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Wow wee oh my - trying to hack away at my £54k debt (was even about to book a holiday)

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  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    amanda_p said:
    Posting a SO A is not for people to pry. It is for people to help, people with lots of experience of where to cut corners and help with budgeting. People who have been in exactly the same position,worrying about paying back debt and the best way to go about it. Your remark was very disparaging, many on here have a wealth of information that can be passed on.Not called prying in my books!
    Yeh, yeh, yeh.   Some people here DO want to pry and feel superior, so that they can THEN offer advice. My remark was not disparaging at all. I have myself been in that very same position of worrying myself sick about paying back debt and what to do and, at the end of my tether and feeling so depressed I was ill, I contacted a debt help agency, who asked me to complete an SOA - so I just think it's an absolute waste of time to do it on here, when the people at debt help agencies can actually DO something to help, on the spot. I have actually been there, I know exactly what it's like to feel like you cannot go on with life. So don't try to disparage me.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    warby68 said:
    Just to reiterate, an SoA is primarily for you but sharing is for genuine, experienced help and this usually comes from a variety of perspectives too. It is not for prying - if people wanted to pry it would be someone they know not anonymous forum posters.
    You don't have to be ultra frugal, finding the right balance for you is what its all about. 
    You can also keep an SoA private but ask for help on individual bits - whichever suits you.
    Hundreds of reasons for debt, hundreds of solutions, no 2 budgets the same - but the themes are VERY common.
    Just preparing an accurate one is an eye opener for most.
    But to prepare an SOA and then put it on here and THEN have to go through it all again with a debt help agency is duplicate work. My advice is not to waste time on here, just go straight to one of the agencies, I've done it myself, and I've been there. They helped me. I was suicidal and putting an SOA on here would not have helped me at all because then I would have had to go over it all again with the person who actually helped me. I've done it, I know how it feels and when you're just repeating all your debts, spending, etc., it's not only depressing and demoralising, it's painful.

    Coming on here and revealing your debts is just putting off that day when you HAVE to actually do something about it. 

    I've seen no end of times when people have put their SOA on here, and poured their hearts out, only to be told "you need to contact one of the debt help agencies".

    Just do that first. That's all I'm saying.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • ryanm8655
    ryanm8655 Posts: 1,152 Forumite
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    edited 30 October 2020 at 12:35AM
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    Understood and thanks. So your debt free journey has been coming up to 2 years. How has it been? Have you taken a very strict approach and not had holidays etc? Can i ask was your debt as a result of overspending and a lack of a decent budget too?
    Yes, my debt was entirely the result of overspending and lack of a budget (well I had lots of budgets, I just didn’t stick to them). Holidays, clothes, nice food....I grew up poor and the second I started earning a ‘good’ salary I decided I could afford all the things because that’s what people on good salaries do, despite all evidence to the contrary. There was also a bad break up and a hefty dose of anxiety behind it. A lot of my colleagues are incredibly high earners, often from family wealth too, and a lot of the clothes, holiday spending was driven by feeling not good enough and wanting to fit in.

    I also have some chronic illnesses which I ignored - basically at the same time I ran up debt I worked ridiculous hours and didn’t look after myself. Realising I was trapping myself in the high stress job and making my health worse basically to service debt contributed to my light bulb moment, as did getting a hefty pay rise and seeing it be swallowed up in minimum payments. It was tough at first, the urge to spend was still there and probably 50% of my diary is me telling MSE I want to buy something. Over time I’ve got better at stepping away and realising when something is a want rather than a need. My clothes budget went from hundreds per month to maybe 70-ish and now it’s about 25. I sold a lot of clothes to fund some home repairs that were needed at the same time. I’ve spent probably days of my life planning in detail luxury holidays or city breaks that I haven’t taken (I always did like the research stage though!). I haven’t had a holiday in the past couple of years other than one trip to see family, but mostly because my health sort of collapsed so I’ve been working from home part time for quite a while. I still spend on yoga because the health benefits for me are absolutely worth it, and I have a cleaner because I have such limited energy its worth it to have someone do that (consultant advised it even!). 

    It still doesn’t quite feel real that I’ve paid off so much, but the feeling that I get from living within my budget and knowing I have money saved for if the washing machine breaks or to pay for annual insurance is so good. I think the proudest I’ve been in the debt journey was my first year where I lived within my means for the entire year.

    A couple of things that have really helped me have been zero-based budgeting and tracking every single penny I spend (i used YNAB which people tend to either love or hate), and also for me realising that other people don’t notice or care what I have. It’s actually brought me closer to some friends when I told them I was paying off debt and they admitted they were too. Though I’ve always been too embarrassed to share the figures!
    Yes well i am not using it as an excuse but i also grew up in a poor family living month to month with the odd takeaway as a treat. Was the first one to go to university and the only one from my friend group. Ironically my friends that left school at 15 and became plumbers are now rolling in it ha ha. Sorry to hear about your health and i am really chuffed that you decided to share that here with me/us. Noted with the cleaner and yoga, sounds like they do for you as my gym/pool does for me. i also struggle with anxiety at times and those activities are my reset. 
    I bet the feeling must be awesome. I took my first loan at 18 and have been in debt since. So debt free and savings would be totally totally alien to me. You must actually save so much more money now. The feeling i get is that it is an upward spiral (being able to pay for annual policies which are cheaper etc). If i can do 2021 within budget that would be a huge huge step.
    Thanks for the helpful tips. I too have had to share my debts with friends. One friend who i was on the recent holiday with (he is excellent with money) could not believe it when i said it was part funded by mortgage holidays! Crazy ... He said i seemed so happy and content and could not believe that i had taken more debt to finance it. Oh my .... 
    Thanks again for the helpful tips.

    I can relate to a lot of this post. Had a pretty chaotic upbringing and I was entitled to free school meals, to give some kind of an idea. I remember being embarrassed to have friends round to our house as it was such a dump and embarrassed by the old bangers my mum would drive (this isn’t meant as a slight on being poor but my mum did nothing to help
    the situation we were in and I’m just being honest about how I felt).

    I think this has contributed to my spending habits (along with other life events that turned me into an every day could be your last kind of guy). I wanted nice things  and to have nice experiences and the more I earned, I’d then go up a level in terms of my tastes too. It was made worse by the fact I never had any structure growing up and it’s something I’ve carried into adulthood. I hate planning and boundaries, I love to be spontaneous and free. Budgeting is the opposite of that, ha. Likewise, Initially I was motivated by wanting a nice car and a nice home, I had that with my first job but didn’t feel happy so then chased happiness by buying more things. 

    All of this isn’t intended as a sob story, I just find it really interesting thinking about the psychology and sociology of debt. Especially when you read diaries and see a bit of yourself.

    My first debt was just before uni, I got a £3k interest free overdraft that I saw as free money and blew on a laptop and god knows what else. Didn’t actually use credit cards so ended uni with the same debt (other than student loan) but then got an £8k interest free loan as a sort of golden handshake from my first job, which I spent on pretty high end furniture and a Breitling watch ha. The debt got worse from there. Had a brief interlude at some point in my mid-late 20s where I made an effort to get the debt down but at that point it was at about £18k ha. Then went mental again a year later, living like a king on money transfers, balance transfers, you name it. It was ok until the offers expired and suddenly I was facing ridiculous minimum payments. I’ve been in date ever since uni basically. Essentially my entire adult life. It’s quite tragic ha.

    You seem to be similar in that you like to live a good life but you obviously earned crazy money at some stage, to own a couple of flats in London. It seems you’ve never really adjusted your lifestyle to match the lower income.

    The consultancy side hustle sounds like a good idea. What can you earn from that? What sort of law is it you do? Could you move back into a higher paying role? I know the hours can be brutal, which probably contributes to that need to go nuts on the holidays etc. Make up for lost time. I’m actually contemplating moving into commercial law myself. 

    The other obvious one is letting a room or two. Imagine that is tricky right now but would be an easy win. I don’t blame you for not wanting to though. Sharing can be so hit and miss, especially with strangers...I’ve had both extremes...lived with people that have become really good mates (go to their wedding kinda mates) and lived with some complete psychos (one tried to say I couldn’t have my gf at the time stay and had another try to rip me off on bills, taking me for a soft touch). In hindsight though, I could kind of tell it wasn’t going to work. On both occasions I chose the flat based on price rather than who I was living with, which is always a bad idea. When I move back I’ll be in a position where I can afford to be pickier. Could afford my own place but then wouldn’t be able to get a deposit together at the same rate...

    Your taking mortgage breaks to pay for holidays made me chuckle. I’ve not been financially responsible enough to even bother saving for a mortgage but that’s the sort of thing I would’ve done. Went to Dubai for what was supposed to be a cheap trip as my mate was there on a work trip and I had some holiday to use. Ended up meeting up with a uni mate who lives out there and staying an extra week on the never never, changed my flight without even contemplating cost. My zero rate card with a £5k limit ran out of funds while I was there, when I was supposed to pay for a round of drinks. Was so embarrassing. Though not as embarrassing as the time 3 cards got declined on a date and she ended up paying :lol: Never want to go back there again, even though I had an amazing few years living without even thinking about money. 

    Lol re: forum! Will ping you a message re: room. When the office is open again I’ll be based at Canary Wharf (though could also work from Westminster). If I got my own place I was looking around London Bridge (some bargains at the moment) but then it’ll be a lot longer before I can buy, so sensible me is thinking renting a room makes sense...

    August 2019: £28.8k

    November 2020: £0 (0% interest)

    My debt free diary: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/comment/77330320#Comment_77330320


  • alt80
    alt80 Posts: 4,303 Forumite
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    edited 30 October 2020 at 1:29AM
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    @Rainbowtrousers I basically have notoriety on here for the Supercharged RR - someone was up in Notts the other day and wondering if every RR that passed was me haha hilarious. Can't wait for the day I'm cruising down to AM for real tbf.

    How can you not want to spend Christmas / NYE in London???! One of the best NYEs my wife and I have had. Mind I live in Nottingham so probably doesn't take a lot to impress me ha.

    If that BTL doesn't have consent to let GET IT SORTED NOW. You're going to have a lot bigger things to worry about than a few £k on cards if the lender found out. The whole mortgage could be called in and I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear you could potentially lose your ability to practice as a Solicitor over it tbf I don't know the requirements for that but I'm getting anxious just thinking about what you've been doing re mortgages both res home and BTL. Strange how people's risk profiles differ - maybe I'm getting a taste of how others on here feel about my cars haha. 

    Can definitely see how upbringings have contributed to spending habits. Yours just sounds grim tbh mine was as funny as it was chaotic. If my dad didn't have a bet on it, it was probably because it was dead. Tbf I was massively shamed at school for telling the teacher I was going to make it big, drive by her's in a new Bentley throwing £50s out the window - just 100 bravado / stupid kid stuff. She was married to the bloke who ran the petrol station closest to dad's pub and my dad actually had a Bentley (a 60's T1 which was knackered, whole street awash with blue smoke when he started that thing in the morning) but was known locally for doling out bad cheques. Teacher's response 'might go someway to compensating husband for all the petrol your dad has cheated us from'. Look back and laugh but we lived in a really affluent rural area, parents owned and ran a big Georgian pub/ restaurant/ B&B place, so the burn from her was  f**king mortifying at the time lol but when that bell rang and my sister and I jumped in the back of the Benters nothing else mattered we felt like school royalty (wasn't throwing blue smoke everywhere by then haha).
  • Couldsavemore
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    I've been equally mortified and entertained reading this.
    But still thought I'd chuck my two pennies worth in!
    I think you haven't acknowledged how close your house if cards is to collapse especially in light  of the previous posters comments on your rental and possible effects on your job.
    What I think would help is too look at your lifestyle differently.
    Are you spinning to many expensive plates... perhaps pick a couple to keep spinning. 
    By this I mean your choosing expensive everything... House, car, clothes, hobbies, holidays.
    Perhaps look at your friends... are they spinning all of these or just some or perhaps they are on a similar wage but have a partner on a similar significant wage and so are spending within their means.
    An example... some very wealthy and successful people choose to keep a simple wardrobe of a signature style and spend low in this area.
    Some choose a cheaper car and spend big on holidays.
    Some choose meals out over holidays.
    Could you choose one area to go big on and choose to cut down on others. 
    I wonder how much you spend on a days surfing compared to me. The hobbies the same but I guess the spending will be different. 

    Also check out different lifestyles and look for what would make you happy I mean really happy long term and steer yourself in that direction.

    That said, I do think your like me in that you see your money, see where you want to spend it and then spend the amount several times on what you wanted but you forgot you can only spend your money once. I've had to learn to choose wisely to be happy.

    And check out the cars in Aldi's carpark! You can spot thoose who choose posh cars but choose to cut back on the food bill!

    I've rambled enough, good look and choose well.





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  • Rainbowtrousers
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    warby68 said:
    Of your immediate options, I'd go for the consulting work - presume its decently paid and could kickstart debt reduction. It might be too much long term but 2 months is not forever especially with corona limited activity elsewhere.
    I too would hate lodgers - my very last choice - but it works well for many, just might need to think it through more. The extra work option is time limited and lucrative so that looks good.
    I like the gathering of the kindred spirits as long as you egg each other on with the good habits not the bad ones.
    Not my strong point but will definitely have a think about the lodgers.
    My friend has a sort of granny annex in brighton that i can stay in long term for free (i did the legal work for free when he purchased it) so putting my place on airbnb (you never know even with the recent restrictions) and occasionally  moving out could work too. 
  • Rainbowtrousers
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    Haha, I would love a Porsche Macan but realistically I’d only let myself buy one if I saved up the cash, and if I saved up the cash I wouldn’t want to swap it for a car. Much easier to make ridiculous purchases on finance because it feels more affordable when in reality it’s much more expensive. It seems like a long journey ahead of you but you’ll get there, you have a great job and you’re in a great position to start tackling this. Good luck. 
    Thanks very much. It does feel like a long journey already. Having a budget is just so alien to me. I have been living like a wag for too long. Regarding the Macan, a friend of mine has a strategy that he always saves twice the amount for something that he really wants. He says 95% of the time when he hits his savings goals he doesn't want the item anymore. 
  • Rainbowtrousers
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    MalMonroe said:
    warby68 said:
    Just to reiterate, an SoA is primarily for you but sharing is for genuine, experienced help and this usually comes from a variety of perspectives too. It is not for prying - if people wanted to pry it would be someone they know not anonymous forum posters.
    You don't have to be ultra frugal, finding the right balance for you is what its all about. 
    You can also keep an SoA private but ask for help on individual bits - whichever suits you.
    Hundreds of reasons for debt, hundreds of solutions, no 2 budgets the same - but the themes are VERY common.
    Just preparing an accurate one is an eye opener for most.
    But to prepare an SOA and then put it on here and THEN have to go through it all again with a debt help agency is duplicate work. My advice is not to waste time on here, just go straight to one of the agencies, I've done it myself, and I've been there. They helped me. I was suicidal and putting an SOA on here would not have helped me at all because then I would have had to go over it all again with the person who actually helped me. I've done it, I know how it feels and when you're just repeating all your debts, spending, etc., it's not only depressing and demoralising, it's painful.

    Coming on here and revealing your debts is just putting off that day when you HAVE to actually do something about it. 

    I've seen no end of times when people have put their SOA on here, and poured their hearts out, only to be told "you need to contact one of the debt help agencies".

    Just do that first. That's all I'm saying.
    I have to say i didn't find the debt agency a huge help. The response i was given was to refinance my mortgages to pay off the debts but i totally 100% agree with enthusiastic saver that i would only wind up back here in 2/3 years time having built up the debts again.
    I do miss my old life though i am not going to lie ... 
  • Rainbowtrousers
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    Some people do need a DMP or some sort of debt plan but sometimes all is needed is a budget as in the OPs case. Sometimes they are able to self manage rather than use stepchange or payplan. There is no need to do an soa twice. They can use the same one having pulled all the figures together here first.  If you were feeling suicidal your case was obviously extreme but we get all sorts of cases here from those who just need a bit of input to see the wood for the trees to those who feel it is helpless and yes sometimes we suggest a debt agency and in fact some of the commentators on here work for them. I myself trained as a debt counsellor so there is a wealth of experience and to be honest if everyone went direct to debt agencies they would quickly be overwhelmed. They are charities after all so limited resources. Glad they helped you though. 
    Hello again and just to tap into your debt counselling experience if i may please... as previously mentioned i am an all round positive and optimistic person. I am curious, do/did your clients feel regrets for previous overspending once they start to budget and count the pennies? I gave some stuff to the charity shop a few months ago on the basis that i'd buy some new expensive stuff in the winter. Of course now those things are way way way beyond my budget. I imagine this is temporary and that i will feel pretty relieved i am not getting into more debt shortly and that this is just a passing phase? Just to mention again, not depressed at all just curious about these feelings. 
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