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    • plush
    • By plush 20th Sep 17, 2:41 PM
    • 39Posts
    • 147Thanks
    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 9
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 1st Dec 17, 6:54 AM
    • 223 Posts
    • 518 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Hi Plush,
    I think you are doing really well tracking all this and getting to grips with it all and brave to post the SOA. Some good suggestions from EH above. A couple of suggestions before some comments on your SOA. If you are paying £400 per month then you will pay off your CCs in 2.6 years. If you could increase this by, say £300 then that becomes 18 months, it might be more motivating as you say to have a really frugal 2018 and get rid of as much as possible. I think you are right to ignore the bonus, but if you get it use it 100% on the debt, donít be tempted to spend it on anything else. Can I suggest you check out Dave Ramsay? His podcasts are free, he is an acquired taste but there is some great wisdom in his pronouncements you may find helpful. Also, if you are going for it in January, check out Mrs Frugalwoods Uber Frugal January, I found it really helpful to reboot my mindset. Some of my suggestions come from these two! You have to challenge yourself. I think I have suggested about £300 of savings below.
    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information

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

    Total monthly income.................... 3063
    (salary, child benefit, and child support; excluding annual bonus)

    Monthly Expense Details
    Mortgage................................ 1000 (actually this is £980 but I've rounded it up - overpaying) Stop overpaying until you are out of debt, saving £20 per month

    Mortgage (unemployment only) insurance.. 36
    Other insurances........................ 17 (contents, mobile, WW travel, home emergency cover)
    Life assurance ......................... 0 (work perk - also sickness and accident insurance)
    Management charge (leasehold).......... 70 (service charge, building insurance and ground rent)
    Council tax............................. 102
    Electricity ............................ 23
    Gas..................................... 37
    Water rates............................. 17
    Telephone (land line)................... 19
    Mobile phone............................ 42 Go Sim only at contract end saving £30 per month
    TV Licence.............................. 12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 8 (Netflix only, no cable TV)
    Internet Services....................... 0 (free with Sky until end of contract - paying for landline only)
    Oyster monthly card & top-ups........... 146
    Pension contributions................... 0 (actually £100 but it comes off the payslip) Controversial Dave Ramsay suggests stop paying into pension until debt free, I have not counted this but worth considering
    Childcare .............................. 290
    School clubs, lunches, sch fund..........120
    Child savings........................... 100 Stop this and restart when debt free saving £100 per month
    Groceries etc. ......................... 200 This seems low could you say reduce eating out and give yourself more here to cook at home?
    Clothing................................ 100 Ok you will hate me but this has to be minimal saving £75 per month
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 10 (work perk - dental insurance)
    Presents (birthday, Christmas etc)...... 30
    Beauty.................................. 30 Every other month saving £15 per month
    Eating out & Fun........................ 100 Minimum cut by half saving £50
    Donations............................... 10
    Gym pass (yoga)......................... 45 (starting 1 Feb 2018) I guess this is already committed? If not cancel and restart when debt free
    Household fund.......................... 50 (starting 1 Jan 2018)
    Contingencies........................... 50 (this is really to capture all those "unexpected" ones... work in progress)

    Holidays................................ 0 (no holidays planned for 2018 ... unless a miracle happens)
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2664


    Assets

    Cash.................................... 700
    House value (Gross)..................... 400000
    Pension fund ............................ 35800
    Total Assets............................ 436500



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 185300...(1000).....2.34
    Total secured & HP debts...... 185300....-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Barclaycard1...................8400......190...... .0
    Sainsbury's....................4400......100...... .0
    Barclaycard2...................0.........0........ .7.9 (this WAS* my weakness)
    Barclays Overdraft.............0.........0.........0
    Halifax Overdraft..............0.........0.........0 (this WAS* my other weakness)
    Halifax Clarity................0.........0.........17.9
    Total unsecured debts..........12800.....290.......-


    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 3,063
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 2,664
    Available for debt repayments........... 399
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 290
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 109


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 436,500
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -185,300
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -12,800
    Net Assets.............................. 238,400
    (at least I'm at in green....)

    * Hopefully it WAS!


    Created using the SOA calculator at www.stoozing.com.
    Reproduced on Moneysavingexpert with permission, using other browser.
    Originally posted by Plush
    • Plush
    • By Plush 1st Dec 17, 9:53 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    @glass_half_full: thanks for the suggestions. I will consider all of them except pension contributions and the gym pass.

    Pension - I have 2 long term objectives, for old age: pay off my mortgage well before retirement age and contribute to pension without fail every single month, for as long as I have a job. My company also puts in a percentage of salary. On the mortgage ideally I want to pay it off sooner, so if I don't make good progress by then I'm open to move home once my child leaves for uni (or gets a job).

    Gym pass - I stopped going to yoga in April or so, with disastrous consequences on my mood, mental health, and my weight. I have recently gone back to it (in Nov) and it's helping me stay afloat. I'm going to our local community council gym - and it's a monthly contract, not annual, and it's free until end of Jan. It's cheaper than paying for individual yoga courses, which are £12-£13 in my area. Also, my company gives a £150 yearly allowance to spend on well-being and health related courses (not work-related). So effectively I will only start paying on the 1st of May, because I can claim Feb, March, and April under the yearly allowance.
    current credit debt Dec-2017 £12800 @ 0% // initial debt Sep-2017 £14200
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 1st Dec 17, 1:25 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 518 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    @glass_half_full: thanks for the suggestions. I will consider all of them except pension contributions and the gym pass.

    Pension - I have 2 long term objectives, for old age: pay off my mortgage well before retirement age and contribute to pension without fail every single month, for as long as I have a job. My company also puts in a percentage of salary. On the mortgage ideally I want to pay it off sooner, so if I don't make good progress by then I'm open to move home once my child leaves for uni (or gets a job).

    Gym pass - I stopped going to yoga in April or so, with disastrous consequences on my mood, mental health, and my weight. I have recently gone back to it (in Nov) and it's helping me stay afloat. I'm going to our local community council gym - and it's a monthly contract, not annual, and it's free until end of Jan. It's cheaper than paying for individual yoga courses, which are £12-£13 in my area. Also, my company gives a £150 yearly allowance to spend on well-being and health related courses (not work-related). So effectively I will only start paying on the 1st of May, because I can claim Feb, March, and April under the yearly allowance.
    Originally posted by Plush
    I agree with you about the pension. You mention University. One thing I wish I had done was to save for my DS, he is in his first year at Uni now. Luckily for us his grandparents have stepped in to help. You are far enough away that you could still save towards that. I don't mean the tuition fees, but the maintenance. The yoga looks like very good value and as you say is beneficial in so many other ways.
    • Plush
    • By Plush 1st Dec 17, 6:11 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    @glass_half_full: that's why I've started saving into a child account, for that purpose. I believe that saving a small amount every month is better than saving more nearer to uni age.

    Just logging in to say I managed to sell an old digital keyboard on eBay, to my surprise. It sold very quickly, I must have listed it too low or I got lucky with a local buyer. And it was picked up an hour ago and paid for... not bad.

    Off to yoga now. Have a great evening everyone.
    current credit debt Dec-2017 £12800 @ 0% // initial debt Sep-2017 £14200
    • Plush
    • By Plush 6th Dec 17, 10:01 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    I'm fuming. My boss' boss has just told us that a big chunk of our bonuses won't be paid because of the company's overall results - and we should be happy that we're still employed, considering recent layoffs - what a jerk to say that. This is really odd as up until now we were told they would be paid in full. So basically that's shaving at least 1K of the bonus. I now have the final gross figure. Can't budget it though as I never know how that converts into net.

    Apart from this fabulous news, not much to report - yoga and running going well - and although I'm not really losing weight, I'm feeling great, quite full of energy and able to fight my feelings of loneliness and despair

    Dating life still non-existent but at least I'm not feeling that miserable about it. I've deleted my OKC profile and trying Bumble instead. It's an interesting app, it works like Tinder with mutual matches, but only women can initiate contact, once a mutual match happens. That filters out a bit of the creepiness of the online dating world.
    • Plush
    • By Plush 8th Dec 17, 10:36 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    Finally Friday! I'm again travelling to central London to meet a client, it's freezing! need comfort food.

    Checked my bank accounts this morning and it's not looking too bad: £217 left for the next 2 weeks in my Halifax spending account. The Barclays bill acct is almost empty - but all bills and childcare are already paid - I only set aside money for DD's athletics club for next term, as it needs to be paid on the 18th this month. Most of the Christmas presents are purchased, I only need to get some wine or chocolates for the childminder, contribute a small amount to teacher's gift, and get some stamps. I haven't yet purchased my own Christmas treat, but I'll do that after Boxing Day (I hate boxing day).

    Can't believe 2017 is almost over. It has been a hard year on me - and not for objective reasons.. just emotionally. I felt really down for most of the year and unable to enjoy life. I really hope I will manage to overcome my own demons and enjoy 2018 more, I don't have any reasons not to!
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 12th Dec 17, 1:15 PM
    • 8,232 Posts
    • 43,627 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Oh that's brutally unfair about the bonuses - not telling you until so late in the day and then phrasing it like that as well - totally unnecessary to talk to people like that IMO.

    On the bright side though it looks like all the spending and stuff is properly under control! Well done!

    Now that you've got to grips with your financial stuff and identified some of the things that help support your emotional needs as well I can't see any reason for 2018 not to be "onwards and upwards" for you!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 £1229.00/£702.45 (20/11/17)
    SOA Calculator for DFW newbies: Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • Drawingaline
    • By Drawingaline 12th Dec 17, 5:49 PM
    • 215 Posts
    • 847 Thanks
    Drawingaline
    Sounds like you are ending the year on a positive
    • Plush
    • By Plush 14th Dec 17, 1:04 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    Thanks, yes - it's not that bad.

    My Barclays bills account is in green - as always. The Halifax one has £86 left in it until the 22nd, and that's supposed to cover one round of groceries plus spending money. No more cards and gifts left to purchase, apart from my own treat = but that comes off my bonus. I'm still not sure what it will be, I don't need anything in particular and I'm not in the mood for clothes. I might treat myself to an extended visit to a beauty salon for nails and massage OR buy a concert ticket. The ticket is for next June, but I will need that - as concert and theatre tickets are one of my big cuts in my effort to pay off the CC debt. That, and holidays and eating out.

    Weight-wise I'm stable. Yoga going well, dating life still absent, although a guy from work has asked me out, which is a bit odd - it sounded like a date - but I said no, as I don't really like his personality (he's hot though LOL) and I think it's a bad idea to see anyone from my workplace anyway...

    I'll be increasing frequency of yoga over the hols as my parents have decided to come over and visit, and I will have childcare. My dad has already booked DD to take her ice skating and to an adventure park - just the two of them. They both are very sweet, DD loves them a lot. I wish they lived closer.
    • Plush
    • By Plush 15th Dec 17, 11:45 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    Aargh, I broke my cafetiere this morning! It's almost ruining my December financial zen :-) I need to start that emergency fund pronto.

    I've listed some stuff on eBay to make some extra money, hopefully it will be enough to cover my cafetiere costs
    • Plush
    • By Plush 15th Dec 17, 6:00 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    Plush
    So... I spent enough time looking at YNAB and statements over the last 3 month or so... and I know what my problems are 1. with mindless spending and 2. cards usage. Here's my grand 2018 plan to fix my life.

    1. Spend less than £140* per week - all in cash, save the rest in a savings account. This is for food and daily spending only, AFTER bills and regular expenses paid.
    2. Pay £400 each month towards CCs debt. Do NOT use credit cards and overdrafts.
    3. Find a great remortgage deal (look in Mar-Apr for deal to start end of July)**.
    4. Limit eating & drinking out to occasions only. This includes coffee breaks.
    5. Packed work lunches most days.
    6. Less screen time on mobile and computers.
    7. Be more active - at least 3x per week - yoga, 5k runs, long country walks, park walks, cycling.
    8. More reading & hobby time.
    9. Low carb diet during weekdays. Carbs and sugar as normal on weekends.
    10. Declutter more: wardrobes and all storage cupboards.
    11. Get professional certification and/or change jobs (nb. job change only after remortgage completed).
    12. No holiday purchasing until annual bonus time Dec 2018. This one is the hardest out of all...


    *Now, on the spending money... here's the monthly budget. Bills and regular include absolutely everything that's committed (not only housing and transport but all childcare, clubs, my gym membership, school lunches, child savings, etc).

    My plan is simple, right after pay day every month:

    Keep in Barclays acct bills & regular £2,050
    Pay CCs Sainsbury's & Barclaycard1 £400
    Leave in Halifax for food & spending £613

    Each week, take out in cash £140 from Halifax and don't exceed it no matter what - it should cover groceries and all spending. At the end of the week, whatever is left in cash, save in an envelope. Repeat each week until the next pay date.

    The day before pay day each month, all money from the cash envelope, plus money left in Barclays and Halifax - if any (there should be!) - deposit to an "Emergency Savings" account. Emergency savings can only be used if anything in the house breaks down and needs repairing or - touch wood - for any medical problems.

    I really hope I manage to stick to this plan for as long as I can. I do realise that £400 per month for CCs isn't enough - even though it's more than minimum payments - and this way it will take me over 2 years to pay off the debt, even if I use annual bonuses to reduce it.

    **Which brings me to the next big decision - whether I should add the CC debt to the mortgage at the time of remortgage. I'm really not convinced I should do that, even though on paper it looks fine. As I've said before, the next 6 months or so are decisive. If I manage to stay on the above plan, I will probably do it - I will borrow more on the mortgage to extend the lease and consolidate remaining CC debt. If not... well then I will need to look at selling the flat and buy in a cheaper area.

    So there. Here's to a realistic 2018 Fingers crossed.

    PS. And a little celebratory note: I haven't used credit cards and overdraft since the end of Sep '17, when I paid the £65 Barclaycard2 balance. This used to be my main spending card. I haven't cancelled it, but I'm not carrying it with me, and I removed it from all online accounts.
    current credit debt Dec-2017 £12800 @ 0% // initial debt Sep-2017 £14200
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