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    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 24th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    • 2,268Posts
    • 10,900Thanks
    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 5
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 1st Oct 17, 1:16 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    So I've joined Prolific Academic and answered a ton of screening questions, so hopefully some surveys will come my way soon .

    I have some hardback books I don't want. I know they don't sell on eBay, so tried five of them on webuybooks.co.uk. One of the books they said no to and the other four were valued at 10p each. Not sure it's worth it but I'll try putting some other books in and see what they're worth.

    I've also had some ideas on how to spend less:

    1. My weekly food bill is supposed to come to £80 per week for four and a half adults, but it often goes over that amount. So my new goal is to be stricter on that front and even cut it down to £74.

    2. I tend to do a top up food shop on Saturdays so I need to restrict this to £6 (usually it's £10), that way my total weekly shop will actually be £80 like it should be.

    3. I have a bad diet coke habit and reckon on I spend £6 a week on this. This has to stop because I can't afford it, plus they're bad for me. As I'm an all or nothing type of person I know I can't cut down on them, so I'm going to quit the habit completely. The £6 a week that is freed up I'll transfer into my savings account.

    4. On my Saturday outings I tend to spend a minimum of £10 and sometimes more. I want to restrict my spending (on bus fares, coffee and charity shop books) to £8 a week. The £2 a week freed up I will transfer into my savings account.

    These might seem seem like small savings but they will add up over the weeks, months and years. Just by spending £2 a week less on my Saturday treat and saving £6 a week by giving up the cokes, will generate £8 a week, £32 a month and £416 a year. That seems worth while .
    Last edited by HairyHandofDartmoor; 01-10-2017 at 1:18 PM.
    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
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 1st Oct 17, 1:27 PM
    • 906 Posts
    • 4,613 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    I am in a similar position to you with regards to retirement, saving up after paying off debt and see where I am when I am 60.

    Have subscribed and will follow your progress .
    Nov 2017 CC1 £3329 CC2 £600

    Debt Free Nov 2019: earlier if I have my way
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 1st Oct 17, 1:46 PM
    • 49,047 Posts
    • 182,127 Thanks
    beanielou
    Small savings are good.
    They all add up.
    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***
    • mummytogirls
    • By mummytogirls 1st Oct 17, 1:48 PM
    • 5,621 Posts
    • 18,469 Thanks
    mummytogirls
    Well done on kicking the diet coke and saving £6 a week. I was going to suggest having a treat on a weekend but if you're an all or nothing girl this isn't going to work!!!

    xx
    Mummytogirls x

    £23164.32 - 12/12/10
    £6936.45 - 04/09/17 - 70.99% paid off
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 1st Oct 17, 3:44 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    I so like your positivity.
    Originally posted by beanielou
    Thanks Beanie .

    We've had some tough times over the past six years but we try not to let it get us down, we try to roll with the punches and keep going.
    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 1st Oct 17, 3:46 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    I am in a similar position to you with regards to retirement, saving up after paying off debt and see where I am when I am 60.

    Have subscribed and will follow your progress .
    Originally posted by Cumbria lass
    Hi Cumbria, we can take take this journey together .
    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 1st Oct 17, 3:48 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Well done on kicking the diet coke and saving £6 a week. I was going to suggest having a treat on a weekend but if you're an all or nothing girl this isn't going to work!!!

    xx
    Originally posted by mummytogirls
    I'm very all or nothing mummytogirls. My coke habit is a relatively new one so I should be able to kick it in theory. I feel like I'd rather have the money at the moment.
    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 1st Oct 17, 4:26 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    I've just found some old lists which I compiled a few years ago of little and big ways to save money.

    It all helps to show how far I've come and that a money saving attitude evolves over the years.

    1 Cancel Virgin tv in the kitchen (it's cancelled completely now)
    2 Cancel my phone contract (done two years ago).
    3 Only spend £100 a week on food (My goal is £80 now!)
    4 Don't buy a real Christmas tree, instead buy cheap artificial tree to reuse (doing this for 4 years now).
    5 Only buy Christmas gifts for our parents and children (done for past 3 years).
    6 Post all cards second class (do).
    7 Buy kids clothes from Tesco & Primark instead of Next and Debenhams (kids grown up now).
    8 Combine trips to save petrol (do).
    9 Change house insurance so pay less ( done).
    10 Buy presents from charity shops (do sometimes).
    11 Don't eat out or get takeaways (hardly ever eat out)
    12 Stop going to places that charge entry (done).
    13 Find a cheaper hairdresser (I pay £5 at the hairdressing college now)
    14 Tumble less (done).
    15 Downgrade Virgin tv channels (cancelled years ago).
    16 Persuade DH to go SIM only on phone (done about 18 months ago).
    17 Buy a cheaper wall calendar (spend £3 now instead of £8).

    We've been doing all these money saving things for years now and it's saved us a lot of dosh .
    Last edited by HairyHandofDartmoor; 01-10-2017 at 4:44 PM.
    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 1st Oct 17, 4:41 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    This is an old list I've found of ideas to reduce my food bill, can't believe I used to spend £120 a week .

    1 Stop buying Actimel for me (DH needs it for ibs, I don't).
    2 Buy vegetable oil instead of olive oil.
    3 Buy value margarine.
    4 Buy value ketchup.
    5 Buy frozen vegetables.
    6 Buy apples, satsumas, bananas instead of grapes and berries.
    7 Stop buying coke.
    8 Stop buying juice or squash (drink milk or water).
    9 Buy frozen chicken instead of fresh.
    10 Eat porridge instead of muesli.
    11 Stop buying houmous
    12 Drink tap water instead of buying mineral water.
    13 Buy value cling film.
    14 Stop buying vitamins.
    15 Buy value tea bags.
    16 Buy frozen burgers instead of fresh.

    All of these things I've been doing for years and they have helped to reduce our food bill .
    Last edited by HairyHandofDartmoor; 01-10-2017 at 4:47 PM.
    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
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 1st Oct 17, 7:07 PM
    • 2,245 Posts
    • 14,291 Thanks
    parsniphead
    I love finding old lists. A real look into the mind.
    Nothing gets better until you get better.
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 1st Oct 17, 9:45 PM
    • 624 Posts
    • 3,547 Thanks
    redofromstart
    I read mine and think <insert rude word> never did that so I am impressed with yours.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 1st Oct 17, 10:06 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    It's a process that's been evolving over the years redo. Sometimes I fall off the wagon and the spends go up, but then I try and rein it back in. No access to credit helps a lot!
    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
    • Hiddenidenity
    • By Hiddenidenity 1st Oct 17, 11:29 PM
    • 4,230 Posts
    • 26,461 Thanks
    Hiddenidenity
    I so like your positivity.
    Originally posted by beanielou
    Me too!

    As for grocery spends do you meal plan?
    Watch how much "waste" there is. Instead of making the portions a little bigger because there isn't much left, make it spread to one extra and freeze. Then use these as a 'mixed' day or as homemade ready meals.

    As for extra spends I avoid going into town When I do I don't take my bank card. If I see something I need 9 times out of 10 by the time I'm going back into town I've realised I don't really need it afterall.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 2nd Oct 17, 10:24 AM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Thanks HI

    Good advice re food. I do meal plan and take a list but I need to do it better and cheaper, so must work on that.

    A very good idea not to take my bank card into town, I didn't even think of that . I could take £10 in cash, leave my card at home and then I can't be tempted. If DH texts me to say can I pick up something then I'd have to say 'sorry, no can do' . Not that he does that very often.
    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 2nd Oct 17, 10:33 AM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    I've rung up the vat office and told them the bill was paid in July. She said "Oh yes it has been paid, I can't understand why that letter was sent".

    Glad that one is sorted, silly to get stressed over it I know. I even looked up my bank statement which shows the payment and printed off the relevant page from my online vat account, in case I needed to send them proof. No need though as she could see it had been paid .

    Yesterday was a NSD and hoping today will be too .

    I need to go and do some work now! The sun is shining today . Have a good Monday 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 2nd Oct 17, 10:40 AM
    • 5,288 Posts
    • 18,621 Thanks
    Purplemumof2
    Morning Hairy,

    I love lists and chuckle sometimes at the old ones I used to make

    Hopefully the tax office won't send you another letter, I'd keep the print out just incase.

    Have a lovely day x
    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
    • jwil
    • By jwil 2nd Oct 17, 4:45 PM
    • 7,811 Posts
    • 22,430 Thanks
    jwil
    Loving the lists!

    Great news about the tax office, I agree, keep your proof just in case.
    "If you can dream it, you can do it". Walt Disney
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 2nd Oct 17, 7:29 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Hi purplemum and jwil .

    Yes I will definitely keep the proof, probably forever .

    Today I've done another You Gov survey, and my first PA survey for which I've earnt the amazing sum of 10p, but it has to start somewhere and it took me all of 30 seconds .

    A NSD for me so far, but DH needs to pop out and buy some more milk while I do dinner for the grown up kids to drink and for my cups of tea. He'll probably drive because after a sunny start it's now chucking it down again .

    I had to chuck another load of laundry in the machine just now as DS3 suddenly announced he needed a particular top and hoody for college tomorrow and I'm not putting only two items in the machine I wish we had a half load setting.

    Hope everyone had a good day 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
    • mummytogirls
    • By mummytogirls 2nd Oct 17, 9:33 PM
    • 5,621 Posts
    • 18,469 Thanks
    mummytogirls
    Weather has been awful here today too HHOD.

    Flipping kids! We would all have no washing and money without the kids in tow ha!!!! Ahhh well love them anyway xx
    Mummytogirls x

    £23164.32 - 12/12/10
    £6936.45 - 04/09/17 - 70.99% paid off
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 2nd Oct 17, 9:48 PM
    • 2,268 Posts
    • 10,900 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Weather has been awful here today too HHOD.

    Flipping kids! We would all have no washing and money without the kids in tow ha!!!! Ahhh well love them anyway xx
    Originally posted by mummytogirls
    It's so true I'd be very rich and very bored without the kids
    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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