My brutally honest diary to myself

Hello my names oceans7 and I'm in debt  :(  
As the title of my diary suggests for some reason that I cant fathom this Christmas has hit home to the level of my debt. I feel like I'm drowning in debt and am unsure of how to overcome it. The debts have been built up over the years by my irresponsible shopping habits and inability to say no to my kids ( which is no coincidence that they are now spoilt and entitled little darlings - another thing I am hoping this diary will support me with changing).  
I live with my 3 DD and a host of animals that whilst I do love they are draining me financially and mentally.  I need to find a better work/life balance and a way of enjoying life because I feel at the moment I am being pulled in 10 different ways and not really enjoying anything if I am honest with myself. My house is a cluttered mess which I cannot seem to find the time or motivation to get on top of. 

Today I have set up several pots in my Monzo app that I am going to start using. I do not know how much I owe but I am now going to try and complete a SOA and strive for NSD's and to write daily in this diary for my own sanity if nothing else. 

«13

Comments

  • Below is my SOA and I am shocked. I've never written it all down like this and its no real surprise I am struggling when some of my outgoings are so high. I cant even afford to do everything and meet my minimum payments. I havent missed any payments but I also have not been paying into an emergency fund, holiday fund, car maintenance or hair cuts, but these are thing I should really budget for too instead of keep relying on credit. My car is a huge expense for fuel but is necessary for commuting to work but am in a catch 22 position because I can not afford to replace it with something cheaper to run. I also have another debt that I need to start making payments towards in the new year but currently have no idea how much I owe but it will be a lot. 

    Household Information[/b]
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 3
    Number of cars owned.................... 1[b]

    Monthly Income Details[/b]
    Monthly income after tax................ 1699
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 888
    Other income............................ 0[b]
    Total monthly income.................... 2587[/b][b]

    Monthly Expense Details[/b]
    Mortgage................................ 0
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 387
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 98
    Electricity............................. 120
    Gas..................................... 40
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 60.44
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 40.32
    TV Licence.............................. 13.25
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 16
    Internet Services....................... 40.5
    Groceries etc. ......................... 260
    Clothing................................ 15
    Petrol/diesel........................... 560
    Road tax................................ 23
    Car Insurance........................... 22.54
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 30
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 47.5
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 10
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 253
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 0
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 50
    Haircuts................................ 25
    Entertainment........................... 0
    Holiday................................. 125
    Emergency fund.......................... 50[b]
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2286.55[/b]
    [b]

    Assets[/b]
    Cash.................................... 0
    House value (Gross)..................... 0
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 1000
    Other assets............................ 0[b]
    Total Assets............................ 1000[/b]
    [b]
    No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts[/b]

    [b]Unsecured Debts[/b]
    Description....................Debt......Monthly...APR
    Virgin.........................2934.56...29.35.....0
    Fluid..........................2489.08...92.5......36.98
    Aqua...........................5180.26...193.1.....34.11
    barclaycard....................397.63....19.74.....29
    salary finance.................5775.07...140.8.....19.9
    ao finance.....................1616.2....143.5.....36.98
    paypal credit..................3267.54...110.7.....0
    very...........................1444.01...59.05.....0
    capital one....................691.11....23.32.....30.34
    capital one ...................196.01....5.86......31.1[b]
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,253
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    edited 21 December 2022 at 12:19AM
    If you’re budgeting for things like car maintenance and haircuts but the money isn’t there in practice, the first step is to work out where it is going. Otherwise it’s an aspirational budget and not a true reflection of what’s happening. There’s few people who get it right first time round.
    If you’re able to either go through all your banking credit card statements for the last month or two and check where the money is going, or keep a spending diary, that might help you to work out where the discrepancies are? 

    Is there a bit of your  SOA missing? There’s normally something that shows the amount you should have left over for debt repayment.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • So if I add these up even without the extra debt I will be able to include in the new year my total is £23,991.49 and I have not been able to put in the interest rates on some of them so the snowball calculation is going to be slightly wrong but according to snowball I am £517.47 short for my repayments each month and my debt free date is unavailable as I am unable to meet my repayments  :'(  

    I am not sure if I feel better for writing this down and finally facing the enormity of the situation or worse as the realisation of just how bad things are sink in. 

    If I did not have the girls I would not be continuing with the holiday but they are so looking forward to it and we have not had a holiday for about 7 years and I do not have the heart to disappoint them especially as I am not sure one of them will want to come on holiday with me again just due to her age.  Obviously the animals are a huge expense but again I am not in a position to rehome them. I am currently looking for a new job that is a much shorter commute to cut fuel costs but I am not sure what else I can do. I am going to look for a better broadband provider and when DD mobile contract runs out in June I will be swapping to a sim only plan for her. I don't think I have anything to sell but I will try to find things even if only £1 or £2 I guess it all adds up.

    On another note I am supposed to receive maintenance from youngest DD dad however he has decided to stop paying me and is currently 2 months behind with payments. I have opened a case with the child maintenance service but I have yet to hear back from them. 

    I cannot believe the mess I am in.
  • Gosh this is hard, but please don’t feel bad about the holidays x your commute & pet costs are absolutely killing you and a small break away could be a really nice thing to do to rest and reset and come up with a plan to tackle your finances when you get back. Unless it’s Florida, that’s not something you can afford.
    The truth is you cannot afford the commute or the animal costs. Can you negotiate on the vet fees repayment in any way? I am guessing it is another debt not food&insurance, that’s not something you can afford on your budget.
    You must get a new job, non negotiable, even if it pays £5k or so less but is nearby you are still better off.
    And lastly, is there a reason why you can’t consider bankruptcy? You have no assets to protect and you can’t get out of this situation without drastic measures. A DMP is an option but you will be at it forever and may not gain anything after years and years of keeping the debt ticking over.
    I know this is the diary section meant for cheering you on your journey, and btw I am not a hugger but I am sending big hugs and wish you can come up with a realistic plan on how to change your finances for better x x
  • Facing a debt situation is a big step so well done for doing that and getting it all written down. Going through recent statements is a good idea as it will give you an idea of where money has been going. When I first started on the debt free road, I found it useful to use a spending tracker app, which shocked me into realising how much I was spending at the supermarket and helped me to adjust my planning and spending accordingly.


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  • I am guessing you are still relying on credit to live if the income is not enough to cover minimums but you have not defaulted yet? Unfortunately until you stop using the credit cards it will get worse. Ideally you would default and ask the credit/loan companies to freeze interest while you decide on a plan. Bankruptcy may need to be considered as you don’t have assets to protect. Without the bottom of the soa it is difficult to see how much short of minimums you are and whether a DMP is a possible solution. 

    The commuting costs and the pets are unaffordable but I am not sure what you can do about that unless there there are public transport options. Can you work from home? As said above even taking a pay cut would be better if you did not have that hefty fuel bill. You can’t afford the holiday but that is a drop in the ocean compared to other outgoings. Prioritise council tax, rent and utilities and food. You will all need to get used to living on a very tight budget if you are to sort this out. 

    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 [email protected]. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    Link to soa: https://www.lemonfool.co.uk/financecalculators/soa.php

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  • Have you tried contacting debt agencies to see if you can get some help and advise about best way forward for you. I think you need to consider bankruptcy which I would suggest you get help with applying for. Hopefully without all those debt repayments you can live within your means. Have you done a benefit calculator to see if you are entitled to any others?
    *Dad loan - £5300 - £3100
    *Virgin Credit Card - £3552.50 - £0
    *Barclaycard - £0

    *Total debt - £3100*

    *Sinking Fund - £1500/£3000*
    *Emergency Fund -£0/£3000

    *Debt Repayments Pot - £0/0*

    New diary- https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6474943/the-three-cs-coffee-clothes-credit-cards/
  • Hey Oceans,

    I'm not an expert in what you need to do and the best way to go about it. But I couldn't read and pass by without saying hello. 

    The first thing to say is it's a brave thing to do to face the reality of a situation and I think you deserve full credit for that! :) Seeing that number is strangely relieving and daunting at the same time isn't it?

    Many people have been in worse situations, and for worse reasons than trying to provide for three daughters and our fellow furry friends alone (by the sounds of your post?). Guilt is only useful until the point that it kicks you in to action, and you've took some, so I'd say to try your best to think of the future and your plan of action, rather than look back at any past mistakes.

    If I were in your situation I think I'd be wondering what example I want to set for my children (I have none - so could be talking out of my backend!!!  :D). Do I want them to think everything in life is free on the never never? Or to carefully value the real money they have earned and to use it to its full advantage? 

    If shielding your DDs from the realities of life, that money is finite, is part of what has got you here - maybe this is a chance to teach them as you learn yourself how to better manage money? Get them on board, work as a team?

    The best news is that you can stop the rot immediately - don't put another penny on the cards. It might be that your circumstances mean paying it back isn't possible, I have no idea I'm afraid. But there are agencies out there like StepChange and Citizens Advice that could give you support in that area.

    Things I would be keeping in mind:
    • This is temporary
    • You are not in anyway a bad person because of this
    • Look for every positive you can, see what you can learn and pass on to DDs
    • Taking control of this will make you feel 1000 times better than any of the spending would have 
    Keep sharing how you feel and how you're doing here, I for one will follow along with you x
  • Oceans7 said:
    Mobile phone............................ 40.32 - Are you in contract? Could you shop around?
    TV Licence.............................. 13.25
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 16
    Internet Services....................... 40.5 - £56.50 for TV & Internet? I'd definately shop around for this. My internet is £28.50 a month.

    Haircuts................................ 25
    Clothing................................ 15 - I'd cut these out for a few months.

    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 253 - What exactly are these costs? I have a lot of exotics and don't spend near this much a month.

    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 50 - I'd cut back on this, make gifts (bake, sew, paint etc loads of ideas out there)/gift expriences rather than items.

    Holiday................................. 125 - Cut this out/back
    Emergency fund.......................... 50 - Personally I would throw this straight on a CC rather than saving it in a pot.


    Description....................Debt......Monthly...APR
    Virgin.........................2934.56...29.35.....0
    Fluid..........................2489.08...92.5......36.98
    Aqua...........................5180.26...193.1.....34.11
    barclaycard....................397.63....19.74.....29
    salary finance.................5775.07...140.8.....19.9
    ao finance.....................1616.2....143.5.....36.98
    paypal credit..................3267.54...110.7.....0
    very...........................1444.01...59.05.....0
    capital one....................691.11....23.32.....30.34
    capital one ...................196.01....5.86......31.1
    Generally the best order to pay off debts is highest APR first. However it may be a big mental boost to pay off your two smaller ones.
    Best case scenario (assuming life goes to plan)... just looking at using your emergency fund, you could pay off Cap 1 in 4 months. This would free up £5.86 a month towards your next card. Now you have £55 to throw at barclaycard. Once thats gone you have £75 extra for the next one and so on. Its called Snowballing (there used to be a calculator on the site somewhere)

    Main thing is don't panic! We've all been in the same boat.. The light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away right now, but you will get there, step by step!
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  • Well done for taking the bull by the horns, just know that we've all been in a similar situation to you and we all want to support you in getting free from this debt.

    I do have children and personally I'd cancel the holiday. You're likely going to incur extra costs beyond the price of the holiday like clothes, shoes, haircuts, travel expenses, food and drink that you just can't afford. I'd switch it to a local break or just explain to the kids that you can't afford it. You mentioned yourself that they are entitled, if they are going to survive financially on their own one day they need an understanding that there are times where you just can't have what you want.

    I'm not experienced in this area but many others on here contact stepchange for advice, hopefully someone else can advise on this.

    As you already know the fuel and pets are killing your budget. Food budget seems low and electric seems high.

    When I first started debt busting I kept a spreadsheet of every expense to see where the money was going, I was absolutely horrified at how much I was spending on food on the go! It's crazy to see how £5 here and £10 there adds up over a month.

    You mentioned you have clutter, start clearing and get it onto Facebook marketplace/vinted. Any money you make send off the debts. 

    Good luck, I'll be following along the way!!
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