Debt prevention diary????

edited 17 February 2015 at 3:09AM in Debt Free Diaries
20 replies 2.3K views
chazsuckschazsucks Forumite
396 Posts
edited 17 February 2015 at 3:09AM in Debt Free Diaries
Hello.

I feel the need to start some kind of diary because my head is in a complete mess at the moment!

For the last couple of years I have been debt free for the first time in my life since I was 18 and stupidly took out my first credit card!

But then in June my dad died, we were living with him and all we paid was £500 rent as well as occasional help for the bills when we could afford it. I was a full time NHS student and my oH left work to become a stay at home dad in 2011.

Everything was going well until June. The funeral cost around £8k - (half of that was just to pay for the burial - his only wish). We had the most basic funeral possible and still ended up paying that much :(

I was left his house in the will.... but he still has just under £200k left to pay on the mortgage, and he's been paying nearly £800 interest ONLY for years.

I am now taking an 'interrupt' from uni i.e. I'm off the course until May 2015 when I go back to finish the last three months... this is mainly due to anxiety I've had since my dads death (especially as I'm in the hospital all the time, after watching him die in the hospital) but also other reasons.

My OH has started at a temp agency for a job he's wanted to do for as long as I can remember... however the work is few and far between and very last minute :(

We are about to go through probate...which we are doing ourselves as solicitors quoted thousands of pounds. Once this has completed santander have told us we have the option of selling the house or taking over the mortgage on it.

So my problem now is my NHS bursary was paying for our monthly food, rent, travel, car insurance etc.

But now I don't have the bursary, and on top of the food, travel, car insurance etc I am now having to find money for gas, electricity, water, tv licence, home insurance, pet insurance, internet/telephone package, council tax etc.

We get child tax credits and child benefit but are entitled to nothing else.

To be honest I'm not sure how we're going to hold on until probate is sorted and we can sell the house... we are both applying for part time jobs to top up our income and are selling a lot of our clothes, furniture etc on ebay.

So yeah, as I said, I wanted to start a diary to kind of get things straight in my head. It may not be a debt-free diary but I reckon it soon will be :(
Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
<3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
Smoke free since 01/01/2010
Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
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Replies

  • edited 17 February 2015 at 2:44AM
    chazsuckschazsucks Forumite
    396 Posts
    edited 17 February 2015 at 2:44AM
    I've just done an SOA. It doesn't look too bad, but over winter I guess our gas usage will go up, I may have to deal with solicitors when sorting probate (not sure?!), I owe my nan money as she helped with the funeral, however she doesn't want the money back until we are financially stable, we have a water leak that we have no spare money to get fixed at the moment (so water bill will be even more too :().
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
  • Sorry for your loss. You have come to the right place for support. Will be with you all the way.
    Debts (11/11/2015):

    Credit Cards (0%) £5640
    O/D £460
    Sofa £275
    Monthly Spends: Food £71.87 Extras £27.65
  • hohumhohum Forumite
    476 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    That's a lot to be dealing with. But you will have support here to be helping you.

    The one thing that jumps out at me: have you checked whether you are eligible for any benefits in addition to child benefit, or indeed for any hardship relief through your student status? Probate can take a long time and you are on a low income.

    When you say 'frozen' your electricity bills, do you mean they are keeping them at £200/ month? That is an ENORMOUS amount. And when you say on a meter, how are you billed at the moment? Is this usage based on meter readings or estimated billing? You could bring this down with some basic energy saving measures I'd think?

    If you have gas, does that cover central heating?

    if you are within oyster travelcard zone, do you need a car? You could save a lot in insurance by getting rid of it?
  • Sorry for your loss. You have come to the right place for support. Will be with you all the way.

    Thank you xx
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
  • hohum wrote: »
    The one thing that jumps out at me: have you checked whether you are eligible for any benefits in addition to child benefit, or indeed for any hardship relief through your student status? Probate can take a long time and you are on a low income.

    Well I went to the job centre to ask them, it was a horrific experience if I'm honest, there were three men standing by the door and the place was pretty much empty... I said I wanted to find out whether we were entitled to anything... They said 'what and you can't use the website?'... This was just after my dad had passed away and I said I just really needed to speak to someone as I was confused... so they made us say our circumstances, income etc standing in the doorway and then laughed and said we weren't entitled to anything and we had enough already, I left in tears.
    hohum wrote: »
    When you say 'frozen' your electricity bills, do you mean they are keeping them at £200/ month? That is an ENORMOUS amount. And when you say on a meter, how are you billed at the moment? Is this usage based on meter readings or estimated billing? You could bring this down with some basic energy saving measures I'd think?

    If you have gas, does that cover central heating?

    We are with British gas for both. My dad had just had the gas meter installed before he passed away. We have been using has central heating but only a couple of hours a day, we have a fireplace in the living room and have managed with just that as we got free wood from freecycle but over the last few days have had to put the heating on just to take the chill off as we have two little ones.

    The electricity is a really strange one. British gas told us that we couldn't pay it until probate?? So it's just building up and we're going to have a huge bill to pay at some point. I'm going to ask if we can get put onto a smart meter??
    hohum wrote: »
    if you are within oyster travelcard zone, do you need a car? You could save a lot in insurance by getting rid of it?

    No, you're right, we could probably sell the car if it came to that, I guess I'm a bit worried about potentially having to buy one again at some point. My dad bought this one on hire purchase and had finished paying for it the month before he passed away. So it's quite new and the best car I've had for fuel use etc.

    I guess the main thing putting me off is that I use it to take my mum and nan out shopping, or to bring them round here for dinner etc as they are disabled. We also have family up North and in the countryside that we visit, which I guess I'm worried about doing on trains / busses with the kids, luggage and a dog :/
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
  • hohumhohum Forumite
    476 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    My experience with claiming benefits and a variable income is not a happy one, it's true. But if you are entitled to it, you have contributed to this through taxes so why not claim it.

    You could check your entitledment through this online calculator first? http://www.entitledto.co.uk/

    Re the bills, I am a bit confused. What they are saying, as I understand it, is that there will be an electricity bill that is in your Dad's name up until he passed away. Does the electricity account continue in his name until probate is completed? Or have you taken over the account? If it is still in his name then I can see why they are not accepting payment. Would it not be better to start a new account with them? Whichever way, I would put £150 aside every month in a savings account where I can't touch it, to cover the bill for your current usage. I would make sure I have put in place all simple electricity savings eg don't leave appliances on standby, avoid electric fan heaters, use energy saving bulbs etc. I would also submit meter readings every month so that you can get a sense of how much you will be using. A prepaid meter is not the cheapest way of paying the electricity bill. For some purchasers, a prepay meter is also not desirable as they would want to change it over.

    I understand re the car. Tricky. Any chance you can look at reducing the insurance? When's renewal due?
  • Ok dredging this thread out of the depths. It's funny I started it as 'debt prevention' and saying how I wasn't sure we'd be able to not get into debt until the house is sold... and today I came on MSE to post about our debts (see thread http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5178146&highlight=)

    So here are our debts...
    gas and electricity around £2k
    NHS bursary overpayment £2k
    Council tax £1k
    student loan £9k
    mortgage £180000

    We have so far
    • declared our car SORN to save on insurance, tax and petrol
    • switched gas and electricity suppliers to get a cheaper rate
    • negotiated our phone/internet to a lower deal per month
    • cancelled any non-essential direct debits
    • cut down our weekly food bill to £50 for two adults, two kids, a cat and a dog

    The plan is... get our grant of probate, not sure how long that will take? Luckily we have a family member who is a solicitor so we're saving costs. Once we have that we can sell the house and pay off the mortgage and hopefully the other debts... then either put a deposit down or buy outright a smaller, cheaper place that's further out of london.

    I also start back at university in May after having time off. I'm not sure how we're going to cope with my OH working and childcare?! I desperately don't want to go back but I only have 2-3 months left of a 3 year course so everyone I know thinks I would be beyond stupid not to return. No matter how unhappy it makes me. Conflicted feelings but hopefully it'll go by quickly!

    Um... oh yes and my other plan is to actually write in here. I've been reading through some of the other diaries and it's very inspiring :)

    And I should probably go to bed right now... seeing as it's 2am and the littles will be up in about 4 hours lol. Insomnia is frustrating!

    Plan for tomorrow.... list some stuff on ebay! We have my sons old car seat, which he didn't use for long, plus I have loads of clothes to list from back in the day when I had money to [STRIKE]spend[/STRIKE] waste :p
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
  • Pancake day, yay. I hate cooking... anything. Even toast. OH loves cooking, but since the boys were born he also likes taking short cuts :p. So pancake day for us is usually one of those betty crocker squeezy ready made batter mix things that you just pour into the pan. But today we used what we already had in our house... (or should I say he did lol). The pancakes tasted amazing, much nicer than betty crocker :D and we saved a couple of quid!

    It's the little things aye?

    10832292_1555132294727269_1139215855_n.jpg

    I really want to try and get into cooking this year, and meal planning, in an effort to save even more on our weekly shop. I find meal planning really tricky, because in the evenings we go down to the shop and pick up any good reduced bits for the next day. But actually a lot of that stuff can be frozen, like the meat... so maybe soon I will try and make a proper effort meal planning :)
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
  • Today we had a spontaneous roast dinner! Yum! Last night Tesco had reduced chickens so we cooked one up today - already had the veg and potatoes so that was a nice bonus.

    Having trouble on ebay with my last couple of auctions and the winners not paying... £300 total as well so feeling gutted. Need to work out how to open an unpaid item case but at the same time don't want negative feedback :o

    Really need to get around to listing more things on ebay... but sometimes the whole process seems more trouble than it's worth... but I guess when you need the money you just have to suck it up and do it!

    We sold our Wii and all the associated bits at CEX, along with some DVDs - some other CDs & DVDs went to music magpie.

    We now have no CDs or DVDs except for one box set that I cannot get rid of :) I'm really enjoying simplifying in 2015 as well as trying to make some extra bits of money.

    I've been decluttering around the house, and there's a few things that I don't think are worth the time or effort to list individually on ebay. So we're putting them all into boxes and going to sell as a job lot when we've done a lot more decluttering :) We did this a while back, there was only about 5 boxes that we were going to take to charity but stuck them on ebay just in case and they went for £20.

    I also have just been paid £80 for writing a post on my blog... I guess I'm going to have to register as self employed if I'm getting paid for things on there? So now I need to work all that out :)

    And at some point I want to try and get into comping again. I did it for a few months a couple of years back but began to get bored and I decided I wasn't going to do it just for potential wins, I wanted it to be something I actually had fun doing. I've been getting the urge to do it again recently so I might give it a go :)
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
  • GOOD NEWWWWWS

    I'm soooo happy.

    OH has been on a zero hour contract since he started work last autumn. He's been trying to get a full time permanent position but nothing so far. Today another company has phoned him offering not a permanent position but a long term full time position. So he'll be working 5 days a week and earning around £1,200 per month after tax. Starting this week!

    I'm so, so thrilled, I don't think I realised how worried I was about our work situation until we got this news :D

    I think they'll stop our tax credits which is annoying as it's around £400 per month however I'm thrilled that we will be earning our own money and not relying on the government every month :D

    So tomorrow I'm going to phone tax credits and let them know, I hope we still get this months as he won't be paid for a month...

    Also in other good news my nan told me that she set up a savings account for me when I was little. She wants to take some money out of it to help us pay some of our debts off, and get my car back on the road because at the moment neither her or my mum can get out anywhere very easily without me driving.

    The other thing we need to work out is childcare once I start back at uni in May, so it'll be a bit awkward with me working shifts but I'm sure we'll work it out :)
    Misc debts - £5,000 | Student loan - £9,000 | Mortgage - £180,000
    Goals for 2015: Sell house & downsize + Increase income + Get debt Free :shocked: {Diary}
    <3DS born 05/05/2009 & DS2 born 12/02/2011 <3
    Smoke free since 01/01/2010
    Paid off credit card 04/04/2011
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