Shopaholic in need of urgent recovery!

Hello everyone -sort of deciding to keep a diary so I can't cheat! I've been saying since about May that I need to do something about my messy financial affairs. I've struggled ever since the end of my first year, and at current have maxed out my overdraft limit (£1,600) and have a credit card that has a £500 limit - and this is what is keeping me going at the moment, as its literally all the money I have left.

A little background:
I was brought up by my Mum, as my Dad died when I was eight. We didn't have a lot of money once it was just us, but the mortgage was paid off and we lived in a relatively nice area. I was 10 before I realised there was such a thing as music radio. TV was reserved for rainy afternoons. I got my first mobile aged 14 and my first laptop for my 16th birhday. My mum has always lived on a tight budget and I totally respect the way she has brought me up. Getting my student loan was a bit of a... experience. In my first year I ended up in a situation where I was living with a (now-thankfully-ex) boyfriend who was abusive, in all terms of the word. He stole a lot of money off me, and for some reason I turned to the great 21st century opiate - shopping - to cope with the fact my life was falling apart. This became a habit, and when that habit was mixed with my odd sort of generosity (if I'm out with someone, I always want to pay - I've been told I'm too nice for my own good :/ ) it became more like a vice. This would have possibly improved in my second year but I entered an online relationship with a boy who then turned out to have a brain tumour, or so he told me. We never met; he refused as he was ill (which I always found odd because surely if you are ill you would want people you love around you) and he became incredibly controlling. Eventually we broke up and I'm still trying to deal with the trauma from the first relationship.

And now I'm in big big trouble, and I can barely cover my rent cheque for the next 3 months. I also want to save some money; to treat my new and very much nicer, and very much more real boyfriend to an amazing January birthday, to go on holiday at Easter and also to get the money together on the deposit for a flat.

I work two nights a week in a club, as well as doing an English Studies BA (third year) which is two dissertations and two literature modules so my reading list is heavy. I'm after a primary school placement also, once a week so I can apply to do a Primary PGCE once I finish this year at university.

Today was my first NSD in about a year. No joking :/
It was awful. I didn't think I had that much of a problem, which is clearly ridiculous as I have no need to be in this sort of debt (Looking at my bank accounts it would appear I have spent upwards of £600 a week in the past two weeks since my loan came on basically nothing other than clothes, shoes and entertainment). I wanted to reach for my card five times today, for no other reason than I wanted to spend money I didn't have on things I didn't need. I did it though, I made it to the end of the day and I am really proud of myself. Its the start of a long uphill struggle!

I'm going to try for another NSD tomorrow, but I've written myself a to-do list so that might help me keep busy and keep my mind off it. I also think I'm going to start taking money out in cash at the start of the week and using that, not my cards, so money becomes something physical as opposed to a far off number.

Wish me luck. x
Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without!

Total debt: [STRIKE]£2600[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]2155.55[/STRIKE] 1477.72 :j


  • hun, much good luck on your journey!

    big congrats on your first NSD! eventually you feel smug and proud when you have one and will hate wasting money! perhaps you could set yourself a target such as 1 a week so you can feel good about hitting it?

    the withdrawing cash thing is really the best way i think. if you work out a budget, give yourself some 'me money' each week or month to spend on whatever you want. that way you know you can still buy a treat whilst watching what you spend. it is also quite addictive trying to save as much of your spends as possible so you have it left over at the end of the week/month! just dont set it too low as you will fail and thats not nice! you can always reduce it as you get into the swing of things!
  • chickadeechickadee Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Good luck. It sounds like you have had your lightbulb moment, so well done for that. It sounds as though your life had had its fair share of traumas so far. Please don't fall into the trap of always dating needy or controlling men. You need to love yourself first, then if someone else loves you as well, that's a fantastic bonus.

    Moneysaving needs a mindset change, but it doesn't quite sound like you are there yet. I know you had a NSD but if you are going to reduce your debts and really make an impact, you need to be thinking about it all the time, and using every trick you can think of to avoid spending. Have you anything you can sell? If you have bought things you don't need, how about converting them back into cash so you don't have to use your card?

    I wish you all the luck in the world and really hope you manage to get a grip of this before it ruins your life. You sound like you have so much ahead of you and you are already working hard, so keep going and keep your cards in your pocket!

    All the best!
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  • edited 2 October 2011 at 9:30AM
    thumbelina_thumbelina_ Forumite
    15 Posts
    edited 2 October 2011 at 9:30AM
    Firstly, thank you for your kind words. My mindset might not be there just yet, but I do feel like I am on my way. Over summer I ebayed about 50% of my belongings, and then promptly spent my earnings :/
    I don't have anything down in my university house that I don't need, except clothes. When I feel up to it I'm going to sort through them and sell some of them on.

    Today was the start of a month of tight budgeting. My cross trainer arrived this morning so I spent some time on that to clear the cobwebs and then I sat down. I came on here and I looked at the budget brain program, braced myself, and entered the numbers. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was this bad. I'm so mad at myself. :mad:

    Because I'm a newbie I can't post links, but here is what the numbers said;
    oi55[dot]tinypic[dot]com/deuro3[dot]jpg (just replace [dot] with . to access)

    Monthly total income: £996.47
    Total spend: £1, 568.58
    Desired spend: £582.67


    Clearly I need some form of psychiatric help. I'm setting myself a limit for the next two months, until the 1st December I will not spend more than £400. My rent has already been paid until the 3rd January so at least that is one thing I don't have to worry about. Per month I plan to break it up like this;
    £100 on groceries.
    £20 on electricity/gas/water bills.
    £20 on train tickets - it costs me £4.50 roughly each time I travel to/from work.
    £40 on my phone bill (this month) / £35 on my phone bill (next month) [I am downgrading my contract -as I still have 12 months to go, this is the cheapest possible thing I can do at this moment in time. Next June after I get my free upgrade I will pay off the remaining months in a lump sum thus cancelling the stupid thing.]
    £20 to keep me sane and avoid having a big blow out with money I don't have.

    If there is any money left its going in a jar which I will pay into the bank at the end of each month, not that it really looks like there will be anything. But still.

    I'm a bit down about how long this is going to take me to sort out, but I'm positive too - I have friends who like hiking as much as I do, and other friends who will invite me over for dinner, and I'm sure they will be more than willing to have free fun.I've explained to my boyfriend too and he is behind me completely.
    Today I have had a NSD again, which I was also pleased with.[/STRIKE] I spent more time on my finances today and I didn't feel the urge to go shopping anywhere near as much. Maybe thats the way to do it, every time I feel like shopping, look at my overspend figures and then punish myself with exercise haha ;)

    Anyway, I'm off to go make dinner, using ingredients I already own (My GC budget is still intact so far) and then curl up with a good book. Thank you for reading this, whoever you all are. If there's any tips you have, please feel free to share them with me, I'm totally new at all this and advice is always welcome.

    Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without!

    Total debt: [STRIKE]£2600[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]2155.55[/STRIKE] 1477.72 :j
  • chickadeechickadee Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Well done on another NDS thumbelina (what a sweet name, I remember reading the story of thumbelina in a ladybird story book when I was a little girl :)). It sounds like you are starting to get your head around it and I'mm pleased that you are thinking about ways to have free fun with your friends.

    I know people who look on shopping as recreation, but there are cheaper, more enjoyable ways to spend a Saturday. The best advice I can offer is to have a look in this forum, there are some fantastic ideas from people who are far more creative than I am. I'm sure you will have access to a library, so try to request a copy of 'How I lived a Year on just £1 a day' by Kath Kelly. Now that is an inventive lady if ever I heard of one.

    There are threads on frugal living (Money-Saving Old-Style) and Days out, and lots of other ways to earn extra money as well as saving it.

    Keep going and keep posting. It keeps you motivated, and you'll find such support on here I know it will help.
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  • Last night around 8pm my friend from home told me he was coming down to see me as a surprise visit which was lovely. We went to Tesco. I withdrew my budgeted £20 and I spent £6.58 from my enjoyment money on a bar of chocolate and a reduced bottle of red wine. I was pleased with myself for avoiding the magazine aisle, and also for only buying reduced produce.
    I also spent £4.18 out of my grocery budget on - own brand light mayonaise (I have 8 cans of tuna in the cupboard), the cheapest possible sugar, carots reduced from £1 to 20p, and some double concentrate squash. My NSD failed but we had a lovely evening catching up and watching the finale of Dr. Who/ the brand new Merlin.

    Today we don't really have much of a plan but it is lovely and sunny so we might go for a walk into the hills with aforementioned tuna sandwiches before coming back and baking something good/ cooking vegetable stir fry.
    I have some premix for key lime cheesecake but it requires all sorts of things like marscapone which at the moment isn't in my interest to buy. If I have money left out of my grocery budget at the end of the month then I will buy it and have a whale of a time making it :)

    I'll be back later, I hope you all have a wonderful day. x
    Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without!

    Total debt: [STRIKE]£2600[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]2155.55[/STRIKE] 1477.72 :j
  • E2006E2006 Forumite
    355 Posts
    100 Posts
    Hi Thumbelina :wave:. Well done on your LBM. Ive found budgeting/saving/debt busting so addictive, especially with the inspiration of OP's diaries, that it soon replaces the need to spend.

    You have made such a good start. If only had found these boards years ago when I was a student and learnt how to spend, I would be in such a different position than I am now, but hey ho, its never to late to learn.

    Well done, and I will be subscribing to your diary if you dont mind?

    LBM: May 2018
    Cc 1: £2454 (@34.9%)
    Cc 2 : 11377
    Cc 3: £7839
    Next: £2489 (@ 22.9%)
  • chickadeechickadee Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Well done thumbelina. It sounds like you had a lovely evening and I hope the weather was kind to you so your plans for a walk in the hills came to fruition. Unexpected days like that when the sun is shining and its OCTOBER are few and far between so make the most of them. Sadly the rain coming down from the north has arrived here today so I got soaked today. Never mind, I managed to get my grass cut yesterday whilst it was still dry.

    Keep at it. :)
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  • savingholmessavingholmes Forumite
    23.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Good luck on your journey. I have a tendency to comfort spend - but I confront it by taking stuff back afterwards if I can. Also is something doesn't look wow on me - I take it back.

    Is there anything from you recent spends you've not used yet that you could take back?

    What's your overall debt
    Target 1) Prioritise health & social connection 2) Write regularly 42,993/70,000 words Book 2 and 10,787/70,000 Priestess book 3a) Get to £10K EF/Savings Now £4,573 3b) £1.6K Savings for DD Car (Achieved) 4) MFW starting at £201999 Nov 21 with 264 249 payments to go. Now £192,304 5) Mortgage neutral progress via pension £1,887 invested since Nov 21 6) Declutter 7) Invest in fun and frolics - and not just future self! 8) CC Debt free April 22 (now stay that way!!)
  • greenannegreenanne Forumite
    384 Posts
    hi there thumbelina.

    welcome to the forums and thankyou for looking in on my diary.

    i havn't been here that long myself but i must admit i'm addicted to the site.there is so much good advice on here i know that i've only scratched the anything that you need ideas about just come and look.
    another thing i have found really helpful is keeping a spending diary.just a little book where i write everything's amazing how much this concentrates the mind.
    good luck,you've already done the hardest part.:)
    there is no wealth but life
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  • edited 4 October 2011 at 1:00PM
    thumbelina_thumbelina_ Forumite
    15 Posts
    edited 4 October 2011 at 1:00PM
    Hello everyone, thank you for your kind words/subscriptions :) It really cheers me up to know that there are other people out there reading this and not judging me. I could never tell my mother for example but it feels good to get some of this off my chest.

    savingholmes asked me what my total debt was; at current it is £2100. My overdraft is maxed out at £1600 and I have a credit card with £500 on it (also close to being maxed out.) Its nowhere near as bad as it could be, but then again, thats mostly because the bank wont give me any more money, not because I had got my spending under control. That was when I realised something ought to be done - its insane to have a job and still be spending so much more than I have. I'm fed up of feeling ashamed of my habits and trying to hide from my mum how bad things are. Debt is a very lonely thing.

    Yesterday I had a successful NSD. Luke and I played xbox for a bit then we met up with my friend Kieran and his housemate Chris and we went for a four mile hike into the hills. The sun was baking and the start of the hike was a really steep climb so we were all exhausted, but then it was all worth it to be up on the mountain with the horses and the sheep and the view all the way up the valleys; it was beautiful. Afterwards we went to the pub and Luke bought me a diet coke, then when I got home I cooked us a roast dinner.

    Today I had a lecture from 3-5pm, and later work from 10pm - 4am. Unfortunately I don't get paid until next friday, and it's also the only day this week that I've been given an official shift. However I am also covering for someone tomorrow, and I'm going in an hour earlier today so all in all I will work around 11 hours this week, effectively earning me +£66, :D without tips. Tips cover my train fare though, so I don't count those. My friend Freyja has also said I can stay at hers tonight so I won't have to wait at a train station for two hours in the small hours of the morning - this is a great relief. I am aiming to have my next NSD day on Wednesday, but I have to ask your opinions - if I earn enough in tips that my train fare is cancelled out does that make today an NSD also?

    I'm off to get ready for work now, so far today I have been good with my money and my cooking; using up some of the endless tins and store cupboard ingredients that are lying around. I'm going to take a drink and an apple and a chocolate bar with me to work for afterwards and also some more comfortable shoes to change into!

    Have a lovely evening :) x
    Use it up; wear it out; make it do or do without!

    Total debt: [STRIKE]£2600[/STRIKE] [STRIKE]2155.55[/STRIKE] 1477.72 :j
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