Help for First Time Posters & SOA Calculator

edited 25 March 2014 at 7:08AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
1 reply 107.2K views
southernscousersouthernscouser Forumite
33.7K Posts
Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
edited 25 March 2014 at 7:08AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
This is a really useful thread for newbies to the Debt Free Wannabe Board

New MoneySavers should read this in conjunction with Where To Start With Problem Debts on the main site.

Welcome to MSE and the Debt Free Wannabe board. :D

Now I know this is a bit of an essay but please read through the whole thing. In the long run it will save you and us lots of time. ;)

This is a guide for anyone who wants to start battling the debt demons but isn't quite sure where to start.

First things first, well done for confronting your debt. This is quite commonly know on here as your "light bulb moment". :idea: This is the biggest and hardest step you will take so if you can do this you CAN become debt free. :T

When I first posted I felt ashamed, guilty, sick, embarrassed, angry! But don't beat yourself up. There are thousands who have made the same mistakes as you and me and I promise you that within hours of posting you will be feeling more positive and willing to tackle your debts head on! :D

You won’t be judged (certainly not by me, look at my signature :eek: ) so don’t be ashamed to admit everything. Although it pains me to say it there are a lot of top people on this board. :o

The other members on here are so genuine and helpful it is unbelievable. I don't think there is much between us that we can't help with.

For other MSE users to be able to help you as best we can you need to provide us with as much information as possible. You don’t have to include your life story (although the nosier ones won’t mind if you do :D ) but we do need to know every penny you have coming in, and every penny going out. The more accurate and detailed you are the better the advice will be. We call this a SOA (state of affairs).

Here is a link to a really useful SOA calculator thanks to Clariman. icon2.gifCLICK HERE

Below is a rough template;
Monthly Incomings:

My salary - £1,330.34
Partners salary - £874.32
Benefits - £100

Total - £2,304.66

Monthly Outgoings:

Mortgage/Rent - £700
Council Tax - £89
Gas - £20
Electric - £20.53
TV License - £10.99
Sky £45.99
Phone - £40.79
Food - £300
Car Insurance - £32.53
Petrol - £80
Life Insurance £20

Total: £1,359.83

Make sure you include EVERYTHING you can think of!

Also give us as much detail about your debts as you can especially with the APR’s. If you don’t know them, phone the credit companies up and get them to tell you.

Egg CC – Balance £2,300 (limit £2,500) APR 12.9%

Tesco Loan – Balance £5,000 APR 8.9% Length of term 60 months, 12 months to go

Overdraft - £800 (limit £1,000) APR 20%

The SOA will be the first thing any other user will ask you for and it's essential you get it as accurate as possible!

Also start a spending diary. Note down every single penny you spend each day. It's amazing where it all goes. I was spending over £30 a month on the drink and snack machines at work! That's a minimum £360 a year! :eek:

This is crucial in telling you where the "spare £300" a month goes!

Also below are the contact details of Debt Management Charities. They will not charge you a penny like other companies and are amazingly well thought of by people on these boards. In fact I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word about them yet.

They offer great financial advice and like I said are totally free to use.

You may have seen the adverts on TV saying "we reduced Mr Blogg's monthly payments from £1200 to only £300 per month and will be debt free in 5 years"! Ignore those (insert swear word here) leaches! The charities below offer you exactly the same service but for no cost!

Consumer Credit Counselling Service (aka CCCS)
Wade House
Merrion Centre
Tel: 0800 138 1111

Citizens Advice Bureau (aka CAB)

Now you may have, or been tempted to, consolidate your debts. Now although I wouldn't totally disregard the idea quite often just shuffling your debts around can prove to be a far more cheaper and practical way to go about things!

There is a fantastic online calculator (link below) that you input all your debts and the amount you can afford to pay each month, and the calculator will tell you what debt to pay first and how much to pay each month. It also gives you a debt free date which can be a great motivation and a target to work to.

There are lots more things I could cover on here but I don't want to baffle myself too much, let alone you! :rotfl:

Everything I haven't included will be picked up by the other posters anyway so just concentrate what is on here first and we'll take things from there!

Lastly, if ever you need advice, comforting, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, someone to rant to, or a kick up the !!!! (you know who you are ;) ), there will always be sympathetic ears and polished boots on this board. :D :rotfl:

Good luck

SS :)


  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
    13.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker Hung up my suit! Mortgage-free Glee!
    BG Note
    I have been asked by more than one poster to make this thread a sticky so I have now done so. Please also look at the sticky posted by MSE Martin and the dealing with debt articles

    To prevent new users posting their own circumstances in this thread and getting missed I have locked it. Please start your own thread with all the relevant details, it will enable the regulars to help you to deal with your debt.
    Free impartial debt advice from: National Debtline or Stepchange[/CENTER]
This discussion has been closed.
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