6 months on from 'lightbulb' my DFW journey so far

in Debt free diaries
16 replies 3.2K views
6 months ago I wrote my first entry on here having just had my lightbulb moment. Our debts were astronomical and far higher than I thought infact 12k more at nearly £37k. I never put my SAO on here and I don't know why not maybe because I was ashamed at what we spent out at and I knew spending £300 a month on clothes was wrong and our £500 food budget had to go. Money was haemorraging from our accounts like water and we went to the cashpoint for money every time with a lump in our throats wondering if we were going to be able to take money out of our account. It had got to a point after xmas and we had been to the sales and I realised we had yet again bought everything on our creditcards. I don't know why but it was a real turning point, we also wanted to move house and I knew we would not get the mortgage we wanted unless we cleared some of our debts. So I found this website and this forum. This forum has been a godsend in giving me tips on how to budget and the snowballing thing has been a great find.

Since my/our lightbulb moment, my OH has been fully on board and in fact is now more MSE than I am, questioning every purchase we make. We earn a decent wage together so we have been in the fortunate position of paying more than the minimum payments and as we have stopped spending on them this has had a dramatic effect on lowering our debt. In the last 6 months we have paid off:
2 storecards
2 credit cards
1 loan
and have reduced our other debts by switching cards to lower interest ones. Our food budget has gone down to around £250 (for 5 of us) and our clothing budget has also halved although £150 is still a lot. We pay nearly £1400 per month towards our debt but on some months have managed to pay off over £2000. SKY has gone and we have a digibox with top up TV, we have changed providers for telephone, mobiles though our electricity and gas suppliers need to be changed. We also set a strict budget of £150 per week and out of this we pay for food, petrol, clothing, treats, pocket money, basically anything that is not debt or utilities/insurance/mortgage etc. We have a whiteboard in the kitchen and we use that as our spending diary writing down anything we spend so we can see it in big bold letters everytime we walk into the kitchen!
It's not been easy though and there have been times when I have relapsed and gone out for a spend in town. However I end up taking most of the things back but I did feel guilty about not letting the kids do activities. Early on in our debtbusting plan I was doing loads of extra shifts and overtime at work to pay more off our debt but we have come to the decision now that our snowball date is fine and knowing we can pay this debt off in just over 18 months is what we feel comfortable with. So I still do my extra shifts and overtime occasionally but this money is for us as a family and pays for holidays, DD's horseriding, DS1 guitar lessons and my haircuts at my favourite salon.
So that's it really I don't have a magic formula, it's hard work gets you depressed at times and the thought of all this money going on our debt when it could be going into our savings account makes me weep! We have several big expenses on the horizon - purchasing a piece of land next to our house to extend the garden (£2800 though have £1200 saved towards this), DS1 school trip to South America next year (£2400 :eek: have £200 saved towards this though DS is working hard to earn money towards this). So there is no let up here in the saving money business and although we have now paid off nearly £10K off our debt:j our debt busting journey has only really started.
Debtfree JUNE 2008 - Thank you MSE:T
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Replies

  • Brilliant - Well done :j :j

    pink fairy xx
  • Annie_FannyAnnie_Fanny Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    My word! School trips have changed since my day. I went to Flamingo Land! Why are they going to South America???

    Anyway you are doing fantastically - keep up the good work!
    "Debt makes plans for you" - A quote from my friend Catherine. How true!
  • ozzyfan_2ozzyfan_2 Forumite
    599 Posts
    what a fantastic achievement! well done! :j

    my debt was really similar to yours & I also owed far more than I originally thought, I'm now about 2k behind you in the debt repayments so will be looking to your signature for inspiration! :T :T :T

    Keep up the great work!

    xx
  • themaccasthemaccas Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Hi Annie Fanny
    DS is going on this amazing trip because every 2 years his school goes on an expedition somewhere in the world. Last time they went to Everest, not to the summit but pretty far up! We umm'd and arrr'd about it a lot because of the cost(it is a private school though he only goes there because OH is in the armed forces and they pay 90% of the fees) but the school are doing a lot of fundraising and DS is working hard earning money towards this though I think we will still have to contribute around £1000 ourselves. Still we'll know by next May. It's an amazing opportunity for him. SO far he has raised £200 by ebaying, and currently has his own successful car washing business going and is doing a series of car boot sales over the summer. He is 16 in a couple of weeks so he will then be able to get holiday/weekend employment, so far he has been turned down by everyone as he is only 15.
    Debtfree JUNE 2008 - Thank you MSE:T
  • LittleL_4LittleL_4 Forumite
    714 Posts
    Wow, that's fantastic!!! well done! :T :T :T :T :T
    xx
    Debt 28/12/06 £26,467
    £20 grocery challenge per week
    Savings £400
    £2 coins - £8.00
    DMP £357 pcm (CCCs) commenced 1/10/06
    DFD :think: proud to be dealing with my debts
  • ZablZabl Forumite
    232 Posts
    Blimey thats amazing, you are doing so well and are such an inspiration :j

    Keep it uppy :)
    Lightbulb Moment April 2006.
    Pay off All Debts by 31.12.2014.
    CC1: £5594, CC2: £164, OD1: £200,
    Total:£5958
  • TondellaTondella Forumite
    934 Posts
    Forumite
    themaccas wrote:
    Hi Annie Fanny
    DS is going on this amazing trip because every 2 years his school goes on an expedition somewhere in the world. Last time they went to Everest, not to the summit but pretty far up! We umm'd and arrr'd about it a lot because of the cost(it is a private school though he only goes there because OH is in the armed forces and they pay 90% of the fees) but the school are doing a lot of fundraising and DS is working hard earning money towards this though I think we will still have to contribute around £1000 ourselves. Still we'll know by next May. It's an amazing opportunity for him. SO far he has raised £200 by ebaying, and currently has his own successful car washing business going and is doing a series of car boot sales over the summer. He is 16 in a couple of weeks so he will then be able to get holiday/weekend employment, so far he has been turned down by everyone as he is only 15.

    What a wonderful opportunity for him, and how great that you have turned it into an opportunity to teach him the satisfaction of working hard to pay for something you want to do. What a great example for his CV or college/university interviews too.
    Debt Oct 2005: £32,692.94
    Current debt: £14,000.00
    Debt free date: June 2008
  • Hey themaccas,

    I always look for your posts as I find you so inspiring.

    Well done - I'm astonished by how much you manage to pay off and think you are doing really well. Great news on the OH being on board! I only wish mine was as money savvy as yours. Does he post on the boards?

    Keep up the good work and keep posting!

    scottishspendaholic x
    MBNA = £4,000 / Next = £925 (approx. tbc on 19/8)
    Tesco = £2,910.11 / Smile overdraft = £500
    Bank of Scotland = £2,782.83
  • themaccasthemaccas Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    HI SS
    OH doesn't post but he often reads the forums, he's not perfect a couple of months ago he wanted to have a major spend on something and I said No! So I guess we try to keep each other in check with our spending and so far it is working. It is a fine line between the old 'treating ourselves because we've been good' and buying something because we need it and think we can afford it. Just need to keep on going...... the old shopping demons are always around though, is anyone else like that!
    Debtfree JUNE 2008 - Thank you MSE:T
  • What a fabulous story!
    Its far more inspirational to hear about people who admit its difficult but are doing it anyway than those Spammy stories about "I cleared my debts easily in two weeks" jobs.
    Keep going! Sounds like you're doing great and have the balance between paying off debts and enjoying a bit of your life just right.
    I feel great aftre reading that thanks! Keep up the good work, and well done!
    "People who "do things" exceed my endurance,
    God for a man who solicits insurance..." - Dorothy Parker
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