Becoming a Frugal Dougal

After nosing through a few of these threads with great interest, I have decided to create my own! Hopefully one day I will be able to look back and see how far hubby and I have come. 

And when I say Hubby, I mean mainly me. When we met, he lived in a house that he had saved a very large deposit for. He has always been good with money and his outgoings have not exceeded his income. I have a very financially savvy Mum, however growing up she was time poor and cash rich and I carried that mentality forward in to adulthood. Before I met hubby I had paid down several thousands worth of debt, but after returning to full time work and study to complete a professional qualification I was back in that frame of mind again. There have been a few purchases that I now see as extravagant (2 holidays paid for on CC, laser hair removal (!)) but mainly it’s been the steady drip of overspending every single month and failing to budget. So many takeaways and meals out! The Amazon prime delivery driver knew our dogs by name! We also moved to a larger home.

Unfortunately, I have had to stop working in September this year due to ill health. We don’t qualify for Universal Credit and I am not eligible for ESA due to being short of half a years contributions in 2017 when I was studying. I receive a small amount of PIP which is keeping me going. Living on one income has made me confront my debt and realise the error of my ways. 
First step was to read Dave Ramsey then sit and make a very rudimentary SOA. We were budgeting £100 a week for shopping for two which seems to be MSE sacrilege! We’ve switched from Waitrose/M&S to Lidl and can do it for £50/60 now. I’m still finessing better money swaps such as frozen veg, slow cooker and leftovers to combat food waste. We’ve been through our committed spend and have cancelled the gym membership as well as an old insurance policy which was replaced and never cancelled. The goal is to live with as little extra spend as possible so we can debt avalanche the highest to lowest (0%) balances. 

Hubby had saved nearly £1k for Christmas and birthday combined, which has now become baby step one - our emergency fund. Even though he had saved (clever man) I think it was a relief to both of us not to buy each other Christmas gifts?! 

Then the credit card debt. All mine and totalled over £20k. £3.5k is being charged at 18% APR. I used my last pay packet plus some overdue expenses and a vehicle tax refund to pay off the first £1000. This should feel massive but it’s just feeling like a drop in the ocean at the moment. However, at least things are moving in the right direction. 

Plan is to: keep selling on eBay, Music Magpie, Marketplace etc. I have made around £300 so far but cringe at the things I have given away for free earlier this year because I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to sell them. Apply for a tax rebate as I haven’t earned over the personal allowance this year. Start doing surveys as and when I am well enough. Switch my current accounts using current offers to make £325, hopefully more if other providers offer new deals. 

I am weirdly enjoying being frugal for the first month and wondering when this will wear off. Fairly quickly I imagine. Would love to hear anyone else’s Frugal Dougal tips and hopefully one day experience debt freedom. 
Newly qualified Mr Micawber. 
Credit card debt - Sept 2020: 19,667 / Oct 2020: £15,597 / Nov 2020: £11,597 / Jan 2021: £5,600



  • I love your name! A lot of your post chimes with me, I had a similar amount of debt when I had my light bulb moment (plus I’ve also put holidays and laser hair removal on credit cards when in my blindly running up debt stage 🤦‍♀️). Ill health has also slowed my repayment plans, though I’m lucky enough to still be able to work part time.

    You sound very organised and like you’ve made great progress so far - well done! I’ve found that I’ve needed lots of milestones along the way to keep me motivated - so 90% paid off, getting under each thousand barrier, stuff like that. Also knowing I need to report back here has helped whenever I’m tempted to do something non-frugal 😂
    Debt at LBM (Dec 2018): £23,167
    Debt free Feb 2021
  • Great diary title  DougalDoo!  

    I have found 2 things useful - a hundred square, so that each debt has a separate hundred square and every time I pay off 1/100th, I colour a square in. The other helpful tool has been using an app called debt manager. I can’t remember if it was free or maybe a couple of pounds to purchase, but that has been really motivating to see the figures come down. The app does a chart ( an amortisation chart, I think it’s called) that helps you to see how much an overpayment affects the debt free date.
    paydbx2024 #2 £480/£5000 . Mortgage £144k start ~ £148k Jun 23 -
    2024 savings challenge £5/£2000
    EF £140. Savings 2 £30.00. Weekly savings envelope #17
  • FootyFanDan
    FootyFanDan Posts: 1,365 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Love the diary title :)
    It sounds like you are really determined and have already made some good steps forward. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck on your journey 
  • Thank you so much for your replies! I was worried I wouldn’t get any 😂 I love all your signatures showing your progress and can’t wait until mine reflects that! 

    I hadn’t thought about using an app! I will have a look. Lucky (or not so) for me hubs is an excel wizard so can do amazing and colour coded things with a spreadsheet. Love the 100 square that will be doing straight in my Bullet Journal @Honeysucklelou2 🤗

    Update from the last few days is got paid £100 by Lloyds really quickly for switching so that came straight off the remaining £2000 owed at 18% interest. Small steps! My Mum also needed her front room repainted so have been watching Marketplace and managed to get two free tins of paint, so did the job for free with the decorating materials we already had. Technically this doesn’t save any money for us but does earn us a takeaway in exchange for hubby’s labour which is definitely not in our new budget! 
    Newly qualified Mr Micawber. 
    Credit card debt - Sept 2020: 19,667 / Oct 2020: £15,597 / Nov 2020: £11,597 / Jan 2021: £5,600

  • I’d suggest also doing the 100 squares with your first target of the 3.5k - you’re making storming progress on that and it might help you see it!
    Debt at LBM (Dec 2018): £23,167
    Debt free Feb 2021
  • I’d suggest also doing the 100 squares with your first target of the 3.5k - you’re making storming progress on that and it might help you see it!
    Definitely going to try it this afternoon. I’m not very good on forum skills or etiquette but if I will see if I can manage a picture! 
    Newly qualified Mr Micawber. 
    Credit card debt - Sept 2020: 19,667 / Oct 2020: £15,597 / Nov 2020: £11,597 / Jan 2021: £5,600

  • I bullet journal for health stuff but never occurred to me to do it for finances - definitely something to think about!
    Debt at LBM (Dec 2018): £23,167
    Debt free Feb 2021
  • Went to the bank today to deposit £40 we got from selling an old TV, so that’s been squirrelled away for the next credit card payment. Off to Lidl tonight for the weekly shop but not able to get the usual things due to having to eat a bland diet before a medical procedure next week. We have lots of basics in so hoping to be able to get away with a reasonable spend tonight. Car goes in for service tomorrow which has been prepaid online so fingers crossed for nothing major wrong or extra! 
    Newly qualified Mr Micawber. 
    Credit card debt - Sept 2020: 19,667 / Oct 2020: £15,597 / Nov 2020: £11,597 / Jan 2021: £5,600

  • Joy turned to tears! Weekly shop came in at £30 last night (plus some bits from Aldi mid week which were £8) which I was chuffed with! Then the garage called to say car needed £220 of work on top of the £219 for service and MOT already paid. Oh well! 
    Newly qualified Mr Micawber. 
    Credit card debt - Sept 2020: 19,667 / Oct 2020: £15,597 / Nov 2020: £11,597 / Jan 2021: £5,600

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