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  • FIRST POST
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 7th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    • 138Posts
    • 490Thanks
    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 7
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 9th Oct 17, 10:05 PM
    • 635 Posts
    • 2,454 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    Honey roast veg risotto went down a treat with my son and I tonight . Will be saving recipe ! Thanks again
    Oct 2017 CC1 £3439CC 2 £927

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 10th Oct 17, 9:57 AM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Glad you enjoyed it Cumbria Lass!

    I booked train for me and Kitty to go to London mid November for her to see the art exhibition she wants to see. While technically this is a November outing, train fares are not going to get cheaper nearer the time, so thought I'd better book them now! (Though I have taken this out of a different "pot" from regular monthly outgoings. I'll replace it November so it comes out of the right month's budget). Though actually having a pot where this can come out of is something of a novelty!
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Kittychick
    • By Kittychick 10th Oct 17, 10:45 AM
    • 202 Posts
    • 479 Thanks
    Kittychick
    The gallery trip will also be something to look forward to, I find that's always a good thing x
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 10th Oct 17, 12:39 PM
    • 8,013 Posts
    • 41,466 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    In answer the the question of the other day - yes, it definitely DOES get easier over time as the habits you're forming now (tracking spending, stopping to think before spending, shopping about for bargains etc) become just that - habitual - and require less brainpower to think about ALL the time. However the other problem you encounter as time goes on is that it's easy to lose the focus a bit, and to start thinking "oh just 1 *whatever* won't hurt" - it's exactly like dieting - if you tell yourself that "I'm not eating any chocolate/crisps/cheese" or whatever it is,. until you've reached some sort of specific goal weight - you're almost setting yourself up to fail. If you change your eating habits though, without actually categorically excluding any one thing, you stand a better chance of ongoing success. So yews - you've had a couple of spending blips - but actually compared to past habits - are they really significant blips? You spent "more of your entertainment budget than you planned" - but you HAVE a budget which is an improvement on where you might have been before? And you know that there was an overspend - also good!

    Try to take the positives forward and ditch the negatives, where you can. The meal with your friend that had just got hurt - could you really have declined that? If that's a "No" then these things happen, move on. If it would have been viable to say "Ahh sorry guys - I need to get back so I'll skip this one" then take that forward as a lesson for next time.

    Can you also think ahead now for any train travel that might need booking for December and get that sorted ASAP? 12 weeks ahead is the point where the best value tickets get released. have you also got a railcard that gives you money off? If not it would be a good idea to look into that as that's a 33% saving each time.

    You said it yourself though - the very fact that you *have* the "pots" for spends to come from is a real step forwards - well done!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£544.67 (17/10/17)
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 10th Oct 17, 1:30 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    The gallery trip will also be something to look forward to, I find that's always a good thing x
    Originally posted by Kittychick
    Definitely! I'm really looking forward to it. Always good to have a day out with Kitty!

    In answer the the question of the other day - yes, it definitely DOES get easier over time as the habits you're forming now (tracking spending, stopping to think before spending, shopping about for bargains etc) become just that - habitual - and require less brainpower to think about ALL the time. However the other problem you encounter as time goes on is that it's easy to lose the focus a bit, and to start thinking "oh just 1 *whatever* won't hurt" - it's exactly like dieting - if you tell yourself that "I'm not eating any chocolate/crisps/cheese" or whatever it is,. until you've reached some sort of specific goal weight - you're almost setting yourself up to fail. If you change your eating habits though, without actually categorically excluding any one thing, you stand a better chance of ongoing success. So yews - you've had a couple of spending blips - but actually compared to past habits - are they really significant blips? You spent "more of your entertainment budget than you planned" - but you HAVE a budget which is an improvement on where you might have been before? And you know that there was an overspend - also good!

    Try to take the positives forward and ditch the negatives, where you can. The meal with your friend that had just got hurt - could you really have declined that? If that's a "No" then these things happen, move on. If it would have been viable to say "Ahh sorry guys - I need to get back so I'll skip this one" then take that forward as a lesson for next time.

    Can you also think ahead now for any train travel that might need booking for December and get that sorted ASAP? 12 weeks ahead is the point where the best value tickets get released. have you also got a railcard that gives you money off? If not it would be a good idea to look into that as that's a 33% saving each time.

    You said it yourself though - the very fact that you *have* the "pots" for spends to come from is a real step forwards - well done!
    Originally posted by EssexHebridean
    EH - thankyou for this! I'm trying to stay focused on the end task. I like the dieting analogy (though I'm not much of a dieter I understand where you're coming from, and it does make sense). It's a lifestyle change and all that goes with it, taking a holistic approach rather than just trying to change one element.

    Yes - I have a budget, and virtual pots of money!! Even a strayed-from budget is better than no budget at all, and it's all down in writing, so I can't stick my head in the sand in denial about it!
    I do see this as an overall positive step, though stupid over-self-criticalness gets in the way sometimes.

    I do have a railcard! We had a family and friends railcard until Kitty got too old to qualify for it, so now we have the 2 together card as most of our rail journeys are together (though she has just got herself a 16-25 one also, for visiting her friends who have gone away to uni!) We will be travelling down to Norfolk at some point over the christmas break, I just need to confirm the dates!
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 10th Oct 17, 3:49 PM
    • 8,013 Posts
    • 41,466 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Ahh the Two Together railcard was exactly what I was going to suggest - great work! we've got one too - and definitely get our moneys worth from it - although even more so as we pay for ours using Tesco Clubcard vouchers as a rule!

    Your "virtual pots of money" comment made me laugh - "virtually" is the only way I'll EVER have "pots of money" I fear!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£544.67 (17/10/17)
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 10th Oct 17, 5:31 PM
    • 635 Posts
    • 2,454 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    Glad you have sorted the train tickets now , as you say they get dearer nearer the day. I also have at least 5 virtual pots and I love the novelty of having the. Having different pots has been the making of my journey so far along with the EF.

    I am going to look at the 2 together card as I do travel by train during the year and seldom alone .
    Oct 2017 CC1 £3439CC 2 £927

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 10th Oct 17, 10:23 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    EH, you made me giggle at the mental image I got of being surrounded by pots of money! Helps me think of it that way, then it's been assigned and it isn't just available for frittering away!
    Cumbria Lass, I think we pretty much made back the cost of the 2 together railcard on one trip! They're so worth having!
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 11th Oct 17, 1:01 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Off to a medical appointment shortly, so I've had a work-from-home morning today. In addition to getting work done, I've also managed a couple of loads of washing, and made tuscan bean stew (which pretty much cooks itself), so there's food already made, I'll just have to heat it up when I get back!
    £4.30 for an all day bus ticket takes care of transport and means not worrying about parking spaces/charges
    Tumble dryer has broken (drum no longer turning) so I'm debating how much I really need it (probably more so in winter than in summer months). I don't know whether it's worth trying to get it fixed or getting a new one. I'm reluctant to have to pay to have someone look at it and then say it's irreparable. Might have to see what Mr. Google has to say on the matter! Perhaps it's fixable without an expert!
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Nicnak
    • By Nicnak 11th Oct 17, 1:49 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 422 Thanks
    Nicnak
    How does the virtual pots work?
    I've got actual pits with not much in them x
    September 6th 2017 start Updated 18th October
    Credit Card £430 now: £0
    Tesco Loan £7500 = £7110
    Car loan £17450 = £17,099
    Total = £25,330 £24,319
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 12th Oct 17, 2:09 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Hey NicNak!
    Virtual pots is kind of like so: I have a bank account set up to be there for savings and emergency fund.
    Money is automatically put in there when I've been paid.
    Bank says : £150
    My spreadsheet and written logs say:
    Car maintenance £50
    House stuff £50
    Emergency fund £50
    Those aren't the actual numbers, but that's the idea of it, so that when it comes to MOT time or something goes wrong, I have something in a pot to deal with it. (Which is miles better than previous approach of "oh I'll bung it on a card and pay it off later" ...."later" ... lack of discipline has meant that later never came).
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 12th Oct 17, 2:26 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Went for a hospital visit yesterday, the outcome of which is another medication. That takes it up to 3. My usual 2 the GP gives me 2 month prescriptions at a time, so £17.40 every two months (so average £8.60/month) which is cheaper, I think, than the prepay prescription service thing.
    If I'm going to be needing 3 medications though, I think it's time to make the change and do the prepay thing.

    No NSD yesterday due to travel and prescription costs, but I do have one today. And a bringing lunch to work day

    Dinner is sorted with leftovers all round - Tuscan bean stew for me, and last weeks leftover chicken stew for Kitty. Even being organised with dessert, as I've got an apple crumble in the freezer, and some eggs and milk to make custard with (so much nicer than the bought stuff!)
    Every little helps, as they say. I got lucky on a survey yesterday, so 12 sachets of cat food winging their way to Mr Ginger Tom, and nearly at £10 with Ipsos I-say
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 12th Oct 17, 4:18 PM
    • 8,013 Posts
    • 41,466 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    The website says:

    £29.10 for 3 months - card payment
    £104 for 12 months - card or Direct Debit (10-monthly instalments of £10.40)
    So even if you can get two months at a time on the new medication it'll still be cheaper done that way - also means it's spread a bit more evenly than a lump every couple of months, of course.

    I'm impressed at you making custard from scratch on a week-night!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£544.67 (17/10/17)
    • Nicnak
    • By Nicnak 12th Oct 17, 4:57 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 422 Thanks
    Nicnak
    Hey NicNak!
    Virtual pots is kind of like so: I have a bank account set up to be there for savings and emergency fund.
    Money is automatically put in there when I've been paid.
    Bank says : £150
    My spreadsheet and written logs say:
    Car maintenance £50
    House stuff £50
    Emergency fund £50
    Those aren't the actual numbers, but that's the idea of it, so that when it comes to MOT time or something goes wrong, I have something in a pot to deal with it. (Which is miles better than previous approach of "oh I'll bung it on a card and pay it off later" ...."later" ... lack of discipline has meant that later never came).
    Originally posted by Tea&Kittens
    Ah, get it thanks x
    September 6th 2017 start Updated 18th October
    Credit Card £430 now: £0
    Tesco Loan £7500 = £7110
    Car loan £17450 = £17,099
    Total = £25,330 £24,319
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 12th Oct 17, 6:38 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    EH, that's what I thought about the payments. I have to try the new one for 2 months to see if there's a difference, so may wait til nearer the end of the first month to see if it's likely I'll be keeping it!
    As for custard from scratch, I found a really simple but tasty recipe a while ago
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 12th Oct 17, 6:51 PM
    • 465 Posts
    • 1,806 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    EH, that's what I thought about the payments. I have to try the new one for 2 months to see if there's a difference, so may wait til nearer the end of the first month to see if it's likely I'll be keeping it!
    As for custard from scratch, I found a really simple but tasty recipe a while ago
    Originally posted by Tea&Kittens

    Oooh do share simple, but tasty custard recipe please.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 August: £36,411.85 8/100 September: £35,945.66 10/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • 117pauline
    • By 117pauline 12th Oct 17, 6:59 PM
    • 337 Posts
    • 4,663 Thanks
    117pauline
    I had to buy the yearly prescription card last week as I was given four prescriptions, £34.40, and wanted to claim it back so had to pay all in one go. But I have added a reminder for July next year so I can set up the monthly direct debit.

    I am trying to set up reminders for all the bits I need as I have been amazingly unsuccessful at remembering things myself. I can't be the only one who forgets important things.
    Don't get it perfect - Get it going
    Better Than Before
    • AleMrsT
    • By AleMrsT 12th Oct 17, 10:17 PM
    • 525 Posts
    • 1,292 Thanks
    AleMrsT
    For easy budgeting I use a free app called Spending Tracker. I have several different 'accounts' on there, joint account, personal account, shopping account, other spends account etc, but it's really easy to use. For example, for my shopping account - I put my monthly budget of £300 in as income and every time I buy anything I enter it as an expense, which means that I always know exactly what is left in the budget for the month: because it's on my phone and I always have my phone with me, I can update immediately, not have to wait until I get home and forget what I've bought. Maybe worth trying, especially as it's free.
    I agree that starting an emergency fund is a good idea, something unexpected always crops up and ends up on the credit card so you feel as if you're going backwards.
    It's been said many times before, but realising you have a problem and making a start is the most important step. Good luck!
    Originally posted by Nonnadiluca
    Hi nonnadiluca thanks for this tip on the spending tracker app. Ive downloaded two apps on my phone and they're both called spending tracker, is it the one with the wallet logo and the blackboard style background or the one with the blue logo and the more grid style background?

    Sorry to hijack your diary tea and kittens, I've just been reading your diary, you've made good progress so far, great news on getting the money back from your energy supplier, and it's great how you be split the money between debts and your emergency fund.

    I have subscribed and will be following your journey, I understand completely with how ill health can affect money saving, my whole debt journey started when I had to reduce my work hours for health reasons and could no longer meet the minimum payments towards my debts.

    Just do as much as you can, when you can. Any little step forward is better than standing still or going backwards.

    Good luck with the rest of your journey!
    Debt @ LBM Nov 2014 £7586.85
    Start of DMP Jan 2015 £7202.85 now £4555.26 (£2647.59 PAID)
    Italy 2018 £2103.44 now £600.00 (£1503.44 PAID)
    October extra income £36.23
    Emergency Fund £5600
    Christmas 2018 £2/£500
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 12th Oct 17, 11:42 PM
    • 138 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    Hi wishing, here's the custard recipe I use :
    Ingredients:
    4 eggs
    5 cups milk
    1 tbsp vanilla
    ½ cup cornflour
    1/3 cup sugar

    To make:
    -whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and cornflour together in a cold pan
    -place over medium heat
    -bring to the boil while whisking constantly
    - simmer for 2 minutes/until thickened
    -whisk in the sugar

    Hi AleMrsT!
    Thanks for dropping by. I've been using the Spending tracker which is the wallet icon with blackboard type writing. I've got all back ins & outs, and direct debits set up to disappear monthly. If i take cash out, I have a cash "account" where I note all cash spending. It does seem to do the job well!
    Having to worry about health concerns certainly doesn't make things any easier does it!
    Pauline, I was thinking I could probably do the 3 monthly payment as it'll work out a little cheaper in the long run. I can put some aside each month to save for it after the first one
    I tend to use my bullet journal to remember things, so e.g. date car insurance needs to be renewed is all logged. I have to write it all down though, my brain is so foggy lately!
    October: NSDs 6 / 17 NSDs in a row: 1 / 5
    I started my debtfree journey on 07 September 2017: Total: £20,521 £19847
    Barclaycard: £14659 £14435 Oct 2017 HSBC Credit Card : £3112 £3012 Oct 2017
    Overdraft: 350 £0 Oct2017 MBNA : 2400
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I'm on my way!
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 12th Oct 17, 11:51 PM
    • 465 Posts
    • 1,806 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Thank you. Sounds good.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 August: £36,411.85 8/100 September: £35,945.66 10/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
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