Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 12th Feb 17, 9:56 AM
    • 1,014Posts
    • 9,409Thanks
    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 86
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 5th Oct 17, 5:10 PM
    • 461 Posts
    • 1,783 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    I like your homemade advent calendar idea what about making that free?

    I'll have a think about some ideas if you are interested.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 August: £36,411.85 8/100 September: £35,945.66 10/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • earthgirl
    • By earthgirl 5th Oct 17, 6:46 PM
    • 2,456 Posts
    • 19,775 Thanks
    earthgirl
    Lovely posts. I know these ideas might not suit you (at all!) but maybe one will!

    I also spend a little bit on kids clubs, but I found a free football class and it's good. Also teach my boys swimming myself, they can both swim and are really confident. The swimming is then an activity and part of my entertainment budget. Budget is £10 per weekend including swimming (£5) but I only have two kids.

    Thought audible was going and you were using the library? My library does art and crafts for free for kids too one night a week.

    I use supermarkets for kids coats, wellies etc

    You could try going through your budget and asking do I need it, how can I get it for free? How can I get it cheaper. It's hard but it can be fun, honest!!
    15/5/12 Paid off Mortgage 1 (£220k) Dec 13 - £116,508 Bought Dream House Dec 14 - £94, 402 (£22,106 offset in 2014) Jan 16 - £67, 852 (£26,550 offset in 2015) Dec 16 - £33,529 ( £34,323offset in 2016)
    Jan 17 - £39, 773 (Re-estimation of endowments )
    June 17 £32,053 Sept 17 £22,619
    Kids savings 13,578/36k
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 5th Oct 17, 7:53 PM
    • 1,014 Posts
    • 9,409 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    I like your homemade advent calendar idea what about making that free?

    I'll have a think about some ideas if you are interested.
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    Free probably isn't going to happen, but I do try to do it for (mostly) fairly minimal cost. Always open to new activity suggestions! We do a lot of crafts, colouring, reading books under the tree etc, as well as the usual christmas activities of tree decorating and santa letters within there.

    Lovely posts. I know these ideas might not suit you (at all!) but maybe one will!

    I also spend a little bit on kids clubs, but I found a free football class and it's good. Also teach my boys swimming myself, they can both swim and are really confident. The swimming is then an activity and part of my entertainment budget. Budget is £10 per weekend including swimming (£5) but I only have two kids.

    Thought audible was going and you were using the library? My library does art and crafts for free for kids too one night a week.

    I use supermarkets for kids coats, wellies etc

    You could try going through your budget and asking do I need it, how can I get it for free? How can I get it cheaper. It's hard but it can be fun, honest!!
    Originally posted by earthgirl
    I have really poor circulation, so I find swimming with the DC really unpleasant (I'm not so bad with normal swimming where I am working hard myself, but the standing still is really hard). I could talk to DH about doing it every weekend, but I can see it being one of those things that would fall by the wayside at the slightest cause, which seems a shame. Thinking about moving the eldest onto swim club in the new year, which is much cheaper. Will only save us money for six months or so until DC3 starts, of course, but every little helps.

    DH has got the pin codes etc from the library but I haven't actually had time to try downloading audiobooks from there yet. Also I'm not sure if I will lose my audible library if I cancel my membership, so I need to download everything first. It's on the list for the weekend!

    I've found that supermarket waterproofs just don't last as well for us. We are quite heavy on clothes as they don't have many (only one coat at a time). The DCs have Didriksons coats, and the youngest's has been through both the older ones and is still fully waterproof. Not sure whether DC2's (handed down from DC1) will survive transitioning to DC3 this year though, as it's already four years old and well used. Less fussy on waterproof trousers as they only get very occasional wear.

    Have gone through the budget repeatedly to try to cut more out, it usually comes down to a time vs money problem, and we currently have neither! Always open to any suggestions for cuts though.
    £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 Oct 17, 7:56 PM
    • 1,014 Posts
    • 9,409 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Back to nonstop busy busy today. Going to try to have a sit down with DH this evening and work out a fairer chore allocation - I used to keep on top of the house during the day with DC3, but now she is at preschool and I am trying to work for those hours, it's just not happening. I'm not working 2/3 of the hours that DH does and continuing to do 90% of the housework!

    New website is launched and slowly getting some hits. No payoff yet in terms of more business, it's going to be a much longer term thing than that, but I'm pleased to be working with it and starting to drive traffic towards it.

    To do today
    1. catch up with laundry. Done. Just the ironing to catch up with now.
    2. text relative re visiting when we're in London. Done, they're away annoyingly. Going to try someone else.
    3. return kindle (have had a replacement sent as the screen went faulty, thankfully within warranty). Done.
    4. batch baking - flapjack and cake to use up various fruit and veg. Done.
    5. start sourdough for baking in the morning (my current favourite recipe includes an overnight rise). Done.
    6. email mortgage broker the facts and figures she needs. Done.
    7. start to plan our advent calendar - we do a homemade one, it's a huge part of Christmas for us, a mixture of activities and little gifts. Not done.
    8. clear work list. Mostly done, really good headway made.
    9. plan homemade Christmas gifts. Not done.

    To do this week
    1. social media for website launch. Done.
    2. redo SOA based on DH's current salary (he is still being promised pay rise next month). Done.
    3. October YNAB prep. Done.
    4. start to plan advent calendars and Christmas presents so I can get a handle on spending.
    5. plan working time for October.
    6. check total spend for last month. This is all weird on YNAB because I moved the partnership card from a budget to a tracked account and it's sent my spending sums all screwy, so I'm not certain. Under £3,750, probably not under £3,500 is my best guess.

    To do this month
    1. keep the total spend for the month below £3,500.
    2. work a sensible number of hours, even if it means slower progress on the work and debt front. September was rubbish.
    3. make any homemade Christmas gifts.
    £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
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 5th Oct 17, 8:04 PM
    • 1,527 Posts
    • 17,327 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Has your mortgage broker come up with any options yet? It is nearly a fortnight since you emailed her. I am conscious that the BoE are threatening to increase base rate this month and I would like to see you getting a mortgage offer so you can switch as soon as you are at the no-penalty for switching point. You don't want to miss out on a lower interest rate than the deal you are on now. Then at last you can do something about combining some of that CC debt where you are paying nearly 20% on top into a zero% interest card! You really do need to look at these big things that are just draining away the money you work so hard for.

    Maybe you should consider switching to interest only on your mortgage for a few months to let you pay down those high interest cards - if your repayment portion is about £300 a month it would have those two 18% loans clear in under a year - imagine paying an extra £300 a month - they would be gone in just over 8 months
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8833.96 saved (80.31%) after September - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 70.68/75% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 5th Oct 17, 8:50 PM
    • 440 Posts
    • 1,422 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Don't know if you have an agricultural/country store near you, but our local one is very good for wellies and waterproofs.

    Re Christmas, are homemade gifts an option? When money has been very tight in the past I've made meringue topped mince pies, Christmas cakes (small sizes or baked in a Christmas tree shaped silicone mound, which makes the mixture go round a little more. Silicone mounds are quite reasonable.), truffles etc.

    I have a large family so Christmas is always interesting! I've always tended to make a bigger thing of presents at Birthday times and keep Christmas quite simple. I can't afford to spend enormous amounts on them, even though I'd love to be able to. Nonetheless my children know they will usually receive a book to read, perhaps a DVD of a film they are interested in and other small gifts that will either be practical or amuse. What I'm trying to say in a roundabout way is that you can have a wonderful Christmas and still be frugal. That's not meant to sound preachy, forgive me if it does, but just wanted to encourage you that Christmas can be done on less. I understand why the cc looks to be the likely option but it will be carrying this Christmas into next year.
    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
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 5th Oct 17, 9:14 PM
    • 8,013 Posts
    • 41,448 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    I'm not expecting the figure to be enough to cover Christmas, but you've got me thinking that if it seems even vaguely achievable (along with Oct/Nov/Dec Christmas budgeting) maybe I could challenge myself to stick within that as the Christmas budget. I'm not making any promises till I've seen how much it is though .
    Originally posted by Treadingonplaymobil
    I think you've found yourself a challenge then - no pressure!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£544.67 (17/10/17)
    • Hiddenidenity
    • By Hiddenidenity 5th Oct 17, 9:21 PM
    • 5,066 Posts
    • 23,201 Thanks
    Hiddenidenity
    I'm a bit tight when it comes to christmas Mine get "something they want, something they need and something to read" and I do small stockings which is usually toothpaste/bubble bath/a small colouring book and crayons and some chocolate coins and fruit

    I can't afford to spend a fortune and even if I could I wouldn't choose to spend it at Xmas. Mine have never felt like they don't get enough and always feel like its a wonderful time.

    What sort of advent calendars do you make? I've never thought of this before and don't usually bother as mine can't have chocolate but this sounds like a good idea!
    DFW £1388.71/£7348.71 Rent Arrears £511.28/£3381.28

    Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 5th Oct 17, 9:41 PM
    • 461 Posts
    • 1,783 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    The need, want, read, wear thing is what we do too.
    It stops me going crazy, but doesn't prevent us buying a big thing if wanted/needed or can be afforded.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 August: £36,411.85 8/100 September: £35,945.66 10/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 6th Oct 17, 5:11 AM
    • 1,014 Posts
    • 9,409 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 34: Day 6

    Had a really good chat with DH about how to tackle the housework stuff that's getting on top of me. I think we have a solution, just need to see how it goes. I think it was a combination of me suddenly working far more hours and him having a stressful month at work so being completely useless at home. Fingers crossed.

    Suffolk lass we did a big shuffle round a month or two back and moved the interest bearing portion of the MBNA onto a 0% deal on the barclaycard, so the highest interest debt at the moment is actually the Tesco loan (10.3%). The mortgage broker (who has all the numbers now) has suggested looking at rolling that into the mortgage, as stupidly we may actually get a better rate as our monthly repayments for that are quite high (thus affecting affordability). She doesn't work Fridays and I only got the final info over to her yesterday so I'm not expecting any more info until next Monday, but I'm also very aware of the potential base rate rises! It's not something I'm attracted towards (turning unsecured into secured) but we are actually spending a fair chunk on interest there, and given our close-to-the-bone finances and the fact that we want to keep our credit score intact and therefore aren't considering a DMP, it might be something we think about.

    Honeysucklelou I always do HM Christmas gifts for adults outside of DH and my sister, but the DCs we buy for are harder (only 4x close relatives and friends children, but at £15ish each even that isn't insignificant). Last year I made candles which was lovely, might go back to foodie things this year. Even HM stuff starts to add up when it's for the number of people we need to give to though - all our parents are divorced and remarried, plus our siblings and a couple of very close friends (I couldn't do nothing for any of these people, they are all very generous to us and the DC, both at Christmas and through the year).

    Hiddenidentity The homemade advent calendars are little drawstring cotton bags, about 4"x6", that I bought off ebay about five years ago and potato stamped with the numbers of advent. Each day has a chocolate coin or small chocolate (from a box of celebrations or similar - whatever's on offer when I'm stocking up for it!) for each DC and either an activity (e.g. homemade white 'snow' slime with glitter in it) or a small gift (lego minifig, mechanical pencils etc). Plus a 'big' gift under the tree on Christmas eve - usually a lego set for us to do together as a family.

    I wouldn't say we go to town completely at Christmas - there are never massive piles of stuff under the tree, but because I hate buying tat for the sake of it the stockings always end up adding up to as much as their main present (£75 each for stocking and another £75 for main gift last year, plus one shared present of £50), which by the time you do that for three DC, plus a Christmas eve hamper (new PJs all round, dvd, book etc) plus the advent calendar, plus the price of ingredients for HM gifts, plus festive food, it all starts to add up.

    Hmmm. Lots to muse on re Christmas. Thinking about it now can only help, as at least I can keep an eye out for cashback and offers etc on the things we do buy, and can start adding ingredients for HM stuff to the shopping list.

    Anyway, back to today. Going for a little trip to local nice (free) country house and gardens with a friend. Will probably end up paying for coffee as she is driving us, but that's not too bad. The bad bit is that DH has a works night out tonight which no doubt will cost more than the £15 he has in his kitty. After saying he never goes out, he's now doing so twice in a fortnight! Rock 'n' roll. I don't think we're going to go to his work Christmas dinner though, which saves a bit.

    To do today
    1. catch up with the ironing.
    2. email the other relative re visiting when we're in London.
    3. create chores list as discussed with DH last night.
    4. cook sourdough.
    5. book hygienist appointment.
    6. plan advent calendar
    7. plan homemade gifts.

    To do this week
    1. social media for website launch. Done.
    2. redo SOA based on DH's current salary (he is still being promised pay rise next month). Done.
    3. October YNAB prep. Done.
    4. start to plan advent calendars and Christmas presents so I can get a handle on spending.
    5. plan working time for October. Done.
    6. check total spend for last month. This is all weird on YNAB because I moved the partnership card from a budget to a tracked account and it's sent my spending sums all screwy, so I'm not certain. Under £3,750, probably not under £3,500 is my best guess.

    To do this month
    1. keep the total spend for the month below £3,500.
    2. work a sensible number of hours, even if it means slower progress on the work and debt front. September was rubbish. This is going well so far.
    3. make any homemade Christmas gifts.
    £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 6th Oct 17, 6:26 AM
    • 651 Posts
    • 4,164 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    I wouldn't say we go to town completely at Christmas - there are never massive piles of stuff under the tree, but because I hate buying tat for the sake of it the stockings always end up adding up to as much as their main present (£75 each for stocking and another £75 for main gift last year, plus one shared present of £50), which by the time you do that for three DC, plus a Christmas eve hamper (new PJs all round, dvd, book etc) plus the advent calendar, plus the price of ingredients for HM gifts, plus festive food, it all starts to add up.
    TOPM, you are a brave woman. Brace yourself! I can hear the opinions being formed now. You're spending around £200 per child on presents alone, which. Goodness. Your Christmas budget must run to, what, £1500 once you've counted in adults, non-offspring children and food? Darling, that's going to wipe out half the debt you've paid off so far.

    This is another of those areas where you can't afford the lifestyle you're choosing, but I'm sure you already know that. You may feel that it's worth it, and we all make that judgement about how we prioritise our money, but maths isn't magical: no matter how good your intentions, the numbers don't go down just because your expenditure is peer-group normal.

    If it's at all helpful, and it probably isn't, this is what I spend:

    Stockings are super minimal here: one craft kit or similar activity designed to keep them happy for a while before we get to presents (opened at lunchtime), bag of chocolate coins, maybe one more thing (I like the bubble bath idea, hiddenidentity!), I spend about £5. We do fancy hot chocolates (we buy a little tub of Lindt hot chocolate or something) and a family movie on Christmas Eve, costs us £10 (less, if there's something on Netflix we agree on). Gifts run us about £40-50 per child, which buys two or three decent things. This year, e.g., Big Girl is getting a National Geographic Kids subscription and an iPod nano, which will add up to about £50, and Little Girl wants a scooter, a beanie boo and some costume jewellery. They're definitely middle class kids with no sense of deprivation! Once you add in grandparent gifts, they've plenty to open.
    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
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 6th Oct 17, 6:43 AM
    • 651 Posts
    • 4,164 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Although, are those last year's figures, or the years before that? Because you also said:

    We probably halved our usual Christmas budget last year and still spent a lot, and I don't anticipate cutting it much further this year.
    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 6th Oct 17, 6:49 AM
    • 1,014 Posts
    • 9,409 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    No no, last year's spend (c.£1,200 including food, tree etc) was around half of previous years . Most of the money in previous years was spent on unnecessary extras like loads of extra festive booze or expensive treat food, and additional gifts under the tree and big (albeit often homemade) gifts for family and friends. So cutting it down as much as we did was actually pretty easy. £150 per child I'm quite happy with as a spend, and to be honest I'm not really interested in cutting everything else down miles more - I feel like we've been able to cut to where we were last Christmas without sacrificing any of the things we each enjoy about Christmas, and to cut it further would begin to eat away at the things that are special to us. I'm sure there will be plenty of readers throwing up their hands in horror and despair, but as far as I'm concerned the debt is lower than it was in February, and will be lower next February again, even with spending that much on Christmas. I can't get my knickers in too much of a twist about the rest as I'm aware that it isn't just going to be one mega-frugal christmas and our problems are solved - this is a long 10yr+ journey for us, and making it miserable and uninspiring will mean we give up. If we do Christmas for <£1,000 I'll be impressed and moderately surprised.
    £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
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 6th Oct 17, 7:18 AM
    • 405 Posts
    • 372 Thanks
    Sea Shell
    Hi there. I've been reading your diary from the start, and i know that you don't want to admit to family/friends that you have this level of debt, for whatever personal reasons you have.

    However, by not letting them in and keeping them in the dark, this seems to be keeping you pinned in a "keeping up appearances" circle.

    This appears to be most noticeable with your need/want to buy for so many (adults) at Christmas, as i guess this is what you've always done, regardless of if you can afford it or not.

    Personally, i would feel hurt if, say, my sister had this level of debt, and didn't tell me, and was still buying me presents etc. I'd much rather she didn't, and put the money towards the debt.

    Could you not all (adults) agree that you'll just be buying for the kids this year....or would that "let your cat out of the bag?"
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow "
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 6th Oct 17, 7:45 AM
    • 622 Posts
    • 2,363 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    TOPM , I read what you say about Christmas and see myself. Our family have always had new pjs at Xmas eve , we always had a chippy tea as well. My own daughter still has new pjs off me for Christmas Eve ! She does the same for her two. Christmas is my biggest spend now with the 2 DGC . However I have cut down now with friends and believe it or not they were relieved to break the present buying habit. Could you be brave enough to ask the question about maybe only buying for children and not adults ? You may be surprised by the answer .
    As you said you have already cut costs for Christmas, so I think you need to put some money away every month and try not to touch it , hard I know . This will be my first Christmas in many years that haven't gone on cc . Good luck with it all.
    Oct 2017 CC1 £3439CC 2 £927

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
    • crunch_time
    • By crunch_time 6th Oct 17, 8:01 AM
    • 1,011 Posts
    • 2,666 Thanks
    crunch_time
    In my extended family we have a 'only but for the kids' rule. It works really well.

    Christmas is the only time I really try and stick to a budget as I hate hate hate the pressure of trying to have the 'best' Christmas ever so it's like I deliberately revolt against it.

    I totally agreee with you on the 'not buying tat for stockings' rule. I've always ended up with things they haven't ever played with again!! Last year I tried to stick to a 'useful for £1' theme and it seemed to work as they used everything I bought.

    Husband and I haven't bought anything for each other for years!! Last year we filled our stockings with secondhand books and underwear!! Ha ha!!

    I'm hoping to only spend £200-£250 on Christmas this year including decorations and food!! We are planning frugal but meaningful activities and traditions instead.

    I've found changing my focus to this has helped massively!!

    Best of luck!
    Crunchy xx
    LBM June 2014. Original debt £23,555 vs Now £0 Paid off in April 2017. Since then lost my way a bit and then decided to move house and start a new course...
    NEW LBM: 16/9/17 NEW DEBT: £7232 Now: £6564 Paid off £668
    Dog/New House savings £1519 Long term savings (finally) £840
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 6th Oct 17, 8:13 AM
    • 388 Posts
    • 1,468 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    I am sure I don't need to tell you that your lifestyle is completely above and beyond what is the "norm" for most families. It is also completely above and beyond anything that you can afford, which is why you have such high debt.

    I think you need to have a good soul search about why you have such high expectations for the lifestyle that you need to provide for your family. Is it appearances, as Sea Shell has suggested or is there something more deep seated ? This spending all seems to be about you, and the very high standards you apply to quality and aesthetics, rather than anything about what your children actually need.

    The Christmas stockings are a good example ....children all around the country get tat in their Christmas stocking and love it. This doesn't conform to your standards so you spend £75 each instead - your kids would would just be as happy with £10 worth of well chosen "tat"in their stockings.

    I don't mean to be harsh but I think you need to try and understand what is driving your high expectations and spending, to be able to tackle it.

    You have made some changes to your lifestyle where you have found it acceptable to your standards - for example home baking and cooking, but you do need to go further to tackle this debt and that means you will have to change your mindset about other things.

    This is all meant with good intentions as I worry that your finances are so precarious that it could be disasterous for your family if you don't change.
    • Verbatim
    • By Verbatim 6th Oct 17, 8:28 AM
    • 4,502 Posts
    • 13,095 Thanks
    Verbatim
    I was wondering what sort of things go in the dcs stockings?
    CCs @0% £24k Dec 05 £19,621.41 Au £13400 S 12600 Oct £11,981 £9481 £7500 Nov £7250 D £7100 Jan 6950 F £5800 Mar£5400 May £4830 June £4660 July £4460 Aug £3200, S £900, £0 18/9/07 DFW Nerd 042
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 6th Oct 17, 9:08 AM
    • 1,527 Posts
    • 17,327 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    My Son's advent calendar is (yes, at nearly 26, he still asks for it!) a pennant on a piece of wooden doweling (a thin wooden rod) with a piece of cord as the hanger (with old curtain tie-back tassels on the ends of the rod), and all the pockets are simple patches with a number on them, randomly over the pennant. I put the occasional pound coin, a note saying do a chore (tidy your bedroom is an old favourite), a promise or two (I will take you to the beach, to watch a film etc), future events, bits of sweets and a note to look somewhere for a little thing (pencil, eraser, gel pen etc). I remember putting a Harry Potter phone cover in the dishwasher one year for Christmas Eve and he was so thrilled. He still references it! - worth the effort!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 31.2% after Q6
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £8833.96 saved (80.31%) after September - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 70.68/75% including stores after July
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • crunch_time
    • By crunch_time 6th Oct 17, 10:13 AM
    • 1,011 Posts
    • 2,666 Thanks
    crunch_time
    I am sure I don't need to tell you that your lifestyle is completely above and beyond what is the "norm" for most families. It is also completely above and beyond anything that you can afford, which is why you have such high debt.

    I think you need to have a good soul search about why you have such high expectations for the lifestyle that you need to provide for your family. Is it appearances, as Sea Shell has suggested or is there something more deep seated ? This spending all seems to be about you, and the very high standards you apply to quality and aesthetics, rather than anything about what your children actually need.

    The Christmas stockings are a good example ....children all around the country get tat in their Christmas stocking and love it. This doesn't conform to your standards so you spend £75 each instead - your kids would would just be as happy with £10 worth of well chosen "tat"in their stockings.

    I don't mean to be harsh but I think you need to try and understand what is driving your high expectations and spending, to be able to tackle it.

    You have made some changes to your lifestyle where you have found it acceptable to your standards - for example home baking and cooking, but you do need to go further to tackle this debt and that means you will have to change your mindset about other things.

    This is all meant with good intentions as I worry that your finances are so precarious that it could be disasterous for your family if you don't change.
    Originally posted by Busy Mee1
    Thanks for this - I can apply it to myself and my own high standards with other things. Great advice!!
    Crunchy x
    LBM June 2014. Original debt £23,555 vs Now £0 Paid off in April 2017. Since then lost my way a bit and then decided to move house and start a new course...
    NEW LBM: 16/9/17 NEW DEBT: £7232 Now: £6564 Paid off £668
    Dog/New House savings £1519 Long term savings (finally) £840
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

270Posts Today

1,429Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @LordsEconCom: On Tuesday Martin Lewis, Hannah Morrish & Shakira Martin gave evidence to the Cttee. Read the full transcript here: https?

  • Ta ta for now. Half term's starting, so I'm exchanging my MoneySavingExpert hat for one that says Daddy in big letters. See you in a week.

  • RT @thismorning: Can @MartinSLewis' deals save YOU cash? ???? https://t.co/igbHCwzeiN

  • Follow Martin