I can't quite believe it's got this bad



  • Talheedin
    Talheedin Posts: 21 Forumite
    Who said that “Fame Costs”? I didn’t realise you could get it on credit!

    Thanks very much to Martin and to everyone here who has shown so much kindness and given so much advice. It really has made a difference to how I’ve been feeling and I’m sure my Wife will feel the same when she reads it (I told her how many replies there were last night and she couldn’t believe it).

    I’m preparing a longer post to try and get a grip on the massive amount of advice I’ve been given but I did just want to mention one thing now as I think I could actually save people a bit as the things that we do haven’t been mentioned.

    As I’ve said earlier we have a shopping bill of around £400 a month which some people have said is good and others bad. I do agree that there are probably a few things we can cut out of this (as one post mentioned, going shopping on an empty stomach can cost double). However, apart from the extras that we probably shouldn’t get, we have cut our expenditure in this area drastically.

    First of all, at the beginning of every month, we do a bulk buy at one of the huge trade warehouse shops. These outlets are all over the place and will normally do individual membership for people employed in certain sectors for a price. Ours does two cards for £30 but you can put anyone you like on the other card and so can get a friend to give you £15 for the other one so it only costs you £15. And it is worth it. The quality of the food is normally much better and the price is normally much lower (although you’ll probably need to get yourself a chest freezer as you will need to buy in bulk to save). However, two for one offers and sales in supermarkets can sometimes beet the price at the outlet so you need to keep an eye out. The good thing about the outlet I go to is that they have loads of stalls giving free tasters so even if you haven’t had time to eat you can fill up for free! And they don’t just do food. Mega packages of toilet rolls (something that we go through a lot of) are far cheaper as are many other items.

    The next thing is that when we are running low on herbs and spices, sauces or anything a little more exotic then we go to the Chinese or Asian super markets. These are the places where many of the restaurants’ and takeaways’ go to and the prices are vastly cheaper (and normally better quality too). I said earlier about 3 Chillies from ASDA costing 54p and 10 Chillies from the Asian supermarket costing 10p well there are far more savings than that. Soy Sauce from the normal super markets around £1 - £1.50 for a small bottle whereas it’s 50p for a small lake from these more specialised places. And you can also pick up your veg cheap there as well.

    Finally, we divide what’s left of the monthly budget into each week and use that on the shopping at ASDA when it is more convenient or occasionally cheaper than the other places. It also allows us to keep an eye out for special offers.

    We nearly always cook our own meals rather than getting ready made ones, they’re much nicer and healthier. We have recently bought a bread maker which makes fantastic bread but we’ve got to get into the routine of using it every day as we still seem to be buying a lot of bread as well. It also takes a bit of practice and experimentation and we’re still looking for somewhere that does sacks of strong flour rather than just small bags as I’m sure this will be cheaper. By the way, we bought the bread maker in a closing down sale for £27 but on the internet it’s nearly £80.

    Well, this has been far longer than I was intending so I’ll leave it there except to say thank you to everyone once again.

  • Dammam
    Dammam Posts: 349 Forumite
    Well, I've read the first couple of pages but not got time to read the rest just yet (it's good to read them - just because they're aimed at someone elses problem doesn't mean the rest of us can't learn from the suggestions!)

    So, apologies in advance if I'm repeating anyone elses suggestions. Here are a few of mine from personal experience, and I'm sure that one or more will horrify a few people here :-)

    Firstly, I had huge debts on a not so great wage, my wifes ex stopped paying the little maintenance he was and......I got made redundant.
    My first course of action was the same as a lot of peoples - I stuck my head in the sand and pretended it wasn't happening. This led to Barclays closing my bank account and 2 CCJs against my mortgage. After a while, the debts for all my other loans were sold off to debt collecting agencies, although we also had a few bailiffs visits for non payment of council tax. It really was a low time. I contacted one of those places that promised to cut your debts by up to 70% but (thankfully) got cold feet - they didn't half push though!
    My redundancy money paid off a few of the more pressing debts but I was still up to my neck in it.

    My eventual decision, after I got back to work (which took a year incidentally!) was to re-mortgage. I know, I know - I've seen a few posts here telling us what a terrible mistake this was, but I didn't know about this place then. This wasn't an easy process, my credit rating was already shot with CCJs and bad credit, but I managed to find someone who would lend me money albeit at a high rate. This paid off another chunk of the debts - by this time, I was savvy enough to negotiate payments in full and final settlement with the collectors. It still left me with debt, a bad credit rating and very little spare cash. 3 years later (5 months ago), I re-re-mortgaged. This allowed me to pay of my remaining debts and, as I was able to get a slightly better rate, my mortgage payments only went up a small amount.
    I keep a beady eye on my credit reports now - I appear to have a 'fair' rating, and this should change to 'good' in the next couple of months.

    The despair of my debt problems has meant that I NEVER want to go down that route again. I now save if I want something - if I get credit again it will be used the way that is advised on this website.
    Here are the things that put me back on the straight and narrow:-

    Re-mortgage (but DON'T be tempted to blow all the spare cash on new gadgets!)

    Working tax credit - every little helps, and this certainly has.

    Quidco - arranging insurance etc through this has brought some very useful pocket money in.

    Suing Lloyds Bank - Consumer Action Group helped me to regain £5,000 in illegal bank charges!

    Shopping at Aldi / Lidl - the saving has been very noticeable.

    Scouring Moneysavingexpert.com - there's always something new to learn!

    I get even more of a kick nowadays on saving money or resisting the temptation to spend then I ever did from spending on gizmos and gadgets.

    Hopefully, on my next remortgage I can save a bit more due to my new, improved credit rating. It's taken me around 7 years to get out of the mess I was in, and it feels great. You've taken the initiative BEFORE you've got into my state so my gut instinct is that you're going to come out of this wiser, wealthier and happier than you are now.
  • saranorton
    Hi , just a couple of tips to save money on the shopping and eat well. Go down to sainsburys around 6pm and everything marked down as date up that day and freeze. Take advantage of the buy one get one free. Buy basics at Aldi /Lidl.
    As a Mum of 4 I appreciate expense of buying clothes . My solution is to buy at boot sales , charity shops and on ebay . Once washed and ironed who knows the difference ? You can get all top brands just a bit of looking around involved.
    Also you can sell your old stuff at bootie and make a few bob.
    Finally hand over finanicial reins to your wife she may be reluctant but she'll be more upset if you go bankrupt! When you get sorted you dont want to end up in same mess again, share the responsibility. All the best .
  • Floss
    Floss Posts: 8,300 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Photogenic
    Try the shops in ethnic areas for sacks of flour.....Curry Mile, Rusholme in Manchester has places where you can bulk-buy rice, flour etc for bargain prices.

    Also, try putting BM on overnight or whlie at work, so you get up or come home to fresh bread....it is a gorgeous smell!
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  • ultimate_fish

    I was just wondering it you have explained to your older kids about the situation your in? Kids can be remarkably helpful when they know whats going on and therefore how to help.

    I don't say tell them everything but just enough for them to get the outline. Whilst it's not good for them to be frightened there is middle ground and by explaining the outline it may take help take away the pressure you feel about stopping their savings etc. (Hopefully you have stopped by now)

    Good luck -

    This is really good advice. When I was young my parents struggled financially but kept everything to themselves, and even told me it was none of my business when I asked.

    I think it's probably pride on my dad's part.

    The result is that I never learned the importance of budgeting and that cost me a lot when I left home.

    As well as, hopefully, being understanding about the situation this is also an opportunity for your kids to learn from the financial mistakes you've made. With so many kids involved ;) if they learn to avoid debt then maybe that's something good to come out of all this.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,175 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Hi-Not sure if you have said age/s of your kids but I notice your wife works p/time and you have relatively low childcare costs (£44 a month). I'm guessing that this is cos your wifes working hours are slightly outside school times, something like that? Is there any way of her changing her shifts to make it you don't need to pay for childcare?

    I also agree with the posters who've said you don't seem to be claiming tax credits. I think it's likely you'll be entitled to what is called the family element which is roughly £10 a week. Have a look on this site https://www.entitledto.com
  • tin
    tin Posts: 502 Forumite
    One thing I haven't seen here is mention of the current trend for reclaiming charges from banks and credit cards. I guess as you're in some trouble that it's possible you will have been charged penalties a number of times by these places in the course of the last 6 years. If that's true then it might be worth your time to try and reclaim them, and use the money to swipe a bit off your most expensive debts, which might make the rest more manageable more quickly.

    Check out http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=1657445#post1657445 and http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/

    I'd also echo (and add a bit here and there) some of the stuff that's been mentioned on here already
    - Reduce Sky to the minimum initally, then Cancel it as soon as it's out of contract. Your box will continue to receive the "freesat from sky" service without any further outlay. Don't give in to wanting the extra channels!
    - Change broadband supplier immediately, consider eclipse internet's Evolution broadband classic. It's not great performance but they're considered a good ISP and it will only cost you a tenner a month. The Sky and Sky broadband is an option but I guess you'll be kept waiting for that, so only consider it once the availability issues are sorted out.
    - Ensure your BT line is on option 1, sign up for 18866/1899/18185 or all of them, and always use the cheapest for whatever your call pattern tends to be. again involve everyone so they all use it and know and appreciate why they're using it. Check out the telephones board here on MSE.
    - See if you can cancel the mobile phones at all, or use pay as you go and really be ruthless with not using it except when really really necessary.

    and good luck with it all ;)
  • jaygrunt
    jaygrunt Posts: 529 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    One of the best things I heard about credit(dont know id was on here) but always when you see the word credit change it for debt

    eg. debt card low debt rating interest free debt

    works for me everytime!!!
    If you dont ask you dont get!!
  • moozie_2
    moozie_2 Posts: 3,063 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hello :wave:

    Just wanted to say well done, you are doing so well with tackling a lot of areas. You clearly have a strong relationship with your partner. My only comment would be to (as you've had great money saving advice already from the lovely peeps on here :) ) continue being there for each other and working through all the money issues together. The going might get tougher before it gets easier but, it helps so much having someone that understands and loves you while everything else is going on.

    Best of luck and keep posting!

    Moozie x
    Leason learnt :beer:
  • zenith52
    If you have a big freezer and are looking to bulk buy (and you are not a veggie;-) )

    Try https://www.freshmeat2u.co.uk, about half the price of most supermarkets and far better quality,i.e. Properly hung beef, etc.

    We just buy about once every 2/3 months.

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