Debt free journey

Hello Everybody,

I have been lurking on this site now for years and have read a good few diaries over the last couple of years.  I have found them amazing, with some really good ideas and they are so encouraging it is unbelievable.   Thank you everybody.

I will tell you the background to how I have found myself in the situation I am in and as a result starting this diary.    Three years ago I got divorced after being married for way to many years.  I have a son who is now 18 and is in full time education, he now lives with me.  

When I left I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a new home outright, but it did need quite a bit of working doing to it.  So over the past three years I have worked my backside off and have done all the work that needed doing and the house is a lovely home for us both.  We are both really happy living here and life is good, apart from …………

My ex was a very controlling person, which for years I honestly did not know and could not see what was happening.  Then the glasses came off and I hated what I seen.  He was a spender and as a result I ended up with £41,233 on my credit cards. 

So over the past three years I have been chipping away at the credit card amounts, as well as doing up the house and keeping myself and my son.  The balance on the cards now stands at £21,572 so I am nearly half way there.   I think getting this far and coming up to the half way point has made me want to do this diary so I can keep my focus.

I work for myself so my income can vary.  However I have managed to do the following were the household bills are concerned:

Council Tax      -  Paid in full for 2021/2022

Water    -        I have changed to a water meter, which works out cheaper.  Plus I have a £200 credit on my account that pay the water bill for the next maybe 5 / 6 months so until April 2022

Gas and Electricity  -  I have recently done a comparison and have moved companies.  The cost is £79.85 a month which I know is a good price and I am happy with.

Broadband and mobile  -  checked both and have recently moved providers to a cheaper tariff and better service. So I am happy with these.

Insurances -  I always do a comparison and go through a cashback site.

Car  -  it has been tax, MOT’d, Insured, Serviced and had four new tyres on it two months ago, so that is all sorted out for another year.  I am also trying my hardest to use the car less from a fuel point of view and if I can I use my bike instead but that is weather dependent.  The car has no finance on it.

Christmas  -  I have bought presents throughout the year when I have seen something which is good value.  So all Christmas presents have been purchased.  This year I have also knocked a lot of the list as I just had a word with a few people and said it is a pain shall we not bother.  I was embarrassed to do this but each person I have approached has gone of course that is a great idea, so I have saved a lot just from this.

The one thing I honestly do not know what I spend is on food.  I have not got a clue.  So this month from today onwards I am going to keep a running total.  I think this is why I want this diary so I can make notes and become more accountable.  I also need to look at what I am buying and how we use it.  I still want us both to eat a healthy diet but be more organised with food, use leftovers instead of putting them in the bin, plan, batch cook.

So my debt as it stands looks like this:

 Nat West  -  4.45% until the balance is paid off       £1150.00

Capital One -  7% until the balance is paid off         £5372.00

Barclaycard 0% until 1.1.2022                               £2450.00

MBNA  0% until 1.3.2022                                      £12600.00

I pay the minimum payment on them all except the Barclaycard one as I need to get that as close to 0 as possible by the end of the year. 

To try to reduce this figure I have started having a massive clear out in the loft and have set myself a target of listing an item a day on ebay.  So in total this month I need to list 31 things.  I have sold a few things already and the amount made is being paid off the Barclaycard c/c as soon as the amount hits my bank from ebay.

To summarize, I feel I am in control of a lot of stuff in my life now and hence Miss Sensible.  However, this month I am working on the food budget, meal planning and sorting out my loft, listing items on ebay and paying them off the Barclaycard.

If anybody has any suggestions to anything that may help me I would love to hear about them.

Sorry I have gone on but I just felt like I need to set the scene and now I am ready to continue on the second part of my journey to a debt free life.      

Day one hear I go  ....................................................  




  • hello, I wish you all the luck on your journey, you have come so far already so I have no doubt you can do it :) 
    What’s meant for you will not pass you 😃
    A fool and his money are soon parted!
    use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without :)
    EF -£860 Total debt - £2070 (DF March 2020)
    Clubcard-£10.50, coop card £15.63 Surveys cash- 8.94
  • mumtoomany
    mumtoomany Posts: 1,413 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Suggestions. First, although too late for this year, the council tax does not have interest added, so financially you are better off paying it over twelve months. Some of the cards have interest, so better paying off those. 

    Shopping, have a list in the kitchen, on the fridge or worktop, when you are short of an item add it to the list, also if son needs something, he adds to the list. When you shop, TAKE THE LIST, only buy what is on the list. 
    Only shop once a week, having checked what you have in, that needs using and meal planned first.
    Use up all the leftovers, or if you can't use immediately freezer them. Don't throw your money away, in the form of food.

    Good luck with this, seems like you are on the right track. Mumtoomany.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2023.
    Trying to live on only £2640 for the year for most meals for seven people. Now only feeding, mostly, two. New total £1860.
    Spent in 2023: £1846.53/£1860. Now on £96.08 for 2024
  • No advice. Just wanted to say you are already doing well and I wish you well in doing even better. I agree about food shopping. Definitely where most of my discretionary spending happens!
    If you have built castles in the air, your work should not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

    Solicitor/survey savings 300/1700
    Emergency fund 0/1000
    Buffer fund 0/200
  • Thank you darrannah for the reply.  I think I can do it as well,  I just needed a place to document what I was doing so I will stay on my game.  Take care

    mumtoomany  -  Thank you so much for taking the time to offer your help.  I had never thought about paying the council tax off in that way.  Now you have said that it is so logical.  Thank you, as they say every little helps and all those little amounts soon mount up and it is better in my pocket.  

    As for the shopping I have put a little note book in the kitchen that is brilliant and it will be used form today.  What I have done this morning is opened my bank account and gone through all the purchases that I know are food related from the first of this month.  So by the end of the month I will have an amount.  Then the work will begin to get it down to as little as possible.    This week I have done a meal plan and will be sticking to it.  All left overs are going to be used for lunch the following day.  It is right what you say I may as well open the front door and through my money down the road.  

    So I am hoping to reduce the food bill which will mean I will be able to make extra payment on the c/c.

    Also I have listed my item on ebay today so that is 11/ 31

    Take care everybody 
  • Hi, you are in the right place for lots and lots of sensible advice, everyone is super friendly and nonjudgmental.  I have subscribed and will be cheering you on x
  • Doris17
    Doris17 Posts: 659 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Good luck.

    "Make Everyday Count"

    #77 3-6 Months Emergency Fund £2528.11/£5000

  • enthusiasticsaver
    enthusiasticsaver Posts: 15,594 Ambassador
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    You have done so well and I agree with MTM that in future paying the council tax monthly makes financial sense as no interest.  Clearing the barclaycard before the deal runs out is sensible.  On the positive side if you have no car finance, no mortgage and have cleared almost £20k off the cards you have done brilliantly.  

    My suggestion is put something aside for emergencies each month no matter how small so you are not  tempted to add more to the cards.  Meal plan and restrict yourself to maybe 2 or 3 shopping days each week and live off what you have in the fridge/freezer/cupboard until then. Leftovers can be used for lunch the following day as you have already started doing.  Maybe restrict takeaways to just one a month on pay day  if those are your downfall. Cut back on alcohol which is expensive and tends to knock up the food bill and it is better for you to restrict health wise too. 
    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 All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • Thank you all for your replies.

    enthusiasticsaver  -  Really appreciate your input and have decided to do as you all stated with the council tax next year.    Barclaycard is the number one priority at the moment.  I have sold an item on ebay tonight.  Profit is £10..50 which will go straight off the debt once the payment has hit my bank account.   I have a loft full of stuff that I really do not need so, it all needs sorting out and listing.  

    Shopping   -  Today I have sorted out the freezer so I can actually see what is in there.  Tonight I used up some mince that was in there, done enough for leftover for lunch tomorrow.  So feel as I am more aware of the food situation I can make adjustments to reduce the spend.  I am going to make soup in a minute with all the left over veggies in the fridge instead of putting them in the bin.  This can be for lunch over the next few days and I will freeze some for next week.  I am getting the hang of this, you just need to put the effort in.

    Any way thank you all once again and have a lovely night.
  • I have done something today that I have never done before.  I called into the supermarket as we had no coffee left.  So I decided I was only buying coffee and nothing else.  The coffee I buy if on offer is £5.00 a jar.  It was not on offer and was £7.49 a jar. 

    So I left it.  Came home looked on *mazon and it was £5 a jar.  But if you ordered three jars a % was deducated, which I did.

    Three jars cost £12.45.  So I will not have to buy coffee for a long long time now.  This is something I would never have done before I would have purchased the jar costing £7.49 plus other stuff we did not need.

    I would not have done this if it was chocolate or biscuits as I know I would have ate more and it would not having been a saving, if that makes sense.

    So shopping budget is most certainly been hit this month.  Had leftovers for lunch and are having a ham out of the freezer for dinner tonight.  Then leftover ham for dinner tomorrow night as well, which again I would have put in the fridge forgotten about it then put it in the bin when I sorted out the fridge.  So as everybody has said shopping is a big money pit if you take your eye of the ball.

    Have a lovely day everybody.

  • mumtoomany
    mumtoomany Posts: 1,413 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Well done. I find if you only want one item from the supermarket, go in without a trolley or a basket. That way you can't buy too many things that you did not know you did not need.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2023.
    Trying to live on only £2640 for the year for most meals for seven people. Now only feeding, mostly, two. New total £1860.
    Spent in 2023: £1846.53/£1860. Now on £96.08 for 2024
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