what gave you your lightbulb moment



  • samorgo
    samorgo Posts: 81 Forumite
    My LBM came just over a year ago when I had maxed out all my cards and overdraft and then couldn't get any more credit! The days of easy credit and moving money around from card to card were over and I was up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I knew I was in debt but had no idea it was as bad as it was because I'd never looked at all my debts collectively. It was almost £27k all in and although I did have some things to show for it, certainly nothing like what I should have.

    I've been slogging away ever since to pay it all off and every month is always tight but at least now I know how much I have available on all my cards at any one time, and it's always a thrill to see the total debt creeping down each month.

    Hi in the Red!
    My LBM came at the beginning of the week for the same reason as you - for all of my adult life I have managed to get easy credit - whenever we had no money we woiuld just borrow more but now the wells have dried up and I've found myself unable to borrow anymore.
    Although I repay at least the minimum each month and have never defaulted it is the worst feeling in the world when you have no cash to spare for even the smallest things in life...
    From now on I am determined not be frivilous and to use my money as wisely as I can and hopefully one day I will be debt free and I will never ever be in this predicament again.
    Good luck to us all and God bless,
    'Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts' DFW#1345
  • stokelady
    stokelady Posts: 159 Forumite
    edited 21 October 2010 at 12:06PM
    kacy1988 wrote: »
    my lightbulb moment was yesterday.
    my washing machine died and i dont have any money to get a new one. i have about 2k in debt - that doesnt seem to be shrinking, a 3 year old and i'm 4 months pregnant.
    i dont even know where to start with reining everything in but i have to. my wages went in today and i cant spend any of it as the bills come out on the 1st and theres only just enough to cover everything. i have a freezer and cupboard full of food luckily just need to get milk/bread/ fruit between now and the 8th (3.5 weeks away) i have £20 stashed for that.
    i just dont know where to start! or how i'm going to be able to afford a washing machine.

    I was in the same situation - managed to buy a reconditioned machine with 3 month warranty for £95, that was delivered and installed - worth trying to find a shop that sells similar in your area alternatively Freecycle could be an option
  • My lightbulb moment was in 2003 - I was 25 and had bought my house 2 year previously. I'd got a good credit rating so I borrowed against the equity, got a £7,500 loan, had four credit cards with a total debt of £7,000 and had taken a car loan out for about £7,000. I'd maxed out three of the four cards and when I looked at my finances I literally didn't have any money after paying what I owed.

    I did the worse thing I could do and ducked the issue - two of the three cards I owed money to stop chasing after a couple of years, as did the £7,500 loan - however the car loan people managed to secure a charge against my house in 2005/6 which meant I couldn't duck them. My one good credit I kept and only used in dire emergencies.

    Fast forward seven years and with the exception of the charge and the credit card I've been paying all the other debts are statutory barred. The charge and credit card are due to go tomorrow with a re-mortgage which will leave me £125 a month better off and reduce the remaining term by one year. In effect I should be debt free as of tomorrow :j
  • raq
    raq Posts: 1,716 Forumite
    Mine is also a combination of things over the years. Probably my worst was when my 3rd baby was 6 weeks old and I finally broke down to my hubby about the debt. He knew about half of it but not all of it. I was in a terrible state. He was fantastic and said , Thought it was much more serious. I now wish I told him sooner. We are still in debt but thankfully able to pay it each month.
    :A Tomorrow's just another day - keep smiling
  • Mine was when I had to empty our our "penny piggy" for a pint of milk so I could eat something (all we had in the cupboards was cereal and no milk). I had to hand over 40p in pennies - I was mortified because I realised I had no more money for the rest of the week.

    I'd invested a lot of money I didn't have in my dad's failing business (and maxed out my remaining credit cards using them to pay bills and for stock to "see us through"), I was struggling to meet the minimum payments on my cards & pay for household bills, student loans company now wanted a share of my wages, I was constantly fighting my overdraft which i'd never got out of since my student days and I was still paying off our wedding. Hubby's credit rating was full to the top, he'd already re-financed a never-ending loan and overdraft/creditcards into one big combo debt..........then I had a lovely letter for a collections agency demanding £10k for unpaid bills relating to the business. I literally didn't have a penny to my name and they wanted over 50% of my annual salary.

    So....we sold our flat & moved in with his parents, sold my car (kept his as it was a banger - not worth selling), stopped all holidays, nights out, take-aways & other luxuries, paid off what we could and balance transferred the rest. 18months in and we've already got rid of 2 credit cards (quite substantial ones) and are e-bay and boot sale-in all non-necessities. 18months left and we should have all our loans gone, and only 1 of hubby's credit cards left (if we can keep card tarting that is). Half way there......

    I'm never buying anything on credit again, i'll use my own money or i'll wait. I'm a nearly new hand-me-down gal all the way now. I've even got hubby into the habit of buying xmas presents like DVDs and games from e-bay he's in his element...a £40 game played once for £3!!!!! Bargain. I repair clothes or get hand-me downs from my sisters or ask for clothes for xmas presents. We make packed lunches and have all our meals at home before we go out to avoid wasting money on take-aways or meals in restaurants. We shop around for everything, and our car is always as empty as possible with tyres blown up for fuel efficiency. If we go to the cinema its using vouchers/passes and we sneak in our own snacks from home. I make everyone's birthday cards give home-made cakes as my present, i'm even making all my own xmas presents this yr.

    The big bad wolf of debt wont catch me a second time round.....i'm using bricks instead of straw next time!!!!!
  • kacy1988 wrote: »
    my lightbulb moment was yesterday.
    my washing machine died and i dont have any money to get a new one. i have about 2k in debt - that doesnt seem to be shrinking, a 3 year old and i'm 4 months pregnant.
    i dont even know where to start with reining everything in but i have to. my wages went in today and i cant spend any of it as the bills come out on the 1st and theres only just enough to cover everything. i have a freezer and cupboard full of food luckily just need to get milk/bread/ fruit between now and the 8th (3.5 weeks away) i have £20 stashed for that.
    i just dont know where to start! or how i'm going to be able to afford a washing machine.

    Do you have family near by? When ours broke every weekend I went to my mam's and did a whole weeks washing one load after another in her washing machine. I looked pretty strange carting washing over hers in black bags - the neighbours curtains must've been twitching like mad!
  • Sharon87
    Sharon87 Posts: 4,011 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    I didn't really have one specific lightbulb moment, not sure if I really have had one yet. I got into debt various ways, through uni and in 2008 I moved out of a house as we didn't get on with our housemates and so I went into a temporary flat when I was unemployed and wasn't eligable for housing benefit as my name wasn't on contract! So after living there 2 months I moved into the place I'm in now.

    When I had no money I borrowed off my mum and my 2nd overdraft. so when I finally got a job I decided to do a budget each month just to stop getting into even more debt. I couldn't afford to pay it off at that point. 2009 was a cheap year for me. Since then I've been following my finances carefully, but I did get my mum and sister to lend me money to pay off my halifax overdraft before the new charges set in. Since then I've been paying it off and also been trying to reduce my hsbc overdraft.

    This year has been so expensive so I'm in debt even more! But at least now I'm managing it better than I was. I never live to the last few pound anymore.
  • It was a while ago now, and thankfully it did the trick for good (I Hope!!-still working at it). I got my debit card refused in a shop, I was with friends soooo embarrassing. Managed to cover and pretend there was something wrong with my card but I really knew what it was. Enough for me.
    LBM 17th April 2007:j
    Credit Cards paid - July 2008 [strike]Sainsys,M&S,[/strike][strike] HSBC[/strike]
    Grocery Challenge £350
  • debtdesperado
    debtdesperado Posts: 379 Forumite
    edited 22 October 2010 at 10:45AM
    This thread is brilliant! :j

    I had a few LBMs...I had been servicing loads of debt for years, starting with the inevitable student loans and credit cards, and I never made much of a dent in it..unbelieveably to me now, but I didn't know that you need to pay more than the minimum payment to actually get rid of the debt. :eek: I never really thought about it, but just bought whatever I wanted. I was never embarrassed about my cards being declined as it happened so often. I would just pull out another card. I used to think 'managing' my finances by juggling maximum balances meant I was a good money manager (a bit embarrassing that one).

    The first LBM came in September 08, when within 3 days of payday, I had no money, my 5 credit cards were maxed out and I was about to go away for two work trips and a holiday. At the time I took home just under £5k a month. Whilst I was away, I took advantage of the delay in payments from abroad to go beyond even the maximum limits of my credit cards just to go shopping.

    I think I was really unhappy and shopping had become a way of consoling myself. I was too scared to total my debt, but I realise now I was in about £42k worth of debt.

    I discovered this site, and then got a 2 year consolidation loan which I thought was the best way to deal with it. I educated myself about how credit cards worked, horrified myself by doing the debt snowball, and discovered that even if you clear the balance, if you have only ever paid the minimum you will end up paying trailing interest for a further TWO months.:mad: I ebayed lots of stuff, and paid off a lot of the small debts.

    In Jan 09 I lost my job, which was awful. I had another LBM then about the importance of low outgoings and an emergency fund.

    I was out of work for 6 months, having LBMs about how I shopped for comfort and broke that habit. Got a new job in Sept 09, just in time as was about to completely run out of money. It was on a salarly that was about 50% smaller than my previous salary. I had nothing left of value to sell as everything had been ebayed to pay the mortgage. A very scary time, but I had more LBMs about how expensive is not necessarily better, a big wardrobe of clothes is unnecessary and that 70p value shampoo is not really that different from £9 a bottle posh stuff, and that I would prefer to spend 70p and have £8.30 in my bank account!

    I paid off the arrears of on my debts when I started work again, and then steadily focussed on paying my huge monthly consolidation loan payments (plus student loan payments, plus another old loan payment). This took up a third of my money each month, my mortgage took a further third, so I only live on what is left out of the final third when all the bills are paid. I was still having trouble with the idea of budgeting; I could do 'no spending' and 'spending' but I couldn't seem to work out how to make my money last. I tried saving change, using cash etc etc, but then I had another LBM after reading an american book called your money or your life. It taught me how to work out a budget, and that has been the single most useful thing I have learnt, although it has taken me a long time!

    Next week I make the last consolidation loan payment. The following month, before I get used to having the extra money, I am going to clear my student loans. The following month I am going to pay back the final chunk of money I owe my parents. 2011 will be a fresh financial start.

    The only debt I have (other than mortgage) will be the old loan, which will be under £10k by then, but I am going to start saving for an emergency fund as that is more pressing than being completely debt free. I have one credit card, which has a zero balance, but I keep it as I don't have an emergency fund at the moment.

    It has been a huge, terrifying, anxious, stressful journey, but I really needed to learn the lesson and I am never going to get myself in that position again.
  • Watalie
    Watalie Posts: 535 Forumite
    debtdesperado - Thats an amazing journey! Well Done!! :)
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