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  • FIRST POST
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 7th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    • 54Posts
    • 129Thanks
    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 3
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 15th Sep 17, 10:19 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    This week has seen a no spend day, I've taken lunch into work 3 times and once had it bought for me. I've set up journal pages for saving, card payments, tracking no spend days and days I've not spent extras on lunch. Changed the cats to cheaper food. This makes me feel like things which are positive for changing spending habits.
    This weekend will be challenging. It's my birthday weekend, and Kitty and I are going to London. Train to London, accommodation and a play has been paid for by my parents as a birthday treat, so it's just feeding myself and kitty and travel around London I have to consider. i think most of what we have planned is walkable, and we're not in any great hurry so hopefully that side of things will not be too bad.
    Any food suggestions welcomed! (I'm thinking supermarket meal deal is probably a cheap convenient option during the day!)
    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!
    • Nonnadiluca
    • By Nonnadiluca 15th Sep 17, 1:29 PM
    • 95 Posts
    • 802 Thanks
    Nonnadiluca
    Have a lovely birthday weekend!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 17th Sep 17, 10:39 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Back from London, spent a little overbudget, but I have logged every penny. This is a big change from my normal spending habits, so even though I overspent a little, I feel quite good that I know where it's all gone rather than just having a vague idea. Still early days!
    I've found properly logging expenditure makes a difference particularly where some retailers take several days to clear a card/contactless payment. I now have it accounted for as gone, whereas the "old me" would have forgotten about those payments then panicked when they went out.
    Working from home tomorrow due to an appointment, so I reckon Ive enough time to prep a large volume of tuscan bean stew (cheap and really tasty!) for this week
    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!
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 18th Sep 17, 2:54 AM
    • 307 Posts
    • 1,253 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Hi.
    I've found your diary whilst up cuddling my toddler who's sleeping in my arms, but won't be put down. (So I'm reading diaries)

    You have made a great start - the boost from your utility refund has made a huge difference to you. You have been saving, you just didn't know it.

    I've been thinking about your emergency fund whilst reading and have a suggestion.
    If you are going to use it for birthdays etc, as well as real emergencies (washing machine does for example) you are going to need to replenish it continually.

    This is what I would do. Set up a standing order from your current account to your emergency fund to go out the day after pay day. This could be £1, £20, £50. Whatever you think is realistic.
    When your car tax is due, pay for the full 12 months from the emergency fund, but then also up the monthly standing order by the monthly amount your were paying. Then in 12 months time you'll have replenished the pot and have the next payment ready.
    By paying those big, annual bills in 1 go and upping your emergency fund standing order as you go, you'll be creating a really secure financial footing.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Wish.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017
    July : £36,800 8/100
    August: £36,411.85 8/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 18th Sep 17, 5:38 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,877 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Hi Tea&Kittens! Just a quick note to say hi and I've subscribed. You're doing great already, and I'm glad you got a birthday treat.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 18th Sep 17, 8:41 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Thanks for subscribing, armchair!

    Wish - thanks for the advice! Happily my train of thought was already headed in the same direction. While the emergency etc pot appears to be one lot of money in the account, I have a paper record with a detailed breakdown of how I've allocated it (this includes car tax/insurance, some for household, and holiday fund as well as birthdays), so I'm hoping this works. I just need to be strict with myself.
    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!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 18th Sep 17, 12:34 PM
    • 7,778 Posts
    • 40,271 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    I have to confess I'm really not a fan of an emergency fund account being used for anything else as well - probably because I know full well that I need a lot more structure than this in the way I organised financial stuff, so my natural assumption (which may be wrong!) is that others need something similar.

    Might be worth taking a look at your online banking to see if you can open savings accounts off the back of your current account? We bank with Nationwide and can basically have an unlimited amount of internet-only savings accounts (paying a small amount of interest) which means we have them for car expenses, holiday stuff, household things, and entertainment stuff among other things - that way i can see at a glance whether there is enough money set aside to deal with something - for example, the car insurance - without having to do lots of sums first. (In my case I also know full well that I'd manage to forget to update the paper record, but again, that may just be me! )

    The weekend sounded lovely - glad you got a treat and a chance to try out your new budgeting strategies "in the wild" as it were! We often revert to supermarket meal deals if off out for the day, it's a great way of keeping costs down! I'm also a massive fan of walking around London - you miss so much if you don't!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • mrsonions
    • By mrsonions 18th Sep 17, 1:11 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    mrsonions
    Hi tea&kittens, thought I'd come and have a look at your diary seeing as you commented on mine
    Some great tips here, especially the one about the emergency fund. I get paid on Friday so I think I'll take that one on board - thanks!
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 18th Sep 17, 1:54 PM
    • 4,265 Posts
    • 7,701 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    I think you have had some great advice already and it is definitely better to sort this out now before getting to retirement age especially if you have health conditions. I was going to comment on high energy usage but see you have been overcharged and the £1000 credit returned. Sensible to tackle overdraft, emergency pot first. I would then focus on HSBC as it is charging you interest and smaller than Barclaycard which is part interest free anyway.

    Areas to trim are groceries, energy, mobiles, entertainment, haircuts, one offs/luxuries and take outs, work lunches. Get organised re food by maybe having some ready meals or easy freezer stuff to save you being tempted to get takeaways when you are tired. If you have a slow cooker this is great for batch cooking a few meals. Menu plan for work lunches and take leftovers to make a change from sandwiches, wraps or salads/soups.

    I like the spending tracker app and also think having four separate accounts would work well for you, your cash isa for emergencies, current account for direct debits and your salary to go into. That way you know all your bills are covered. Have a separate account for disposable income for food, travel, entertainment, petrol etc and another savings account for annual expenses, presents, holiday, Christmas.

    When you are sorted debt wise make sure you look at your pension too for long term savings. If you can move the HSBC or the interest charging Barclaycard to a long interest free deal this will help. Don't bother with the short deals as the BT fee often wipes out savings.
    Countdown to early retirement on 21.12.17 3 months to go.
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 18th Sep 17, 6:36 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Hi,and thanks for the input, enthusiastic saver!
    Spending tracker is working well, I have been finding it really easy as I can do it on the go.
    Salary and bills (set up as dd) are coming out of main current account, so I've set up a new (basic) bank account for money to automatically transfer to, which will be to cover food/fuel/entertainments etc.
    I had a recommendation from a friend for her hairdresser, who only charges £25, and I can get away with having hair cut every 2 months rather than every month, so that cost will come down.
    Mobile contract is up in a couple of months, so I'm going to keep existing handset and switch to a cheap PAYG SIM.
    Food is definitely an obvious one to tackle. I usually take food into work, it tends to be in the evenings where I end up struggling.
    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!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 19th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    • 7,778 Posts
    • 40,271 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Have a look at SIM only deals as well as PAYG for the phone - depending on which provider you want there are great deals out there from the likes of Plusnet (EE), Tesco (O2) and Three that can be had for a lot less than a standard contract, and it does save that thing of feeling as though you never want to use the phone because of it costing you PAYG credit. There is usually a good up to date guide on the main site that's worth a look.

    What works for me with food is to shop once a week, using a meal plan which then translates to a list. I find all too often if I'm tempted into the Supermarket in the meantime that means temptation will strike and extras will be picked up. The fridge and fruit/veg baskets in the larder get an "audit" once a week, and periodically the same applies to the other cupboards and the freezer too. That pretty much means I can stay on top of what is needed as well as avoiding waste. The other trick I employ is to add things that are needed to my shopping list as I think of them - that was it avoids the thing of wandering round an entire store trying to remember the thing I thought of three days ago that I can't now remember!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 19th Sep 17, 12:04 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Hi EH
    I usually do food shopping once a week, based on a meal plan, which tends to work well during the week, but is a bit looser over the weekends, when I'll often pop over to friends on say a saturday afternoon and end up staying for the evening and getting takeaway instead of eating at home (though this is still cheaper than a night out). I have done a good sort out of cupboard food, just need to go through the freezer still - it's on the jobs list for this weekend!
    My current phone contract is with 3, might see what they can offer me when contract is up!
    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!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 19th Sep 17, 12:18 PM
    • 7,778 Posts
    • 40,271 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    I managed to get off my contract with EE 3 months before it was due to finish by ringing them up and giving them details of a deal Plusnet were offering at the time - they matched the deal as a SIM only which was exactly what I wanted, so it may be worth a call a couple of months ahead of the contract end date?

    Also tend to be a bit looser with food planning over the weekend - we have a selection of favourite meals for weekends which come into play but usually the makings of those are in the freezer or fridge so I don't plan them rigidly.

    My freezer audit is also on the list for this weekend!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£504.92 (29/08/17)
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 20th Sep 17, 9:46 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Managed a no spend day yesterday, and I'm on track for bringing lunches into work. So far, so good, though only 2 weeks in.
    We were gifted some lovely runner beans from a neighbours allotment, so super fresh tasty veg for tea yesterday
    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 20th Sep 17, 2:47 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    My budget has almost become like a mantra in my mind, making sure each £ of wages is properly accounted for while trying to reduce debt, while also trying to save for important things and events!
    I've had a think about emergency funds being exactly that, so I've set up an additional cash saver account so that I can have one as a genuine emergency fund (I'm thinking most likely use of this is for car/house issues, so I'm also accounting for car tax, insurance and MOT expenses) and the other for saving for more "Luxury" spends such as special occasions, holidays, other sundries. I've spent quite a bit of time working out how to divide the remaining funds after paying all monthly bills and (more than the minimum on) credit cards and I think I have something which should work, so this is what I will be attempting to stick to, I'm hoping to be amending expenditure downwards so I can pay more off the cards as I get better at it/more used to it.
    Enthusiastic saver - I did have a look at transferring the interest portion of the b'card to an interest free option. I did the find the best card for you thing elsewhere on this forum, and it suggested the MBNA, but most they would give me was £2500 (so that balance was originally on the b'card but is now a little bit of interest free ....
    Last edited by Tea&Kittens; 20-09-2017 at 2:49 PM.
    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!
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 3:10 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    plush
    @Tea&Kittens found you and subscribed. Read your first two messages, it's strikingly similar... was shocked to learn that an IVA was suggested. You haven't done that, have you?
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 20th Sep 17, 4:22 PM
    • 4,265 Posts
    • 7,701 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    My budget has almost become like a mantra in my mind, making sure each £ of wages is properly accounted for while trying to reduce debt, while also trying to save for important things and events!
    I've had a think about emergency funds being exactly that, so I've set up an additional cash saver account so that I can have one as a genuine emergency fund (I'm thinking most likely use of this is for car/house issues, so I'm also accounting for car tax, insurance and MOT expenses) and the other for saving for more "Luxury" spends such as special occasions, holidays, other sundries. I've spent quite a bit of time working out how to divide the remaining funds after paying all monthly bills and (more than the minimum on) credit cards and I think I have something which should work, so this is what I will be attempting to stick to, I'm hoping to be amending expenditure downwards so I can pay more off the cards as I get better at it/more used to it.
    Enthusiastic saver - I did have a look at transferring the interest portion of the b'card to an interest free option. I did the find the best card for you thing elsewhere on this forum, and it suggested the MBNA, but most they would give me was £2500 (so that balance was originally on the b'card but is now a little bit of interest free ....
    Originally posted by Tea&Kittens
    Excellent start and as time goes on it will become easier to keep spends within your limits. Great you are able to manage even slightly more than minimums. I do not think an IVA or DMP is for you. You can do this.
    Countdown to early retirement on 21.12.17 3 months to go.
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 21st Sep 17, 12:06 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Hi Plush, I'm happy to say that I didn't go with an IVA option. I was all pretty much set to do so when I thought I couldn't see any way out (anxiety issues came into play, it was a really low day). I backed out at the very last minute after I found this forum, read some diaries, really took a good look at incomings and outgoings. I was surprised at how much I had left over after bills even with playing off the debt which was a huge kick up the behind about how irresponsibly I was spending.
    Now I feel that I'm doing something positive about it, more in control it helps.
    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 21st Sep 17, 12:09 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 129 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Thanks for the encouragement enthusiastic saver!

    Had another NSD today, that's 2 in a row
    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!
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 21st Sep 17, 6:25 AM
    • 486 Posts
    • 1,225 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    Hi Tea & Kittens, just stopped by to say you have started of well. The budgets for things like food, entertainment etc can take a few months to get just right , so stick with it and don't worry if you have to keep changing things around.
    Have subscribed to cheer you on.
    Aug 2017 CC1 £3549 CC 2 £1000

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
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