Moving out of the GREY ZONE....

thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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Hello,

Well, I've been on this forum a long time, joined various challenges etc. but nothing ever really changed.

Finally, I realized why. I’m in the GREY ZONE. Not enough in the red to be desperate to get out of it and not enough in the black to feel secure and comfortable.

Anyone else in a similar situation?

We owe £1500 from our wedding (family,0%), £300 from a car hire (moved to 0%) and have little savings, a couple of hundred for the car.

Not enough saving to pay of the debt, not enough savings to do what we want to do in the garden, house, holiday wise or for an emergency. On the other hand not enough debt that makes me worried and kick starts some life style changes.

So we just muddle along but never achieve anything or unexpected expenses and poor budgeting wipe out any progress.

That combined with a busy life, working and two kids I feel like I’m treading water and life is just passing by.

The passiveness stops now! I need to be more active and proactive. Making small changes not just financially but also in my life, that enable me to live my life and enjoy it rather than just getting through it.

My goals for this year are to pay off the debt by Christmas. Have about £500 emergency savings and maybe £1000 for a holiday next year while still having some money in pots to do a bit of work in the garden and maybe even afford a new front door and not being skint by the time the MOT and Christmas comes round.

Plus I have a few personal goal etc but maybe more later.

Off to try and make a realistic plan of ACTION :D
DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31

Replies

  • edited 29 April 2015 at 10:17AM
    thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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    edited 29 April 2015 at 10:17AM
    Well there is the first thing I need to address. My wallet at work.

    I take my own lunch, fruit and snacks, coffee everyday but lately run out too early (really hungry and constantly got the munchies atm) and if I have my wallet like today (need new bus ticket) I bought a pack of M&Ms. Only a pound but it adds up.

    Also looking at my budget spreadsheet, I think I budget too unrealistically. Let's say I allow £250 for food a month (2 adults, 2 small children of 1 and 4) and tell myself no treats, fancy meat or booze. But then I give in anyway, because hubby buys some beers for himself etc. So is my budget unrealistic as I will by drinks or should I try and be more strong willed and say no. But then I like a drink on a Friday after a hard week (and pretending I'm still in my pre-kids life style I guess?). If I don't increase my budget I constantly feel like I overspend. If I do increase it I feel I take money away from what I could save although in the end I spend it anyway. Circles, circles, circles....that need to be broken (and temptation resisted :EasterBun)
    DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31
  • beanieloubeanielou Forumite
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    Shiney new diary :)
    Keep posting!
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~**
    MFW. Finally mortgage free February 2021****
    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. ***Be the difference.***
  • edited 29 April 2015 at 11:16AM
    thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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    edited 29 April 2015 at 11:16AM
    Ok, so tomorrow is payday and I've done my budgets. Here we go for May:
    • £649 nursery (cheapish month, often up to 900)
    • £19 pet insurance (14 year old moggie)
    • £25 bus travel (2 10 journey tickets)
    • £100 electricity and gas (DD might have gone down to 76 though)
    • £18 boiler insurance
    • £8.7 lotto syndicate (I know....)
    • £256 groceries (already bought £80 last Monday and got a fair bit of meat and cupboard ingredients in), will need fresh fruit soon though, and we'll have guest for dinner ion Saturday
    • £330 for household and other (100 for DS 4th birthday party, 90 for his bike-got that from papa, 100 for DH birthday dinner-take him to fancy restaurant, first time we'llbe out together in 3 years, the rest for cleaning, nappies etc
    • £56.7 to pay of old CC and DD to new 0% one
    • £50 contingency
    • £150 towards the family debt
    • £90 into house, car, xmas pot
    • £50 into emergency pot only to be touched in true emergency like job loss

    =1802 (salary plus 2x CB)

    This is my side of the bills. Won't go into much detail but that's how it works for us and what I will work with just now (btw I do the saving, he's got a bit more bills and more leftover money to get out of OD, well some day :( )

    So it's a cheapish nursery month which is just as well as DS's and DH's birthday fall into it.

    I'm not that good at strict meal planning but will hopefully not go over on food. We cook from scratch and freeze/take for lunch the leftovers. I always know what I have in freezer, but I need to learn to buy more of just what we need rather than because we buy that every week/month. The expensive things are our meat consumption and fruit and veg. I can probably cut the meat down but down't want to compromise on fruit and veg (I could even eat more salads etc, but it's getting to expensive to do that).

    The things I really need to watch out for are impulse food and alcohol buys at the weekend and unexpected days/lunches out with friends.
    DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31
  • Well done on realising that something has to change. It's hard like you say when you're not totally in the red but not far enough into the black either.

    Personally I would budget a small amount for alcohol/treats. maybe not as much as you would like to spend, but that way you get the best of both. Still have a treat but don't feel you've blown the budget, if that makes sense.

    Not sure how to stretch it out any further. Maybe e of bay sales of baby stuff? I know I've done quite well recently selling a lot of little dudes old clothes/toys etc that he has outgrown but all still nearly new!!
    January 2015 - LBM
    MBNA - £1697.96
    Savings - £51.37/1000
  • mum2onemum2one Forumite
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    Don't know supermarket u use, fruit and veg from Aldi / lidl tend to be cheaper than others, also fruit in season.

    I would also say have a alcohol budget, the thing is you go down to the bone on everything your just resent it and end up just to get a bottle of wine - (local shop) compared to put a bottle in trolley.
    Sounds some good ideas xx
    xx rip dad... we had our ups and downs but we’re always be family xx
  • thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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    Not sure how to stretch it out any further. Maybe e of bay sales of baby stuff? I know I've done quite well recently selling a lot of little dudes old clothes/toys etc that he has outgrown but all still nearly new!!

    Thank you. Sold everything of value or worth selling nowadays with the extra fees etc over the last few years. Loads of kids stuff and clothes aren't sellable as they are already hand me downs from cousins etc. However, DD (1) will outgrow some toys etc soon. Will see what's still usable after 4-5 years of play. Will have to have a clothes and toy cull at some point and might be surprised what I find I guess. I'm off on the 19th and the kids are in nursery so will do it then.

    Sold about £100 last month of stuff I found in the house but that money just went towards the overspending. Maybe I'll tackle my restraint/will power first and try ebay again when it would really be extra money that doesn't get spend.

    I will also start doing my surveys again and get a few Amaz0n vouchers together for christmas. Hardly go to Tesco now except for fuel, but will save those vouchers too for the end of the year.
    DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31
  • thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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    mum2one wrote: »
    Don't know supermarket u use, fruit and veg from Aldi / lidl tend to be cheaper than others, also fruit in season.

    I would also say have a alcohol budget, the thing is you go down to the bone on everything your just resent it and end up just to get a bottle of wine - (local shop) compared to put a bottle in trolley.
    Sounds some good ideas xx

    We use Aldi and Lidl for the main shop. I always go with a list. Often with the kids but they are still fine and rarely ask for anything. Tesco we only use for cat litter or the quick trip for Friday night beers. But I'd say 70% is now from the discounters. Also when I need fruit or similar I can nip into LIDL near my work.

    So on paper it sounds all dandy. Will keep an eye on it because we do overspend although it sounds here all well planned and restrained. I will keep a note of when/how/where it happens over the next month and what impact it had on the budget.
    DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31
  • thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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    I think I also need to curb my expectations. With let's say a realistic £300 leftover a month I can do only so much. It sounds a good amount but I want to much too quickly, pay debt, save for holiday, emergency, front door, MOT etc etc. Never mind even maybe buy some clothes some day again. Hopefully it'll get easier from when one of them goes to school and the other nursery costs come down too. We're not in trouble financially I think I just need to revise my thinking and accept there isn't enough money in the pot to do everything, but with a little tweaking I might get to my goal quicker.
    DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31
  • edited 30 April 2015 at 10:30AM
    thriftylassthriftylass Forumite
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    edited 30 April 2015 at 10:30AM
    Good morning!

    Nice sunny day here again, instantly lifts the mood.

    Payday today and shuffled all my monies into the different pots, paid one nursery and still waiting for the bill from the other one.

    Already had one un-budgeted spend :( as DH's barrel of homebrew was flat. We were looking for a solution that can be reused in the event it happens again till half 11 last night and found one we can pick up from tesco tomorrow. £24 (might get it back from him) but in the long run the homebrew should still work out way cheaper per pint even with the initial outlay we had.

    We have no fresh fruit left apart from a banana and an apple. Will postpone a fruit shop till Saturday hopefully. Found some frozen forrest fruit in the freezer last night so the kids can that as a smoothie tonight and tomorrow morning.

    Not sure what to have for dinner. Will have to be something with good carbs and protein as DH took tomorrow off to go hiking and snowboarding.

    Car's gone to the mechanic last night as the engine light came on and we have a problem with it's oil consumption again. Probably won't find out till the end of May what that'll cost as he is a bit slow with bills.

    EDIT:

    Gosh this sounds we got our priorities a bit mixed up, postponing a fruit shop but spending 24 on sth to fix our homebrew :rotfl:
    DEBT 01/23: CC1 2920.92 CC2 1703.67 Family 1380, Extra money earnt 74.41, NSDs 20/25, sober etc 25/31
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