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    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 24th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    • 2,303Posts
    • 11,255Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Finally Debt Free After 34 Years, But Still Need to Live Frugally
    • #1
    • 24th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    Finally Debt Free After 34 Years, But Still Need to Live Frugally 24th Sep 17 at 1:22 PM
    My DH and I have been in debt for 34 Years, apart from brief periods, ever since I was offered my first credit card at the tender age of19.

    Our debts were caused by us being impulsive spenders and not being very skilled at budgeting or managing our money, so we know it is our own fault. We always believed that one day we would have more money, mysteriously, and that this would bail us out .

    Our full light bulb moment came when we realised, "What if we never have any more money than we do right now?"

    A couple of years ago we were coping with the minimum payments, but didn't have enough to overpay on any of them. We were forking out £1300 a month in minimum payments, and the interest alone was £1000 a month .

    But then in 2015 our small business started to bring in less, and a family bereavement, and illness affected our ability to work. We could no longer afford the minimum repayments and we were scared we would lose our home. We were stricken with stress and depression .

    Step Change shone a light in the darkness for us and they arranged for us to make token payments of £1 a month to our creditors. This saved our sanity and we were reassured that our home was unlikely to be taken from us.

    My DH recently turned 55 and drew out his pension so that we could make full and final offers to our creditors. All but one accepted an offer of 50% of what we owed (which is all we had to offer). We are continuing negotiations with the final creditor and hope to be debt free by Christmas .

    Being so close to being debt free has made me realise what a heavy burden the debts have been all these years, like living our lives wearing lead boots.

    Once we are debt free we will still need to live very frugally because we have no emergency fund or savings, and our income can be irregular. I hope that starting a diary will help to focus me on frugal living, avoid impulsive spends, and keep my spirits up. Because frugal living can be a lonely and isolating experience.

    This site and Step Change has helped me so much, and I hope that my diary will help to inspire others that it's never too late to change your life .
    Last edited by HairyHandofDartmoor; 18-11-2017 at 9:49 AM.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
Page 3
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 28th Sep 17, 7:23 AM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    One of the things I would like to do today is to sign up with Clearscore and also get a credit report from Experian through the MSE free link.

    I've already signed up with Noddle and on my report with them it records my debt with Hoist as being 'satisfied' with a zero balance owing & my debt with Barclays also says 'satisfied' with a zero balance .

    However for my M&S debt it records I've paid 50% but still says 'default' and records a balance owing of nearly £5000 . This should get updated to say 'satisfied' with a zero balance like the others, so I need to keep an eye on this.

    I didn't pay any of them until I had a letter agreeing to the full and final settlement and I'm keeping those letters very safe indeed, so if M&S don't update it soon then I'll ring them up and ask them to correct the information.

    All the defaults were recorded as 2015 which is correct.

    Have a good day everyone. I'm hoping for a NSD today.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 28th Sep 17, 12:33 PM
    • 8,236 Posts
    • 43,669 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    Hopefully that will get updated pretty soon then and save you the hassle of chasing it - well done for keeping the letter safe "just in case" though - I'm always suspicious about stuff like that too!

    Clearscore is the one free credit file service I've not signed up with yet - must get around to that at some stage just so I can keep an eye on things there as well.

    Ouchy to the chicken breasts thing - at least you know for the future. were they in the wrong section of the cabinet do you think? If so I'd be inclined to phone, or say something on social media perhaps with the store tagged in?
    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
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 28th Sep 17, 7:20 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Good news, the doctors letter was finally ready, hallelujah . DH collected it and we're going to post it tomorrow with a covering letter. It's a great letter too, almost like we dictated it . DH has four health conditions which are all listed, so hopefully the creditor will decide they'd better take the money now while they still can . It will take the creditor a week to 'receive' the letter based on previous experience, but at least we're closer to the finish line .

    Today I also signed up for my free Experian credit report through Martin's link and I also signed up to Clearscore. Both of them are fully up to date and record my three debts as having a zero balance and being partially settled. I'm really pleased with that. In four years time the defaults should slide off and I'll look like a financial saint

    In other news I personally had a NSD day, but DH had to pay £20 for the doctors letter. Hopefully it will knock a lot more than that off our f & f settlement.

    I got another You Gov survey (three in one week, what's going on there?) but didn't have time to do it, so that will go on tomorrow's list.

    Have a relaxing evening everyone .
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 28th Sep 17, 7:24 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    The chicken breast was directly behind the chicken drumsticks with very similar packaging Essex. But it's my own fault as I should learn to read! An expensive mistake, but DS3 will enjoy a rare treat .
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 28th Sep 17, 7:27 PM
    • 8,407 Posts
    • 47,304 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    Great news that you have the doctor's letter and you are happy with it .

    Boo to 'non-cheep' chicken (Sorry, poor I know!! ) Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in December 1/5
    Lbs lost 10/107.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 28th Sep 17, 7:30 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    chicken nightmare!
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 28th Sep 17, 8:44 PM
    • 49,085 Posts
    • 182,363 Thanks
    beanielou
    Great news on the Dr's letter.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding***
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 28th Sep 17, 9:18 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Thanks beanie, it's seemed a long time coming and I'm not very good at waiting
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 28th Sep 17, 9:33 PM
    • 4,761 Posts
    • 28,385 Thanks
    Sun Addict
    Glad the doctors letter finally arrived, although I think the £20 charge is extortionate, if it saves you money in the long run it's worth it.
    Virtual Sealed Pot 2018 £20.70
    December 3 NSD
    Weight loss 2/7lbs
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 28th Sep 17, 9:44 PM
    • 49,085 Posts
    • 182,363 Thanks
    beanielou
    20 quid is cheap.
    Have heard of up to 100 quid believe it or not.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding***
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 29th Sep 17, 7:31 AM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    100 quid surely not It does seem a lot when people who need them are often Ill or on a low budget, but you don't have much choice in th end .

    Today's goals are to have a NSD, do the You Gov survey I didn't have time to do yesterday, and write a covering letter and post it to the creditor with the doctors letter. Then I'll have to be very patient for a week, which I'm not very good at . DH is much more patient than me and it's not even my debt .

    After that DH and I have to write and cost a proposal to try and get a new job in, it's only a short term project but most of ours are and the customer needs the work fairly urgently so hopefully they'll pay quickly if they go for it .

    Have a productive day everyone.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • Purplemumof2
    • By Purplemumof2 29th Sep 17, 10:00 AM
    • 5,298 Posts
    • 18,677 Thanks
    Purplemumof2
    Morning Hairy,

    Great news about the dtr's letter.

    Have a great day today xx
    Official DFW Nerd Club - Member no. 791 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
    MBNA: £7000.00 Cap 1: £457.35 BC: £5000.00

    AFD 0/10 NSD 0/10 LTW 0/10
    POAMAYC 2018 #?? PD £0.00/£4000
    20p Savers 2017 £2 Savers 2017 50p Savers 2017 SPC 11 2018 #003
    • scotdebs
    • By scotdebs 29th Sep 17, 12:28 PM
    • 559 Posts
    • 3,099 Thanks
    scotdebs
    Hairy Hand just found your diary. The reasons you got into debt are almost identical to ours and its great to see you are almost out of that long dark tunnel. After a number of flickering light bulbs mine is now well and truly switched on due to the fact I will be made redundant in about 18 months and unlikely to get same level of salary elsewhere will be following you for more inspiration
    CC debt Aug 2017 £48.6K
    Sept GC £128.11/£450
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 29th Sep 17, 7:45 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Hi scotsdebs thanks for popping by . It's great when you start to control your money instead of the other way around. Good luck with your journey.

    Well today has been productive if exhausting. We got the proposal done in record time as suddenly realised the deadline was lunchtime . The good news is they said yes :

    DH also wrote a very long covering letter to his remaining creditor, to accompany the doctors letter. He enclosed our budget that Stepchange helped us put together (in case they'd lost the previous one we sent them). We photocopied everything and then posted it recorded delivery, which came to £1.75. So much for a NSD, but the doctors letter would have cost £20 to replace and another four weeks wait, so we figured it was worth it.

    It felt great to have posted it, but I felt a bit tired and stressed after that. Dealing with creditors always makes me feel a bit meh .

    Also managed to do two You Gov surveys (that's four this week!) One was for a prize draw but I did win 200 points once. Plus managed a half hour walk for the third day in a row .

    On the down side I succumbed to a large chocolate bar and later on DH said he wanted pizza for dinner as a reward for hard work and he'd spotted a buy one get one pizza deal if you picked up. So another £10 gone, but he has worked hard so didn't like to say no .

    I'm looking forward to being a zombie in front of the telly tonight followed by a long sleep.

    Have a great evening everyone.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 29th Sep 17, 8:00 PM
    • 8,407 Posts
    • 47,304 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    Enjoy your night Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in December 1/5
    Lbs lost 10/107.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 29th Sep 17, 8:19 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Thanks lucky you too.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • Purplebonnie
    • By Purplebonnie 30th Sep 17, 6:42 AM
    • 89 Posts
    • 577 Thanks
    Purplebonnie
    Have read through your diary and it looks like you are doing really well and are on top of sorting out your debts. Good luck with your journey and have a good weekend.
    September 2017 Total Debt £37188.89 / DFD 01/05/22
    October 2017 Debt £36149.48 / DFD 01/04/22
    Extra Payments : 0.1% = £37.19 Total paid 0.3%
    MBNA - £5350.73

    October Food Budget : £200/£114.94 Extra Income £100 /£81.06
    SFD : 8/31 Weight Loss (Goal 8lbs) :
    • Purplemumof2
    • By Purplemumof2 30th Sep 17, 7:58 AM
    • 5,298 Posts
    • 18,677 Thanks
    Purplemumof2
    Morning Hairy,

    Sounds like a productive day yesterday.

    Fingers crossed the creditor behaves and you get the right outcome.

    Hope the pizza was nice

    Have a lovely day xx
    Official DFW Nerd Club - Member no. 791 - Proud to be dealing with my debts
    MBNA: £7000.00 Cap 1: £457.35 BC: £5000.00

    AFD 0/10 NSD 0/10 LTW 0/10
    POAMAYC 2018 #?? PD £0.00/£4000
    20p Savers 2017 £2 Savers 2017 50p Savers 2017 SPC 11 2018 #003
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 30th Sep 17, 8:30 AM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Thanks purplebonnie and purplemum .

    I really hope that the final creditor sees reason. We only have around £52 per month surplus after paying our bills, so it would take very many years to pay off £16000. And realistically we need that small surplus for emergencies etc. DH offered 50% of the total or £2.50 per month on each debt. That would take 266 years to pay off by my calculations . I don't think either of us will live that long .

    Today's plan is my weekly treat of coffee in town and browsing the charity shops. It's my me time where I get away from everything and everyone for a few hours and I look forward to it . I need to be strong around shops, but this is where having no access to credit comes in useful .

    When I get back I need to make some inroads into the laundry mountain, vacuum the downstairs and tidy our bedroom (an on going project). This evening DH, DS1 and I will watch a film together and I'll have some cans of cider (cheaper than wine as I'm the only one who drinks).

    Have a lovely saturday everyone.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 30th Sep 17, 2:41 PM
    • 2,303 Posts
    • 11,255 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    I had a low spend day at the shops this morning. £2.10 on bus fares, £2.65 for coffee and £2 on three books from the charity shop. Spent nearly £10 on fruit to top up supplies, but that should come from the food budget.

    So total spend £9.80 on food and £6.75 elsewhere. Considering there were lots off 50% off sales in M&S, Debenhams and House of Fraser I think that's pretty good .

    Came home to a letter from the tax office saying we owe £500 approximately in tax and they've been trying to contact us. We paid this bill back in early August Why do they always send threatening letters to arrive on a Saturday? They wind you up and then you can't ring them and sort it out until Monday .

    I'm looking forward to that cider tonight, I think I'm going to need it .
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 October 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund
    Emergency Fund 1 = £818/Emergency Fund 2 = £203.76
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