LonelyRat's Road to Riches (take two!)

edited 25 March 2020 at 11:46AM in Debt free diaries
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lonelyratlonelyrat Forumite
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edited 25 March 2020 at 11:46AM in Debt free diaries

A big (overdue) hello again! I've been AWOL for a while now, but thought as I have some free time -now would be the perfect opportunity to get back on the forum (very shiny new forum by the way - where have the old emoticons gone? I miss the wee smiley face guys with the beer)


At the beginning of last year me and OH relocated from Bonny Scotland to Surrey. This was mostly fueled by OH struggling to get a job in Scotland and me only working part time, so finances weren’t ever great. 

We (I) thought that a change of scenery would probably help, and it did! 

OH found a temp job within about a month and they just never let him go... They’ve recently acquired him from the agency and he’s now a permanent member of staff - he’s gone from being on minimum wage to just under £30,000 a year for a very lovely company so things are rosy on that front!


We are currently in the very, very (VERY) fortunate position of living rent/mortgage free in my Dad’s house while he is living abroad in another property he owns. While this is obviously amazing, the house is in an absolute state of disrepair. 

We are going through room by room trying to make it someplace we are comfortable living for now and the plan is, in the (probably very distant) future, to fully renovate. 

While we are rent free here, our bills are quite high and OH has only recently had his pay rise - so currently we are playing catch up trying to stabilise our budget. This seemed fine, however I am now off work and will be for the foreseeable future and will likely only be paid SSP (eek). 


The reason for this is… we are having a wee baba lonelyrat

Very much an unexpected development, but welcome all the same. He’s due in June, which is mildly terrifying with all that’s going on currently. Am just trying to stay calm and not let my mental health go too wonky. 

I was due to work for a few more months but have been advised by the consultant not to go. My work colleagues are all still in the office and the bosses are very reluctant to set up home working, so, while it isn't safe to be commuting to the office I am very much a spare part at home. 

Obviously, this means finances are (once again) going to be very tight. But I will have an abundance of free time in which to moneydiary and decorate, so, silver linings


On a not very MSE front, our washing machine just went kaput so we have had to buy a new one which will be delivered tomorrow. 

I’ve been thinking about the ethics of having deliveries at the moment and really not sure what’s right to do. Am thinking best to avoid going forward to keep people safe, but not sure if delivery people want to be working or not? It’s also a question of whether or not a washing machine is ‘essential’ - it feels like it is, but at the same time if I actually think about it it’s more of a luxury. 

Anyway, off I go rambling again! Will be delivered tomorrow and then no more online purchases for the foreseeable (unless essential baba things, but even then will hold off for as long as possible). Once the washing machine is installed I will do our backlog of laundry and get to pegging out (yay!)


Plan for today:
1. SOA (eek)

2. Second coat of paint on the walls in the spare room (little by little!)

3. Tidy bedroom as currently have all the baba stuff piled in the corner

4. Sit in the sunshine and read (not facebook or the news)

5. Check in on old money diaries and see how people are doing!

6. List current money wins/ goals 


Will come back later with the breakdown on where we are finance wise. It’s not awful, but it’s not fab either! 

Total Debt : ?? / ??

Replies

  • enthusiasticsaverenthusiasticsaver Forumite, Ambassador
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    Congratulations on the baby. Glad you settled in Surrey.  We used to  live there but  house prices were horrendous. 
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free Wannabe, Budgeting and Banking and Savings and Investment boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    Omg congratulations on expecting the baby! And great news with OH's job! So, so good to have you back :grin:
  • edited 25 March 2020 at 4:58PM
    lonelyratlonelyrat Forumite
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    edited 25 March 2020 at 4:58PM

    OK - SOA, warts and all

    Made up of the average of the last two months going through the bank statements. Also, have put in my new (reduced) income + OH's new (increased) income so we have an idea of where we stand going forward. £400.00 emergency fund is what we have put away this month, but will hopefully increase this. I also have a floating balance in my current account of about a hundred, but I don't count this as an "asset" as this is just to account for any nasty surprises. 

    As this is the first month with OH's new salary things are a bit unstable (especially considering he went from weekly to monthly payments so March has seemed very long!!) but I now plan on recording all spends for the next few months to see if I can get a better idea of what we're up to. Obviously, things will change as we are socially distancing and not going out and spending, but it's still a good idea I feel. 

    Currently don’t put anything aside for presents/ holidays and just pay out as and when needed, so will need to actually set some aside going forward. 

    If anyone remembers a theme of my old diary was how much I wanted a holiday - am sad to say that we have still not been on one! Had a babymoon booked for next month which has been cancelled and had a trip later in the year (booked last year before baby made his presence known!) which has also been cancelled. Seems OH and I will actually never go on holiday :D  

    I don’t want to make this an aspirational SOA, as that isn’t going to be helpful, but will review goals/ ideas for figures going forward once done.

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information
    Number of adults in household........... 2
    Number of children in household......... 0
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details
    Monthly income after tax................ 408.42
    (I believe the rough amount of SSP I will get -I'm not used to being the low earner, so this feels very strange!)
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 1880
    Benefits................................ 0
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 2288.42

    Monthly Expense Details
    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 0
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 209.33
    Electricity............................. 57.11
    Gas.....................................
    (Gas and Electricity are combined - I don’t believe 57.11 is the correct total however that’s what has been direct debited this month. Have only recently switched to Octopus for our energy and they’re currently sorting out our online account so am not 100% sure what the total will be going forward).
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 31
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 35.41
    TV Licence.............................. 13.2
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 27
    Internet Services....................... 28
    Groceries etc. ......................... 315.31 (eek!)
    Clothing................................ 39.1
    Petrol/diesel........................... 128.96
    (this feels very high - OHs parents were visiting last month so there were trips out and about and to the airport, but still seems excessive. Considering we're now not going out at all (maybe just a weekly shop) I won't be able to accurately record what this will be. Will need to re-address when the storm has passed and OH is back driving to work). 
    Road tax................................ 30 
    (180 twice a year)
    Car Insurance........................... 50
    (600 paid upfront - hopefully lower next year, but still setting this amount aside)
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 20
    Car parking............................. 17.3
    Other travel............................ 0 
    (was just over 170 per month for my rail ticket, but this has now been cancelled and this part month has been refunded - yay!)
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    (eek! not sure what babies actually cost, so will need to review this. Have been spending a fair bit (pram/ cot/ bottles/ nappies etc. but this won't be reflective of actual monthly costs so I haven't included anything). 
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 18
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 8
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 58 
    (made up of boiler/ electrics cover (100% necessary considering the state of the boiler/ radiators/ electrics in this house!) and phone/ laptop insurance. Will be investigating cancelling the latter as believe we’re covered with our contents insurance but will look into this further in the next few days).
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 0
    Haircuts................................ 9
    (OH hair and beard trim - I still cut my own!) 
    Entertainment........................... 95.88
    (46.92 actual entertainment and 48.96 on takeaways (eek!) - this will not normally be this high, as takes into account OH's parents visit). 
    Holiday................................. 0
    Emergency fund.......................... 400
    Total monthly expenses.................. 1590.60

    Assets
    Cash.................................... 603.21
    (my limited savings- this was quite healthy at the end of 2019, but we then bought the car using our savings and paid out the insurance/ road tax in a one-er).  
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 1890
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 2493.21
    No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts

    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly...APR
    M&S Credit Card................3185......79.68.....0 (OH and mine, interest free for 20 months)
    Tesco Credit Card..............2450......25........0 (OH and mine, interest free for 12 months)
    OH Credit Card.................1900......47.5......0 (interest free for 3 months) 
    Santander Credit Card..........760.99....18.25.....0 (mine, not interest free but paid in full every month. Currently has our new washing machine and some flights on it - flights are being refunded and I have the money for the washing machine so will be paid this month). 
    Total unsecured debts..........8295.99...170.43....

    Monthly Budget Summary
    Total monthly income.................... 2,288.42
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 1,590.6
    Available for debt repayments........... 697.82
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 170.43
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 527.39

    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 2,493.21
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -0
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -8,295.99
    Net Assets.............................. -5,802.78

    Well, that isn't very pretty.

    Recently shifted debt around, as OH was paying interest on his - so just moved everything to the M&S and Tesco cards this month. Have a spreadsheet which sets out the breakdown of the total value (i.e. who owes what) and have a plan for paying everything off before the interest free periods end. Ideally, we want to be debt free ASAP but need to be realistic with what we can do with baby on the way. 

    Debt hasn't really been growing or decreasing really since I've been away. We've just been paying bits off here and there and trying not to add to it. Now considering debt more as 'ours' rather than separate in the way we used to. Since finding out about baba it makes a bit more sense, as even before this whole SSP kaffufle we were moving our finances together in preparation for me dropping down to SMP. 

    The Santander CC will be paid off before the statement due date (I believe 24th of April, but it's a direct debit so I will need to check when this will actually be). Usually I put large items and home improvement bits on this card and then pay them off the next month, but I will stop doing this - especially important now as my income will be so low, as this could be a slippery slope. 

    Biggest take away from the SOA is that we spend too much on groceries for two people! I do love my food, but this is not excusable! Figure slightly inflated due to OH's parents staying and us shopping for 4 rather than 2, but I still think it would be quite high even without this. Will monitor/ record going forward and actively try to keep this down. 

    Will review SOA further and report back on plans going forward!
    Total Debt : ?? / ??
  • lonelyratlonelyrat Forumite
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    Thank you enthusiasticsaver and SSDD23! Lovely to *see* you again :smiley:
    Total Debt : ?? / ??
  • Kitten868Kitten868 Forumite
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    Welcome back and massive congrats on your brilliant news. Job for OH and a baby! 
    All very much into the unknown right now, isn't it! Keep going lovely. It looks like you'll soon have it licked xxx
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  • CreditCardJunkieCreditCardJunkie Forumite
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    Congratulations!!
    I had my first baby in August & wanted to share some things I wish I'd known beforehand!
    - Not a great time to be doing this, but my mum bought nappies in various sizes with her shopping before baby was born. This really helped with the budget
    - We were so lucky to be gifted a huge amount of clothing in 0-3. I'd already bought a fair bit so I wouldn't do this second time round.
    - Second hand is amazing, had I not been so naive, there's a lot of things like cot and high chair that are easily cleaned that I would buy second hand. We bought a 2nd hand jumperoo for half the price of new, it scrubbed up like brand new.
    - Lidl nappies are fab and literally 1/4 of the price of pampers premium!
    - Try and save a good buffer if you can. We spent £800 on food and general bits for the baby in the first 2 weeks. I had planned to BF but it didn't work out so we had to buy prep machine, bottles etc & also the car seat didn't fit my new (but very old) car so we had to buy an additional car seat.
    - There is a reason some prams are more expensive than others. I didn't think so and we bought a cheap (£300) one. It was an absolute piece of rubbish that ended up being replaced 3 times before we eventually asked for a refund. This in among hospital appointments wasn't what we needed and we ended up buying the pram I'd first saw. Pramworld have really good prices!
    - I absolutely loved the Milton cold water steriliser with the Milton tablets. No waiting for bottles to cool and didn't use electric.
    - Snufflebaby nasal drops - LO got a cold when she was only a few weeks old and these were great, thankfully we were gifted them and had them in the house.
    - You can never have enough bibs and muslins (LO had reflux)
    - You will actually use all those blankets people buy you
    - Ewan the dream sheep. We were bought one and at the beginning he seemed useless, at 7months he's now a vital part of bedtime.
    - Be kind to yourself. 

    Good luck and don't feel guilty about staying in. Your priority is your little Baba!!


    Debt Free as of December 2020 👏

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  • edited 26 March 2020 at 10:52AM
    lonelyratlonelyrat Forumite
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    edited 26 March 2020 at 10:52AM
    Kitten868 said:
    Welcome back and massive congrats on your brilliant news. Job for OH and a baby! 
    All very much into the unknown right now, isn't it! Keep going lovely. It looks like you'll soon have it licked xxx
    Hi Kitten! Thank you very much - it's all change in the LonelyRat household!! It is a bit scary/ daunting  but doing the SOA has made me realize money won't be as tight as I had thought it would be, if we can just keep our heads screwed on we can bust the debt pretty sharpish. 

    CreditCardJunkie - thank you for the fab tips! I'll take any and all advice you can give as no matter how much research I do it all still seems overwhelming! OH and I both over the moon for baby coming, but he's definitely thrown a spanner in the works! I had planned initially to get most things second hand, but then got sucked into the shiny-ness of new things :flushed: (I didn't mean to, honest!) 

    Will very much take the buffer on board - as we definitely need to have more set aside. Plan is to BF but you never know what will happen - I'm trying not to set too many expectations (either for birth or for life in general) as am sure everything will probably go flying straight out the window! 

    Might get an Ewan! I must admit I've been eyeing him up....

    Since finding out about baby we've been slowly buying nappies with the food shop!! I thought I was a bit silly for doing this, but I'm glad to see your mum did the same!
    Good luck and don't feel guilty about staying in. Your priority is your little Baba!!
    Thank you very much :blush: I feel like a numpty for staying in when all my colleagues are still at the office, but baby does need to come first. 

    Plan for today:

    1. Strip off wallpaper trim in spare room (try not to crack off all the plaster in the process)

    2. Sit in the sunshine and read (not facebook or the news) - may have sat out yesterday scrolling aimlessly through facebook... not helpful for my mental health!

    3. Check in on old money diaries and see how people are doing! (there's a lot to catch up on!! Very excited to see what everyone's up to!) 

    4. List current money wins/ goals (will do this now!!) 

    5. Supervise new washing machine being delivered - they can't install it (for their/ our safety) but should hopefully be taking the old one away then OH will fit new one (pray for us!) 

    Total Debt : ?? / ??
  • edited 26 March 2020 at 11:25AM
    lonelyratlonelyrat Forumite
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    edited 26 March 2020 at 11:25AM

    Money Goals and Plan of Action

    • Build a healthy buffer in our savings account for an emergency fund (currently £400 a month will go in to this, but will re-evaluate in a few months)

    • Clear our debts as quickly as we can, while not stretching ourselves too thin. 

    • Reduce grocery etc. spend to £250 a month (initially - will see how we do and if we can lower this more then we will do). Any remainder in the grocery/ household spends account will be funneled into savings at the end of the month.


    Debts: 

    M&S Credit Card................3185...........0 (OH and mine, interest free for 20 months)

    Tesco Credit Card..............2450........... 0 (OH and mine, interest free for 12 months)

    OH Credit Card.................1900.............0 (interest free for 3 months) 

    Total: 7535


    So, looking at the SOA and discounting minimum payments we have £697.82 available for debt repayments a month. If we reduce our food spend to £250 as planned this will increase to £763.13 a month.

    OH’s credit card is the top priority as the interest free period runs out shortly. We could probably shift this elsewhere, but would rather just get rid of it ASAP. Will throw as much as possible at this first. 


    Very (very) rough plan as follows: 

    Stage 1 (3 months) 

    M&S: 100 per month

    Tesco: 25 per month 

    OH Credit Card: 625 per month (plus extra £25 in June from savings) 

    Remaining M&S Balance: 2885

    Remaining Tesco Balance: 2375


    Stage 2 (six months)

    Increase spending money as baby will be here (eek!!!) maybe an extra £200 in savings for baby related stuff per month. This then leaves 563.13 available for debt busting. 

    M&S: 100 per month

    Tesco: 450 per month 

    Remaining M&S Balance: 2285


    Stage 3 (five months)

    The only remaining debt is M&S which we can pay the full £550 to per month. Will then be paid off in five months and we should be debt free.


    Sounds easy right? Probably not :wink: Am very much expecting that this will not go quite as planned and there will be house things/ baby things which we need to account for. But if we can stick to this as closely as possible we'll be in a pretty good position. 
    Total Debt : ?? / ??
  • redofromstartredofromstart Forumite
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    ooh congratulations, and good to see you posting again.  I hated not knowing what happened next!
  • juliejimjuliejim Forumite
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    Congratulations - hope everything is ok at your end.
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