Fit and debt free by 40ish

synth1983
synth1983 Posts: 9 Forumite
First Anniversary First Post
edited 6 December 2022 at 10:32PM in Debt free diaries
Hi everyone,

I've been using the MSE site for years but only just discovered the forum a few months ago and have been very inspired reading some of the debt diaries here, so I thought I'd start my own.

I've got a few debts that have built up over the years, due to a combination of taking out a few loans to fund the cost of extending the lease on my flat a few years ago (never again), and a bit of spending on buying old cars and other unecessary things. I've got quite a bit of equity in my flat so I've never really worried, but as of recently the debt has just become irritating and I'd like to pay it off as soon as possible. I've managed to get most of the debt onto 0% cards and I've been using some of the strategies people have mentioned on here. As of today my debt is the following:

Tesco loan - £2541.70 (2.8%)
Mbna CC - £2133.90 (0%)
Lloyds CC - £1357.60 (0%)
Santander CC - £377.75 (0%)
Natwest CC - £700 (0%)

Total = £7110.95

I'm a self employed musician, and while I've always had steady work for the last 17 years, unfortunately the cost of living crisis has coincided with a slight drop in income. December is always a busy month due to the amount of corporate gigs and NYE is usually a good payer, but then January and February are always very quiet. I'm currently trying to overpay the loan when I can and I'm making regular small daily payments on all the CCs. I have two YouTube channels focusing on relaxing music which I'm trying to build but I'm still below the number of subscribers where I can be monetised. I do occasionally get donations from subscribers, so these will be used to help pay off the debt. During COVID all my work disappeared so I became a delivery cyclist for Deliveroo/Uber Eats which I enjoyed at the time - I may dust off the delivery bag and start doing these again occasionally to go towards getting the debt down. I sold pretty much everything I didn't need during the pandemic but anything I sell from now on will also go to the debt fund.

Being self employed means I have to put money aside to pay my tax bill. I have always been terrible at this, which usually results in me using my EF. From now on, whenever I get paid for a job (which can be any time, rather than just one fixed date), I will transfer 20-25% of this into my separate bank account which I use to put my tax bill money. All the old cars have gone and I'm down to my trusty £800 Hyundai daily which costs very little to run and gets me all over the UK.

I'm also carrying far too much ballast at the moment, so I've decided to enter a half marathon in March next year. I may mention a few attempts at exercise here too. I turn 40 in July, and although it's unlikely I'll be debt free by then, I'd like to at least to achieve it by June 2024, which I think is realistic.

Looking forward to getting rid of this pesky debt and joining the Debt free Roll Of Honour!



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Comments

  • Hello and welcome on your journey! 

    It sounds like you have a good plan in place. 

    Just some thoughts.. have you looked into bank account switching? You don't need to switch your main account but if you set up a "burner" account and switch that, you can get bonuses up to £200 each time as long as you make sure to meet all the criteria. There is an MSE page with all the latest deals. 

    Also survey sites are very popular on here. Prolific pays out the best in my opinion but there can be a long waiting list so if you sign up now then at least the ball is rolling if you do decide it is something you want to do. I have made over £200 on Prolific alone since August and lots of others on here have even more impressive totals! 

    Finally, have you decided the order to tackle your debts? Some people decide to snowball where you pay just above the minimums on all debts except one, which you focus all your attention on, usually the smallest debt you have. It can give a real boost once that is gone and then you can focus on the next one. Or some people opt to focus all their attention on the one with the most interest, which it sounds like you might be doing with the loan? 

    Just wanted to share the tactics that have helped me along the way but mainly wanted to say good luck and well done on taking the first steps! 
    Debt free November 2022 


  • Thanks for your reply, yours was one of the diaries I was inspired by, you've done an amazing job!

    I have looked into the bank account switching but I was a bit put off by some of the criteria and it seemed a bit of a faff. However, the Nationwide one looks good, you only need to add 2 DDs and they pay within 10 days, so I might do that.

    I'm currently on the waiting list for Prolific. I did try a few survey sites during the pandemic but I got a bit sick of spending 15-20 minutes filling in a survey, only to get a message saying I wasn't the right person for it.

    At the moment I've been prioritising the loan and the Lloyds CC as that has the shortest 0% period. Thanks for the tips!
  • Sounds like you have a good plan.  Unfortunately being self employed usually means an erratic income which often results in debt. Putting the tax aside as you earn is critical as is having a decent EF to iron out the bumps in the income stream. 
    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 forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • synth1983 said:
    Thanks for your reply, yours was one of the diaries I was inspired by, you've done an amazing job!

    I have looked into the bank account switching but I was a bit put off by some of the criteria and it seemed a bit of a faff. However, the Nationwide one looks good, you only need to add 2 DDs and they pay within 10 days, so I might do that.

    I'm currently on the waiting list for Prolific. I did try a few survey sites during the pandemic but I got a bit sick of spending 15-20 minutes filling in a survey, only to get a message saying I wasn't the right person for it.

    At the moment I've been prioritising the loan and the Lloyds CC as that has the shortest 0% period. Thanks for the tips!
    Ahh that's very kind of you to say! I have subscribed to follow you on your journey  :)
    Debt free November 2022 


  • I'm still waiting to be paid from a few jobs and my mortgage payment went out today, taking me right into my overdraft. The joys of self employment! Hopefully this is temporary, and once I get paid I can make a few extra CC overpayments

    I did however cancel my NOW TV sports subscription, which was costing me £20 a month. I only used it to watch the F1 but now the season has finished I don't need it.
  • Unfortunately I still haven't been paid, so I'm spending today sending several e-mails to chase this. My accountant has just done my tax return - he always does a good job and hasn't put up his prices in years so I like to make sure I pay him a few days after he sends the invoice. I'll have to take this from my EF. Hopefully I can replace this once I get paid (eventually!)

    On a positive note, I randomly received a £5 gift from PayPal on an account I don't use much, so this has gone straight to my Lloyds CC.
  • I've been paid for all but one job now so thought I'd make a couple of small payments to my CCs. I also sold an old bike on Facebook Marketplace for £100 so this has gone straight on to my Lloyds CC. Total debt is now £6999.95, pleased to be in the 6s, next target is to get into the 5s ASAP. I wanted to replace the money I took from my EF once I got paid, but I may have to delay this slightly. December is one of the busiest months for me workwise but then everything grinds to a halt in January, so I need to make sure I've got enough to cover the bills.
  • When I applied for my Santander 0% card back in February one of the perks was a £30 amazon voucher. I realised the other day I had completely forgotten to redeem this, so promptly did just in time for Black Friday. I bought some stuff that I needed for the kitchen and didn't need to spend a penny.

    After being on the waiting list for Prolific for a while I've finally been approved and have already done 5 surveys. Any money received from doing these will go straight on my CCs.
  • Money is a bit tight at the moment, but I've got loads of work on during the run up to Christmas, so not too worried. I've been really getting into doing the Prolific surveys, it's the only survey website I've used that's totally legit, not annoying and pays really quickly. I've just earned £21.75 over the last few days which I've used to pay off a bit of my Lloyds CC.

    I applied for the Nationwide FlexPlus bank switch, using a spare Lloyds account I have which I don't do anything with. Hoping to receive the £200 switch bonus soon. I plan to keep the account as it gives me the same benefits (AA membership, travel insurance, mobile phone insurance etc.) for £13 a month that I currently pay £28 a month for on my Lloyds account.

    Putting 20-25% of my earnings into a separate 'tax bill' account as soon as I get paid for each job is working really well. I really don't know why I didn't do this before. Current debt stands at £6965.63. EF has taken a bit of hit recently, but I plan to try and build this back up very slowly, and then increase payments once all my debt is paid off.
  • Well done on the surveys and the switching! Seems like you're making good progress  :)
    Debt free November 2022 


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