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  • FIRST POST
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 12th Feb 17, 9:56 AM
    • 1,098Posts
    • 10,550Thanks
    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 88
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 7th Oct 17, 7:23 AM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 18,084 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    I'd like to second all recommendations for pound shops and The Works for stocking fillers! Other options might be:
    print out colouring sheets from the Internet (rolled up nicely and secured with an elastic band or wool),
    Make jam jar 'cooking kits' with the dry ingredients for biscuits nicely layered inside. Bigger versions of these are also nice gifts for adults.
    Start them knitting with those little balls of 'craft wool' that are very garish but make snazzy dolls' scarves.
    Make kits for DIY peg dolls or wooden spoon dolls. (Use actual pegs /spoons, of course - and real fabric scraps, odds & ends of wool etc. 'like they did in the old days').
    Home made play dough or edible slime.
    Washing line skipping ropes - another item from a pound shop that used to keep kids busy and healthy too!

    These are all on the cheap side and encourage creativity as well as being a bit of heritage.

    Looking through your list, I noticed you buy board games, which is what I liked to do for my children but as they got older, it got harder to buy good ones that weren't exorbitant and which someone in the family didn't already have. They can be really costly so perhaps for this year they could have card games (shop around because some are a lot cheaper than others), marbles, jack straws, solitaire etc.

    Another thing that went down very well was a little book of vouchers to 'cash in' - get out of a chore, have Mum you read a story, go on a scavenger hunt, chose what we're having for tea, etc.

    You are working incredibly hard on everything - I hope it's a wonderful Christmas!
    Originally posted by Cherryfudge
    I love these ideas! I shall definitely be doing jam jar cooking kits and little book of home-vouchers.

    An alternative to the expensive board games is the (free) game we play that we call the teapot game (we use an old Denby teapot with the spout snapped off - since sanded). Everyone writes ten (could be more) names on strips of paper that are then folded and put in the teapot. They can be people you know, famous, alive or dead, or fictional characters - or a complete mixture of these.

    Divide into two teams then each team takes it in turns to describe the name they pull out until their team guesses it - a minute per team, with the other team timing and counting - until the pot is empty. The winners are the team with the most right answers. It is always personal to the group playing, and there are invariably several duplicate Santa Clauses at Christmas! - It's great fun when away camping and sitting around a fire in the semi-darkness too.
    MFiT T4 #2 update 42.67% after Q7 £5,465 behind where I should be
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £9,260.94 saved (84.19%) after October - my annual target is £11,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 78.56% including stores after October
    My DFD is http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5593594
    • Kantankrus Mare
    • By Kantankrus Mare 7th Oct 17, 7:36 AM
    • 4,970 Posts
    • 11,799 Thanks
    Kantankrus Mare

    Another thing that went down very well was a little book of vouchers to 'cash in' - get out of a chore, have Mum you read a story, go on a scavenger hunt, chose what we're having for tea, etc.

    You are working incredibly hard on everything - I hope it's a wonderful Christmas!
    Originally posted by Cherryfudge
    I think this is a fantastic idea and one that will create long term memories! I remember christmases as a child having tons of stuff to open (mostly art stuff and random stuff to make it look a lot, along with one major present chosen by us.

    Can I remember any of the "stuff"? Not really except for my spirograph which i adored and new felt tips every year but actual "time" for me would have been treasured.

    I can always remember asking my mother to play jacks with me when that was all the craze and she was always too busy cleaning.
    Make £10 a day challenge Jan/£215.84/ Feb £146.45/ Mar £192.55/Apr £171.20/ May £156.40/june £95.55/ Jul £383.85/Aug £211.60/Sep £282.35/Oct £122.54/Nov £271.08/Dec £67.49
    Walk 2000 miles in 2017....1628.14 miles
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 7th Oct 17, 7:49 AM
    • 438 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Creeps back in because I fear I might have upset you with my comment yesterday. This wasn't my intention, but rather to nudge your thinking to try and stop you spending unnecessary money at Christmas.

    You are obviously a person with lovely taste who wants the best for her family and I think the trick for you will be shopping around to find what you want at the best price and within your budget.......as you did yesterday, downgrading your JL shopping to Tu/H&M. I was very impressed - not only did you keep within your budget, you got a gift towards Christmas

    You might want to keep an eye on the Sainsbreeze site, they regularly have a 25% off clothing event. These tend to be around bank holiday weekends, but I have a feeling the next one will be around the half term holiday. You might be able to pick up Christmas PJs for the DCs.

    In fact most of the chain stores have some sort of event in the run up to Christmas, M&S generally do a 20% off and Debenhams usually have various offers in the run up to Christmas. I try and identify the things I want to buy and often put them in my online basket and just wait for a sale or offer. I have a policy of never buying anything full price

    I do most of my shopping for things we need in the sales, I always try and budget for January shopping in the sales. This could be an incentive for you to spend less at Christmas if you could keep a sum of money to spend in JL/Next in the January sale to buy the clothes the DCs need.
    This way you get the quality you want for less money.

    I am personally not a big fan of charity shops. I have never been very lucky at finding what I need - I think you need a lot of time to trawl them. I have done better on Eb@y and had some great bargains on top quality brands.

    You have had some great ideas for a more frugal ( but not miserable !) Christmas. I have always bought mine things they need, as well as things they want. So things like dressing gowns, slippers, football boots, trainers and swimming costumes ... Basically things I know I will have to buy anyway through the year. If you are spending money it might as well be on things that you would have to buy anyway.

    I also tried to influence the grandparents into buying things that the kids actually need/want - tricky I know, but our parents did always ask what to buy.

    You are very smart and resourceful and I am sure you could challenge yourself and have a great Christmas and spend less and start 2018 without any additional debt x
    • missymoo81
    • By missymoo81 7th Oct 17, 7:59 AM
    • 5,748 Posts
    • 19,859 Thanks
    missymoo81
    Hey TOPM living the Christmas talk and the advent ideas! I think I May do something similar. I'm trying not to fall into the £1 trap. Some things from the £1 shop are great, but I just bought stuff and tat just to fill stockings, which broke of course and just littered up the house. So trying not to do that this year!
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 7th Oct 17, 8:03 AM
    • 438 Posts
    • 1,729 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Oo and on the subject of games. Our family favourite is the cornflake packet game. You basically take an empty cereal packet and place it on the floor and everyone has to pick it up with their teeth.
    Once everyone has had a go you take a pair of scissors and cut an inch off from around the top and it keeps going until there is basically very little to pick up with your teeth and people drop out ( usually the adults). Lots of fun particularly if the adults have been drinking, but you do need to watch Granny's back on this one
    Last edited by Busy Mee1; 07-10-2017 at 8:51 AM.
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 7th Oct 17, 8:13 AM
    • 510 Posts
    • 1,897 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Thinking about Christmas ideas that might help. You still have enough time, if you wanted to, to plant up some hyacinth bulbs and put them in a dark cupboard to bring them on to force for Christmas. If you run out of time Paperwhite narcissi can be forced from about 6 weeks before Christmas. Both make lovely fragrant living gifts which might be nice for the adults you need to buy for. Plain terracotta bowls can be bought quite cheaply at garden centres. Try somewhere online like JParkers for bulbs. The hyacinth bulbs will need to be marked as "prepared". It's a present that could involve the children too.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 7th Oct 17, 8:36 AM
    • 510 Posts
    • 1,897 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Re food savings or feeding everyone healthily on a budget, have you read Frugal Queen's blog? Lots of inspiration to be had there. I came across the blog after someone else mentioned it in a post on this site.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 7th Oct 17, 8:46 AM
    • 1,098 Posts
    • 10,550 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 34: Day 7

    Still feeling rotten - I know full well I get colds when I am rushing round not having enough downtime, must attempt to slow down a bit.

    LOVING all of the Christmas chat (I love Christmas, in case that wasn't clear ). I know you all feel you are banging your heads against a brick wall, but believe it or not some of it goes in, and I feel like I've picked up lots of ideas and inspiration for a (slightly) more frugal Christmas.

    Hidden I have always been impressed with the quality of the odd Sainsbury's bit I've bought before. For the price, it's really not bad.

    Cherry loads of good ideas in there - I particularly like the peg dolls and card games ideas. They've all gone on the list!

    Crunch thanks for the ideas. Glue sticks and sellotape would be well received here, we go through them like water!

    Busy Mee it takes more than that to upset me, don't worry! I definitely think there is a compromise between my 'ideal' and 'ultimate frugality' (let's be honest, it leans more towards the former than the latter for me , but at least it's a compromise).

    Missymoo I refuse to buy anything which will break quickly, I just think it's such a waste. I'd rather buy them a big roll of paper and some markers or similar if I need to bulk out stocking space. Hoping the £1 will yield some craft supplies and maybe decorations though.

    Honeysucklelou I think you may have just hit upon the 'gift for adults' theme for this year! Such a good idea. Going to google it today and see whether we've got time etc. Need to source some cheap but nice pots. Harder for the people we won't see (still not sure what we'll do there, but DH's mum had a right little tantrum about not getting a decent gift one year, so I have to think of something).

    Ooh, the other vaguely frugal thing I am planning is not buying DH and I full new PJs for the Christmas eve hamper this year - neither of us need any. Going to get DH a christmassy tshirt and myself a pair of new thermal leggings. I tend to buy semi-nice pyjamas for the DC (ie not just polyester christmas ones) as they wear them until they wear out rather than just at Christmas, but M&S have some lovely winter themed ones for a tenner each, which I'm not too horrified about. Might order them in the next few days, as so often I have spied lovely pjs and then they sell out and I end up ordering more expensive ones as I can't find nice ones. Doing this will pretty much halve the <cough> £120 I spent on pyjamas last year.

    Can't imagine I'm going to get lots extra done on top of work today as I'm feeling so rotten, but here's what I'm hoping to get done...

    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. prep sourdough (second time this week, then I can have a week or more off from baking it!).
    5. finish planning advent calendar.
    6. plan homemade gifts - hyacinth bowls!
    7. start to plan stockings

    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. Ongoing
    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
    • Verbatim
    • By Verbatim 7th Oct 17, 9:08 AM
    • 4,518 Posts
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    Verbatim
    Gosh I'm so impressed with your determination and energy. I wish I'd grown up in your house! It sounds like a lot of fun and joy. I think you're doing splendidly getting the Christmas you want at a better price! Love all the creative ideas coming up on your thread.
    Excuse my short replies/comments; I'm always on my phone and a slow one finger typist.
    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
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 7th Oct 17, 9:51 AM
    • 891 Posts
    • 4,552 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    Loving all the ideas on your page TOPM , but to me I think we all stress ourselves out about Christmas far to much!
    Nov 2017 CC1 £3329 CC2 £600

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 7th Oct 17, 10:04 AM
    • 2,703 Posts
    • 27,948 Thanks
    XSpender
    When we still used to do adult presents I did themed hampers that look more expenive than they are so for BIL (who was recently single) I did an italian hamper with a cheap colander, pasta, pasta sauces and a couple of bottles of peroni one year, a similar indian themed one and for my step dad I have done a coffee one and a ginger themed one. I have also done bath ones and afternoon tea ones.

    They were presented in a cut down box wrapped in christmas paper and covered in cellophane. Good presentatgion makes them look special.

    I have also done the pots of gold with scratch cards and lottery tickets. I did Christmas cakes for a while but these work out expensive even with value ingredients.

    I never spent more than £10-15 on each adult gift.

    One of our favourite Christmas treats was a cardboard santa that my nana had got one year filled with small gifts. We loved it so much that she had to fill it every year and we got to dip into it before Christmas tea. It had little gifts like tights for my mum, pencils with my name on, a comb for my dad.

    All this talk about christmas gifts has me thinking about the best present I had as a child and, apart from my record player, the only one I remember. It was a fabric doll my mum made by hand from a pattern in womans own with lots of individual outfits from a brownie outifit and a party dress to a nightgown and slippers. It must have taken her weeks to do when I was in bed. At 47, I still have it.
    EF £1000 - £0
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 7th Oct 17, 10:26 AM
    • 1,098 Posts
    • 10,550 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Gosh I'm so impressed with your determination and energy. I wish I'd grown up in your house! It sounds like a lot of fun and joy. I think you're doing splendidly getting the Christmas you want at a better price! Love all the creative ideas coming up on your thread.
    Excuse my short replies/comments; I'm always on my phone and a slow one finger typist.
    Originally posted by Verbatim
    I was sat next to a friend the other day and she was getting irritated with me typing on my phone so quickly while she did one finger typing . I love Christmas, so it's all worth it to me.

    Loving all the ideas on your page TOPM , but to me I think we all stress ourselves out about Christmas far to much!
    Originally posted by Cumbria lass
    Oh I don't stress out, I love it! December is like one long holiday for me (my birthday is in December too).

    When we still used to do adult presents I did themed hampers that look more expenive than they are so for BIL (who was recently single) I did an italian hamper with a cheap colander, pasta, pasta sauces and a couple of bottles of peroni one year, a similar indian themed one and for my step dad I have done a coffee one and a ginger themed one. I have also done bath ones and afternoon tea ones.

    They were presented in a cut down box wrapped in christmas paper and covered in cellophane. Good presentatgion makes them look special.

    I have also done the pots of gold with scratch cards and lottery tickets. I did Christmas cakes for a while but these work out expensive even with value ingredients.

    I never spent more than £10-15 on each adult gift.

    One of our favourite Christmas treats was a cardboard santa that my nana had got one year filled with small gifts. We loved it so much that she had to fill it every year and we got to dip into it before Christmas tea. It had little gifts like tights for my mum, pencils with my name on, a comb for my dad.

    All this talk about christmas gifts has me thinking about the best present I had as a child and, apart from my record player, the only one I remember. It was a fabric doll my mum made by hand from a pattern in womans own with lots of individual outfits from a brownie outifit and a party dress to a nightgown and slippers. It must have taken her weeks to do when I was in bed. At 47, I still have it.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Love the themed hampers - I always end up going to town and spending too much when I do things like that. The doll sounds AMAZING. I made DC3 a doll a couple of years back but it was a waldorf one, which is rather simpler. And its hair has turned into dreadlocks . I have so many amazing gift memories that are tied up with the experiences I had with them - new sleeping bags (and being allowed to sleep in them under the tree all week), new knitting needles and wool (and learning to knit), craft sets, chocolate gift sets, favourite soft toys, Keypers (anyone remember those?!), lego sets... I could go on, but the key thing that sticks for me is it's the things that had value beyond the day itself that I remember, which is one of the prime drivers behind most of the things I buy for the DCs.
    Last edited by Treadingonplaymobil; 07-10-2017 at 10:29 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
    • stoozie1
    • By stoozie1 7th Oct 17, 11:20 AM
    • 394 Posts
    • 258 Thanks
    stoozie1
    Sorry to hark back to a prior topic, i read regularly, but just caught up.

    Re: the costings of making your own butter, I worked it all out recently for our family, and basically it depends which brand level of butter you buy and whether you would use the buttermilk. We make all our own butter, and then convert it to spreadable butter.

    If you use Value/Smartprice butter and have no use for the buttermilk and dont buy the cream wholesale at Costco/yellow stickered, then bought butter is 5p/250g cheaper.

    Otherwise HM wins, by varying amounts depending on the factors I just listed. Hope that's useful.
    Last edited by stoozie1; 07-10-2017 at 11:24 AM.
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 7th Oct 17, 1:20 PM
    • 948 Posts
    • 4,243 Thanks
    Cherryfudge
    Now I want a sleeping bag under the tree for myself!

    If you do the peg dolls, buy actual pegs ('dolly pegs') and make sure there's a hacksaw and some glue somewhere in the house so you can trim the bottoms of the pegs. I think if you do them at 45 degrees you should be able to make feet but you might need to go for flat bases and a cardboard stand underneath.
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 7th Oct 17, 9:28 PM
    • 1,098 Posts
    • 10,550 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Who was the hyacinth genius? Thank you. That's what everyone is getting for Christmas this year. Have just ordered 40 bulbs to be delivered (some for decorating around our house - much cheaper than pricey glass baubles or fancy table centrepieces), and after browsing Pinterest for inspiration I am planning on doing a charity shop trawl next week and planting them in various china, vintage pots etc. It will look very sweet and lovely and come in well inside the £120 I have budgeted in total for homemade gifts.

    Also ordered Christmas eve PJs for the DC and new leggings for me/tshirt for DH - came to only £60 (HALF of last year's spend), and there was a good topcashback offer for new online shoppers, so made DH sign up and pay for it. Fingers crossed it comes through.

    Have worked hard today, loads ticked off my endless lists, and feeling very pleased with making a start on the Christmas shopping. My only slight worry is that I'll forget what I've spent and overspend later because it's all spread out so much, but I am keeping a tight record so fingers crossed I won't be able to go into denial.

    To do today
    1. catch up with the ironing. Made a start, still have an ironing mountain.
    2. email the other relative re visiting when we're in London. Done.
    3. create chores list as discussed with DH last night. Done.
    4. prep sourdough (second time this week, then I can have a week or more off from baking it!). Done.
    5. finish planning advent calendar. Done.
    6. plan homemade gifts - hyacinth bowls! Done!
    7. start to plan stockings. 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. Ongoing
    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
    • emmie26
    • By emmie26 7th Oct 17, 9:38 PM
    • 446 Posts
    • 1,871 Thanks
    emmie26
    I've not been around for a few weeks and I've stepped back in to Christmas

    You are so organised I'm jealous, I can't say I haven't been thinking about Christmas, but all I have done is write a list of things I want, I think it's because I haven't been able to buy things willy nilly. They are all small things but on my list I have, a new laundry basket, some mascara, some sundae glasses and gin glasses and a spray mop Santa is going to bring me all the things I can't afford for myself!

    I'm going to have to get writing a list for other people

    Total Debt: £24,359.79 £19,963
    debt reduced by 18%
    Debt free date: May 2019
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 8th Oct 17, 3:10 AM
    • 725 Posts
    • 4,714 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    The hyacinth idea is amazing! I'm going to come back to this thread and jot down lots of ideas. You've already reminded me that I meant to buy Big Girl a nice dictionary and had forgotten, so thank you!

    Here is my low-cost home made contribution idea, and the thing I am getting for adults who aren't as close but I feel I should get something for: coffee facial scrub. It's literally pennies to make if you have some nice jars about. Recipe here: https://www.theholisticingredient.com/blogs/wholesome-living/105823622-diy-coffee-body-scrub-recipe
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 8th Oct 17, 7:00 AM
    • 510 Posts
    • 1,897 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Glad the idea has worked for you. Using vintage china is brilliant! For the adults who live further away would a magazine subscription work? Present then lasts through the year.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
    • Treadingonplaymobil
    • By Treadingonplaymobil 8th Oct 17, 7:07 AM
    • 1,098 Posts
    • 10,550 Thanks
    Treadingonplaymobil
    Week 35: Day 1

    Confession time: I made a huge booboo on my YNAB budget balancing at the start of this month, and now various transactions have been processed, the debt total is different to how it stood at the start of the month (actually lower, but with a correspondingly larger shortfall in the joint account for this month). It was purely bad maths - the totals are still the same, but the money is not where it should be (ie paid off the partnership CC rather than in the current account).

    Debt total at at 1st October
    Barclaycard £13,381.21
    MBNA £485.63
    Partnership card (the one I used Aug/Sept when the budgets didn't balance) £1,520.83
    Tesco loan £20,292.35
    Parental loan £20,000
    Total £55,680.02

    Debt total as at 8th October
    Barclaycard £13,381.21
    MBNA £485.63
    Partnership card (the one I used Aug/Sept when the budgets didn't balance) £1,028.97
    Tesco loan £20,292.35
    Parental loan £20,000
    Total £55,188.16

    So that £500 debt reduction also reads as a £500 shortfall in the current account for this month, so all my grand plans of not needing to use the Partnership CC have rather flown out the window. I can trace exactly why it happened, but it gives me a headache to work out, so I'm not going to attempt to re-tell it for all of you. I could cover most of it with everything we have in savings (for things like car MOT, Christmas savings etc, I think there's £350 in the savings account) but given that actually we are in real terms no worse off than we were two weeks ago, I'm inclined not to, and to try to let those savings build up, since this Christmas is showing me how 'false' it is to have a budget that sort of balances but no actual savings.

    Obviously my mission is to keep that partnership spend well under that £500 difference, so I start next month with a lower CC balance than I started this month, so things like cheaper food shopping, minimal family entertainment spends etc become even more pressing.

    Right, that over with, let's move on to today.

    DH is going food shopping today, and I must just take a moment here to be pleased at how well the food budgeting is going. Hard to be sure because of all the YNAB shenanigans last month, but I'm fairly sure we spent around £350 on food in September, an absolutely massive reduction. We are currently a week into the month and have so far only spent £55, and although the shop DH is doing today is a big top up of household stuff and things like herbs and all those things that seem to run out all at once, it's still only coming in at about £85. I'm so pleased at the reduction, and keeping fingers crossed we can keep it up for the whole of this month (and with no YNAB maths headache so I can actually have a clearer picture at the end of the month).

    I'm feeling so much less stressed since making a conscious effort to slow down and lower my work expectations of myself. I'm not sure how that's going to pan out financially in the short term, but my mental health also needs to be a priority. I'm hoping the same business growth will still come, it might just take a tiny bit longer (weeks longer, not months, so not a huge impact in the grand scheme of things). I don't have as much work booked this month as I'd like to, but enough to keep paying my salary/expenses for November. I'd just like to get a little further ahead than that again!

    In other news, I was chatting to the DCs about clubs last night and DC1 has decided to give up football for at least half a term after October, regardless of whether it clashes with another club (not sure yet whether it will). It only saves us £20 over two months, but every little helps.

    To do today
    1. catch up with the ironing (it'll be nice when this ISN'T on my list for maybe one day).
    2. make a courgette cake to use up the last of the courgettes!
    3. start to plan stockings.
    4. stick to working during my working hours, not getting distracted by laundry/cooking/cleaning.
    5. check library ebook situation and, if it's working fine, cancel Audible subscription.

    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. Ongoing
    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. Currently budgeted at £3,349.
    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
    • emmie26
    • By emmie26 8th Oct 17, 7:23 AM
    • 446 Posts
    • 1,871 Thanks
    emmie26
    I tried YNAB and I couldn't get on with it. I use paper and pen, at the start of the month I write down all regular outgoings and then tick them off as they come out of the account. At the start of the month I know how much (little) I have to spend. I do use excel for my savings pots because it all goes in one saving account and gets a bit confusing but even that has got jumbled and my real life total doesn't match the spreadsheet, so I don't think there is an easy way.
    Well done on the food spend, what's the secret?

    Total Debt: £24,359.79 £19,963
    debt reduced by 18%
    Debt free date: May 2019
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