Currently clueless...aiming for awareness

Hello!

This is my introduction post, I guess.

I've been a member of MSE since 2014 but very much a lurker.

I've always been useless with self-control. I eat too much, I stay awake too much, I spend too much, I worry too much, I'm messy, I'm distractible. It's all becoming a bit overwhelming at the moment, I thought at 37 I would have figured out how to make good choices but it appears I'm going to need to work at it.

I've tried to do it all at once before, resolutions to do EVERYTHING better, meditate, diet, no spend days, housework rotas, sleep routines. Turns out, it doesn't work and I just quit. I've decided to concentrate on spending because it's the thing that keeps me most awake at night with worry, and it's getting more stressful as everything gets more expensive.

I'm a lawyer, on a good salary of £38k (part time hours - full time is approx £52k), I have 3 children aged 10, 7 and 3. The 10 year old is (diagnosed) autistic and PDA and 7 year old is also likely autistic or ADD but not yet diagnosed. They are my greatest joy but also my greatest worry. I cannot work full time and meet their needs so this does impact my income.

DH is also a lawyer, on £35k full time (different specialism).

I am deep into my overdraft, it's usually in the region of -£800 when I get paid each month. I also have 2 interest free credit cards and 1 interest-accruing card with debt on. We have a loan for a bathroom refit, and a loan for our car. We have a big mortgage - I will pull up the figures for all of this tomorrow but it's over £300k.

I'm hoping to use this space as accountability as I try to figure out exactly what I need to do to get into a good place financially. I'd love to be able to wake up on my 40th birthday (October 2024) feeling secure and calm about money. It feels like this is a good place to start.
Unsecured debts total -
May 2023 - £30355.65 🤢
June 2023 - £29161.76 
July 2023 - £28595.06 
«13456732

Comments

  • cymruchris
    cymruchris Posts: 5,158 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic

    I've always been useless with self-control. I eat too much, I stay awake too much, I spend too much, I worry too much, I'm messy, I'm distractible. It's all becoming a bit overwhelming at the moment.

    I think many of us have been in a similar situation at some point in our journey. (And some of us still are!) So on that front you're not alone, and you're in good company. It's only you and your OH can work your way through it together - but this is a great place as you've no doubt seen for sharing feelings and asking for ideas. You sound like you've got quite a handful at home with 3 little ones, that must be challenging when attempting to work. 

    I think you're right in that we sometimes try and change everything at once - and when it doesn't work quickly enough we quit and end up back where we started (or worse). So it's a good thing to focus on one thing (which might in turn end up having an indirect impact on the others). 

    It's often mentioned (and I agree) that it's worth posting a statement of affairs showing your ins and outs - whereby people can give feedback on your spends, and suggest a few ways to help save a few pennies. 

    To get out of the hole (and at the moment the hole isn't huge - but you want to stop it getting bigger) it might be challenging, but from what you've said, you should be in a position to achieve it. Have you involved your OH in the discussions around the debts? How involved are they in the household finances?





    An ex-bankrupt on a journey of recovery. Feel free to send me a DM reference credit building credit cards from the usual suspects :) Happy to help others going through what I've been through!
  • Hi @cymruchris thanks for the advice, it's so nice not to feel alone. 

    I will definitely do a SOA in the next couple of days, need my laptop and I'm on my phone which I promised myself I would not have in bed so I didn't sit scrolling !!!!!! until 1am and yet...here I am.

    OH and I are very open about finances, we have a shared spreadsheet that we renew monthly and pay equal into the family bills. The problem I have is, he's just not a spender. He takes a list to the shop and sticks to it. He doesn't understand how I can't do the same. It can cause tension because I think he's tight (no treats for the kids etc) and he thinks I'm careless. Both are probably true. What it means though, is I carry the burden of guilt about finances. Equally, he's very relaxed in his mindset, like with the car loan, I worry endlessly about it being too big (£23k) but he feels we got the right car for our needs as a big family who go camping a lot etc and need a safe, reliable vehicle, and the repayments are affordable, so he doesn't give it a second thought, whereas I lie awake at night thinking 'oh god what if one of us gets sick and we can't pay off the loan'.  
    Unsecured debts total -
    May 2023 - £30355.65 🤢
    June 2023 - £29161.76 
    July 2023 - £28595.06 
  • CRANKY40
    CRANKY40 Posts: 5,755 Forumite
    Debt-free and Proud! Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    When my house troll was smaller I included a weekly amount of "pocket money" for me in the budget. Out of that money (which I withdrew in cash every week) came visits to Maccies, treats etc. 

    Incidentally, autistic kids don't just pop out from nowhere and everything that you describe in your opening post sounds very like me (autistic and ADHD) except that apart from the staying awake too long at night I appear to have most of it under control finally - I'm 54. Don't rush into everything convinced that it will work. Try for small improvements daily or weekly. 
  • Thanks @CRANKY40, my current method is to only use the child benefit (£180 p/m) for any extras, but it seems so difficult to stick to, £60 per child per month.

    Re the autism/genetic link, my Dad is undiagnosed but absolutely 100% PDA. I adore him but he is very tricky and he is like my 10yr old in so many ways. He denies this, of course! My sister is diagnosed (Asperger's Syndrome in old money but I believe it's just ASD now). So there is a strong likelihood that genetically I am neurodiverse. I definitely feel like a square peg.

    I just spent ages doing a SOA but all the data disappeared, twice, so I've had a strop and I don't want to do it again. Essentially I need to focus on the overdraft, which relates to daily spending, and the accrued debt, most of which is on 0% cards but some is on a fairly high 6% card. The 0% cards are mostly debt accrued on 3x maternity leave over 10 years.

    In terms of debt -
    MBNA credit card 0% - £3896.50 paying off minimum of £120 per month 
    M&S credit card 0% - £1012.51 paying off minimum of £70 per month 
    Co-op credit card 6% - £2662.01 paying off mimimum of £55 per month

    Total debt - £7571.02

    This is my personal unsecured debt, we also have shared car and home improvement loans but I think at the moment they are manageable so I'm not focusing on those right now.

    Overdraft -
    When I got paid 16/03 I was £1072.04 into my overdraft (honestly I wanted to throw up)
    When I got paid 14/04 I was £879.08 into my overdraft, so I've pulled it back by £192.96 which is great but is going to take ages to clear.

    I set up a Monzo account last year which I put my unallocated funds into for day to day expenses, and previously this has worked well, according to my budget I should have around £341 per month left over for food, activities, clothes etc. I was being cautious and transferring £300. OH should have £482.00, so between us that's plenty, but of course that's all academic when I'm overdrawn.

    At the moment I am just transferring the child benefit of £180 per month into my Monzo account and trying to live off that for as long as possible. Sadly I spent all this already on food, plus Easter gifts and booking activities for the Easter holidays (because, says my brain, they're only young once and look at their little happy faces....) so I'm using my bills account until the next child benefit payment at the end of the month. So this will increase my overdraft, of course. Aargh. 

    Anyway we're 1 week into the holidays and I'm aiming for full transparency and accountability for my choices starting....NOW!

    Plan for today -
    This morning we're meeting friends at a National Trust house (we have annual passes) and taking a picnic. £3 per child for easter egg hunt. Shouldn't be any other costs.
    This afternoon OH and 10yo are going to the United match as a big treat. 7yo is totally gutted she's not going so I (foolishly) told her she could choose what she, I and 3yo did this afternoon. Of course, she wants to go to Smyth's toys to spend her pocket money. I have told her she has a £10 limit but I'm totally useless at saying no. I will try and stand firm today!
    Unsecured debts total -
    May 2023 - £30355.65 🤢
    June 2023 - £29161.76 
    July 2023 - £28595.06 
  • CRANKY40
    CRANKY40 Posts: 5,755 Forumite
    Debt-free and Proud! Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Do you claim PIP for the 10 year old? 
  • joedenise
    joedenise Posts: 16,551 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    If you've told your 10 yo she can have £10 then just give her that money to spend and no more.  Don't take any cards or money (except if you need it to buy something budgeted for) that way she can have no more than £10.
  • Hi, see if you can money transfer your o/d to a credit card (you may be able to get this for free, but even a fee is probably cheaper than your o/d charges). Set up a DD to pay that off within the given time period. Once you are back in the black you will feel more optimistic and things will improve when you stick to your budget. Good luck V x
  • CRANKY40 said:
    Do you claim PIP for the 10 year old? 
    No, I don't. My mum is a former social worker and she doesn't think we would qualify. We don't need the mobility component. I do think we might qualify for the lowest need component if I used examples of his worst days. Sometimes I think we're a victim of success a bit, we try so hard to keep him regulated that he doesn't seem so 'affected' to the outside world. There's definitely more costs though - chewlry, weighted blankets, fidget toys, holidays he knows (center parcs :#
    Unsecured debts total -
    May 2023 - £30355.65 🤢
    June 2023 - £29161.76 
    July 2023 - £28595.06 
  • joedenise said:
    If you've told your 10 yo she can have £10 then just give her that money to spend and no more.  Don't take any cards or money (except if you need it to buy something budgeted for) that way she can have no more than £10.
    Good idea, I don't have any cash annoyingly (we're outside it right now in the car whilst 3yo finishes his nap) but definitely a strategy for next time. 
    Unsecured debts total -
    May 2023 - £30355.65 🤢
    June 2023 - £29161.76 
    July 2023 - £28595.06 
  • Hi, see if you can money transfer your o/d to a credit card (you may be able to get this for free, but even a fee is probably cheaper than your o/d charges). Set up a DD to pay that off within the given time period. Once you are back in the black you will feel more optimistic and things will improve when you stick to your budget. Good luck V x
    I looked into this, but for some reason the interest on my arranged overdraft is only about 1%. My limit is £1250. I'm not sure if it's an error from when my account was switched from student (in 2008  :o ) but it's never been changed and I don't want to draw attention to it at the bank.

    I worry that if I transferred it to another card it would creep back up again AND I'd have another card. 
    Unsecured debts total -
    May 2023 - £30355.65 🤢
    June 2023 - £29161.76 
    July 2023 - £28595.06 
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.6K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.1K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.8K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards