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  • FIRST POST
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 7th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    • 47Posts
    • 106Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Everything is possible if you try!
    • #1
    • 7th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    Everything is possible if you try! 7th Sep 17 at 2:57 PM
    Hi all
    Newbie to the forum here. I'm ready to hold my hand up and say "yes, I have a debt problem". I'm also ready to do what I can to climb out of this debt-hole! (Hence the positive title!)

    So, a little bit about me - I live with my teenage daughter (who I shall refer to from here on as Kitty) and two real-life floofs who constantly demand food and attention.

    I've been dithering around in denial for months years, while slowly but surely the debt pile has accumulated. I was doing a really great job of ignoring this, until a few months ago, when I found myself doing the weekly shop on the credit card ("just to tide me over until pay day"), letting things creep up and up, and not repaying those little credit card payments which grew and grew, meaning that month on month just paying off the interest I wasn't getting anywhere.

    I took a long look at what I was spending and where. Admittedly I've been lazier than I should have been with regard to my finances, so I hadn't really bothered to shop around for energy, broadband, car insurance etc deals. I've started to rectify this, and have found cheaper car insurance, energy and broadband. I've also started my little black book for recording moneys in and out, and renewal dates for such things (and discovered that uswitch will save reminders on these too )

    I found this forum a couple of days ago, and your stories have inspired me to feel I'm not too old to get ouf of debt before I retire, and my debts, while a large looming cloud at the moment, should be manageable with some serious organisation.
    I've been having to take a lot of self-care lately, due to health reasons, but looking after finances so I'm not so anxious will be part of that.

    So, this is the beginning of my diary, and journey. Constructive comments and helpful tips are welcomed, but please be gentle with me, as I'm new to this.

    I do have a question for you all - I'm not currently on any DMP or anything. I spoke to a debt management company on the phone, and they recommended an IVA. For some reason the thought of this made me lose nearly a nights sleep and wake several times with severe anxiety chest pains! Hence, I'm trying being accountable to myself, and being open here I think will help, it seems an encouraging group.

    Current level of debt:
    Barclaycard: £15,000
    HSBC Credit Card: £3,000
    MBNA Credit Card: £2,400
    Overdraft (this gets maxed out every month without fail): £350
Page 1
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 7th Sep 17, 3:41 PM
    • 47,236 Posts
    • 169,734 Thanks
    beanielou
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 17, 3:41 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 17, 3:41 PM
    Welcome to DFW.
    We are a lovely bunch on here
    Keep posting!
    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***
    • littlemissbudgetqueen
    • By littlemissbudgetqueen 7th Sep 17, 4:04 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    littlemissbudgetqueen
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 17, 4:04 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 17, 4:04 PM
    Good luck with everything. You have made a start in the right direction
    As at 07/09/17: Car Loan: £312/£14,000, Barclay CC: £5151.05, Halifax CC: £3.44
    Loan for Professional Studies: £5851.66/ £8660.00, Argos Card: £332.95/£372.95
    Mortgage: £66,577.00/House value £125,000.00
    LISA: £150.00 NS&I: £200.00
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 7th Sep 17, 4:19 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 17, 4:19 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 17, 4:19 PM
    Thanks for the encouragement! I'm working on the best way of tracking spending to make sure I capture where the "disappearing" money goes. I have an idea where, though I think I'm only going to do this by being extra-vigilant and writing everything down. Doing the budget plan says I have around £200 I'm sure I never see!
    My mantra shall be "If I spend it I shall log it" until the practice is firmly ingrained in me!
    • anna_1977
    • By anna_1977 7th Sep 17, 4:28 PM
    • 589 Posts
    • 825 Thanks
    anna_1977
    • #5
    • 7th Sep 17, 4:28 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Sep 17, 4:28 PM
    Welcome! I would suggest filling in an Statement of Affairs (SOA) that is pinned at the top of the Debt-free-Wannabe board. The very kind people on here will then be able to advise you on where you can cut monthly costs

    Good luck
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 7th Sep 17, 5:20 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 17, 5:20 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 17, 5:20 PM
    The SoA is on my todo list for this evening
    • Hiddenidenity
    • By Hiddenidenity 7th Sep 17, 5:46 PM
    • 4,757 Posts
    • 20,660 Thanks
    Hiddenidenity
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 17, 5:46 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 17, 5:46 PM
    Hello and welcome

    I agree do the SOA, you've made the hardest step and that's admitting you're in debt and you need to sort it.

    The only way is up now There will be bumps in the road but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Good luck x
    DFW £1313.71/£7348.71 Rent Arrears £466.28/£3381.28

    Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 7th Sep 17, 10:30 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    • #8
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:30 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:30 PM
    OK, so here's SoA:

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information

    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 1
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 2155
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 80
    Other income............................ 150
    Total monthly income.................... 2385


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 650
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 97
    Electricity............................. 50
    Gas..................................... 90
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 47.9
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 36
    TV Licence.............................. 12.12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 0
    Internet Services....................... 29.99
    Groceries etc. ......................... 240
    Clothing................................ 40
    Petrol/diesel........................... 90
    Road tax................................ 21
    Car Insurance........................... 34.9
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 50
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 40
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 11
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 0
    Haircuts................................ 35
    Entertainment........................... 93
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0
    One-offs/luxuries....................... 40
    Cats.................................... 35
    Netflix/Amazon Prime.................... 12.48
    Take outs/eating out.................... 63
    Work Snacks/lunches..................... 24
    Total monthly expenses.................. 1842.39



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 1000
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 1000


    No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Barclaycard....................14382.....323...... .17.18 (First 8k of this is 0% interest until June 2018)
    HSBC...........................2932......74....... .17.9
    MBNA...........................2400......25....... .0
    Total unsecured debts..........19714.....422.......-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,385
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 1,842.39
    Available for debt repayments........... 542.61
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 422
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 120.61


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 1,000
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -0
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -19,714
    Net Assets.............................. -18,714


    Created using the SOA calculator at stoozing
    Reproduced on Moneysavingexpert with permission, using other browser.


    Forgot to add in the overdraft: £350

    In all honesty I feel a little embarrassed posting this, as clearly my issues are to do with living beyond my means and overspending rather than not earning enough to cover necessities.
    That said, this is where I am now, and I want to improve. For me this is more than just money. i also want to declutter and tidy my house (for some reason I'm convinced this will help my brain and finances also be tidy ...)
    Some items are pretty obvious... entertainments/going out strikes me as something which can be reduced. Also that I need to e.g. curb spending on snacky lunch things, and just get up a little earlier in the morning to make lunch. Cutting out takeouts is also on the agenda. One of the reasons I find both of these difficult is ongoing health concerns which really wipe me out.
    Often when I get back from work I can barely stand, and even the thought of making a cup of tea is too much, so making dinner is right out and on those days I end up sending Kitty over the road for a takeout.
    I'm open to any other advice!
    Last edited by Tea&Kittens; 07-09-2017 at 10:33 PM.
    • zippygeorgeandben
    • By zippygeorgeandben 7th Sep 17, 11:17 PM
    • 661 Posts
    • 755 Thanks
    zippygeorgeandben
    • #9
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:17 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Sep 17, 11:17 PM
    Don't feel embarrassed at all. People don't judge here they provide insight. It's up to you if you take it on board. Or not.
    I think you know where you are spending too much money. One adult and one child in the house and you spend £240. Me and my partner spend £180 and that includes £40 on the cat so you can make a saving right there.
    The fact that you've realised you need to sort it out is a positive one!
    End Sep 2016 End August 2017
    £8236.57 £4876.49
    (Tesco 4.8%) £222.61pcm
    £6185.75 £851.34 (Zopa 4.0%) £48.99pcm

    £5344.50
    £2890.04 (Sainsburys 0% until 06/19) £140pcm
    £2000.00 £1333.35 (Sister 0%) £133.33pcm

    Total debt
    £19.766.82 £11499.70 Original DFD May 2019.
    • anna_1977
    • By anna_1977 8th Sep 17, 8:46 AM
    • 589 Posts
    • 825 Thanks
    anna_1977
    OK, so here's SoA:

    [font=courier new]Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information

    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 1
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 2155
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 80
    Other income............................ 150
    Total monthly income.................... 2385


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 650
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 97 do you pay this over 10 months or 12?
    Electricity............................. 50combined with Gas this seems VERY high, I am in a large(ish) 4 bed with 3 people and only pay £88 a month for both
    Gas..................................... 90
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 47.9
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 36
    TV Licence.............................. 12.12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 0
    Internet Services....................... 29.99
    Groceries etc. ......................... 240again seems high for 2 people, could you maybe reduce to £200?
    Clothing................................ 40
    Petrol/diesel........................... 90
    Road tax................................ 21
    Car Insurance........................... 34.9
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 50
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 40
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 11
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 0 there should be something in here, especially as you have a child
    Haircuts................................ 35do you really spend over £400 a year?
    Entertainment........................... 93
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 0
    One-offs/luxuries....................... 40
    Cats.................................... 35
    Netflix/Amazon Prime.................... 12.48
    Take outs/eating out.................... 63
    Work Snacks/lunches..................... 24
    Total monthly expenses.................. 1842.39



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 1000
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 1000


    No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Barclaycard....................14382.....323...... .17.18 (First 8k of this is 0% interest until June 2018)
    HSBC...........................2932......74....... .17.9
    MBNA...........................2400......25....... .0
    Total unsecured debts..........19714.....422.......-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2,385
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 1,842.39
    Available for debt repayments........... 542.61
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 422
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 120.61


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 1,000
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -0
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -19,714
    Net Assets.............................. -18,714


    !
    Originally posted by Tea&Kittens
    Don't feel embarrassed at all (you should see my SOA!)

    I have added comments in red. I know you said you've staered to shop about for deals but the Gas/Elec is a glaringly obvious one for me to be reduced.

    When switching any utility, or doing any shopping try to use Qudico or TopCashBack to earn some extra money.

    Good luck

    Anna
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 8th Sep 17, 9:46 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Thanks for taking a look Anna. In response to your items commented in red:
    Council tax is over 10 months.

    Combined electric and gas is £138, but I'm expecting this to come down as I've not been on top of it and have let estimated bills go through for some time. A real reading this week has shown that my actual usage is way below the estimate, so I've left it at the higher amount until I get a better feel for how much I'm actually using (and I'll be making sure I send in real readings too).

    Food I know is high. I know I can get this down doing proper meal plans and going to Aldi instead of Sainsbys. This tends to creep up when I'm not feeling well as I buy things which are easy when I can't manage cooking. I will be making a definite effort to not let this creep happen this time though.

    I agree, there definitely should be something in saving for birthdays/christmas. This is where some of the putting things on credit cards has come from, due to spending everything every month instead of being conscientious and saving.

    Haircuts - £35 was how much my last one cost, but I don't go every month. Probably 3 - 4 times a year, so that figure is higher than it should be.

    Action plan:
    Make meal plan before doing the "big shop" at the weekend
    Set up separate account for birthday etc fund.
    Send in accurate energy readings every month

    If I'm going to pay more than the minimum amount on any card, would you suggest
    A: More on the Barclaycard (highest amount of debt) to bring down nearer to the 8k interest free
    B: More on the 0% interest MBNA as it's the lowest to clear the debt off
    C: A better option?
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 8th Sep 17, 9:51 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    So, corrected energy readings have meant that my account was actually about £1000 in credit, so £138 a month is definitely overpaying.

    £1000 energy payment:
    £350 will clear overdraft. (£650 remaining)
    £250 into a birthday/christmas account (£400 remaining)

    £400 to make an extra credit card repayment, or put in savings for in case of problems with car/house/emergencies??
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • anna_1977
    • By anna_1977 8th Sep 17, 10:21 AM
    • 589 Posts
    • 825 Thanks
    anna_1977
    Wow £1000 in credit - I'm guessing you immediately asked for that to be transferred to your account and have reduced the payments?

    When does the MBNA interest free end? I think that I'd pay it on the Barclaycard and I believe it will be allocated to the portion that you pay interest on... I may be wrong, worth checking.

    I think I'd use the £350 on overdraft (if that's a high %)

    I'd be tempted to put the rest in an emergency fund (£200 for presents for xmas maybe).

    I'm sure someone will come along with better advice

    Do look at spreading the Council tax payments over 12 months, I know that means you don't get the 2 months off but it will reduce payments giving you more monthly cash to throw at the cards
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 8th Sep 17, 1:11 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    I've got 18 months or so interest free on the MBNA. Much less on the B'card, which is why I was considering that as an option.
    Overdraft will definitely be paid off this month. Then I'll reduce it so I can't just creep into it again.
    Emergency fund would be good for me to have. Not having had one means that in the past I've increased credit card debt.

    I'm really now seeing this as more lifestyle overhaul than just tyring to sort finances.
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • savetosave
    • By savetosave 8th Sep 17, 1:55 PM
    • 87 Posts
    • 178 Thanks
    savetosave
    Hi


    Not sure how old Kitty is, perhaps if she is old enough to go for takeout when you're not feeling well, she might be old enough to cook or at least heat up something from the freezer?


    Also perhaps you could batch cook when you are feeling well enough and freeze so that when you are not so good you have a home made take out in the freezer ready to go?


    Welcome
    • savetosave
    • By savetosave 8th Sep 17, 1:58 PM
    • 87 Posts
    • 178 Thanks
    savetosave
    Also, do you know what your energy bill will be reduced to now? I might be tempted to pay £100 of your refund to the bill with the highest %interest. Just for a quick boost so you feel like you are winning straight away.
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 8th Sep 17, 2:25 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Thankyou all for the feedback!

    Savetosave: Kitty is 17, doing her A levels. She is more than capable of cooking, but also quite stressy about the amount of work she needs to do. I don't want to complicate things for her. I like the batch cooking idea though. It fits in well with what I was thinking about meal planning.
    Not sure what the new energy bill will be. Current revised estimate has actual usage around £70/month, but I've not had the heating on for months!
    Apparently it could take up to a week for this money to appear in my account. I certainly think there's enough to pay a bit off the highest card, pay the overdraft and still put a bit away as emergency fund.
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 10th Sep 17, 10:03 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    I had a number of little jobs to do this weekend. One of the main tasks I set for myself was to completely and ruthlessly go through all the food items in the kitchen cupboard and tidy them out before shopping. The kitchen cupboards were in quite a chaotic state, and I did find duplicate things such as baking powder, multiple open flour and pasta packets. Obviously this is wasteful, I also wanted to make sure I didn't buy repeat items at the shop.

    I made a list of meals to eat this week before shopping so I had a clear idea of what I needed.

    This weeks shop was courtesy of J Sains, on the basis that I had £30 sitting on a nectar card, so it turned out to be a really cheap shopping week.

    Setting up proper way of looking and evaluating budget - I'm undecided whether to keep this on a googlesheet or use the ynab app. I might try a month or 2 of both and see which way I prefer!
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 10th Sep 17, 10:09 PM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    I had a number of little jobs to do this weekend. One of the main tasks I set for myself was to completely and ruthlessly go through all the food items in the kitchen cupboard and tidy them out before shopping. The kitchen cupboards were in quite a chaotic state, and I did find duplicate things such as baking powder, multiple open flour and pasta packets. Obviously this is wasteful, I also wanted to make sure I didn't buy repeat items at the shop.

    I made a list of meals to eat this week before shopping so I had a clear idea of what I needed.

    This weeks shop was courtesy of J Sains, on the basis that I had £30 sitting on a nectar card, so it turned out to be a really cheap shopping week.

    Setting up proper way of looking and evaluating budget - I'm undecided whether to keep this on a googlesheet or use the ynab app. I might try a month or 2 of both and see which way I prefer!
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 11th Sep 17, 9:55 AM
    • 47 Posts
    • 106 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Removed the temptation to buy snacks at work by leaving all change at home.
    I was aiming for no spend, but will have to get fuel on the way home.
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017:
    Barclaycard: 14382
    HSBC Credit Card : 2932
    MBNA : 2400
    Overdraft: 350
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
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