Starting Again for Future Me

BankMoth888BankMoth888 Forumite
14 Posts
MoneySaving Newbie
Debts at 1st January 2020: £19,644
There, I said it out loud and with that my debt-free journey has begun.

I have been fully aware of my situation for a few months and have already done quite a bit to help myself (yes, my debts were a lot higher than that!). I have no excuses, my situation is completely self-inflicted and will be sorted out the slow steady way so that I can take on board the important lessons about money that I should have learned a long time ago.

Unfortunately my debt is set to rise by about another £2000 soonish, as unexpectedly the house I rent is being sold and I have zero put by for the move. This will have to be put on a credit card, which feels so wrong and so the opposite of what I'm now trying to achieve. Some of that extra £2000 will be paid back as soon as my current house deposit is returned, but realistically, probably not even half. It has to be noted that this is the first real emergency situation I'll have used my credit for. Almost every other penny of the total has been spent on stuff I simply shouldn't have bought. Almost all of it was spent on a want not a need. It feels horrible to admit that, but this is the stark reality and this is my horrible, low, reality-hitting starting point..

I will post my full situation and SOA further down the line as I'm not sure when I'm going to be moving and to what monthly expenses. For now I just want to be accountable and to face my situation. I feel so happy to have made this first step "publicly" and even though I've already begun paying off debts I really feel this diary is the start of something wonderful.

Good luck to everyone who is likewise debt-busting :)


  • edited 25 January 2020 at 12:30PM
    BankMoth888BankMoth888 Forumite
    14 Posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    edited 25 January 2020 at 12:30PM
    After my rather stark first post, I'm going to be kind to myself and start to list all the positives that are now or soon-to-be happening in my budget.

    This month I stopped budgeting for groceries a month at a time and have allocated the money to weekly pots instead (Monzo). This has meant that rather than spending an entire weekend shopping and batch-cooking for the month (and only really being able to make freeze-able food for the end of the month) I can shop just once a week and meal plan fresh food for the entire week. Because I don't have a car, I was having to make many trips to the supermarket and carry it home in manageable amounts when I shopped monthly (I couldn't face ordering it online as the supermarket it comes from is just down the road). Although carrying all those heavy loads was great for bone density, many trips meant many temptations and those relatively little additional expenses that resulted don't half add up over a few trips!

    I've set my Monzo pots to put aside the oddments of change into another pot and this will form my grocery unexpected spends/store cupboard staples buffer. I'm just beginning week 2 of my weekly pots and already I have gathered (painlessly) £4.16 in the grocery buffer pot. The weekly pots are also good psychologically because it means I'm never too far away from an injection of funds. I know this is a habit that will stick.

    Recently I was put onto a water meter and have been so careful to use as little as possible. This has resulted in a drop to my DD of £27 per month! I'm happy with that one and so is the environment.

    I've taken note of all the wonderful advice on the debt-free wannabe board and I am going to be changing my council tax to be taken over 12 months instead of 10 this year. Not sure how much lower that will make my monthly payments as the total amount due is set to increase this year. This month's council tax-free month was used to pay down my Argos account by another £100. Next month's will be used for same. Argos account currently standing at exactly £400 which has to be paid off by 13th March or get interest added. Not quite sure where I'm going to get that remaining £300 from (after next month's payment) but I'm about to file my self assessment tax return and will definitely get a rebate towards it. Should be about the same as last year which was just shy of £300 - wouldn't that be perfect?!

    At the end of last year I decided to set myself a challenge of watching no TV for a year. I'm allowing myself to watch DVDs and the occasional film online if I want, but not only am I saving the expense of the license fee (used to free up some more grocery money in my previously impossibly tight budget) but it's also encouraging me to knuckle down to my side-hustle which will help bring in a little extra now and then. Hopefully I can build business up to get regular additional payments off the debt.

    My phone contract comes to an end in June and by switching to sim only that will free up at least another £35 for debt repayments. (I can't wait for this one as I have felt nothing but guilt about that phone since I got it and it's not even a later model). The phone is perfect for my needs so won't need changing any time soon. If I break it or lose it I will have to buy a bog-basic one and that's that.

    That's about it for now. I'm planning to post my debt total here on the 1st of every month and at this stage I'm optimistically aiming to have it all paid off within 2 years. I don't know how that will happen but I'm going to do everything I can to reach that goal.
  • gemini12gemini12 Forumite
    391 Posts
    Good Luck.
  • savingholmessavingholmes Forumite
    16.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Welcome and good luck on your journey. Is there anything you can do to pull together a bit of an emergency fund ready for the move? How are you getting on finding somewhere else to live?
    During 2021: Target 1) Clear CC debt - £2128 to go (but debt neutral) @ 0% Target 2) Lose weight 3) Write regularly 38113/70000 words Book 2 4) Promote book(s) 5) Develop passive income streams 6) Build 3-6 mths EF 7) Declutter
  • Applewood1Applewood1 Forumite
    48 Posts
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    Good luck! You can do it. I'll be following along :)
  • browneyed_girlbrowneyed_girl Forumite
    244 Posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Just popping in to say hello and good luck with your debt-free journey! Starting your diary is definitely a positive step - the advice and support on here is fantastic! :D
    Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
    Debt at highest = £62,842.59 (Dec 2018) - now £44,611.39 (Oct 2021)
    Emergency fund £268.63 / £1000
    NSD October Challenge 8/12
    NSD target Sept-Dec 2021 17/50
  • Rgib89Rgib89 Forumite
    86 Posts
    10 Posts Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Hiya, thought I would pop along and says hi. Good luck on the debt free journey. I will be following along. Do you have any unwanted items at home you could sell? I have started to de clutter room by room and if I can sell it I am, even if it's small. It all adds up. Xx
  • BankMoth888BankMoth888 Forumite
    14 Posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Thank you so much for the support Gemini12, savingholmes, Applewood1, browneyed_girl and Rgib89, much appreciated :)

    To answer a few of the questions: I've not been given notice on the tenancy yet but I know it's coming because the landlord is sending an assortment of tradesmen round to quote on the various things that were wrong with the house even before I lived in it. The house has been on the market several times before my tenancy but has been withdrawn from sale each time as the landlord hasn't liked the (realistic) offers (according to the exasperated estate agents!). This may happen again, but I can't wait for the hammer to finally fall in case it happens at a really bad time to find another property. I may have a few months here yet, which would be great as I try to shape up my finances enough to pass the credit check for my next tenancy. I've been working hard to reduce my utilised credit percentage in order to look like a better prospect!

    Earlier this year I Marie Kondod like hell and got rid of loads of unnecessary stuff, either selling it or giving it away (how I wish I'd sold it all now!) so there is not a lot left to sell, but I will give it another going over now that moving is looming. I have got quite a bit of furniture though and when I know what I will need in my new place I will sell anything surplus. I'm likely to be downsizing as rents have gone up a lot for houses the same size as this one.

    I'm saving bits of cash where I can to form an emergency fund of sorts and so far have in it the cash I was given for Christmas, money that was left in a post office account (no longer paying interest) and I'm cashing in my few premium bonds. It's not much but will likely be around £500 if I move in a couple of months. It will all help.

    Thanks for all the help and questions, it really helps focus the mind!
  • MidsHollieMidsHollie Forumite
    291 Posts
    100 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Hey BM,
    Congratulations on the No TV thing. It is such a time suck, and so many people are paying so much for TV. I know I'm paying more than I would like, partially for convenience and partly as I have a lodger and feel that a TV licence is expected. I am also hoping to commence a little side hustle business once I've fully developed and refined a little crafty skill..... we will see.... Good luck with yours!

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

  • BankMoth888BankMoth888 Forumite
    14 Posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Hi MidsHollie and thank you for the encouragement.
    Re the TV, I found myself, night after night, just staring blankly in the direction of the TV but not really taking any of it in. I barely even moved. For the first week of no TV, I didn't know what to do with myself, but now my bottom is rarely connected to the sofa! It seems to have been the first step to sorting out this muddled brain/muddled life of mine. Good luck with your business, there is nothing like making money from something you really enjoy doing (I need to get more of that particular joy I my life!).
  • BankMoth888BankMoth888 Forumite
    14 Posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Hmmm. Just submitted my tax return (for my hopelessly neglected, but soon to be resurrected side hustle) and the calculation for my rebate is less than half of what I was blindly hoping for. At least I don't owe anything this time!

    That's going to be another £125ish off my Argos account. That will leave another £175 to conjure from somewhere before it gets interest added. As disappointing as that figure is (I was hoping the rebate would completely clear Argos acc) in some ways I kind of need this not to be too easy at the beginning (not that it has been!). I've had a few false lightbulb moments before and I think I need to shock myself out of ever sliding back into complacency.

    OK, I'm choosing to see this one as a useful lesson :)

    In future I will owe tax (a payment that I will have budgeted for, of course!) because I'm going to actually work hard at the side job. I'm going to make some extra money to help get back in the black.
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