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  • FIRST POST
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 22nd Aug 17, 4:30 PM
    • 177Posts
    • 617Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Reducing Debt - being accountable and taking responsibility
    • #1
    • 22nd Aug 17, 4:30 PM
    Reducing Debt - being accountable and taking responsibility 22nd Aug 17 at 4:30 PM
    Hi everyone!

    DFW newbie here! Been a lurker for a while but have been so inspired by reading others' DFW diaries - it's literally all I've done this weekend! - that I decided to take the plunge and join in the fun. Now's the time. Had my LBM a few weeks ago and can't wait to get started

    So, a little about me before I state my financial situation and my goals:
    - a happy, healthy and engaged homeowner
    - settled in my career with a fairly well paid job & annual increment
    - looking at starting a family soon as time is ticking!
    - enjoys sports and the outdoors and a healthy approach to life
    - has just started using YNAB
    - has a 'secret' unsecured debt of just over £10k (2 x cc's)

    About DF
    DF is debt free but doesn't actively save. He seems to spend what he earns which isn't great since we have a tiny mortgage and lowish bills. He had family money passed on to him a few years ago on the advice of his mother's accountants - she would NEVER give it away otherwise. This dosh acts as a financial cushion for him .....and, admittedly, me gosh, it really has meant I've been a wee bit lacking in the old saving malarkey Time to banish this false sense of security!

    About DF and I's financials
    DF and I don't have a joint account. All bills / mortgage come out of his current account except car insurance and broadband/phone which I'm responsible for paying. I give him £465 every month towards bills (includes a deduction for car insurance) and he gives me half of whatever the broadband phone bill is. This arrangement is, on reflection, part of my problem as I have too much 'distance' from the reality of bill payments and direct debits etc etc etc I'm sure you all know the score....

    DF knows I have some debts but isn't really aware of the current status of my 'net worth' He's one of life's worriers so I am taking this DFW journey alone for now. I'm completely settled and happy with this idea and I have been managing it all on my own thus far, so no need to change. I got myself into this situation so I'll be getting myself out of it.

    Why the DFW diary?
    Well, we're thinking of moving home since we could take a few leaps up the ladder. Its time for our dream home. This has caused my LBM. I want my dream home and the only thing stopping me is my poor money management skills! Its also time to move. We've been here a while and have never fully settled.

    My interim goal?
    To clear £4K of debt by January so when we put the house on the market, my debt levels are lower. I obviously also want to make sure we can maximise our borrowing, so I want to demonstrate good money management skills and a good pattern of spending and saving.

    My overall aim
    But, more than this interim goal, I just want to be in control of my money and no longer feel guilty for spending it. I want to save up for things and have that lovely 'I deserve this because I saved for it' feeling when I buy something. I want to be responsible. And, I am here to become accountable.

    My plan of action!
    So....this diary is my way of sharing my story, being accountable for my actions, taking responsibility and doing all this whilst my other half is oblivious!

    I hope you join me on my journey and I look forward to joining you on yours.

    My current financials
    I'll post my current financial situation later today - got some work things to get done before close of play. Its been one of those 'working at home' days which have largely comprised of obsessing over YNAB and lurking on DFW diaries, oh deary me A hint of my procrastinating / self sabotaging ways......

    DSL
    Last edited by DrSpendLittle; 30-09-2017 at 9:20 AM. Reason: I'm a formatting perfectionist :)
Page 5
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 12th Sep 17, 8:13 PM
    • 521 Posts
    • 2,934 Thanks
    redofromstart
    Its an interesting one. There was a thread years ago by memorygirl that was called something like '47p and three nappies'. The bank pulled the plug on her business overnight, all credit stopped, all accounts closed and she was left with just that, single mum on her own with nothing. That is one argument for an emergency fund, kept somewhere away from your main banking facility.
    Her blog is mortgagefreeinthree.com, some useful resources and recipes.

    I used most of our emergency fund to clear the last couple of debts so that we can remortgage, but I am focussing on living well within our means to build it back up as quickly as I can. I can't assume that credit will still be freely available if the fiscal famine hits the Redo household again.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 12th Sep 17, 10:06 PM
    • 4,680 Posts
    • 8,867 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    How much your emergency fund should be depends on circumstances. I think in your situation a small one is ok initially as you have your DF to call on so I would prioritise the debt.

    Good call on upping the pension. Most effective way of long term saving and after a while you won't notice.
    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
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 17th Sep 17, 1:51 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Dear Diary
    Just checking in to wave hello - I've been reading diaries over the past few days but completely failed to update mine!

    Not much to report - having that 'middle of the month' feeling where my account balance seems low but static. Every £ is doing its job, but I don't feel any particular progress is being made. Itching to get to payday.

    Still, were over the hump now, and I've managed well thus far in my first full month on budget as a debt slayer.

    However, I'm struggling to reconcile with that impatient voice in my head that realises paying off debt faster equals the speeding up of time. I don't want to wish time away - life is too precious and full of joy - but I do want to be debt free now now now! Impatience has always been my downfall. I suspect this is the bigger lesson of my personal debt free journey. I'm happy with that.

    For some reason, I'm itching to make a big purchase - a home desktop computer. Very easily justifiable in all but monetary terms. It's a phase and will pass, but this time last year, I suspect I would have already bought and financed it using store 0% credit. It's nice to see how my mindset is changing, but the old emotions are still very much there. Gotta play the long game. I'll save up and buy one next year.

    This month's budget is still on track. Might need to shuffle some money around my ynab categories as my food budget is looking low and my fuel budget is looking flush. But, all doable within the ££s I have left til payday.

    DSL
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • Mummy_bear
    • By Mummy_bear 17th Sep 17, 3:13 PM
    • 255 Posts
    • 976 Thanks
    Mummy_bear
    Hi, newly subscribed. You've done so well so far.

    Re. Dave Ramsey I kinda skipped steps so to speak. I just wanted to get cracking with my debt busting. But I eventually started putting bits away in my Emergency Fund, small amounts like you have. Was so glad I did as when we had an actual emergency end of July beginning of Aug it was a Godsend. Now building it back up again.

    Look forward to your updates.
    My LBM May 2017, DH LBM July 2017- Total Debt (not Including Mortgage) £37139.86
    £5932.55/£37139.86 15.97% paid
    Estimated DFD JUNE 2020 (calculated July 2017)
    Debt Free by Christmas Challenge
    Total cleared £3362.89/£9091.72 36.98% paid
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 18th Sep 17, 2:47 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Hi, newly subscribed. You've done so well so far.

    Re. Dave Ramsey I kinda skipped steps so to speak. I just wanted to get cracking with my debt busting. But I eventually started putting bits away in my Emergency Fund, small amounts like you have. Was so glad I did as when we had an actual emergency end of July beginning of Aug it was a Godsend. Now building it back up again.

    Look forward to your updates.
    Originally posted by Mummy_bear
    Thanks Mummybear! We sound in a similar frame of mind with wanting to pay off debt as quickly as possible. I could have put the £883 I paid of my debt this month into an emergency fund, but I just am too impatient to get started debt busting! Look forward to catching up on your diary too!

    DSL
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 18th Sep 17, 3:06 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Using CCs for monthly spends & paying off in full each month.....?
    Checking in to say hello and keep up to date.

    Working from home today so no fuel or car parking costs. NSD so far but we have no clue what to have for dinner. We have stuff in but not too sure on a recipe just yet.

    Super busy at work for the next two weeks, so hoping time flies by to 29th when its payday! Whoooo!

    No movement on debt or spends since I last updated.

    I've been using my JL partnership card for all food spends this month. The money I assigned to my groceries budget in ynab on 1st September is still sat in my current account. I will pay off the full balance of the card on the 30th using said funds. I do this because I like getting the Waitr0se £10 vouchers. But I also like the comfort of knowing I have the ynab groceries money sat in my current account as a buffer against any unforeseen direct debits (there are none, I'm 100% sure of this, but I just can't shake that old debt fuelled anxiety of having no money in my account to cover DDs). Totally psychological, but it works for me!

    I'm tempted to do the same for fuel spends too. That way, I keep the assigned money for both categories (around £300 per month) in my current account until the last day of the month to alleviate random debt anxiety hangover, and then pay off in full on the last day of the month. Positives to this are that I will get more £10 JL vouchers and demonstrate good use of credit. Negatives are what Dave Ramsey always refers too - you spend more using plastic than you do using real money. Plus, it can encourage that 'buy now pay later just this once' mentality which invariably leads to the debt spiral we all know and loathe.

    With all that said, I'm confident that I can stick to my budget and only spend what I have assigned that month. I guess I could pay half off half way through the month as a temporary measure / precaution? Does anyone else use credit cards like this to generate cashback? What lessons have you learned? Would you recommend it? Are you really against this practice? Let me know

    DSL
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 18th Sep 17, 4:16 PM
    • 586 Posts
    • 2,235 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    If you are using YNAB though, you won't get into trouble or pay out more than you have. When you register a spend, it reduces the balance on the (for example) groceries budget, but you can record it to the credit card 'account' when you pay off the credit card just do a transfer from the correct account to the credit card to make everything balance properly.
    (Or have I missed something about the way you use YNAB?)
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 Aug: £36,411.85 8/100 Sep: £35,945.66 10/100 Oct: £35,500 11/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • ChasingSunshine
    • By ChasingSunshine 18th Sep 17, 5:21 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 864 Thanks
    ChasingSunshine
    I also pay for pretty much everything on my credit card for the cashback. Only starting to get to grips with YNAB as this is my first month using it. I think as long as you are recording the transactions and the money spent transfers to the credit card account in YNAB then it will no longer be available in your petrol or groceries categories and you shouldn't overspend
    • CP2016
    • By CP2016 18th Sep 17, 6:25 PM
    • 86 Posts
    • 186 Thanks
    CP2016
    My partner uses his credit card for buying fuel. It's budgeted for and when we enter the transaction in YNAB the budget moves from the petrol category to the credit card category. I think the trick is only spending according to your YNAB budgets and ignoring the bank balances when deciding if you can afford it. If you do that you should always have the budget in your credit card to clear it each month.
    “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
    Wiliam Morris
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 19th Sep 17, 7:29 AM
    • 205 Posts
    • 496 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Hi DrSpendLittle,
    Love your diary by the way. I heard Martin Lewis on R5L yesterday talking about using a charge card to generate cashback, the example he gave was the Am*x. I think once the discipline of budgeting and spend control is well established, it could be a good idea. I haven't used a credit card since my LBM but I think I am going to give this a go since it is effectively free money.
    Total unsecured debt - £4,367 (November 2017) - Debt free Target 27th February 2018
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 24th Sep 17, 4:53 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Well, hello!
    Long time no see!

    Had a crazy busy week at work - was in the office most days - and I'm just coming up for air. Went south this week for a meeting and will be going north next week for another couple of meetings. Lots of travel but I'm managing to keep expenses down to just the bare necessities on the trips. This is definitely a change from my previous habits when I would have frittered dosh away on random stuff and numerous coffees that one only really buys when travelling and mooching in shops to pass the time whilst waiting for the train

    Still on track with finances this month - had to pay for my ynab subscription which was £37 so I dipped into my EF to cover that. Also had a couple of work related travel expenses and dumped those on my CC so will be paying them off on payday and refunding myself at the end of next month when I get reimbursed. Only about another £10 on top of the train ticket, so all in all, I've survived. Had to buy a new case for my iPad as mine has disintegrated but got a second hand one off eB4y for £15.

    Food category is just about on budget. Fuel is doing okay.

    Looking forward to Friday when its payday and I can finish my first full month as a debt slayer on a high. I can't really say that I have felt hard done by this month in terms of 'not being able to' spend money. Like I said in my first few posts, I don't really want for anything at the moment. I don't feel like I'm missing out by paying £1000 off my debts per month. Lets see how the next month goes.

    Right, I really need to check in with everyone's diaries and see how things are going. This week has just flown by and I haven't logged on since my last post!

    Happy Sunday everyone!
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 24th Sep 17, 4:55 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    If you are using YNAB though, you won't get into trouble or pay out more than you have. When you register a spend, it reduces the balance on the (for example) groceries budget, but you can record it to the credit card 'account' when you pay off the credit card just do a transfer from the correct account to the credit card to make everything balance properly.
    (Or have I missed something about the way you use YNAB?)
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    Yes, that is what I've been doing. Its more the mentality of using a CC for spends that I was getting at. But, yes, I agree, if you've got a tight budget and yes ynab correctly, it shouldn't be an issue at all.
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 24th Sep 17, 4:56 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    I also pay for pretty much everything on my credit card for the cashback. Only starting to get to grips with YNAB as this is my first month using it. I think as long as you are recording the transactions and the money spent transfers to the credit card account in YNAB then it will no longer be available in your petrol or groceries categories and you shouldn't overspend
    Originally posted by ChasingSunshine
    Hi Chasing, good to hear you're doing to same successfully. Seems to be going well so far for this month and using ynab seems to be the secret to success here!
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 24th Sep 17, 4:57 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    My partner uses his credit card for buying fuel. It's budgeted for and when we enter the transaction in YNAB the budget moves from the petrol category to the credit card category. I think the trick is only spending according to your YNAB budgets and ignoring the bank balances when deciding if you can afford it. If you do that you should always have the budget in your credit card to clear it each month.
    Originally posted by CP2016
    Yup, spending according to the ynab budget and not the balance on the CC has been helpful here - having a water tight budget and using that to track spends seems to be working! Glad to hear it works for you too!
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 24th Sep 17, 5:00 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Hi DrSpendLittle,
    Love your diary by the way. I heard Martin Lewis on R5L yesterday talking about using a charge card to generate cashback, the example he gave was the Am*x. I think once the discipline of budgeting and spend control is well established, it could be a good idea. I haven't used a credit card since my LBM but I think I am going to give this a go since it is effectively free money.
    Originally posted by glass_half_full
    Hi glass half full, thanks for dropping buy! I've been using my John Lewis credit card for food spends to get the cash back and it seems to be working well - as the others say above, as long as you're spending to budget and not to the available balance on the CC, and sticking to a water tight budget, all should be good.

    I think I've been watching too many Dave Ramsey videos and getting too obsessed with his way of things. As long as the debt is coming down in a sustainable way, I see no problem with using CCs for cashback.
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 29th Sep 17, 8:08 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Ooops!
    Ooops, Its been ages since I last logged in. Had a such a busy week at work that I've not had the mental energy to spend much time web browsing. I have, however, kept on top of the budgeting and will end the month nicely on budget.

    Today was payday. I've already done my October budget and I'm all set.

    Will check in over the weekend for a good catch up on diaries and outline Debt Slaying plans for this month.

    DSL
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 30th Sep 17, 9:08 AM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    October Debt Slaying & September Ruminations
    My debt slaying plans for October are as follows:

    £600 off CC1
    £300 off CC2
    £157.91 off car loan

    The total is £100 lower than my goal of paying £1000 off my CCs per month, but I was short £100 for the new boiler.

    But, the main thing is I'm now in a position to pay for the new boiler with cash and not use credit, which I'm really pleased about. It will cost me £610 (we've £1000 already saved) and I've already put away £500 from a work fee that arrived this week. The extra £110 comes from Octobers budget.

    I have an important birthday this month that I've already budgeted £150 for during Sept / Oct. I bought the gifts yesterday on my JL CC (to get points) so I will clear the remaining balance assigned for October tomorrow.

    I've accrued £115 of work expenses this month. Ugh. They're currently sat on CC1. I'm not 100% happy about this, but they will be reimbursed at the end of October, so no biggie. The £600 I intend to pay off CC1 this month will wipe them out so no interest payable. I quite like my new anti-cc usage feeling.

    I have another £30 of work expenses from June due at some point over the coming weeks which I will put in my emergency fund (its not in good shape. £20 I think. Oops).

    All in all, September has been fun, challenging and rewarding. I got a handle on budgeting but I did still get that 'running out of money' anxiety as the end of the month neared.

    Nonetheless, I managed to: pay £1000 off my debts; maintain a lifestyle that I'm perfectly content with; and, save £100 towards presents and car maintenance. I'll drink to that!
    Last edited by DrSpendLittle; 30-09-2017 at 9:11 AM.
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 30th Sep 17, 9:24 AM
    • 586 Posts
    • 2,235 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Sounds like a successful month all round financially. Damm boilers and cars.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 Aug: £36,411.85 8/100 Sep: £35,945.66 10/100 Oct: £35,500 11/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 30th Sep 17, 10:16 AM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Sounds like a successful month all round financially. Damm boilers and cars.
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    Car payments. That's all I think of whenever I see a new / nearly new car
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 30th Sep 17, 10:18 AM
    • 177 Posts
    • 617 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Sounds like a successful month all round financially. Damm boilers and cars.
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    p.s. I love your '100 payment countdown' - what a brilliant way of dealing with large debt repayments!!
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £800/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £473.73/£1,894.92
    Total CC Repayments: £2,366.07/£10,690.22 (22.13%) | Total Debt Repayments: £2,839.80/£12,585.14 (22.56%)
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