Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 2:41 PM
    • 39Posts
    • 144Thanks
    plush
    early 40s and not fabulous at all
    • #1
    • 20th Sep 17, 2:41 PM
    early 40s and not fabulous at all 20th Sep 17 at 2:41 PM
    I'm not entirely sure how I ended up here... I don't mean the forum, I used it several years ago when I bought my flat and it's an invaluable resource. I mean with £14K credit card debt and nothing to show for it, and virtually no savings. Also single, mildly depressed and 15-20 lbs heavier than I should probably be.

    I don't understand why I'm unable to leave this vicious circle. I'm healthy - physically anyway - I have a healthy and happy child, family, some friends, a decent job, my own flat (mortgaged, but I'd pay more if I were to rent it, we're in greater London). Compared to many people I don't have big problems, yet I feel like s__t most of the time, don't sleep well, and plus I've started to feel really bad about the level of debt. last but not least, feeling super lonely and discouraged about dating and finding and partner.

    So I live well above my means even though my income is not that bad. Although I have been able to cut some bills, I'm lacking willpower when it comes to everyday spending. I tried to put my credit cards away but I failed. I go on too many holidays. I spend too much money on everything: clothes, shoes, haircuts, household things, concerts, theatre, etc. And I definitely spend too much money on food, on both groceries and eating out.

    I thought it would be a good idea to write here and check in once in a while, because I don't talk to anybody about my money issues. No one knows I'm in so much debt, not even my parents. And I should probably talk to my GP about my depression, as it's now affecting my general well being - I'm not sleeping enough, I'm eating too much in the evenings and I constantly feel tired and grumpy. I also stopped going to my weekly yoga class in an attempt to reduce spending, but that was probably a stupid move...

    So there. I need any help and advice I can get. And a big kick in the a__e...

    Thank you for reading.

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 04-10-2017 at 9:30 AM.
Page 1
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 20th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    • 155 Posts
    • 577 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    • #2
    • 20th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Sep 17, 2:57 PM
    Hi Plush

    Apart from you having your own flat, and I have a rented house, you pretty much sound exactly like me! I've found posting in here really helpful, lots of friendly types popping in with advice. I was advised here to fill in a statement of affairs (SoA) which I think was on Stoozing, I'm sure people would be along to advise.
    On a personal note, I considered giving up dance and yoga, but I though there is some cost involved, I think the mental and physical loss would be greater than the gain by doing it.
    i've subscribed to your thread so I can follow your progress. It's somewhat reaassuring to not feel the only one. I'm similar to you in that friends and family have no idea how bad things have become!
    I'm still new to this, but welcome here, and best wishes on your journey.
    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!
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 3:05 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    • #3
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:05 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:05 PM
    Thank you! I'm not sure if the thought that others are in the same boat soothes me anymore. I read diaries here and when I come across the ones who are a "repeat offender" (reduced their debt then fell off the wagon again) I get even more discouraged and hopeless! It's a never ending story. There is something fundamentally wrong with all of us (or with the society), as we're unable to escape debt.

    I know I sound too pessimistic ...
    • Tea&Kittens
    • By Tea&Kittens 20th Sep 17, 3:08 PM
    • 155 Posts
    • 577 Thanks
    Tea&Kittens
    • #4
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:08 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:08 PM
    I'm hoping that building up some good habits, and having support of the good folk here will help me stave of a decline (once I've got things sorted). I can't let myself be pessimistic or I'll end up not doing anything!
    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!
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 20th Sep 17, 3:18 PM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 1,323 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    • #5
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:18 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:18 PM
    Firstly don't feel ashamed or be too hard on yourself. I'm similar ( bit worse to be honest!) . I have around 25k outstanding debts, I'm renting and about 4 stone overweight. All these things bug me too! However nothing you mention is too difficult for you or I to overcome. If we want it enough we can change.
    Part of the issue might be not knowing where to start! What aspect of your life bothers you the most? Write them all down if you have to then prioritise one. What is your goal and what is your plan to get there?
    Knowing what I just told you about myself I know I'm not qualified to give much advice! However I would recommend small steps. Yes I have debt but its old. I've not got into more and more debt because I now do a budget so I'm paying off what I do have. I'm current on my utilities and rent whereas before I was behind on everything. So my point is start by not making anything worse. That's a step in itself. Don't worry about losing weight yet, just don't gain anymore.
    As for sleep. Is that due to worry? I'd imagine tacking the issues or even making a plan will help to lessen the stress but do go to your GP and see what they say.
    Also remember all the good stuff you have achieved. Give yourself the credit you deserve and remember the future is full of so many possibilities. Good luck.
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 3:27 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    • #6
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:27 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:27 PM
    Part of the issue might be not knowing where to start! What aspect of your life bothers you the most?
    Originally posted by Fireflyaway
    Thank you. Everything bothers me, but probably debt is the one that scares and stressed me out more than anything else.

    I've started doing a SOA but I'm so disorganised I don't actually know (don't want to know) how much I'm spending, apart from bills... will post here the result.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 20th Sep 17, 3:30 PM
    • 4,680 Posts
    • 8,868 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    • #7
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:30 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:30 PM
    Depression and debt are often linked. Whether the depression is caused by too much debt or the debt is accumulated through people spending when depressed is moot. To successfully manage your financial affairs is not rocket science - you simply have to spend less than you earn.

    If you have posted on MSE before you know how it goes. You post an soa, you start a spending diary and set a budget. It is not easy and if you live in London I daresay you have a few things stacked up against you like the extortionate cost of living and working in London, childcare costs if your child is still young and the temptation of concerts, theatres and restaurants. Sometimes I think it is easier to live in the sticks as I do so there is not the constant battle of maintaining a busy social life.

    You have a job, your own property and a child though. £15k of credit card debt is large but not the biggest and if you have a moderate amount of disposable income it can be dealt with but you have to want to change. Presumably if you are posting on here you want something to change and it may as well be your finances as that will certainly help your mood and this may also impact on your diet.

    Post your soa as a beginning and take it from there.
    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
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 20th Sep 17, 3:32 PM
    • 4,680 Posts
    • 8,868 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    • #8
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:32 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:32 PM
    Thank you. Everything bothers me, but probably debt is the one that scares and stressed me out more than anything else.

    I've started doing a SOA but I'm so disorganised I don't actually know (don't want to know) how much I'm spending, apart from bills... will post here the result.
    Originally posted by plush
    It might be worth downloading a spending tracker on your phone. Just print up your bank and credit card statements on online banking to get a rough idea.

    I would also suggest you cut those credit cards up or maybe all except one.
    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
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 3:59 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    • #9
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:59 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Sep 17, 3:59 PM
    Depression and debt are often linked. Whether the depression is caused by too much debt or the debt is accumulated through people spending when depressed is moot. To successfully manage your financial affairs is not rocket science - you simply have to spend less than you earn.

    If you have posted on MSE before you know how it goes. You post an soa, you start a spending diary and set a budget. It is not easy and if you live in London I daresay you have a few things stacked up against you like the extortionate cost of living and working in London, childcare costs if your child is still young and the temptation of concerts, theatres and restaurants. Sometimes I think it is easier to live in the sticks as I do so there is not the constant battle of maintaining a busy social life.

    You have a job, your own property and a child though. £15k of credit card debt is large but not the biggest and if you have a moderate amount of disposable income it can be dealt with but you have to want to change. Presumably if you are posting on here you want something to change and it may as well be your finances as that will certainly help your mood and this may also impact on your diet.

    Post your soa as a beginning and take it from there.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Thank you! I did consider moving outside of the M25 but after a lot of soul searching I decided we'd stay put for now, and try to tackle this debt problem instead. Also, I'm fearing social isolation - moving to a place where we don't know anyone is not something that appeals at the moment. I've discussed it with my child as well and was met with strong resistance. Apart from reducing the mortgage and paying off debt we have no reason to move, the area and the schools are great here. (Oh, and any move will have to be discussed with my ex as well - I don't think it would be fair to him to move very far away).
    • pelirocco
    • By pelirocco 20th Sep 17, 4:01 PM
    • 7,578 Posts
    • 8,435 Thanks
    pelirocco
    Thank you. Everything bothers me, but probably debt is the one that scares and stressed me out more than anything else.

    I've started doing a SOA but I'm so disorganised I don't actually know (don't want to know) how much I'm spending, apart from bills... will post here the result.
    Originally posted by plush
    You need to do a form of decluttering , and you will find it de clutters your head and you will sleep better
    Open all the unopened bills / find out what you owe ...theres some of the guess work clutter gone
    Put the unimportant debt to one side until work out what you have coming in and what the priority debt is , make sure you can cover that ( mortgage / rent , utilities , food etc )
    Work out what you have left for debt repayments ...dont over commit ..
    Find that little chink of light at the end of the tunnell
    have a clear out , sell or donate the stff that isnt important in your life , the less you have the clearer your head will be
    Allow yourself if possible a small amount of fun money and spend it wisely
    There is no money problem that can not be sorted
    Vuja De - the feeling you'll be here later
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 4:09 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    The SOA website doesn't load! LOL that's a great start. Am I the only one with that problem?

    @pelirocco: thank you! I know exactly how much I owe, I only have 3 credit cards and one overdraft. I also have 2 accounts - bills and spending. The spending one is where the bad things happen. I'm good about paying bills and my credit history is clean.

    What I don't know is how much I spend on things each month and wth am I spending it on. Debt has been increasing steadily over the past couple of years and the 0% balance transfer offers aren't helping at all! 0% is just an illusion, I keep paying balance transfer fees to move the debt from one card to another. I know what I need to do - cut up the credit cards... but I have been unable to.

    The de-cluttering idea is very good though. Thanks for that. I know it would help me go through all the s__t we have and get rid of it, and possibly make some money out of it.
    Last edited by plush; 20-09-2017 at 6:47 PM.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 20th Sep 17, 4:14 PM
    • 4,680 Posts
    • 8,868 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Thank you! I did consider moving outside of the M25 but after a lot of soul searching I decided we'd stay put for now, and try to tackle this debt problem instead. Also, I'm fearing social isolation - moving to a place where we don't know anyone is not something that appeals at the moment. I've discussed it with my child as well and was met with strong resistance. Apart from reducing the mortgage and paying off debt we have no reason to move, the area and the schools are great here. (Oh, and any move will have to be discussed with my ex as well - I don't think it would be fair to him to move very far away).
    Originally posted by plush
    Moving costs money anyway so it may be counter productive. You know the reason for the debt as you have said it yourself.

    So I live well above my means even though my income is not that bad. Although I have been able to cut some bills, I'm lacking willpower when it comes to everyday spending. I tried to put my credit cards away but I failed. I go on too many holidays. I spend too much money on everything: clothes, shoes, haircuts, household things, concerts, theatre, etc. And I definitely spend too much money on food, on both groceries and eating out.

    That would indicate to me that if you get your budget under control then this is fixable and you can start to deal with getting your finances under control.

    Move any credit cards not on 0% deals to the longest deals you can if your credit rating is still good and the deals are available to you. You may struggle on affordability depending on your income so do a soft check first to see which cards you might get approved for.

    I would start an emergency fund (crucial as an alternative to a credit card for when emergencies happen). This is important as you have a flat and also if you have a car.

    My personal preferences for managing money is to have two savings accounts - one for emergency only and one for annual expenses like insurances, Christmas, birthdays, holidays and annual costs for house or car like car tax/service or boiler servicing or even school uniform replacement. When your pot builds up you can also allocate money to white good replacement if your washing machine breaks or new sofas although some people like to split into more than one account for all those things.

    You can also have two current accounts, one for salary and bills/direct debits and one for disposable income for food, fuel, travel and personal expenditure. Sort out how much goes in each pot. Pay slightly more than minimums on the credit cards at the beginning of the month and maybe top up later on if you find you have spare income. A useful tip is to set the credit card payment at just over minimum and not reduce it as the balance reduces so if the minimum is £38 per month pay £40. Target the most expensive debts first.
    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
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 4:34 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    @entusiasticsaver: it feels like you know me! thanks for all the suggestions, I'm really grateful.


    Move any credit cards not on 0% deals to the longest deals you can if your credit rating is still good and the deals are available to you. You may struggle on affordability depending on your income so do a soft check first to see which cards you might get approved for.
    I've already done that. Apart from £300 overdraft - which happens without fail every month, right now all CC debt is on £0 for at least 20 months. I moved it recently. No more credit card applications!

    I would start an emergency fund (crucial as an alternative to a credit card for when emergencies happen). This is important as you have a flat and also if you have a car.

    I don't have a car and yes I do need a fund like this... the only savings we have are in a child account that I forced myself to open about 6 months ago, it pays 4% interest. Cannot make withdrawals and don't want to, so that's not an emergency fund.

    My personal preferences for managing money is to have two savings accounts - one for emergency only and one for annual expenses like insurances, Christmas, birthdays, holidays and annual costs for house or car like car tax/service or boiler servicing or even school uniform replacement. When your pot builds up you can also allocate money to white good replacement if your washing machine breaks or new sofas although some people like to split into more than one account for all those things.

    I don't have ANY savings accounts - I mean I do have one, with £0 in it. I thought - why open them since I need to pay off debt first.

    You can also have two current accounts, one for salary and bills/direct debits and one for disposable income for food, fuel, travel and personal expenditure. Sort out how much goes in each pot. Pay slightly more than minimums on the credit cards at the beginning of the month and maybe top up later on if you find you have spare income. A useful tip is to set the credit card payment at just over minimum and not reduce it as the balance reduces so if the minimum is £38 per month pay £40. Target the most expensive debts first.

    I do have 2 bank accounts,. Barclays for income and bills. Halifax for spending. It's the Halifax one that is bleeding all the time. It comes with a £300 fee free overdraft and I'm in it right now.The suggestion you make in blue might help.... when I get paid, I always optimistically make credit card payments that are much more than minimum. But, I use a credit card (Barclaycard) to spend, and by the end of the month I'm back in my Halifax overdraft AND with new credit card debt. I need to stop using Barclaycard. That's the one I need to cut.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Last edited by plush; 20-09-2017 at 6:48 PM.
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 4:47 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    OK so the SOA calculator isn't working so here's my bill list - for now. On paper, it's not that bad. The reality is that I spend much more than that £730 each month, after all bills are paid. This is how I racked up £14000. And I have not even included the annual bonus in my income figure.

    TOTAL CC DEBT: £14200 (£9K Barclaycard 1, £4.9K Sainsburys, and almost £300 Halifax overdraft). All at 0%.

    INCOME (salary, child ben, chd support) £3,043

    BILLS:
    mortgage repayments £980
    mortgage insurance £37
    other insurances £15
    service charge £75
    council tax (12x) £103
    gas, electricity £26
    water £17
    TV license £12
    line rental/Internet £19
    Netflix £8
    mobile £42
    Oyster £126
    childcare £290
    extracurricular clubs & school fund £110
    school lunches £37
    child account savings £100
    minimum credit card payments £313

    TOTAL BILLS £2,310

    LEFT AFTER BILLS EACH MONTH £734 (this is for food and all non-bills spending)
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 20th Sep 17, 4:54 PM
    • 8,149 Posts
    • 43,017 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Two words for you - Spending Diary!

    That is the honest first step, if you know you *should* have a surplus but somewhere along the way it's being eaten...or drunk, or just frittered...! Get all your routine spending "ducks in a line" as well - so work out roughly what you've spent on food shopping for example, on average, each of the last 3 months. Find out where you stand on utilities - are you in credit on electric or in debit on gas? That sort of thing can be helpful, particularly running into the winter.

    Hopefully the SOA calculator will sort itself out - if not perhaps the MSE "budget brain" tool might be up and running again now and you can use that to at least get all the figures together.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£632.77 (20/11/17)
    SOA Calculator for DFW newbies: Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 4:59 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    Two words for you - Spending Diary!

    That is the honest first step, if you know you *should* have a surplus but somewhere along the way it's being eaten...or drunk, or just frittered...! Get all your routine spending "ducks in a line" as well - so work out roughly what you've spent on food shopping for example, on average, each of the last 3 months. Find out where you stand on utilities - are you in credit on electric or in debit on gas? That sort of thing can be helpful, particularly running into the winter.
    .
    Originally posted by EssexHebridean
    Thank you Essex. I've installed the Spending Tracker app (read on another diary about it) so my plan is to sit down tonight and enter all my bills then track all spending, going forward, and evaluate monthly.

    Regarding the utilities, funny you should mention that. I'm with e.on and they sent me an email last week to reduce the direct debit from £59 to £26, apparently I was in credit.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 20th Sep 17, 5:05 PM
    • 1,300 Posts
    • 1,323 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    How about allocating yourself ' pocket money' each week out of your left over money and then putting it in 4 envelopes ( I got some nice colourful plastic ones off Amazon). Then take one each Sunday / Monday or whatever and that has to last the week. Don't even take your cards with you. What's left put towards your debt.
    You can definitely get over this with your income. Start on the smallest first.
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 5:13 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    How about allocating yourself ' pocket money' each week out of your left over money and then putting it in 4 envelopes ( I got some nice colourful plastic ones off Amazon). Then take one each Sunday / Monday or whatever and that has to last the week. Don't even take your cards with you. What's left put towards your debt.
    You can definitely get over this with your income. Start on the smallest first.
    Originally posted by Fireflyaway
    That's a great idea! Thanks.

    How about the online spending though? I know I should cut up my 2nd Barclaycard (I have 2 Barclaycards - one is the balance transfer one that has £9K on it, and the 2nd one is a regular one). I'm scared to do it though. "What if something happens" - that's always been my excuse. That's also the card listed on my amazon account. On the groceries account (Ocado). On the Oyster card as a top up card (for travel outside of the zones I pay a monthly card for).

    Right now, I cannot cut it. No cash in my pocket and the fee-free overdraft is maxed out (almost £300). Pay day is on Monday the 25th and we need food. That's how bad it is...
    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 5:18 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    plush
    PS. Oh yes - and Barclaycard 2 has £65 on it, which I neglected to include in the debt figure. So this month I overspent £365 (the overdraft plus the £65). It will be £400 by Monday when I get paid...
    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 20th Sep 17, 5:56 PM
    • 629 Posts
    • 1,527 Thanks
    Scott_Weiland
    Hi Plush the first thing i would do before anything is two things

    1) go see your gp
    2) restart yoga

    If your having any concerns re your mental health packing in exercise is the worst thing you can do. I won't go into the details here in depth but i have had mental health problems, the best advice i can give is above.

    Going to one yoga class pw week will release endorphins and serotonin that will help with your mood. Early on in the year i slipped a disc in my back and jaysus not being able to exercise for me was a nightmare.

    Think of it this way if your mood severely crashes what will it impact your family/work/finances etc etc you need to be well if you want to tackle the debt issues.
    Last edited by Scott_Weiland; 20-09-2017 at 6:00 PM.
    Debts 15981.64 total paid 2078
    Cashback Earnings YTD £167.10 Survey Earnings YTD £535.12
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

340Posts Today

4,254Users online

Martin's Twitter