Taking the first step...

Ok, so here goes...

I've been in & out (but not for long) of debt for years. Generally by random spending on cards then getting loans etc to pay it off but not having the sense to not do it all again. I'm probably in a better position with my debts now than I have been in the past but my total lack of money all the time is really getting me down. I need to address my spending habits, i think.

Eek! Didn't mean to make this sound all so confessional & "Oprah" ish so here's my SOA:

Monthly income = £2,500

Monthly Expenses
Rent = £1,170
Council tax = £62
Electricity = £31
Gas = £31
Water rates = £28
Telephone (land line) = £25
Mobile phone = £25
TV Licence = £12
Internet Services = £5
Groceries etc = £250
Clothing = £50
Other travel = £100
Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc) = £35
Contents insurance = £20
Presents (birthday, christmas etc) = £85
Haircuts = £30
Entertainment = £65
Holiday = £70

Total = £2,094
Loan = £12,875.04 10.38% Fixed monthly payment £268
Credit Card = £97.61 30.34% (£100 credit limit, paid in full every month)
Overdraft = £2900.00 12.9%

I tend to always max my card in a month & I live in my overdraft so my monthly debt costs are approx: £395
@ LBM = £15,872.65, now £10,819.82
AF Jan = 7/? Feb = 5/14 Mar = 14/20 Apr = 6/14 May = 2/14 June 2/14 July 0/TF Aug 1/TFv Sept 6/TF Oct 4/7


  • dannynixon
    dannynixon Posts: 418 Forumite
    Hi and well done for posting you SOA. Here is what I make of it. Not sure if you have family etc so I will take it you live on your own.

    Rent @ over £1000p/m?!?!? Could you downsize?
    Do you need a landline and a mobile?
    Could you drop your £250 a month shopping budget using the old style board for recipies etc?
    Other travel - is this a bus? Could you bike to your destination?
    Do you need a haircut every month or could you go every other? Could you get your hair cut by students at a college?
    Can you afford a holiday?

    How long do you have left on the loan?
    What are you spending £100 a month on the Visa for? Your SOA doesnt indicate this. Is it £100 worth of entertainment?
    LBM - 30/07/09
    Started DMP in Oct 2009, went wrong. Due to start new DMP in March/April 2013. Bring it on!
  • honeybear_2
    honeybear_2 Posts: 3,914 Forumite
    All very sensible questions, thank you

    I live in London, don't drive & do a job that I need to be on hand for at short notice a lot so need to be close to work. Would be trickier to live in anywhere much smaller than my place too! It is something I keep considering but am tied to the place for the time being.
    The landline also provides my internet, I've just split the costs. Am looking round for a new deal on it though. And not having my mobile would make my personal life (family & b/f) very very tricky :(
    I am looking at cutting back on other things, like food etc. The hair thing is split over a yearly cost, same as the holiday & the presents. Keep looking around for cheaper options but not with much success so far so I'm trying to hold off going as much as poss.
    As for travel, I think cycling in London is a death wish! I do walk a lot & try to use the bus more than the tube. Also have to travel to see b/f, which is costly when averaged over a year, even on cheap tickets.
    I use my card for rubbish sometimes, ie.treats etc. But it is also really handy in emergencies or when I have to stay away for work at short notice (happens a lot!). The bargain I have with myself is that I always clear it every month but I need to get into the habit of not using it "just because"
    Oh & the loan has 4 years to go
    @ LBM = £15,872.65, now £10,819.82
    AF Jan = 7/? Feb = 5/14 Mar = 14/20 Apr = 6/14 May = 2/14 June 2/14 July 0/TF Aug 1/TFv Sept 6/TF Oct 4/7
  • Shame about the loan being so long.

    Sorry more questions,

    Could you b/f come and visit you?

    I think spending on the card for 'because' will have to be a no-no. Could you start a daily spending diary, writing down everything you spend so that you see exactly where the money is going?

    Are you tied to the landline? If not, get rid and pick up a mobile broadband dongle for £15 a month, this will give you an instant saving of £15.

    Could you cut back on clothing for a few months?

    Your SOA doesn't actually look that bad, it is just your rent. I can't believe it is that high! I thought mine was expensive @ £550 a month. How long are you tied to it?

    £250 a month on food seems high for one. I seriously think you could reduce this. Do you buy lots of ready meals etc because they are v.expensive.

    The positive thing is you are (just) in the green and at least your creditors are being paid. Many people on here are in the red each month by a few hundred pounds.

    Have you shopped around (comparison sites) for your home insurance?

    Don't mean to sound negative with lots of questions :D
    LBM - 30/07/09
    Started DMP in Oct 2009, went wrong. Due to start new DMP in March/April 2013. Bring it on!
  • TMoose
    TMoose Posts: 267 Forumite
    1170pm is alot pm even for London - I assume from that you are renting a one-bed on your own (and a fairly nice one at that!)

    Whilst I appreciate that it may not be ideal, you may want to consider a house-share. I have just moved out of a 3 bed semi in leafy zone 4 which I shared with a friend for 600pm each. I'm now living with my gf and a friend in zone 3 for 490pm... So if you are serious about hitting your debt, this is the way to go!

    Also, assuming you are living alone - 250pm is huge for groceries. I'm a foodie and still manage to keep under 200pm.

    Also, the holiday has to go - 70pm = 840per year - that 7% of your overall debt! Similarly cut back on the presents - that's another grand every year...

    I think that you've got plenty of room for maneuver and should be able to get yourself out of your overdraft and into the black (Which is always a nice sight) quite quickly!
  • honeybear_2
    honeybear_2 Posts: 3,914 Forumite
    Ooh, crikey, lots of questions!

    My place is nice & in a nice bit of a scummy area. When I moved here I didn't know anyone (still don't know many people) so having somewhere nice & safe was very important, and still is. I'm tied to it for another year but because it's nice & I do feel happy & safe here, that helps make the cost bearable. That being said, I am starting already to consider my options for the future.
    The comments about food, holidays etc are what I think I really need to help me get some perspective. I know in comparison to alot of people on here I'm in a good position. My trouble is not controlling my spending & not facing up to it, so all this is really helping.
    My food bills end up so high cos I drink far too much red wine :( Again, am now facing up to this too. I do generally cook from scratch but I intend to have a look at the old fashioned money saving stuff to get some extra tips
    @ LBM = £15,872.65, now £10,819.82
    AF Jan = 7/? Feb = 5/14 Mar = 14/20 Apr = 6/14 May = 2/14 June 2/14 July 0/TF Aug 1/TFv Sept 6/TF Oct 4/7
  • Where do you do your food shopping? There may be some cheaper alternatives.

    Could the holiday not go?

    Other then rent, holiday, groceries, travel to bf and Visa I cannot see where you will cut back because you don't owe to loads of creditors
    LBM - 30/07/09
    Started DMP in Oct 2009, went wrong. Due to start new DMP in March/April 2013. Bring it on!
  • TMoose
    TMoose Posts: 267 Forumite
    I can understand your choice with where to live - when I moved here 4yrs ago, I knew virtually no-one, but over time have made friends, and even gotten myself a relationship! Gumtree is a great place to find shared flats - with strangers admittedly, but then again, strangers are only friends that you haven't met yet :) You can afford to be picky, so don't worry about having to live in a shithole...

    As for the rest, as you say, it's the kick up the backside that's needed. I was exactly the same, and the LBM/Kick came when HBOS took away my 5K overdraft with 2 weeks notice. I'm now scheduled to be debt free by the end of the year. That's not to say I don't enjoy my life - I've got a two week holiday to Hawaii and have an active social life... but then I do share a flat... so it's all swings and roundabouts. Effectively, living alone will dictate the fact that you cannot have a holiday/see your bf as often/buy as many clothes...

    Budgetting is a tough, but important skill to learn. I moved out of home when I was 18, and only really learned to manage my money now, 12 years later!

    In the good news(!) you've caught it before it gets really out of hand, so keep focussed, and feel free to pop in here for support - they're a useful bunch here!
  • TMoose
    TMoose Posts: 267 Forumite
    Also, do you use Oyster for your travel? Do you have a travel-card? Do you have the correct zones/PAYG for the journeys you make?

    I assume you are based in zone 1/2, which makes it more expensive to travel, but it's always worth working out exactly the best way to get the most from the system - usually a zonal card, but sometimes it's worth just having zone 2 (say) and PAYGing in Zone 1...
  • misspoppy
    misspoppy Posts: 1,009
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker

    Just one thing, with your rent so high are you sure your council tax is right its really cheap concidering your rent.
  • honeybear_2
    honeybear_2 Posts: 3,914 Forumite
    Yeah, Zone 2 & cos of the sometimes crazy working hours Oyster works out as the best option.

    I do really appreciate all the comments/questions/suggetions so thanks :)

    It's all helping me to get my head around what I need to do & I think my first steps has to be keeping a spending diary cos that will help with not using the Visa & identifying all my nasty shopping habits &, in turn, help me to find alternatives.

    I will also talk to b/f about travelling& all the holiday stuff
    @ LBM = £15,872.65, now £10,819.82
    AF Jan = 7/? Feb = 5/14 Mar = 14/20 Apr = 6/14 May = 2/14 June 2/14 July 0/TF Aug 1/TFv Sept 6/TF Oct 4/7
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