Paid off the £31,000! BUT - still scrimping!

Here’s to my new shiny diary now that I am debt free!

I have finished my previous diary which detailed my debt free journey. This went well for some months – I then failed dismally, managed to pull myself together to pay off half then had a lucky windfall which cleared the rest. If you want to have a look it’s called “Scrimping Behind the Scenes – with Debt of £31,000!” (sorry, I can’t manage to get the link to work!).

In the diary I detailed how I was trying to pay off the debt without alerting the fact to family and friends as I was too embarrassed to let anyone know the extent of my folly!

I have however decided to carry on scrimping as I have a few retirement issues coming up. One of the things that will make scrimping easier is that I don’t have to do this in secret anymore! My reasons for cutting back financially will be out there for friends and family to see – which will let some of the pressure off!

I am now in my early sixties but my State pension will not kick in for another four and a half years. I will not be getting the full whack as I have had contracted out of the second State pension because I was a member of a previous employer’s final salary scheme. Luckily this pension will take a little of the headache away and I have a couple of small DCB schemes from other employment over the years though these will not amount to much. I am in my current employer’s company scheme and both they and I pay into this – though again it’s not going to be life changing!

I calculate that I when I retire my income will be slashed by well over half so to carry scrimping would be a good run up to retirement test for me.

A big worry is that the firm I work for was recently bought out. I have been through this sort of thing with previous employers. What tends to happen is this:

1. Big lovey-dovey honeymoon period between new owners and old owners (who have been paid out, but stay on for goodwill).

2. New owners and old owners start to fall out over the management of the company. The new owners want to run the company their way and old owners think they know better.

3. Bad feeling hits all round and new owners start to have a “people” clear out.”

I’m rather apprehensive about the possibility of a people clear out because of my age. I think I will be ok as long as my boss is there but unfortunately he is older than me! :D

Accordingly, my next scrimpy goal is to fully fund my “Emergency Fund.” It currently stands at £3,000- but I would like to see it at £10,000 to feel safe. If I can fund it with £1,000 per month (like I did with my debt), I will have £10,000 by end April next year.

So today is going to be a NSD. I have £26.90 left spending money and £18.33 in the grocery budget till I get paid next Friday.

So here we go again – interesting times! :D
Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”


  • Good evening! :hello:

    What went on today

    I had to pick up some bananas and sparkling water today on the way to work so £1.33 from the food budget. The bananas are to accompany my porridge breakfast that I have in work. I keep the porridge packets, nuts and coffee in work and use the firm’s communal microwave and milk. I also brought in my sardine sandwich for lunch with some little toms and fruit so that keeps Pret a Manger at bay! :D

    I also donated to the London Air Ambulance charity that was collecting outside the station today, plus bought my hand cream in Boots. I had some points on my Advantage card which was enough to buy shower gel and some face powder sponges – unfortunately the points didn’t stretch to the hand cream!

    Tonight I made salmon and lemon pasta from the “A Girl Called Jack” cookbook from ingredients I had already so that was dinner sorted.

    Total scores on the Scrimpy Board!: £1.33 food; £6.43 general spends.

    Scrimpy Savings Strategy:

    A few months ago I swapped my standard Santander Current account for their 123 account as the interest was much better than I was receiving. I originally put my emergency fund into a cash ISA and had a few little savings accounts linked to my current account for savings like Christmas, Birthday/Gifts and periodic bills. I then transferred everything in these accounts to the 123 account. Santander have recently cut the rate to a flat 1.5% :mad: but I’m still sticking with this for the time being as Martin thinks other providers may follow in cutting their rates. Even with the £5 monthly fee I’m still quids in as the monthly direct debit cashback they give you counteracts this. I’m going to start putting the monthly interest into the emergency fund as every little helps!

    In order to see exactly what I am funding now that all my cash comprises of one lump sum, I am fervently using YNAB (You Need a Budget) to record all my categories and spending. I started using YNAB whilst I was still paying down my debt – I’ve had a few disasters with it on the way (which has totally been my fault!) and had to start again a few times but I couldn’t be without it now. I recently swapped over to the new version as the old version will not be supported at the end of the year. It’s $50 dollars a year but I get a lifetime 10% discount as an existing user so it worked out just over £34. I think the old version is actually better if you are paying off debt, but I prefer the new version for savings.

    Am now off to do some diary browsing and catch up with Cold Feet if I don't fall asleep first!
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
    RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
    My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”
  • I'm never going to eat toffee again! :mad: Was chewing away at a toffee this afternoon when the inlay in my tooth came away and I ended up with a nice big hole! :mad: Luckily my dentist is near the office and I was able to get an emergency appointment after work. I toddled off with the inlay and the emergency guy cemented it back. I'm due back for my routine check up in December and he said that i may need a new inlay or crown then. No idea how much that will be! It cost £90 today - I know these sort of things are for what the emergency fund is for but I don't want to raid my nice shiny fund! Weird eh! When I get paid on Friday I'll adjust so I can pay it from there. :D

    Apart from the mishap above just bought paper, stamps, tomatoes and some lovely cards that were 3 for a £1!

    Credit Cards

    All my balance transfer cards have disappeared into the wide blue yonder but I have three cards that I use for ordinary purchases. I have an Amex cash back card and a M&S card that pays in their vouchers. I also have a Santander Zero for overseas transactions/holidays. If you take your yearly Amex Cashback in Boots vouchers instead of cash they give you 5% more so I do that! I put nearly all my purchases on my cards to get the cash/ vouchers and always pay the bill at end of the month now! I've learnt my lesson!:D
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
    RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
    My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”
  • Welcome back Seasidegal. I used to follow your other diary and wondered what had happened to you. It's great you have paid off the £31k and can now openly scrimp without fear! I didn't tell anyone apart from my partner when I was paying off my c/cs, and I didn't even tell him the level of debt I'd got into.

    Anyway, now you're back and planning for the next stage of your life I've subscribed to follow your journey. Good luck with everything.
    MFIT -T5 #42
  • Thank you so much stoplurking for your kind comments and for subscribing to my ramblings!:D

    I thought I would pop over and have a look to see if you have a diary, but found your post back in December 2013 when you cleared your debt. Wow! How fantastic are you and to have finished it in little of over a year as well! :T Such an inspirational, informative and helpful post and you must have felt so proud! Your OH sounds a wonderful support too! :A
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
    RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
    My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”
  • Have day off from work today as managing agent for flat is coming round later for one of their periodic visits to the block to meet up and discuss any issues we may have. I've woken up quite early and will have breakfast and get some jobs done around the house.

    Yesterday was a good day for scrimpy spending - just my paper and I had my nails done in the evening (which was budgeted for! :D).

    Will be able to view this month's payslip on line later on today ready for tomorrow's payment so I will have a look at the forthcoming monthly budget then.
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
    RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
    My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”
  • Aaahhh there you are! Am subscribing to your shiny new diary x
    MFIT #73 - Pay all mortgage off in 3 years[STRIKE] £46,400[/STRIKE]£34,295 PAID £12,105
  • Thanks Mysteek! :hello:

    So I had a NSD yesterday !:T Today after paper plus lunch (coffee and sandwich with friend) I ended up with £3.35 spending surplus. After buying some milk and yoghurt the household surplus was £12.49!

    Scores on the scrimpy doors for the month - £15.84 total to help pay the dental bill!

    Stuff Helping Budget:

    Direct Debits:
    At the beginning of my last debt journey I set up all my direct debits to start at the beginning of the month – keeping them all together has been a great help – the only anomaly is Essex & Suffolk Water who for some strange archaic reason will only set up direct debits on 8th and 16th. So I have one sad little direct debit all on its lonesome!

    I have a Noddle account which I check monthly to make sure there have been no dodgy things going on with my accounts. One of the nice things about Noddle is that is free unlike some of the other credit reference agencies. It’s also very gratifying to see that my credit score is now 5/5! I am a bit sceptical though about these scores – a colleague of mine who is worth an arm and a leg has a score of 2/5 because of a hoo-ha he had with a utility company supplying one of his properties! Still the score is nice to goggle at.

    Looking back over “Essential Outgoings”:

    I had a look back over the beginning of my previous diary in April 2014 to see how the finances had changed on my essential outgoings. I’ve listed an extract below and my present comments are highlighted:

    Mortgage – as I mentioned in my previous post my mortgage is very small and with interest rates having been so low for so long I am only paying out £106 per month. (All finished earlier this year)
    Energy – I have an electricity only home with Economy 7 storage heaters. I went on a comparison site last year and I am on a fixed rate until end August which is £39 monthly though it might go down a bit now we are out of winter. I’m pretty good with turning things off. The heating is currently off at the moment, apat from the bathroom. (I changed provider – bill currently £34 per month – down!)
    Water – In my area I’m serviced by two water companies – one for sewerage (£11 per month) and the other for the rest of my water needs (£6.80). The sewerage is calculated on a rateable basis so I can’t do anything re the cost here, but on the other I have had a water meter for some years – have showers, not baths and don’t have a dishwasher (up to £12 and £ 8.15)
    Council Tax – This is £81 per month over 10 months and this includes my 25% single occupancy discount. I like paying it over 10 months as I can throw the two free months cost at my debt (as I did this year!) (up to £86)
    Service Charges on Flat – This is £356 per half year. Can’t do a lot about this although the flats are well maintained. (Now £415!)
    Building Insurance – This was £266 last year, but again this is charged by the freeholder under the terms of the lease so although I am sure this could be cheaper there’s not a lot I can do. (now £332 – annoying! I always feel that I am being fleeced!):mad:
    Contents Insurance –Got this via comparison site and paid for it in one lump – was £76 annual. (Last year £80.02)
    Travel Insurance – got this last year again in full via comparison site. Was yearly £65 (high due to existing medical condition). (Last year £89)
    Regular Medicines – paying for these via yearly NHS prescription card - £104 annual. (One positive thing about getting older – I don’t have to pay any more!)
    Home Phone - £15.40 per month – land line with free weekend calls. I’m going to ring the provider to see if I can get it down. (Now £21.40 – will have to do something!)
    Mobile - £10 per month pay as you go (needed more call time and download. Now on £17 monthly rolling tariff but I have a year’s discount so £14.53).
    Tax – I’m PAYE but fill in self-assessment form and so I get an extra bill each year because of my benefits in kind at work. This January it was £152 so I am putting a bit away each month for next year.(not self-assessed any more so everything is worked out via PAYE)
    Travel – I commute to work by train and so have an annual season ticket which is the cheapest way to pay and this year cost £3,128. I get an interest free season ticket loan from work which is debited from my salary each month over ten months costing £312.80. The two non-paying months I will be throwing at the debt! I know the cost of this probably seems astronomical to some, but it’s the only practicable way I can get to work and I would not be earning anything like I do working locally (New ticket starts next month – will be £323.
    Food/Household – Ah this the one where I do feel I can cut back – in fact I’m going to have a special post later on just for this category! (Started budget at £120 per month – still trying to follow this)

    And still no car, pets or smoking!:D
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
    RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
    My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”
  • Done online shop for month ahead with Tesco for delivery tomorrow. I've tested myself on and Tesco always turns out cheapest for me. My monthly supermarket budget is £120. As I don't have a car I find it really useful and time saving to have one monthly delivery and then top up the following weeks for milk, etc at Aldi or the small grocery outlets nearby.

    This time round it has come to £71.30 - annoying thing was that £16 was water filters for my Brita water jug and kettle. :mad: Does anyone know if Tesco's water filters fit the Brita appliances? They certainly look the same and are half the price! £4 was also included for delivery charge but if I went to the supermarket I would still have to pay for a taxi home so it all sorts itself out in the end.

    So £16.23 left in budget for the top up weeks.

    I'm going out soon for the day with the family so will be so working out whole monthly budget later.
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016 🌟
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017
    RETIRED: MAY 2021!!!!😀🎆
    My diary: “Seasidegal's Scrimpy Retirement Diary!”
  • Sun_Addict
    Sun_Addict Posts: 21,230 Forumite
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    Hello Seasidegal :hello:

    I've got 10 years until I can retire and also need to start tightening my belt in readiness. My job has been a bit like yours, I've been contracted out to a government department for 16 years but am finally being TUPE'd in-house next month so at least I know my job will be safe until I retire. I got so sick of being transferred from one contractor to another.

    Well done on paying off your debt and good luck with your new journey. I've subscribed and will be following your antics.
    Christmas Savings 2024 £252.38/£600 April NSD:2 April Surveys £
  • brizzledfw
    brizzledfw Posts: 7,302 Forumite
    Debt-free and Proud!
    Following the lovely SA over..and have subscribed to cheer you on your way xx
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    Declutter 60 items before 31.03.18 9/60 ** LSDs Target 10 for March 03/10 **AFDs 10/15 ** Sales/TCB Target 2018 £25/£500 NSDs Target 10 for March 02/10 Trying to be a Frugalista:rotfl::T
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