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A return to MSE with a DMP so I can be debt free

edited 3 May at 11:04AM in Debt Free Diaries
160 replies 7.3K views
pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
354 Posts
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edited 3 May at 11:04AM in Debt Free Diaries
Hi everyone, my name is Pencakes and I joined MSE around 8 years ago.

I'm single, 33 and live in the big old smoke. Living on your own in London isn't cheap, but I love my job and my little flat. I'm a huge motorsport fan (it's also my job, lucky me :D), slightly obsessed with dogs and I'm doing the London Marathon in April. :eek:

My life and finances have definitely been on a rollercoaster of a journey since I first visited the forums, but in May last year I finally decided enough was enough. I had over £31k of cc/loan debt and owed my step dad nearly £10k. I also had car finance which at its highest was over £8k. There's a bit of overlap in terms of debt and how much I owed and when, but I think it's around £44-50k in total. Oh and had zero savings. :eek:

I started a DMP with StepChange in July 2019 and I can honestly say it's been the best thing I have ever done and only wish I'd done it sooner.

2020 has arrived and for the first time in a long time, I start a new year with less debt not more and am looking at a DFD of September 2022.

I still have a long way to go, but the feeling of actually reducing debt and not adding to it is so good for the soul. I've spent years hiding in an ashamed hidden world of debt, not telling a soul but to finally be taking back control has improved my mental health beyond belief.

My reason for being back here is to meet like-minded friends who know what I am/have been going through, but to also learn more on budgeting, selling/adding to income and any other DFW tips and tricks.

Long post, over! Thanks for reading! 😀
DMP: £31,922 £11,716
Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
Savings: £255

12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
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Replies

  • MidsHollieMidsHollie Forumite
    291 Posts
    100 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
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    Hi Pencakes,
    Thanks for stopping by my diary.
    I was in the big smoke for a decade! Unless you are on a crazy amount of money it can be a financial disaster. Constant money haemorrhaging for daily life so I used to figure what does it matter if I buy this or that when life is just so expensive.
    Well done on getting a handle on your debts. It looks like you have done a great job so far. Good luck!

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6086606/debt-free-by-23/p1

    True LBM, December 2019 = £32934. Current Debt = £12762. 1% Challenge = 61.1%. #51 3-6 Month EF Challenge = £1200/£6000



  • pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
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    MidsHollie wrote: »
    Hi Pencakes,
    Thanks for stopping by my diary.
    I was in the big smoke for a decade! Unless you are on a crazy amount of money it can be a financial disaster. Constant money haemorrhaging for daily life so I used to figure what does it matter if I buy this or that when life is just so expensive.
    Well done on getting a handle on your debts. It looks like you have done a great job so far. Good luck!

    Thanks for your reply :)

    Luckily my salary has finally picked up and I feel like I'm on a decent wage, but spent years feeling woefully underpaid for London living. It's a hard place to be thrifty, but I recently confessed to my closest friends about my debts and they've been amazing about it which really helps.

    House buying is a long way off, but my priority is clearing my debt, then save and see where that takes me. *fingers crossed*
    DMP: £31,922 £11,716
    Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
    Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
    Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
    Savings: £255

    12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
  • pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
    354 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    Had a relatively quiet weekend, back at work today. Dry January isn't the most fun I've ever had but it really does help save on expenditure. It's made me really think about ways I can (and should) drink less after January. Whilst a teetotal life doesn't appeal, being more considered and spending less definitely does.

    Trying to save whilst on a DMP is quite tricky, but I went into it pretty quickly and don't have any emergency funds so I do need to have a back up plan.

    I've sold a big chunk of bits on Depop and eBay recently so that all helps. Just need to keep it ticking over.

    I've been making my own lunches to take to work for a good few months now and it's amazing how much money it has saved me. For years I just found it so hard to be organised and now I can't understand why on earth I didn't do it sooner. It's the easiest thing to do and my money stretches a lot further.

    It's funny how the simplest things have the biggest mental impact on you. :o
    DMP: £31,922 £11,716
    Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
    Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
    Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
    Savings: £255

    12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
  • NaomimNaomim Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
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    Hi,

    It sounds like you are getting a good handle on things.

    I grew up in London but cant afford it now although MrM & I both commute in for higher salaries.

    Good luck on your journey

    Naomim
    Credit Cards
    NOV 2019 £33,220.42
    APR 2021 £28,597.03

    Tilly Tidy 2021 Mar/April: £7.65 Total 2021 £35.04
    Here's my diary: A Ditherer's Diary Again
  • edited 19 January 2020 at 10:42AM
    pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
    354 Posts
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    edited 19 January 2020 at 10:42AM
    Naomim wrote: »
    Hi,

    It sounds like you are getting a good handle on things.

    I grew up in London but cant afford it now although MrM & I both commute in for higher salaries.

    Good luck on your journey

    Naomim

    Thank you. I'm not totally happy with how things are (I don't think the cloud of debt ever really disappears from your mind) but I feel so much more in control and certainly less panicked.

    I used to live and work in Surrey but since getting a job in London, I moved further in as it somehow worked out more cost effective with rent and travel costs combined. I'm only in Zone 4 so it doesn't cost me *that* much... :o
    DMP: £31,922 £11,716
    Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
    Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
    Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
    Savings: £255

    12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
  • pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
    354 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    TGIF! It's been such a busy week in the office with late nights and super early starts and I'm really feeling it. Thankfully I have a chilled weekend ahead so hopefully I'll be back to normal soon. I don't know what it is about this time of year but I always tend to feel wiped out. Even the vitamin D tablets don't seem to be helping!

    I'm still sticking with Dry Jan but it's getting a bit dull now. I don't drink huge amounts normally, but I am missing the odd glass or wine.

    I think I need to have another round of eBaying this weekend. I've got a few things on Depop but I find I make sales in fits and starts, sometimes I sell and bunch of things but then go for weeks without a single sale. I don't ever make huge amounts when I sell (it's usually just clothes) but every bit helps.

    I need to buy a couple of small bits for my work lunches but I should have enough stuff to last another week before I do a big shop.

    Might have to go and make myself a Berocca, I feel soooo tired!
    DMP: £31,922 £11,716
    Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
    Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
    Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
    Savings: £255

    12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
  • edited 17 January 2020 at 3:34PM
    NaomimNaomim Forumite
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    edited 17 January 2020 at 3:34PM
    pencakes26 wrote: »
    Thank you. I'm not totally happy with how things are (I don't think the cloud of debt ever really disappears from your mind) but I feel so much more in control and certainly less panicked.

    I used to live and work in Surrey but since getting a job in London, I moved further in as it somehow worked out more cost effective with rent and travel costs combined. I'm only in Zone 4 so far in it costs me a fortune. :o

    Feeling in control is half the battle won. I had my LBM in November. Was suffering sleepless nights and worrying constantly. By deciding to take it head on and sort it out, set a proper budget, stick to it, get back on here and posting certainly made me feel much more positive and has helped my sleep!

    Have you looked at online surveys etc to make some extra money? I've just done a couple of long ones with prolific (10 & 15 mins) but both paying out over £1. £3 made sitting at my computer in my lunch hour. :)

    We're zone 5 and it costs us both £2,400 a year to commute in, however our salaries are both increased by this amount so it's cost effective for us. I looked at jobs locally (Surrey/London border) and the salary decreased by about £5-£8k.

    Naomim
    Credit Cards
    NOV 2019 £33,220.42
    APR 2021 £28,597.03

    Tilly Tidy 2021 Mar/April: £7.65 Total 2021 £35.04
    Here's my diary: A Ditherer's Diary Again
  • pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
    354 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    Naomim wrote: »
    Feeling in control is half the battle won. I had my LBM in November. Was suffering sleepless nights and worrying constantly. By deciding to take it head on and sort it out, set a proper budget, stick to it, get back on here and posting certainly made me feel much more positive and has helped my sleep!

    Have you looked at online surveys etc to make some extra money? I've just done a couple of long ones with prolific (10 & 15 mins) but both paying out over £1. £3 made sitting at my computer in my lunch hour. :)

    We're zone 5 and it costs us both £2,400 a year to commute in, however our salaries are both increased by this amount so it's cost effective for us. I looked at jobs locally (Surrey/London border) and the salary decreased by about £5-£8k.

    Naomim

    I know exactly the feeling. It just becomes so consuming and I didn't really have anyone to share it with - I didn't want someone to 'fix it' but I kept it so hidden from even my closest family and friends and I'm sure that made it worse for my mental health.

    I have days where I really struggle now, but having something positive to focus on and a real goal to aim for has made a massive difference in my life.

    As for job/commuting balance I completely get that. I may return to Surrey or similar one day but whilst I'm single, London makes me feel less isolated.

    Will go check out some survey stuff :)
    DMP: £31,922 £11,716
    Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
    Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
    Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
    Savings: £255

    12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
  • enthusiasticsaverenthusiasticsaver Forumite, Board Guide
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    Well done on tackling the debt and good that a DMP is working for you. An emergency fund is a must so selling bits will help with this and any savings on your budget could go in there. Taking lunch to work saved me a fortune over the years.

    I was born in Surrey and lived there and in the Greater London suburbs until I was 28 but DH accepted a job in the south west and we moved out of London then. House prices were extortionate and although wages are not as high in other areas of the country it was more than compensated for by more availability of affordable housing. It has also meant our children have been able to buy properties whereas in London it is difficult. My nephew who still lives there has to pay high rent.
    Early retired in December 2017

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected]
  • pencakes26pencakes26 Forumite
    354 Posts
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    Forgot I was paying my car off outside of my DMP so hadn't included that debt in the original number in my signature. My finances haven't physically changed but adding it as a separate line in my signature reminds me that it's still a debt I'm paying.

    I have a month by month budget planner that I update as things are paid or I spend which helps me not overspend (once I run out of money that's it! No credit to rely on!) It's a really simple spreadsheet so I may upgrade it to something a little fancier (obviously something free!).

    Shopped for food yesterday which cost me £35 but it will cover lunch/dinner for a week at least. I know I can get that cost down by being a bit more frugal, but my monthly budget is around £115/£120 so not a massive spend.

    One thing I do need to buy is a new plant pot. I've had a cheese plant for a couple of years now and just recently it's started to go a bit mad. It's definitely out grown itself! Hopefully a little bit of searching around and I'll find a cheap one.

    Oh and a quick mention of this lovely sunshine! :j
    DMP: £31,922 £11,716
    Family Loan: £10,000 £5,148
    Car: £8,754 £0 🎉
    Total: £50,676 £16,864 67% PAID OFF
    Savings: £255

    12 months to go until debt freedom. 🤞
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