🗳️ ELECTION 2024: THE MSE LEADERS' DEBATE Got a burning question you want us to ask the party leaders ahead of the general election? Submit your suggestions via this form or post them on our dedicated Forum board where you can see and upvote other users' questions. Please note that the Forum's rules on avoiding general political discussion still apply across all boards.

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



  • topgranny
    topgranny Posts: 85 Forumite
    I've just finished reading all the responses up to now and have been struck by the amount of Newbie MoneySavers who have posted thoughts and ideas. Although a lot of ideas have been repeated, there really is a lot of food for thought here.

    We had our worst time ever in the early 1980's when we tried to live the dream of being self-sufficient (well it was the 1980's!) and bought an old farm/smithy which needed complete renovation. OH had been working as a blacksmith for a couple of years when we found this place and he just "had to have it"! What we didn't think about was that if he was busy renovating the property he couldn't be producing anything to sell, and vice versa.

    We had five years of good and (mostly) bad but, strangely enough, it is always the good stuff that we and the kids remember most. We did tell the kids about the problems (as much as they needed to know - not in horrible detail) and they were wonderful. They didn't ask for things all the time and supported us as much as they could.

    We eventually bought a new house (I had a well paid job by then) and paid off everything and have been pretty much on the straight and narrow ever since. OH and I are retired now and living quite well despite not having huge pensions.

    My advice is just to keep slogging at it (probably with the help of one of the organisations that are around now) and make sure you keep up that spending diary. Apart from knowing just where you are with spending, it's good to see the debts slowly being whittled away. It could well be a long slog but if you do it now, and as a family, it can only strengthen your relationship and life can only get better.

    Best of luck to all of you!

    :rudolf: Always skip and eat your peas :rudolf:
  • sueshells
    sueshells Posts: 71 Forumite
    OK - I've read most of the posts on here but not all so apologise if anyone has already said this. You have three teenagers in the house - do any of them have part-time jobs? I'm not suggesting that you send them all down the mines (if there were any) and then fleece them when they come through the door but if they had some income of their own it might take a little of the pressure off you and your wife and enable them to buy some of those "little" things that all teenagers can't live without. Kids these days have such high expectations. It would also be good for them to get into some sort of work ethic and give them a taste of independence.

    I sell stuff on eBay and make a reasonable amount of money from it. I sell mainly secondhand books. I find that I can buy most books at car boots and, more occasionally these days since they became big business, charity shops. I buy books for 20p or less up to about a pound and then sell them for around £1 - £5 each on average. In addition I occasionally find a book or two which will sell for much more - I have had books sell for £100+. Have to admit that it's time consuming and ebay takes a fair bit in fees but it adds around £100 - £150 per month to my income. You do need to do some research first of course but most books will sell unless they are really common. Some kids' paperbacks sell for £30+ - it's amazing.

    What sort of dog do you have?

    Very best of luck,

  • Claire_Jones_3
    I work for a high street bank dealing with mortgages (I won't say which one though!) Just to let you know about my banking background - I have dealt with further borrowing and now deal with changing interest rates on existing borrowing so I have to comply with current regulations etc.. I also used to work within Card Services of the same bank, so I have good knowledge of banking procedures. I am giving the information below for you to make your own mind up, I have never earned commission from the bank and felt I had to write to give you a bit of background info.

    All I would say is to be very careful of IVA's (Individual Voluntary Arrangements/Agreements) because they are only one step away from a bankruptcy order and dependant on the type of arrangement and the type of regulation you have depends on the action your mortgage lender will take when your fixed rate ends.

    For example if your account is regulated by the Credit Consumers Act (CCA) then the account would have to be closed down and re-opened under FSA (Financial Services Authority) regulations. If you have taken another loan elsewhere or have a IVA warning (especially if it has been taken to Official Creditors) they may not offer you a new rate until it is removed. I have unfortunatley had to deal with these circumstances before and its so restrictive.

    However if the mortgage account is FSA regulated or regulated under the Mortgage Code it will be easier. Best to check with your provider. The reason why lenders are so strict with these is because the debt management company will put a charge on the property to prevent you from selling without their knowledge. And the debt management company could be dealing with a substantial amount of unsecured debt on your behalf.

    If your wife is going to take the reins over your spending why not consider the extra borrowing on the mortgage. Although it will cost you more in interest because you will probably pay it back over a longer time it may make things easier it all being in one place with one payment. An IVA may give you the discipline your need to make the payments but debt management companies charge a small fortune in fee's. I've seen them charge over £3000!

    Just wanted you to know, if you have any questions just ask. Best of luck
    :heart2: Charlie born Aug 2007 :heart2: Reece born May 2009
    :heart2:Toby born Apr and taken by SMA Dec 2012
    :heart2: Baby boy failed M/C @ 20 wks Oct 2013 :heart2: Sienna born Oct 2014
  • allroundgoodguy
    Hi Talheedin,
    How are things going?#I did do a liitle message to get a summary of all the chances you hqd done.
    I know a little of how you feel, I had around £10,000 of debt a few years a ago. Help from my now wife and it was sorted. However, a couple of weeks ago, I got told I was being made redundant at the end of August. And we have a baby due on 25th Dec. Great timing.

    Anyway, this morning I phoned up Sky and told them I had been made redundant, and was going to cancel. They put me through to another department, and he offered me £7.50 for 6 months. He asked what programmes we watched. I checked about two hours later and wen;t through my blue button channels, only 3 had gone. The sports ones which was expected. Down from £38!
    Go for it. Best of luck.
    I am sure everyone wants to know how you are getting on.

    PS I have checked all my direct debits etc, only got the Electricity next month and our endowments. So far I have saved £150 per month, or nearly £2,000 per year. I am sure you can save more!
  • drdamski
    This may be of interest generally if not of specific help to our troubled friend here. I would never buy a Renault. If buying a second hand car, try and find something German like a VW Sharan or Passat Estate (for a large family). I'll explain why:

    I work for one of the world's largest vehicle leasing companies with over 120,000 vehicles in the UK alone. Owning all of these vehicles means we know how much they cost to maintain (maintenance spend is often included in the lease agreement and as our assets we have to aprove all maintenance work done on the vehicles). I have been surprised at just how much I have learned about cars in the 3 years I've worked there.

    I have seen reports that show which manufacturers make the most 'problem vehicles' and Renault are among the worst offenders (others include Alfa Romeo - they may look nice, but don't touch!).

    Now, we only lease new vehicles, so we are protected by Manufacturer's Warrantee etc, and I know that many of us on tight budgets are not always able to afford the luxury of a new car. However, my company also has to dispose of these cars at the end of the contract and that means we also know a little about the used car market as well. All our vehicles are sold at Auction because it's the only way to get rid of the volume of vehicles that we need to.

    Caution: I know that you can probably pick up bargains at auction and that a well maintained vehicle would come with Full Service History etc. But please be aware that company car drivers often drive these cars without much 'love' meaning that they may have been 'ragged' and 'raced' up and down the motorways of Britain - harsh ecceleration and harsh braking. And Company Car drivers on the whole do not lovingly check the oil, water, and tyres every week, as they are supposed to.

    I should point out that not every Renault made is a 'problem vehicle'; it might be say 5% of our renault fleet. But when you compare that to a much lower percentage of VWs on fleet that are a problem you start to see that if you buy a second hand VW rather than Renault you are doing more to protect yourself against the risk of those nasty maintenance costs associated with owning a second hand vehicle.

    Personally I try to make space in my budget to have a lease-type arrangement on a cheap, new car (Ford KA currently) as it is fuel efficient, cheap to tax, reliable, covered by warrantee, and I can budget for the monthly payments.

    For those interested in buying or leasing a new car and want to keep the costs down, think about manufacturer families. ie a Seat Leon is built on the same platform as a VW Golf, very similar cars but one is cheaper. A VW Passat, or Skoda Octavia? Same engine, much cheaper!

    Also as a final note you can reduce your fuel bill by the way you drive:
    1- Try to get to 'cruising' speed (4th or 5th gear) as briskly as possible, but:
    2- Try not to go over 2 - 2.5 thousand revs as you move up through the gears.
    3- Decelerate and brake early, but not harshly (slowing down gradually as you approach a red light means that you may not have to stop completely because you have given the light enough time to turn green again. If this is the case then you haven't had to use the extra fuel to get you moving again because you wheels are still rolling).
    4- Do you need the windows open? This creates extra drag and reduces fuel efficiency.
    5- Use the hand brake when stopped and for hill starts - don't just balance the clutch as this works the engine.
    6- Use good motoring skills to reduce the risks of accidents and costly insurance excesses. (ie using your brake lights when waiting at round abouts until you are sure the way is clear - most accidents occur when somebody hits you from behind at a roundabout because they were looking for the gap rather than whether you had gone - flashing your brake lights grabs people's attention).
    7- Use petrolprices.com
    8- Check your tyre pressure on a weekly basis - under-inflated tyres waste fuel.
    9- Plan your journey and leave plenty of time - rushing wastes fuel and leads to accidents.
    10- Share lifts and/or don't take the car on unnecessary short journeys.
    11- Reverse into parking spaces (manouvre while your engine is hot and efficient. If you drive into a space and reverse out of a parking space you are working the engine hard when it is cold).
    12- park as far away from supermarket entrances and trolley bays as possible - everyone crowds the spaces near the door making scratches and dents more likely - walk the extra few yards from the car and save yourself the hassle of paying for a scrape to be reparied.

    Sorry - I've gone off on one there, but hopefully you'll find this useful
  • jamkat_2
    Hi, I thought you would like to hear about my experience with Sky. We decided that we would cancel to save the £20/month we were paying and found that once it was cancelled we could use the box to get freeview and didn't need to buy freeview box. Also about a month later Sky rang and offered us the same package for £7.50 for six months...we decided to go for it and cancel again in 6 months. Also we are not tied in at all!!!
    Good luck with everything
  • Little_Miss_Road_Rage
    I have read all the posts and cannot come up with anything that hasn't been mentioned already. I would just like to say good luck and hows it going as we haven't heard from u for a little while.
  • Lu_T
    Lu_T Posts: 906 Forumite
    Just a tip. There's nothing Yorkshire Water hates more than bad publicity, so if you don't get any joy with them, give your local paper a call. It'd be worth threatening this at some point in your discussions, especially in view of their promise on the website about reading the meter once a year guaranteed.

    If they aren't reasonable, give the local paper a call and this should be enough to make them be reasonable. I'm not promising they'll wipe out the debt, but you can shame them into coming to an agreement about payments - and giving you the £40 they owe you!

    Stay positive!
    MSE Parent Club Member #1
    Yummy slummy mummy club member
    50% slummy, 50% mummy, 100% proud
    Imogen born Boxing Day 2006
    Alex born 13 July 2009
  • AnnieP_3
    AnnieP_3 Posts: 97 Forumite
    You can apply for a grant from Anglian Water for help in clearing the water debt. It can be done on line, and don't worry if you arn't with Anglian, it doesn't matter, they still help. If you don't feel you cant do it yourself, then please go to the CAB, they will help you with all your debts and make life bearable. Also i must say, if your dog goes out you definately should have insurance if only for the personal liability. If your dog runs in the road and causes an accident, you are liable. It's worth it just for this. I live on benefits so know what its like not having any money, but i pay for this. Just shop around for a cheaper one than you have. Also as someone previously said your house insurance is high, shop around for that too, and drop all the 'extras' like accidental damage etc., that will cut it down.
    Good Luck
  • AnnieP_3
    AnnieP_3 Posts: 97 Forumite
    Sorry mean't to say, get rid of Sky and buy a cheap freeview box, save loads that way. I had to do this, and now don't miss Sky at all.
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 6 Election 2024: The MSE Leaders' Debate
  • 343.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.3K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450K Spending & Discounts
  • 236K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609.1K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.4K Life & Family
  • 248.6K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards