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  • FIRST POST
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 26th Aug 17, 9:23 PM
    • 132Posts
    • 703Thanks
    helsbell
    Finding Strength and Balance
    • #1
    • 26th Aug 17, 9:23 PM
    Finding Strength and Balance 26th Aug 17 at 9:23 PM
    Hi guys

    I've been lurking on these boards for years and I think it's finally time I made myself accountable. I've been wanting to get rid of the debt for years but I didn't really do anything about it until last year. (I guess I just hoped it would disappear in a puff of smoke one day). Even now I haven't been very focussed about it so I'm hoping that posting here and taking part in some of the challenges will help with that.

    There's me and 2 kiddiwinks to think of while I'm doing this, so I won't be going for a 'batten down the hatches' approach. I do want to show my 2 girls that we can be happy and have lots of fun without running up huge amounts of debt, though. A balanced approach, you might say

    And the 'strength' part of my thread title? Well, 'strength and balance' sort of became my motto last year when my OH and I split up. I am certainly a lot stronger than I was then, and I'm finding that being in control helps a lot with balance (although I may still be working on balancing out my rampaging control freak ).

    Anyway, that's things here. All advice is welcome: if I growl at you initially it probably means you're rightso try not to take it personally. I'll try to remember to thank you when it all works out just like you said it would
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
Page 2
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 4th Sep 17, 9:09 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Thanks DIA. You have had rather a lot on your plate this week so you needn't feel guilty.

    Today was an unexpected NSD . I was supposed to go and buy some Brownie trousers for my wee one but there was so much to do at work that i ended up staying on a couple of hours, which meant the shop was shut and I wouldn't have had time anyway as i had to collect the girls.

    Anyway an NSD is an NSD, whatever the reason for it.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 6th Sep 17, 8:27 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Wednesday is YNAB Wednesday! I get a weekly tax credits payment on Wednesdays so that seemed like the ideal day to update it, plus, alliteration for the win

    I have developed a habit over the last few months of working out whether or not there will be spare money once all the bills are covered and then allocating some (guilt free) money to categories like Dining Out. The thing is, this seems to have led to an average monthly spend of around £80-90 . I think it's because I only allocate a little bit at a time, so it seems ok. Except that I do that every time I receive a payment so actually it works like this:
    • every Wednesday (tax credits)
    • every 4 weeks (child benefit)
    • every mid-month (salary)
    • every month-beginning (child maintenance)
    Well, aren't we just living the high life


    So this month, I'm trying to ignore the future payments in my head and just allocate money to whatever needs to be paid. This should mean that there should be a decent amount left over at the end of the month, although at the moment it's just making me feel skint . I'll let you know how it goes.


    I've joined a couple of challenges this month for the first time. I wasn't sure how helpful that would be but actually, it seems to be helping me keep a better focus. I was a bit annoyed yesterday that I had to buy some tubs for my daughter to take for her cooking class today. I only spent £3 and I didn't begrudge the money at all, it's in the budget too - but it meant I lost a No Spend Day . Still, Ive managed 2 out of my target of 10 NSDs so far, and it's only the 6th so I should achieve my target.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 6th Sep 17, 8:31 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    MSE Credit Club
    I've just logged in to check my new credit report and realised that it doesn't show all my accounts. I'm not sure what to do about it, or if it's even a problem. The report shows no mention of my main bank account, my gas and electricity supplier (but my water company shows), or my new credit card.

    I can almost understand the new credit card (even though it was opened before the report was produced) but I've been with the other organisations for years.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 7th Sep 17, 9:53 AM
    • 2,094 Posts
    • 9,691 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    Well done on the NSDs so far.

    YNAB seems to be working well for you...
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,525
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 7th Sep 17, 12:19 PM
    • 511 Posts
    • 2,838 Thanks
    redofromstart
    hi helsbell, looking forward to reading.

    Best thing I did was bought the which guide to divorce, it saved a lot of expensive questions to the fee earner(solicitor!) at six minutes a time. Cost is unfortunately driven by reasonableness or not of parties concerned.
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 7th Sep 17, 8:37 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Well done on the NSDs so far.

    YNAB seems to be working well for you...
    Originally posted by doingitanyway
    It really does work well for me, DIA. When I knew I was likely to become a single-adult household I used MSE to help me do all my sums and make sure I could actually afford it. That led me to starting to read the forum again, and I heard about YNAB that way.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 7th Sep 17, 8:42 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    hi helsbell, looking forward to reading.

    Best thing I did was bought the which guide to divorce, it saved a lot of expensive questions to the fee earner(solicitor!) at six minutes a time. Cost is unfortunately driven by reasonableness or not of parties concerned.
    Originally posted by redofromstart
    Oh, I didn't realise they had one of those. Thanks for the tip, I'll take a look.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • UncannyScot
    • By UncannyScot 9th Sep 17, 10:22 PM
    • 716 Posts
    • 4,285 Thanks
    UncannyScot
    Hi Uncanny Scot, thanks for the welcome. I love reading your diary, you always seem so upbeat

    I was thinking about you earlier, actually, as I completely failed to make pizza dough . I was trying to extricate my hands from this pile of sticky goo thinking, "I bet this doesn't happen to all those MSE people when they make bread, I certainly won't be posting any pictures of this on my thread ". I kept trying to do something to make it into a pizza but it wasn't working, and I'd already made the tomato sauce as well. So in the end, I chucked it in the oven with a frozen garlic bread while i changed the plan to pasta, and then served it up as dough balls (well not balls as such, but definitely dough ) and used the tomato topping as a dipping sauce. It actually went down really well with the smalls too . That was my second attempt at pizza, and this was the most successful one so I'm not sure there should will be anymore
    Originally posted by helsbell
    I haven't tried making my own pizza dough, so I'm not sure if I could do it without making a pigs ear of it
    I still cannot get my own home baked bread to rise properly and have cheated and got a bread maker until I master the art of "proving" the dough...
    When making home made Pizza I use a basic cheese n tomato pizza as my base and then add on what I really want as toppings

    Good to see you making progress with YNAB. I tried it but I just didn't like using it as much as my own wee system which is a mix of a One Note journal and Excel spreadsheets. I use my system to set my budgets for the month ahead and I stick to them.

    You're doing good, keep the faith, you'll get there
    BUGGRITMILLENIUMHANDANDSHRIMP I TOLD EM! - Foul Ole Ron
    It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you do not know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you are going. If you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.
    R.I.P. T.P.
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 10th Sep 17, 5:28 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Food
    I have spent no money on eating meals out of the house so far in September. (I did spend £1.50 on a coffee while waiting around at a children's party last weekend.)

    The only top up shop I did last week was to buy a pizza for a night that I had not expected my children to be eating with me.

    I am excellent at saving up leftovers in the fridge after a meal. I am also excellent at throwing those leftovers, untouched, in the bin when I next go shopping and need the space in the fridge. I always think about using up the leftovers but I always seem to have waited too long and they've gone off by the time I get around to it.

    I have had a very unproductive weekend. This seems to apply to about 90% of my weekends and it's getting me down. This weekend I have been on my own and was really looking forward to the nice long lies that I could have. The problem is that when I get up late it always seems too late to do the things I was going to do so I don't do them. There always seems to be so many things to do that I become overwhelmed and do none of them.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 10th Sep 17, 7:22 PM
    • 511 Posts
    • 2,838 Thanks
    redofromstart
    I am excellent at saving up leftovers in the fridge after a meal. I am also excellent at throwing those leftovers, untouched, in the bin when I next go shopping and need the space in the fridge. I always think about using up the leftovers but I always seem to have waited too long and they've gone off by the time I get around to it.
    Originally posted by helsbell
    Snap! I always have such good intentions.
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 13th Sep 17, 10:26 AM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    I left the house for the first time today since Sunday. I've been completely floored by some bug or other that stole all my energy but wouldn't let me sleep; made me nauseous without actually being sick; and made my whole body hurt

    Needless to say I haven't been working, let alone anything else. Today is about trying to eat little and often so that I can hopefully go back to work tomorrow. My job is fairly active so I need enough energy to keep up with it, or there's not much point being there

    The kids have been great, sorting themselves out with breakfast (and dinner one night - is it wrong that I'm secretly quite pleased they don't eat what they choose to make themselves either? ) DD1 also picked up the shopping she needed for school on her way home, at her own suggestion

    A friend from faraway popped in unexpectedly yesterday, as she was in the area. Luckily she's the kind of friend who was totally unphased by the state of me and it was great to chat, however briefly. Just what I needed, I reckon.

    Will try and get back to slightly more actively MSE ways soon.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 13th Sep 17, 1:59 PM
    • 2,094 Posts
    • 9,691 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    Glad you are beginning to feel better.

    Well done your children

    Take it easy when you can.
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,525
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 13th Sep 17, 2:20 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Achievements today
    In a blatant theft from someone else's diary, I'm going to list some things that I achieved today rather than the unachievable to do list that builds up on a regular basis!
    1. washing on and hung up, twice
    2. breakfast eaten
    3. lunch eaten
    4. took DD2 to school, thereby leaving the house. Apparently winter arrived while I was sleeping, it's Baltic out there!
    5. bought puff pastry to make pie
    6. diary updated 😝
    7. dishes washed
    8. kitchen counters swiped

    Not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea.

    I joined the 'Make £10 a day' challenge this month, with a target of making £3 a day. My thinking was that, since I already knew I had a day's overtime I might be able to make the rest. What I forgot to factor in was that I won't get paid for that overtime until the middle of October, so I can't declare it yet But I think it's where I found out about Vypr, which I've racked up more than 7000 on already. Hopefully I'll be able to get a payout before the end of the month so that at least I can declare something

    I've also signed up for Prolific Academic since so many on here seem to do so well on it. It's been slower than I expected, but that seems to be the same for everyone right now so hopefully it will pick up again soon.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 14th Sep 17, 4:39 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Back to normal
    I've survived my first day back at work. In fact, better than that I enjoyed my first day back at work. And there's only one more to go before its the weekend

    Today has been an NSD.
    I have taken lunch in every day this month so far.
    I have not eaten out this month so far.
    Yesterday I was able to listen to both of my DDs when they wanted to read to me.
    I am happy and content.
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 14th Sep 17, 7:54 PM
    • 2,094 Posts
    • 9,691 Thanks
    doingitanyway
    I have taken lunch in every day this month so far.
    I have not eaten out this month so far.
    Yesterday I was able to listen to both of my DDs when they wanted to read to me.
    I am happy and content.
    Originally posted by helsbell
    Lovely to read. Great
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/November 2017=4,525
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 14th Sep 17, 9:02 PM
    • 618 Posts
    • 1,502 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    In a blatant theft from someone else's diary, I'm going to list some things that I achieved today rather than the unachievable to do list that builds up on a regular basis!
    1. washing on and hung up, twice
    2. breakfast eaten
    3. lunch eaten
    4. took DD2 to school, thereby leaving the house. Apparently winter arrived while I was sleeping, it's Baltic out there!
    5. bought puff pastry to make pie
    6. diary updated ��
    7. dishes washed
    8. kitchen counters swiped

    Not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea.

    I joined the 'Make £10 a day' challenge this month, with a target of making £3 a day. My thinking was that, since I already knew I had a day's overtime I might be able to make the rest. What I forgot to factor in was that I won't get paid for that overtime until the middle of October, so I can't declare it yet But I think it's where I found out about Vypr, which I've racked up more than 7000 on already. Hopefully I'll be able to get a payout before the end of the month so that at least I can declare something

    I've also signed up for Prolific Academic since so many on here seem to do so well on it. It's been slower than I expected, but that seems to be the same for everyone right now so hopefully it will pick up again soon.
    Originally posted by helsbell
    Stick with PA before the summer hols some weeks i was making 15-20 pw week off it, the site is slowly picking up theres a 2quid survey on there now lol hint hint
    Debts 15981.64 total paid 2078
    Cashback Earnings YTD £166.90 Survey Earnings YTD £535.12
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 14th Sep 17, 10:02 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    Thanks Scott, I've picked up quite a few now. Ever since I wrote that post there have been surveys available when I've looked, more often than not
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 15th Sep 17, 9:11 AM
    • 511 Posts
    • 2,838 Thanks
    redofromstart
    helsbell, if you add 'visual ping' to chrome you can set it to check prolific for you every minutes, it then does a pop up to tell you the survey page has changed. If you are online anyway its quite useful.
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 15th Sep 17, 2:49 PM
    • 618 Posts
    • 1,502 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    Its all seasonal with PA its gradually picking up now the students are back.
    Debts 15981.64 total paid 2078
    Cashback Earnings YTD £166.90 Survey Earnings YTD £535.12
    • helsbell
    • By helsbell 17th Sep 17, 3:40 PM
    • 132 Posts
    • 703 Thanks
    helsbell
    It's been a quiet weekend here. I still seem to be really tired, presumably as an after effect of the lurgy that I had at the weekend, so we're taking it easy here.

    I've updated YNAB (as I didn't on Wednesday) and there seems to be a bit too much month left It confused me a bit, as this is the month I've made a conscious effort not to fritter money away on things like eating out, so in theory I should be rolling in it . But then I remembered that it's also the month that I upped the grocery and transport budgets due to my daughter starting high school and needing money for lunch and buses.

    September expenses that account for me feeling skint:
    • paying for 2 sets of school lunches. 1 DD used to be paid for by their Dad, the other used to get them free. Not sure why their Dad has decided not to pay for them now, should raise it with him.
    • paying for 1 set of bus fares. It's too far to walk.
    • not having a pot for the home insurance, which is due this month. Not sure how to pay for this yet, probably using tax credits due on Wednesday. (I've set up a pot for next year so that I don't get caught out again )
    I have, however, been able to make an overpayment of £35 to the credit card
    SPC 11, No. 062

    August 2017 B'card £5006.83 BoS £1086.59 DFD November 2020
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