These things all cost money and whilst they may not be essential, I think these are things you will want to be able to provide for your three.

    It is clear from your diary that you have come along way Ė but I fear not far enough. You are at a crossroads now where some really difficult decisions need to be made because something in your budget has to give.

    While some of us here may feel you could make further inroads in reducing your spending, I understand that you may find it impossible to do so. In that case, and unless your income improves dramatically, I wonder if the time has come for you to consider a DMP. You clearly have the skills to deal directly with your creditors and reducing your debt repayments might enable you to put your budget on a more sustainable footing. I know the arguments against Ė your wish to remortgage and extend your home. If I'm honest, I think you are so far away from that being achievable that trashing your credit file for the next 6 years really isnít going to make a great deal of difference.

    TOPM, I really do feel for you. You have so much insight and you understand that the position you are in now is as a result of past decisions that you wouldnít have made if you had that time again. I really hope as a family you are able to find a way out of this debt that works for you. That might mean taking longer to pay it off in order to have a better life now and that is a perfectly reasonable position to take, but it will impact on the choices you are able to make further down the line. The alternative is, as a previous poster once said, to really take the serious pain now.

    A nicer life now, but at the expense of some of your future dreams. Or some real hardship now but with your debt free date brought forward. Only you and your family can decide which is better for you, but I think the time has come for that choice to be made.
    • AdventureWanted
    • By AdventureWanted 12th Sep 17, 10:14 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 52 Thanks
    AdventureWanted
    Hi TOPM, your diary is the first one I read after my LBM last month and it has really spurred me on to get a handle on our finances. So, thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    LBM Aug 2017.
    CC1 - £4,625.00 / £5,185 1/8/17. CC2 - £12,533.61 / £13,470 1/8/17. CC3 - £11.286. / £11,400 1/8/17

    1% challenge - 0%. PAD challenge - £27.50
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 13th Sep 17, 5:19 AM
    • 932 Posts
    • 7,926 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 31: Day 4

    Morning! First up, thanks for all the supportive comments yesterday, I really appreciate it.

    The grasshopper costume is complete and ready to go. Took longer than expected, but still only about 2.5 hours. DC2 is brilliantly pleased with it, which is lovely - I distinctly remember slaving over a costume once for one of them to be met with an 'oh. I thought it would look different.' These days I set very clear expectations! God knows what my face paint efforts will look like.

    Arrowmaker you are half right - if things don't improve we will have to consider a DMP, and I've been having the same thoughts lurking at the back of my mind. However I have got another month's grace to see how things shape up, as currently almost all of our CC spending since August can be entirely settled by DH's pay rise back pay, plus I have around £600 of work to be paid this month, which should just set us square for October's business expenses and salary. If I then don't earn in October, it will be time to have a very long hard think. Extension savings won't have happened, but that was always the 'extra' if we had the money, so I'm ok with postponing that until things are a little more under control, but yes, if we can't meet basic expenses then whether we can borrow for the extension is the least of our worries. When we started on this journey we always said 2017 was about keeping things on an even keel, and actually paying off any debt was a bonus. It's been a completely up and down journey, but we have made inroads into the debt, and I feel like we've learned a lot about our spending patterns and how I have to manage my equally up and down income levels in order to keep us on track. As long as my earnings continue to have the ups as well as the downs, I think I have learned enough to manage it, but we'll see!

    I have a mini treat today - the surfing voucher I was given for my birthday last year expires in a couple of months and I want to use it before the weather turns too chilly so I'm off for a lesson today. Totally indulgent to go for a lesson while the DC are at school, but I won't get a chance on a weekend for a while and if it suddenly gets cold it will feel like a waste not to have used it. Plus 4-6 foot waves forecast today, which will be interesting! Have plenty of work to get under my belt before then though - feel like I haven't stepped away from my desk since last Friday!

    Found some blackcurrants lurking at the bottom of the freezer yesterday, so that's this week's fruit to use up - need to find a pudding recipe for tomorrow (thursday is pudding and family meeting day). They are cooked, so quite runny, and a bit jam-like now I've added a little sugar. Determined to get to the bottom of the freezer and defrost it soon. I have two fruit cakes in there from last Christmas which I really hope are ok to use this year - they are really well wrapped. Good fruit cake is always so expensive to make, it will be such a waste if they taste freezer-ey.

    to do today
    1. make chicken and leek pasties.
    2. make flapjacks and muffins for lunch boxes.
    3. buy wrapping paper and ribbon for DC1's birthday presents.
    4. website work.
    5. surfing lesson!
    6. clear some of the list of non-urgent-but-essential small jobs/emails etc that has carried over every day for the last week because I've been too busy to look at it.

    to do this week
    1. keep the packed lunches coming in on budget. Going surprisingly well.
    2. pick up the social media again, which has fallen very much by the wayside recently, and does help increase income.
    3. ebay old pram now that DC3 has stopped using it. It's got a broken part, but might get £20 for spares as it was a really expensive one originally (nine years ago! One of those 'buy better, buy once' incidents, where we researched obsessively for weeks and ended up with the perfect pram, which has survived all three DC and only broke a couple of weeks ago Good timing, as DC3 is 3.5).

    to do this month
    1. keep the total spend for the month below £3,500 (last month was miles better than the previous average £3,900, going to try to repeat the feat).
    2. get my new website finished and launched (crosses fingers, toes and eyes).
    3. just work as much as possible and make some money back to recover the enormous shortfall that faces us this month!
    £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
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 13th Sep 17, 7:24 AM
    • 367 Posts
    • 1,327 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Hi TOPM - you have been getting a lot of tough love on here and it is great to see that you have accepted it in such a positive way and in the spirit that it has been given. Everyone really enjoys your diary and I would hate to see you get disheartened.

    I actually think you you can tackle your debt yourself, you are bright and talented and work incredibly hard. Your light bulb is turning on ( not quite burning as brightly as it should be ) but you have made such progress over the course of your diary.

    In just the last couple of weeks you have gone from not even contemplating cutting out school dinners for your son, to providing lunch much more cheaply and learning that he really hasn't suffered. You now need to have a tough and frugal few months and I think you will start to turn a corner.

    The only worry is Christmas is not very far away and this could derail you completely. I think you need to start planning now for the most frugal Christmas ever seen in the TOPM household. Start by critically looking at who you buy gifts for and have a cull. Set a small budget for each of the children, they are young and just want lots of parcels, so make the Pound shop, HB and B&M your friend. There are lots of good ideas for frugal gifts across the MSE boards that should help

    You probably also need to build a fund - sell things, save £1 a day in a jar, start earning vouchers by doing surveys. Do whatever you can, but with the aim of funding Christmas without using your credit card. If you can't afford it, you shouldn't be buying it !

    Your grasshopper outfit sounds fab, far more creative than anything I have produced ( my kids' fancy dress costumes, all consisted of a tabard with a belt - grey tabard for a knight, green one for Robin Hood and a white one for an angel ....you get the picture !)

    I hope you have a great day and enjoy the surfing
    Last edited by Busy Mee1; 13-09-2017 at 7:29 AM.
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