Improving my life during Summer 2010

in Debt free diaries
297 replies 13.7K views
Age 31: Debt at highest point was €9566.20 in April 2009. Present debt total is €6,526.45. These amounts include the interest so it will be less if I manage to repay it faster.

There wasn’t any one thing that got me into debt. It started with student loans and from that point on I’ve always had this persistent fairly low level debt. Anytime the credit card reached its limit I consolidated the debt with the total increasing a little every time.

I bought my house in 2008 and money has been really tight ever since. All of the bills are with the cheapest providers, etc but there are a LOT of bills for paying on my own. Nothing has gone unpaid but there’s so little money left after house repayments and bills that I’m only making minimum repayments on my debt. The house is old and in need of improvements but that can’t happen due to lack of funds.

I need to get a better paid job but my motivation to do so has been non-existent due to health problems—anxiety/depression and back pain. Hopefully by the time I close my diary I will be earning more. For now I need to concentrate on improving my health and wellbeing and keeping away from shops as much as possible.

I want to get back to study as well. Around a year ago I started doing law at night and invested money in doing so but got de-motivated—depression plus the “current economic climate” making it an unwise career choice. Then I couldn’t afford the exam fee so it got put on hold for a bit. Now feels like a good time to get back to it. I’m not going to think about the job situation, I’m just going to do it for the love of it and hope the rest works itself out eventually.

Clothes and cosmetics are my weakness. Throw in lunch and coffee while out shopping and a few magazines, newspapers, the occasional book or other random purchase and that’s basically where the money goes. Way too much of my time is dedicated to shopping and that needs to change. 90% of what I buy is reduced or on special offer but often I don’t buy what I really want because I get distracted by impulse-buy bargains. The shopping trips and lunches basically are my social life, plus I love dressing up so I’m not cutting them out completely but I want to do more productive things with my time.

I broke up with a long-term boyfriend in November 2009 (my very own version of Ashley Cole/Tiger Woods). This combined with the financial worries has contributed a lot to the anxiety/depression. My social life has been non-existent since the break-up. That’s by choice really, I need a break from relationships and I just don’t engage with situations that could lead to romance. Hopefully I’ll feel different about this by the time I close the diary. I’d love to be able to go on holidays again too but that’s just not financially possible at the moment—one of many sacrifice’s I’ve had to make for home ownership.

I’m hoping to get my new routines in place for Easter. Wish me luck!
Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
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Replies

  • edited 26 March 2010 at 7:58PM
    Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    edited 26 March 2010 at 7:58PM
    I’ve borrowed the idea of categories from another diary but I’m not sure how to divide my time between all the categories. Some categories require loads of time, others very little and some overlap a bit. Should I concentrate on 1 area per day or do a bit on each every day? The categories aren’t in order of priority- they are listed in the same order as I’ve written above. I think I’ll use the category headings when I update.

    1)Finances: Requires minimal time, has been organized in the past. I have a calendar I use to write in the due dates for every single payment and bill .I’ve done this since buying the house and will be continuing to do it. I know how much is coming in and going out, my bills are all with the cheapest providers. Problem is not enough income.


    2)Home:
    • Cleaning
    • De-cluttering
    • Do a weekly food shop instead of daily trips to the shops
    • Limit time on the internet
    • Limit time spent watching TV
    3)Work: Requires lots of time as would finding a new job



    4)Health:
    • I started on medication for anxiety/depression 3 weeks ago. It’s helping a lot--I’m sleeping better and feeling better in general so I plan to continue with it for now.
    • I’m going to look at going to a weekly yoga class.
    • I have some exercise dvd’s. I’ve never used them but I might start soon
    • Eat better
    • Drink water
    5)Education: The study will require lots of time, study plan coming later

    6)Shopping: Visit clothes shops/department stores/Boots twice a week max (hopefully less)

    7)Social life/Friendships/Relationships: One category can cover all of these for now. None are particularly time consuming at the moment.

    8)Fashion and appearance: Outfit planning using clothes I already own as much as possible instead of buying new ones and using the vast quantity of toiletries and cosmetics I own instead of wasting money on everything new I see advertised.

    9)Driving: I want to improve my driving skills. I’m not confident about driving to new places and I never bring my car into the city centre. I just do the same trips over and over. (Work, shopping centre and my mother’s house) I’d love to be one of those people who can just get in the car and go anywhere instead of using public transport for new or further away places.

    10)Me time: I’m not quite sure where this fits. Being single and child free seems to leave me with all of my free time to myself but unfortunately I haven’t been using the time to my advantage. Lots of things from the other categories overlap with me-time (time spent on internet and watching television, lunches out and shopping trips, the yoga class, getting lost in the law books for a few hours, reading in bed or listening to music) It’s difficult to define but I will try and do something nice or a bit different once a month while trying to spend as little as possible.
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • edited 26 March 2010 at 7:47PM
    Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    edited 26 March 2010 at 7:47PM
    Right here, the MSE forums and other people’s debt free diaries:)

    A massive stack of self-help books which have built up over the years and which I occasionally add to

    An author I heard on the radio recently who said she sits at her desk every morning at 9.30 and writes until she gets 2,000 words done. She does this Monday to Thursday and has the day off on Friday if she achieves her targets Monday-Thursday. This routine would suit study or job applications perfectly as I mostly work in the evenings.

    My friend who’s a stay-home mum doing a part-time masters. She also has very little money but her quality of life is excellent. Unlike me she spends almost nothing but every morning she goes to her local coffee shop and does her study there while having her daily coffee. Her very quiet baby sleeps while she’s there. I like that she makes her coffee trips so productive and incorporates her study into her lifestyle so easily. She doesn’t frequent any other shops.

    Articles by this guy http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/archives/

    Law of attraction forums

    The scrapbook I bought last week, I’m using it to keep any inspirational articles or pictures from newspapers or magazines. Same idea as the Law of Attraction vision board but has much more space
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Finances: 1st April debt total = €6336.97

    I've decided to use a 2nd purse to separate money for social expenses from money for groceries and household stuff.

    Home: Extra expense = plumber €60:(

    I’m decluttering my magazines. There's even more of them than I thought, they look tidy stacked up but when there's a stack in every room......I'm going to work on them 25 a week hopefully and tear out any interesting articles. There are also newspapers, SKY magazines, leaflets and brochures. I’m really conscious of paper coming into my home now as I can’t let this pile up again.
    Reasons to clear clutter
    · So that I’ll feel more comfortable inviting people round and every invitation won’t involve moving clutter and hiding it under the stairs in advance of visit:o
    · Clutter creates work, it’s time consuming clearing it and I’d rather be doing something else
    · Clutter breeds negative energy and holds you back in every area of your life (according to one of the magazines which are the clutter)
    I’ve done my regular housework. I've been looking at the flylady threads, loving that idea, will subscribe properly after I’ve de-cluttered. One thing at a time for now.

    Social life/Friendships/Relationships:
    I sent 2 cards, an Easter card and a Congratulations card. I wrote nice notes and sent cute Easter Bunny chocolate bars with both. Slightly shocked to realise that the packages cost €7 each (card, chocolate bars, padded envelopes and stamps) Thankfully I don’t send cards very often.

    After a full month of no contact until recently the ex has been calling me and texting me, he wants us to be friends and wanted to bring me out for dinner. It didn't happen, maybe next week.
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    :easter:
    The extra days off involved eating out a bit more often than is MSE. Had some yummy meals including:
    • Lasagne with garlic bread followed by homemade ice-cream served with amaretto liqueur and coffee at my favourite Italian restaurant.
    • French onion soup served with homemade brown and white breads, sundried tomato and brie ciabatta sandwich and coffee at a lovely bistro
    • Ordered takeaway as well and had lots of chocolate
    These lunches and takeaways seem to be costing an average of €15 so needs to be limited to once a week.

    Shopping
    Purchases since starting Diary:
    • Marc Jacobs Lola perfume set €65 at Debenhams. I shouldn't have bought this but I really wanted the GWP bag that came with it. I looked at buying the bag on ebay but it's selling for up to £20 + postage on there so it just made more sense to have the perfume as well. I'll use both all summer
    • A No7 nail polish in Boots. Used a voucher so only paid €1.50. It's the new silver colour. I’ve painted my nails with it and I love the colour so total bargain.
    • A pink pyjamus from Awear. RRP €25, reduced to €10 and I paid wih a voucher so free
    • A file for the law notes and a notebook from paperchase
    I won:)A €10 bookshop voucher and 4 benefit lipsticks from the Cadbury's flake promotion
    Social life/Friendships/Relationships:
    Had nice thank you messages for both the cards I sent last week.
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • edited 17 April 2010 at 12:24AM
    Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    edited 17 April 2010 at 12:24AM
    Driving: This morning I drove to a different shopping centre on the other side of the city (not to go shopping:D) but to improve my driving skills by forcing myself to drive somewhere I wasn't familair with. It was totally ok, I wasn't overly nervous even though there were lots of lanes of traffic and a few roundabouts. I did end up in the wrong lane on the way out of there but I just kept going, drove into a housing estate and then back out again in the correct lane. I feel good that I was able to do it. I'd need to do the trip a few more times to become competent at it but I will. As well as improving my driving it's nice to have somewhere new to go.



    While I was there I had coffee and a muffin while reading the paper then I had a walk around the shops. Didn't buy anything but added some cosmetics to my wanted list:
    • Vichy Aqualia face serum
    • La Roche Posay Lipikar body lotion
    • Smashbox primer/lipgloss/bag make up set
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    A friend who called round tonight
    • Brought 2 bottles of wine and food
    • Commented on how well I'm keeping my house
    • And admired my silver No7 nail polish
    I'm so happy with his comment about keeping the house well even if he didn't see the bedroom where the clutter is hidden! The house definitely is clean but the battle with clutter is ongoing.

    I won:)
    Another 2 benefit lip glosses and a bottle of L'onglex nail polish remover! Not exactly the Lotto but I like and will use both and the "you've won" emails make any day better.
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    My mother hasn't been well, if she isn't feeling better soon the doctor will have to send her to hospital for tests.

    There was a fire at my friends business this evening, caused a lot of damage. Thankfully nobody was injured but the mental/emotional effect of seeing years of work go up in flames will last a lifetime.
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
  • ixwoodixwood Forumite
    2.6K Posts
    Sounds like you're doing well.

    If cosmetics is your weakness, get some aloe vera plants. 100% pure Aloe "on tap" is much better than any commercial product. And free!

    And stop buying the mags. They're usually just filled with rubbish and are usually aimed to make you feel inferior and the desire to spend money on things you don't need.
  • ixwoodixwood Forumite
    2.6K Posts
    And try just staying away from shops. Shopping isn't actually a real leisure activity, despite what the media (i.e. advertisers) try to make you think.
  • Mags30Mags30 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Hi and thank you so much for posting in my diary thread. There are so many diaries on here that I wasn't expecting anyone to respond. It's really difficult to keep up with them as there are so many.
    ixwood wrote: »
    And stop buying the mags. They're usually just filled with rubbish and are usually aimed to make you feel inferior and the desire to spend money on things you don't need.

    I've borrowed this article from the shopaholic thread, it's mostly about how magazines make people feel bad and it's an excellent read.

    http://www.wisebread.com/knowing-your-triggers-can-prevent-stupid-spending

    There were lots of things I wanted to write but I've been upset since hearing about the fire so I'm going to leave detailed updates until next week.

    The fire was at the business of one of the people I sent the Easter card to, he's been a family friend for years. There are people helping him clean up today. Not much I can do, it's 2 hours from where I live so I bought cake and I'm going to visit later. I always bring cake when I visit so no different this time despite the bad news. The people cleaning up might appreciate a tea break. I've never been the type to avoid people who are upset because of not knowing what to say.

    Going to my mothers' house as well so won't be on internet until tomorrow night. Will catch up then.
    Total debt 11/1/2011 €5350.65
    Total debt 12/12/12 €3222.31
    CrazyClothesChallenge 2013 #006 €34.08/€500
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