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  • FIRST POST
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 30th Jul 17, 9:04 PM
    • 55Posts
    • 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 5
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 10th Sep 17, 9:47 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Thanks Honeysuckle

    You too. It's a bit of a limbo time isn't it?

    Last day in Devon today and should be taking £200 back - yeah!!!

    Need to put £100 back in the EF as used it to get DT's bus pass the other day and I'm figuring £50 each for first week groceries.

    From this payday onwards then it is sorting out getting those cc debts down!!
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 10th Sep 17, 1:57 PM
    • 4,672 Posts
    • 8,767 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    I think you should also look on this period between childhood and adulthood for your twins as an adjustment for them to start being responsible for their own financial choices. Expensive mobiles, day to day expenses and running their cars should be down to them at 18. You do them no favours by funding these things regardless of affordability. Presumably at some point you need to look at your retirement. Having £40k of debt which you may not realistically be able to reduce while your twins are at Uni will be a millstone around your neck as income reduces. How old are you and when does your mortgage finish?
    5 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
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 12th Sep 17, 6:46 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    I'm 52 and hubby is 54, our mortgage runs for another 13 years. At the moment we can't magic money from thin air and the dt's know the score. However they can't afford those things either so do we give them all up which means starting again in 3 years or muddle through, pay off the loans and stop the phones when the contract ends? They will both need a car on holidays for working so it seems to me it would be best to muddle through. They are 19 today and both had money and vouchers which will help.

    We're home from our holiday now and back to work and more debt busting! 2 weeks until payday when another chunk gets paid off.
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 17th Sep 17, 3:49 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    So we dropped DT1 off at university yesterday. She's all settled in and we did a food shop while we were there of £50 which is what I budgeted. She went for own brands even though I said she didn't have to but she said she had to get used to it. She's making a spag Bol tonight and will freeze 4 more portions. I cried all the way home, was ok for a bit and then cried some more. But she's so happy and organised. Just hope she gets through freshers week unscathed.

    Next Saturday DT2 goes and she is very excited and getting packed. I shall do the same moneywise - we will get groceries to the tune of £50 to set her off. She's not a cook and reckons she'll live off Spec!al K, chicken and scrambled egg on toast.

    I've spent this morning starting to clear the slum that is DT1's room - I know I will feel better when it is done to 'my standard'.

    We are still within our food budget for the week - just done a top up shop to last until Friday. Hubby is away until Wednesday night so have not needed to buy as much.

    Not really been an MSE week due to uni trips and getting last minute bits but coming along.
    • Mudbath
    • By Mudbath 17th Sep 17, 5:04 PM
    • 5,385 Posts
    • 112,513 Thanks
    Mudbath
    Just wanted to say hello and well done at getting one of them settled in at uni. My DD goes next Sunday though we've already taken half her stuff already. Her accommodation is ridiculously gorgeous (and ridiculously expensive but it is all that was available).

    I guess we're lucky as we only have one going at the moment (DS is two years younger).

    Luckily DD had savings from working through 6th form so she's paid the first £1000 on her accommodation and will pay that back when her loan comes in. We've worked out it will cost us an extra £50 a week on top of the maintenance loan to fund her accommodation and we're aiming to give her £50 a week for food, books, social life, public transport etc and she'll get a job if she needs more. Luckily her current job has said they'll have her back at Christmas, Easter and over the summer.

    It does make me feel incredibly mean when I hear my friends parents are giving their children £150 to £200 a week!! Then again, I guess it will teach her to budget!

    Good luck settling your other daughter in.
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 18th Sep 17, 10:18 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Hi Mudbath it's nice to speak to someone going through the same thing.

    I think £50 is about right. We are giving ours £30 for food and their grandma is giving them £100 a month so either £20 or £25 a week depending on whether it's a four or five week month. DT1 managed to save £400 to take with her from her summer job so better than nothing.

    I know there will be others in their flats that have more or won't have to work but that's not our situation I'm afraid.

    DT1 has some terrible news last night that one of her school friends who was at uni only a few days committed suicide. She is devastated. I'd hate to think my children were going through some emotional trauma like that and I knew nothing about it.

    Xx
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 18th Sep 17, 11:22 PM
    • 509 Posts
    • 1,725 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Well done to your DT1 for making portions of spaghetti Bol...good thinking already. Will the DTs have chance to visit each other? ThT's interesting to read of your initial food budget. My DD1 goes on Saturday, so I'll take her to the supermarket to get her stocked up.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
    • Mudbath
    • By Mudbath 19th Sep 17, 8:41 AM
    • 5,385 Posts
    • 112,513 Thanks
    Mudbath
    So sorry to hear about your DD's friend committing suicide. It must be so unsettling and sad for her. Last week a local lad of 17 did the same and then my husband came home and said a work colleagues friend had also killed himself. I sat my two down and told them nothing was ever too bad to talk to us about. They looked at me as if I was slightly mad but I had to say something. So desperately sad.

    Hope Saturday doesn't bring too many tears. Kleenex (or own brand supermarket) tissues at the ready for me on Sunday x
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 27th Oct 17, 1:53 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    I've just realised I've not been in here for over a month!


    Well it has been a period of adjustment.


    Both DT's are settled at University - still a bit homesick but getting there. They have been home a few times and we have been to visit them. It is still very quiet at home apart from the dogs frolicking about.


    Both are doing really well with their budgets and sorting out their groceries so I am happy I have managed to raise two relatively independent children.


    Things are ticking along on the money front - no great inroads as we don't have an enormous amount to throw at the debts each month - I have managed to put just over £100 away for Christmas, not much but more that we would have had before and just plonked it all on the credit card. It is going to be a very frugal Christmas this year.


    I must update more often it is really good therapy in my opinion
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 27th Oct 17, 9:52 PM
    • 797 Posts
    • 3,579 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    Bet your grocery budget has gone down in the last month.

    Glad that the girls have/are settling into university life. I guess it's a period of adjustment for you all.

    £100 is better than nothing , this year I have saved a set amount from January to October for presents/birthdays/mother/Father's Day. It has been one of the best things I have done. November and December will be used as extra spends for Christmas do and any extras.
    Nov 2017 CC1 £3439CC 2 £627:

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 28th Oct 17, 2:09 AM
    • 509 Posts
    • 1,725 Thanks
    Honeysucklelou2
    Glad your DTs have settled into uni life. Well done on saving that £100.
    paydbx #90 £475/£10,000.
    Loan £17k - paid off in Aug 2017. Home improvement loans £3342 March 2017. £3206 in Oct 17
    • louby40
    • By louby40 28th Oct 17, 9:35 AM
    • 1,157 Posts
    • 3,164 Thanks
    louby40
    Well done on the Christmas saving. I’ve got £450 saved. It should have been £600 so don’t know what happened there.
    Parent loan PAID IN FULL Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #572
    Emergency fund £670/£1000. Christmas savings £450/£600 Car maintenance £50/600
    Kitchen July £12,493 OCT £10,493. 18% paid off
    Barclaycard £250
    Car loan £2890 Mortgage £95,391
    TOTAL DEBT (with mortgage) = £109,024 (without mortgage) = £13,633
    • Plain Jane
    • By Plain Jane 29th Oct 17, 9:53 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    Plain Jane
    Thanks for your comments. Next year I'll do the same as you Cumbria Lass and save from January onwards, along with saving for things like insurance so that I can pay them off in one go.

    Today we need to go to Costco for Loo Rolls and Chicken, we've found them To be cheaper for some things I don't know what everyone else thinks of them?
    • ampersand
    • By ampersand 29th Oct 17, 10:04 AM
    • 8,273 Posts
    • 31,482 Thanks
    ampersand
    Apologies if mysupermarket.co.uk is already suggested.- good comparison site across most main retailers.

    Have been seeking best marzipan deals/prices.

    Time to post an updated SOA perhaps?

    Good luck.
    CAP[UK]for FREE EXPERT DEBT&BUDGET HELP:01274 760720, freephone0800 328 0006
    'People don't want much. They want: "Someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."
    Norman Kirk, NZLP- Prime Minister, 1972
    ***JE SUIS CHARLIE***
    'It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere' François-Marie AROUET


    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 29th Oct 17, 1:19 PM
    • 1,855 Posts
    • 7,100 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Hi Jane. I do feel for you with kids going to uni. My DS1 went for two terms and then dropped out due to depression (I'd rather that than him commit suicide).

    I missed him so much that I felt really miserable, but had just started to get used to it when he dropped out

    With regard to your original soa, things may have changed since you put it up so apologies if so, but do you need to pay for dog grooming or could you do this yourselves?

    Also if you have Sky tv do you need Netflix too? You spend a lot of money on hair cuts. I go to a hairdressing college for £5 for a trim and DH and the DC go to the local barber. Your car insurance seems very high, is this due to the young age of your twins?

    Also you spend a lot on other child related expenses. What is this for?

    I appreciate that some of this may have changed since the twins went to uni. It would help if you could put up an updated soa

    Good luck with your journey
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £638/Emergency Fund 2 = £120
    • Kitten868
    • By Kitten868 29th Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    • 836 Posts
    • 1,677 Thanks
    Kitten868
    Hello,

    I really empathise with how hard it must be to have both girls go to university at once. How heart breaking. They will be happy and adjusting fine to university.
    I think you need to sell both of their cars. Cars are a luxury not a right. I don't think it's expected to have a car at university - none of my friends did. And you get student discount on trains and coaches and buses. It would massively bring down your debt total and expenditure to get rid of them. I think it would be cheaper to rent cars for when they are home for summer. Me and my husband would love to have two cars but we can't afford it. It wouldn't mean you were letting them down. It would free you up to be less depressed and I'm sure they would want that more.
    You've got rid of the storage that's £200 a month back. Once you've sold the cars you'll find it much easier finding the £400 a month to pay for their accommodation. It'll start being manageable instead of unfathomable x
    Loan 1 £7100/£8000
    Loan 2 £5100/£5800
    Total £12200/£13800 12% PAID
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 29th Oct 17, 3:19 PM
    • 1,855 Posts
    • 7,100 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Hello,

    I really empathise with how hard it must be to have both girls go to university at once. How heart breaking. They will be happy and adjusting fine to university.
    I think you need to sell both of their cars. Cars are a luxury not a right. I don't think it's expected to have a car at university - none of my friends did. And you get student discount on trains and coaches and buses. It would massively bring down your debt total and expenditure to get rid of them. I think it would be cheaper to rent cars for when they are home for summer. Me and my husband would love to have two cars but we can't afford it. It wouldn't mean you were letting them down. It would free you up to be less depressed and I'm sure they would want that more.
    You've got rid of the storage that's £200 a month back. Once you've sold the cars you'll find it much easier finding the £400 a month to pay for their accommodation. It'll start being manageable instead of unfathomable x
    Originally posted by Kitten868
    I have to say that I agree 100% with this.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £638/Emergency Fund 2 = £120
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 29th Oct 17, 6:47 PM
    • 48,483 Posts
    • 178,323 Thanks
    beanielou
    Have to say I also agree with getting rid of the cars.
    My DS had one but he & his GF paid for it themselves.
    As they are now doing Masters I help them out when I can but my harsh reality is I cant really afford to. My DS is an adult & understands my situation.
    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***
    • greent
    • By greent 29th Oct 17, 7:27 PM
    • 6,404 Posts
    • 64,679 Thanks
    greent
    I agree about getting rid of the cars for the twins (hello by the way! - just read all of your diary ) My eldest is in her 2nd year at uni and a car just isn't realistic - she doesn't need one and can catch the train home for the rare times she comes! Cars are a luxury item which a student doesn't need - the cost of the car (insurance, tax, service, mot, fuel, depreciation) per year is huge and far outweighs what they'd spend on public transport (or can maybe borrow your car for an odd night when back in between semesters if you add them to your insurance? - my DD borrows mine v occasionally)

    With regards to costs, £25 should more than cover their food in all likelihood per week. ANd £150 for 2 teenagers phones per month is (sorry) crazy - I have 2 teens, an 11yo (and an 8 yo) - and I spend way less than this on their 3 phone contracts.

    Year 2 isn't always cheaper than in halls, I hate to say - my DD is in shared private accom this year after halls last year and her monthly spend has gone up - halls cover everything, whereas now she has to cover her share of the rent, the electric (no gas), water rates, broadband, tv licence - adds up (in her case) to more than last year's hall fees. Plus she had to pay rent from 1st July - and 6 weeks rent as deposit and a letting agents fee.

    I do feel for you. Our 2nd is due to go to uni next year, so we'll have 2 there for a year. He is looking at medicine, though so will be doing 5-6 years - by which time no 3 will be going (crazily bright, so I honestly can't see him *not* going) And no 4 - if he goes - will be due to go when no 3 finishes (assuming a standard 3 year course)

    Going back to cars, I have a couple of queries - your SOA only shows £9.4/ mth for maintenance for all cars - which includes MOT - sounds very low for a multiple car household? A mini service is often £100ish or more for one car. Tax is also only £5.83/ mth - is this for all cars? And fuel only £100/ mth - that doesn't equate to much mileage over 4(?) cars. Sorry if I've missed if these points have been queried before

    Hopefully your food bill is reducing with half the household gone

    Hang in there
    x
    I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul
    Repaid mtge early (orig 11/25) Bal 01/09 £124616 01/10 £104927 01/11 £89873 01/12 £76317 01/13 £52546 01/14 £35356 01/15 £12133 07/15 £NIL
    Next: BTL Mtge 12/16 £69786. 2017 OPs (#18) £5034/£3286
    Net sales 2017 £1214.99/£500 PAYDOX17 £11937/£10k Decluttered 1730/2017 items
    • Florence J
    • By Florence J 29th Oct 17, 8:49 PM
    • 1,695 Posts
    • 9,545 Thanks
    Florence J
    Hello Plain Jane, I have read your diary from start to finish.

    I first of all want to commend you on the steps you are talking and for bringing your debt battle to your daughter's attention rather than trying to hide it, this will make it so much easier.

    At first I thought I wasn't going to comment. I have no children, let alone children at University, therefore I didn't think I would have anything to contribute to the situation. I also have never had even a single driving lesson so can't appreciate that cars are definitely hard to forgo when you are used to having one.

    But then I decided I might be able to offer help from the point of view of your daughters.

    I went to University between 2008-2011. I was lucky as grants weren't means tested then, and tuition fees were in the £3k a year category. I wish everyone could have that experience.

    I was from a (very) low income household. I lived with my three brothers and we were a single parent family-being looked after by my Dad.

    I can't remember if he was employed at the time of me going to University, but certainly for the vast majority of my teenage years my Dad was unemployed and we lived on benefits. Even before that we never seemed to have enough money. I will give you the abridged version of my family history which is my Mum was an alcoholic and left us (we have since formed good relationships with her) and maybe as a direct result of that or due to other factors my Dad went bankrupt.

    I would never wish that poverty on anyone. I hope when I have children I can provide for them as you have done for your DD's.

    But, I sometimes struggle to understand that it is common for parents to contribute to their children's University costs, as it was never even an option for me.

    I was already into my student account overdraft before I started University as all the costs-computer, home ware, accommodation deposit, food-had to be funded by me. I even had to give my Dad the petrol money to drive me to my University on the first day. He would not have been able to afford to do it otherwise. It would have meant the household suffering.

    My situation was an extreme, and I don't think anyone should experience it as some sort of rite of passage or development of character if an easier option is available. I will also happily state that I managed to go to University before all these horrible changes happened that drives everyone involved to heartache. There is a very strong possibility that if I was going to University now and my home situation was as it was then I might not have been able to.

    I also worked two jobs for the last 18 months of my degree, which I'll admit was far too much.

    What I want to say is supporting your children is lovely, and noble, and I hope to do the same when I have them. But, there are real lessons to be learnt about managing your money. I have learnt that as long as I have what I need then I really do have everything I want. You have done so much to help your daughters understand the situation and they seem to have adapted to it really well, they don't seem the least bit spoilt! But at that age we can adapt to anything, so if hard changes are going to come, I'm sure your DDs will survive. X
    Sealed Pot Challenge 10 #553 (£94.58) £1000 Emergency Fund Challenge #253 Wombling free 2017 = £1982.64 Pay off all your debts by Xmas 2017 #53 (£3118.08/£3000) Debt to OH paid back £1146.96/1146.96
    November 2017 Credit Card Debt: £4025
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