Evasive action! Stop the trench becoming a hole.

edited 10 August 2022 at 12:57PM in Debt free diaries
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edited 10 August 2022 at 12:57PM in Debt free diaries
I need to take evasive action, and I need to hold myself accountable. 

I'm not going to call where I am a hole. It's still a rut. A trench. I've got savings, but they are in accounts where they earn good interest rates so I hate touching them. 

I've just moved house, and I've been doing a money shuffle every month, borrowing on the credit cards for removals, paint, lawnmower, etc etc. I've not been paying interest, but I am spending more than I earn, so each month I pull a little from the regular saver to cover the credit card bill in full, and then put it back into the savings account on payday.

Then my car failed it's MOT and needed replacing. I bought a cheap runaround with my savings, but it has really made me realise what is happening. I only owe about £1300, but I need to treat it like an emergency.

The plan

If I spend on only the absolute essentials each month, no car repairs, no vet bills, no haircuts, takeaways, DIY supplies, anything, I can put about £500 a month towards my credit card. If I can pare down my food bill I can definitely do more than that. 

So starting today I'm living No Spend August. My planned exceptions are for a friend's birthday present later this month, and some supermarket treats when my brother and his girlfriend come to stay later this month.

After that will come No Spend September and October. I've set a reminder in my phone to prompt me to update daily.


Save £12k in 2021 #11
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  • kimwpkimwp Forumite
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    Personally I'd say car repairs and vet bills are essentials. I definitely wouldn't prioritise a present for a friend over looking after my pets. And not doing car repairs would likely be a false economy.
    Statement of Affairs (SOA) link: https://www.lemonfool.co.uk/financecalculators/soa.php

    For free, non-judgemental debt advice, try: Stepchange or National Debtline. Beware fee charging companies with similar names.
  • KeepOnKnittingKeepOnKnitting Forumite
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    Thanks kimwp, I think I worded that badly. Car and cat repairs are absolutely essentials and I would definitely prioritise them over a gift and debt payment. However, I have no planned need of either in the next couple of months. That's what I mean by essentials. The routine bills and expenses.

    I feel like today I should have a little mention in the "Tightwad Gazette". I repaired my old trainers with a bit of bias binding and thread, and the new laces I ordered have arrived so I can now go back to using them for work, saving my from buying some new work trainers for a little bit longer, or at least until the wet autumn comes around.

    I have also listed my old car's parcel shelf on ebay. I'm still at home isolating with covid, so avoiding spending is easy in some ways as I am not going to the shop, but also harder because the internet exists.
    Save £12k in 2021 #11
  • kimwpkimwp Forumite
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    Ah, I see what you mean - if those things don't become needed, you'll be able to pay £500 to your credit card. Fingers crossed for you.

    I love it when I manage to repair or modify things to extend their life, it makes me feel very resourceful.
    Statement of Affairs (SOA) link: https://www.lemonfool.co.uk/financecalculators/soa.php

    For free, non-judgemental debt advice, try: Stepchange or National Debtline. Beware fee charging companies with similar names.
  • edited 4 August 2022 at 7:28PM
    KeepOnKnittingKeepOnKnitting Forumite
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    edited 4 August 2022 at 7:28PM
    I completely agree about the mending. It makes me feel like a minor hero for being eco-friendly and frugal.

    Another successful day of very little spending. I've made a batch of flapjack from ingredients I had in the cupboard, so that can be my snack for going back to work tomorrow. I've got stuff in the fridge to make a sandwich, so that will help too.

    I had a look on freecycle for a water butt, with no success. I'm on a water meter, so a water butt will be a good investment to help me water my garden, but I am going to delay it unless I can get one free. However, I did find a new toilet seat on freecycle. The seat on my downstairs toilet is super flimsy and broke not long after I moved in. It is pretty bad and I have a couple of tiny cuts on my leg from it, but again not as important as paying off the credit card.

    I will have to pay the window cleaner, as they came today, but I didn't want to postpone as there was a massive streak of seagull poop on my bedroom window. 
    Save £12k in 2021 #11
  • KeepOnKnittingKeepOnKnitting Forumite
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    I forgot to update yesterday. I didn't take my card to work, so I stuck to my packed lunch. After work I had a snack before I went to the supermarket, so I stuck to my shopping list. I didn't go the the sports lesson I sometimes do on Friday night, saving £15. Instead I chatted to my friend on the phone while I went for a walk. On the downside, I have pulled my neck carrying my shopping back from the supermarket.

    Today I plan to strip wallpaper and study for the exam I have at the end of the month.
    Save £12k in 2021 #11
  • KeepOnKnittingKeepOnKnitting Forumite
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    Things are working so far. I forgot my energy direct debit was going out on the same day as my credit card, so the DD bounced yesterday, but I transferred some money, then called up and made the payment when they gave me the details for online transfer. Interest charges hopefully avoided there.

    Yesterday I took my lunch to work and left my card at home. Today should be even easier as I am stuck in one office all day. I made tea last night trying out the new recipe that I planned to with my shopping on Friday night. It's all very boring, but I feel like it is working.
    Save £12k in 2021 #11
  • KeepOnKnittingKeepOnKnitting Forumite
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    Ugh, I am boring myself, but at least I am holding myself accountable. No money spent out today. Ate lunch I took with me to work. Cooked tea at home. Studied a bit this evening. Date set for my exam in two weeks, so final push to learn the material over the next two weeks.
    Save £12k in 2021 #11
  • middlingditchmiddlingditch Forumite
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    It is boring, isn't it? But keep going! I really admire your foresight and determination. How I wish I'd done what you're doing when I was in your position. I'm back out of trouble now but it's been years and years of horror precisely because I put my head in the sand instead of facing it like you're doing.

    Keep your eyes on the prize - by being a bit dull now, you're avoiding years of extreme stress and serious trouble. 

    When I feel bored like that, I try to stop and "inflate my appreciation" of the small quiet good things in my life. Even literally a good cup of tea. Really sit and focus on how nice it is to have the freedom and ability to provide those little things for yourself. Not to make you feel guilty or wag a finger and say "count your blessings" (though actually, counting your blessings can make you feel a lot better!), but just to help you find more joy in the currently-quiet life you're choosing. You're doing great.
  • BlueJ94BlueJ94 Forumite, Ambassador
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    Hi @KeepOnKnitting

    as this is more of a diary I’m going to move the post into the diary thread section :smile:

    im also cheering you on from the sides! It’s hard at first but once you get into a routine it becomes second nature!
     I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on Debt Free Wannabe boards and spending & discounts 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.

    Challenges;
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  • edited 11 August 2022 at 9:40PM
    KeepOnKnittingKeepOnKnitting Forumite
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    edited 11 August 2022 at 9:40PM
    Thanks for moving me @BlueJ94. I probably should have been in here to start with, but I think I got too excited with all the determination.

    Thanks for the support @middlingditch. You are right, I'm doing the right thing. This is short term boring for long term benefit. 

    Today I had tinned soup and crackers for lunch at work and then finished off the half avocado on toast for tea. I did some studying before allowing myself an episode of TV. I need to get bread tomorrow as I'm running low, and maybe some bananas and other fruit to last until the weekend. 
    Save £12k in 2021 #11
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