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  • FIRST POST
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 30th Jul 17, 9:04 PM
    • 56Posts
    • 77Thanks
    Plain Jane
    University Challenge x 2
    • #1
    • 30th Jul 17, 9:04 PM
    University Challenge x 2 30th Jul 17 at 9:04 PM
    Hi everyone, you all seem such a friendly bunch and I've been reading some of your diaries for a long time. I thought it was time I joined in and added my own diary for some help and encouragement.

    My name is quite boring but I haven't got a very creative mind today so may think of something better at a later date.

    So my title says it all really. Our DT (darling twin girls) were born 19 years ago in September. So you'd think after the shock of having two children at the same time we would have thought that at some point they will reach the age where they could well want to go to uni!

    No not us, we lived each day as it came getting ourselves into a mountain of debt without a thought for the future. In 2002 this debt reached £66k - LBM number 1 came along. We entered a dmp and spent the next 12 years scrimping and saving. In 2014 my dearest and lovely Dad passed away. The worst thing that has ever happened to me. About 6 months later his inheritance arrived and the first thing we did was pay the remaining £23k off our debt. The relief was amazing, it's such a shame something bad had to happen to get there.

    The remaining money we used to update the house as it had not had much love. So you think lessons learned we are free of debt apart from the mortgage. Oh no, I obviously thought we were invincible. The children were older and still talking about uni but we hadn't lived for so many years and all of a sudden credit was available to us. We went on holiday a couple of times and had weekends away, spent very unwisely on a day to day basis and bought shoes, clothes and everything else we thought we could afford now but really we couldn't.

    So here we're are, girls hopefully getting into uni in September, upset about having an empty nest all in one go and £40k back in debt.

    I've spent the last month overhauling the budget but nowhere near to the point that some of you do - I think you are all amazing. I have chopped small things out which have added up and the next thing to go is our storage unit where we dumped everything after losing 3 parents and a sister in quick succession. We cannot afford £172 a month for this. So my diary is all about cutting down, minimilising and hopefully losing weight along the way as I think these things can go hand in hand.

    Hope you've all had a great weekend and looking forward to talking to you all.

    PJ
Page 4
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 4th Sep 17, 6:45 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted.

    We are in Devon sitting in front of a log fire. All is wonderful except for my worn out brain worrying about debt.

    We did a big shop yesterday and so far haven't eaten out or had coffe out at all. Hubby is making lovely breakfasts and we are just having snacks until dinner time which tonight is spaghetti bolognese.

    The dogs are enjoying their walks around here.

    But ..... both DT's accommodations at Uni are expecting their first instalments on Wednesday. That's well over £4K . I've had to money transfer the lot to cover until the first maintenance payment comes through in October. Scary stuff. And then the maintenance loan will be £2600ish so won't cover it. I'm YNABing like a mad person and moving stuff around and budgeting but this is all adding to our debt and, of course, our monthly outgoings.

    I think that things are going to get more difficult before they get easier - DT1 goes a week on Saturday and the other the week after that. So I'm dealing with those emotions on top of it all and the smallest thing sets me off. They are both keeping an eye on the job situation and should be in a position to get one almost as soon as they move in. I'm even thinking of getting a second job myself to help ends meet - I'm already full time.

    I've been on anti depressants for years no was getting to the stage where I felt strong enough to come off them but the money situation along with everything else is making me feel otherwise.

    My emergency fund is dwindling as well

    Sorry to ramble on!
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 4th Sep 17, 7:09 PM
    • 48,510 Posts
    • 178,514 Thanks
    beanielou
    Sorry to be harsh but given your situation I am struggling to understand why your daughters are not taking ou,t student loans to cover their accomodation costs.
    You cannot afford this.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding***
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 4th Sep 17, 9:34 PM
    • 204 Posts
    • 494 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Hi there,
    I do empathise with the Uni costs. My son goes in 2 weeks time. He has been able to get a maintenance loan of £3,900, but the costs of living in most University towns and cities is estimated at £9K, so there is a £5K shortfall. I understand posts by others saying that students should get jobs, but it is difficult to combine studying and work. One small thing I found out today which might be a saving. I called my House insurance provider and I was able to extend it to cover my son whilst at Uni for his belongings and phone and computer etc. This was because he was already on the home insurance policy as one of the 3 adults. This cost only £7.32 versus the cheapest stand alone policy for him which was £100. You may have already covered this but if not it might save you a bit. Ref the accommodation, can you approach the grandparents for help? I'm not ashamed to admit that we have had help from my in-laws. they were only too happy to help.
    Total unsecured debt - £5,367 (October 2017) - Debt free Target February 2018
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 4th Sep 17, 10:21 PM
    • 4,661 Posts
    • 8,820 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Sorry to be harsh but given your situation I am struggling to understand why your daughters are not taking ou,t student loans to cover their accomodation costs.
    You cannot afford this.
    Originally posted by beanielou
    The maintenance loans do not come through until the students have registered which will not be until end September/October but deposits on accommodation need to be paid upfront before freshers week which will be in three weeks time for most unis.
    4 weeks to go until early retirement in December . Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 4th Sep 17, 10:30 PM
    • 4,661 Posts
    • 8,820 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted.

    We are in Devon sitting in front of a log fire. All is wonderful except for my worn out brain worrying about debt.

    We did a big shop yesterday and so far haven't eaten out or had coffe out at all. Hubby is making lovely breakfasts and we are just having snacks until dinner time which tonight is spaghetti bolognese.

    The dogs are enjoying their walks around here.

    But ..... both DT's accommodations at Uni are expecting their first instalments on Wednesday. That's well over £4K . I've had to money transfer the lot to cover until the first maintenance payment comes through in October. Scary stuff. And then the maintenance loan will be £2600ish so won't cover it. I'm YNABing like a mad person and moving stuff around and budgeting but this is all adding to our debt and, of course, our monthly outgoings.

    I think that things are going to get more difficult before they get easier - DT1 goes a week on Saturday and the other the week after that. So I'm dealing with those emotions on top of it all and the smallest thing sets me off. They are both keeping an eye on the job situation and should be in a position to get one almost as soon as they move in. I'm even thinking of getting a second job myself to help ends meet - I'm already full time.

    I've been on anti depressants for years no was getting to the stage where I felt strong enough to come off them but the money situation along with everything else is making me feel otherwise.

    My emergency fund is dwindling as well

    Sorry to ramble on!
    Originally posted by Plain Jane
    If you suffer with anxiety or depression then getting a second job on top of full time sounds like this will be too much pressure for you.

    It is tough having two at Uni at the same time, there was just one school year between my two daughters so we had two years of both of them being at Uni at the same time. We paid our mortgage off just before the second one went and I went to full time work from part time and we had no debt but still large chunks of disposable income went out over those two years. I can imagine it will be a struggle but hopefully they will get jobs when they are settled.

    All you can do really for the next three years is live as frugally as possible and all four of you earn extra where you can. Have you asked if the accommodation can be paid in instalments? I assume that £2k each is for the first semester? We made an arrangement to pay monthly over September, October, November and December which made things a bit easier. I think we paid the first month and then the maintenance loan kicked in for the remaining three months with just our parental contributions.
    4 weeks to go until early retirement in December . Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 4th Sep 17, 10:45 PM
    • 4,661 Posts
    • 8,820 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Your mortgage payment looks high. What interest rate are you paying on this?

    I agree pay minimums on everything else and put all towards Virgin.

    Given the expected increase in overdraft charges transferring to a 0% card is a good move. Regardless of whether it was on the soa or not, an overdraft is borrowing so you are best off not having one.

    You have good salaries but are obviously heavily overcommitted. £100 to an emergency fund monthly is the most you can get away with given the shortfall. As you have not put any cash on the soa I guess you have not been saving this anyway. The pocket money, expensive mobiles and all little extras will need to go if you want to avoid digging yourself into another debt nightmare.
    4 weeks to go until early retirement in December . Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 4th Sep 17, 11:42 PM
    • 481 Posts
    • 1,753 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Wow, I'm amazed that first instalments of rent have to be paid so soon. My DD's rent is to be paid by the second week of October, which I'm guessing is when the student maintenance loan comes through.
    So sorry about the worry...I can sympathise as I'm having to pare back drastically and consider a 2nd job. Hope you are able to enjoy the remainder of your holiday and your time as a family.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
    • cybertortoise
    • By cybertortoise 5th Sep 17, 1:16 AM
    • 101 Posts
    • 722 Thanks
    cybertortoise
    Hi Jane.

    I've read through your diary with interest. I'm at uni myself so know how expensive the halls are. Private rented houses are generally much cheaper so second and third year should be easier.

    I don't want to sound mean in any way but it seems you spend a lot of money on your children. I hope they realise that by you helping them out so much, it's actually causing a lot of stress and hardship. Many parents don't like to share this info with their kids. If they know this, hopefully they'll be more careful when it comes to their time at uni and aim to spend wisely! Peer pressure and nights out are a deadly combination for student finances. There may come a time when they have to make sacrifices (such as a car) instead of just you making them.

    One girl on my course spent her entire first payment of finance, then had to ask for an extension on her accommodation payment. The university gave her until the next finance payment which of course meant she had twice as much to pay out.

    I'd say you can definitely claw back a couple of hundred pounds from your grocery bill. I feed 6 people, sometimes 7 on less than £350 a month. Just reducing it over a few months should help. Definitely get rid of the vet plan thing if not done. That seems like a rip off. You're paying for something you may never need and you already have insurance.

    You're doing very well so far, and keeping on top of things will help it feel more manageable. I'm a YNAB convert too by the way!
    Starting fresh as it's my birthday! DFD: 28th August 2020, the day before my 40th birthday.
    Owed: £17504.03.
    Targets: £130.97/£3210.00 by end 2017.

    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 5th Sep 17, 7:17 AM
    • 204 Posts
    • 494 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Your mortgage payment looks high. What interest rate are you paying on this?
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    One other thought on the mortgage. Have you thought about extending the term? This could reduce the payment. You could do this just for a few years to create some headroom in your budget. Ok, you end up paying more interest but you can reduce the term again later after the Uni costs are passed. Just a thought as there seems to be very little room for manoeuvre in your SOA.
    Total unsecured debt - £5,367 (October 2017) - Debt free Target February 2018
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 5th Sep 17, 12:44 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Hi all of you and thanks so much for all of the advice.

    Yes the accommodation company want the first of 3 instalments tomorrow or we run the risk of losing the rooms. People are telling me this won't happen but I don't want to take that risk. Once that is paid we will be saving £500 a month towards the next instalment in January. The third instalment is in May and is about half the amount of the other two so saving £500 will hopefully mean we catch up somewhere along the line.

    The girls are getting £3928 maintenance loan each also in 3 parts. This is the lowest possible due to our earnings.

    Yes my girls know how lucky they are but also know this has to stop. As soon as those mobile phone contracts are up they are going but that isn't until December 2018. I am trying to budget for the worst case scenario if they can't get jobs so any extra will be a bonus and can go to paying off debt.

    Thanks for your advice Cybertortoise (fab name!). They aren't even going to see their maintenance loan as it's going straight on accommodation. I have heard year two is easier money wise.

    Hi Honeysuckle and thanks for your wishes. We are spending some well earned time together.

    Hi Glasshalffull - I hope all goes well with your son - strange times and life changing but exciting.

    I will look at the insurance.

    We only have one grandparent and she has given us £1k for emergencies for Uni so that is in our EF.

    She's also going to give the DT's £100 a month to help with food for which we are extremely grateful as she is 78 and on her own.

    I do feel as though we are at the top of our debt situation now and the only way is down. When I get back from holiday I will post a new soa.

    I also hope we can bring back £100 from our holiday spends to use on stuff whilst moving the girls into uni in the next few weeks.

    Does anyone know anything about SORN Ing a car? Was thinking about it on DTs car as she won't be home until Xmas.
    • lizzie dripping
    • By lizzie dripping 5th Sep 17, 1:13 PM
    • 382 Posts
    • 2,504 Thanks
    lizzie dripping
    Jane - I wish you luck on this journey. My eldest is in his final year and we have been paying his rent from the outset. His maintenance loan doesn't nearly cover it.

    One thing that I wanted to point out, and I hope it doesn't panic you, is that students usually start looking for their 2nd year accommodation at around Christmas time so there will probably be another rental deposit to pay around then. Few universities offer halls after 1st year, so this will be a private rental, and your daughters will need to decide who they want to share with next year quite soon!
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 5th Sep 17, 5:26 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Hi Lizzie and thank you - someone had told me this at work actually but I chose to put it to the back of my mind - I think it needs to come back to the front!! It's scary stuff x
    • cybertortoise
    • By cybertortoise 5th Sep 17, 8:00 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 722 Thanks
    cybertortoise
    You can SORN a car online. It stays SORN'd until it is taxed. However, you'll only be saving the money on the tax (if paid monthly), the insurance will stay the same unless you remove your daughter from your policy but this may not even change your premiums, and will almost definitely add an admin charge. Maybe worth it if you'll have it SORN'd for the full uni year though. I'd ring insurance company and ask them for a quote to remove your daughter, they'll be able to tell you the costs involved, any refund due, and then you'll have 30 days to decide if it's worth it as the quote will be saved. If it's going to be SORN'd for a longer period, could you sell the car to get rid of the repayments? May be worth it, then buy a cheap run around when your daughter comes back for the summer. Just a thought.

    Have a fab holiday!
    Starting fresh as it's my birthday! DFD: 28th August 2020, the day before my 40th birthday.
    Owed: £17504.03.
    Targets: £130.97/£3210.00 by end 2017.

    • Narola1976
    • By Narola1976 6th Sep 17, 8:20 AM
    • 93 Posts
    • 276 Thanks
    Narola1976
    Hi Jane, just wanting to send you big hugs - you are having it tough at the moment; just try to also look after yourself. I don't have words of wisdom, others have given some good ideas, just wanted to know you are being thought of. You are doing the best you can, which is what matters. Try to bring the grocery bill down, see if you can find a wholesale butcher, I use one and it is so much cheaper than the supermarket prices
    HSBC CC £7150.15 - £6524.68 ~~~ Barclay Card £7894.74 £7846.32 ~~~ MBNA 1 £10382.67 - £10272.67 ~~~ MBNA 2 £7214.28 - £7062.94 ~~~Argos £202.05 - £100.05 ~~~ HSBC Loan £399.27 - £0 ~~~ Hitachi Loan £24.12 - £0 ~~~ Car Loan £14745.60 - £14008.32
    TOTAL £48012.88 - £45814.98 (Paid £2197.90 so far)
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 6th Sep 17, 2:39 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Hi Narola

    That's so kind of you, thank you for your kind words it means a lot. Xx

    I've taken MSE advice and started the process to switch energy providers as I was on BGas and their offer is coming to an end.

    Went with OVO so here's hoping for the best.
    • MissShoes
    • By MissShoes 6th Sep 17, 3:05 PM
    • 1,244 Posts
    • 1,834 Thanks
    MissShoes
    Could you Airbnb your DT's rooms when they're away? Or get some short term lodgers or students in like Brizzledoes?

    That way rooms could be free for when DTs visit after each term but could generate an income for you?

    Shoes x
    DFD 4th July 2015 Happy Independence Day
    • DawnW
    • By DawnW 6th Sep 17, 3:20 PM
    • 4,607 Posts
    • 35,388 Thanks
    DawnW
    Hi Narola

    That's so kind of you, thank you for your kind words it means a lot. Xx

    I've taken MSE advice and started the process to switch energy providers as I was on BGas and their offer is coming to an end.

    Went with OVO so here's hoping for the best.
    Originally posted by Plain Jane
    Ovo are great, I have been with them for a while. An easy to use website and very good customer service should you need to contact them x
    Food/ household/supermarket spends for November - £214.60 / £250
    NSDs for November 10/12


    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 7th Sep 17, 2:50 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Thanks Dawn

    I saw they had a good rating on the MSE email this week. Looking forward to changing from BGas. Do you know what happens to the smart meter BGas put in? Does that have to be removed??
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 9th Sep 17, 9:53 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Hi MissShoes sorry I missed your post the other day. We only have a small 3 bedroom house which really wouldn't lend itself to airbnb and the DTs would be back some weekends. I really want their rooms staying as they are (well a lot cleaner and less cluttered)!!

    It's been a restful time in Devon we've not eaten out once! Home on Monday and will be bringing some £££ home. It seems a long time between paydays to see the debt starting to go down. I'm worried that DT1's car is going to need a service as it is at 60000 miles - she can leave her car at her bf's who lives near the uni but will still be coming home from there so I think for her safety it would be best to get it done. More £££ though.

    She has got an interview already for a job when she is at uni and she doesn't even move there until next week so I'm really proud of her.

    Been reading a lot of diaries this week and it does seem like debts can go up before they come down and I know people are struggling more than us and we have our health so that's the main thing. It's just going to be a long hard journey.
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 9th Sep 17, 11:00 PM
    • 481 Posts
    • 1,753 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Well done to your DD. Hope the interview goes well. Thinking of you as the time comes for your DDs to move.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
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