Drowning - What Can I Do?

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  • CliveOfIndia
    CliveOfIndia Posts: 1,187
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    edited 19 September 2023 at 1:19PM
    MrDucky said:

    Netflix / Spotify: What free alternatives exist?


    Freeview for TV.  About a million different radio stations these days with all the various digital channels as well as the good old BBC channels.
    MrDucky said:


    Lotto: Can go… but what if my numbers come up?
    At the risk of getting a slap on the wrist from the mods - don't be so ridiculous.
    MrDucky said:


    Car Stuff: I’m fully aware that there are requirements, if there was money left in the pot then I’d be putting it away for them, but when there’s basically zero left over that means zero saved, zero budgeted for future financial requirements and zero for emergencies. Cars needed for work as I travel to multiple different locations daily (work cover internal travel between sites, my £80 a month covers getting to-and-from the main office plus any other travel).

    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, this is something you need to sit down and work out very carefully.  If you want/need to run a car then you absolutely have to budget for it.  There is no way you can run a car without incurring substantial costs.  And you can't just keep on sticking those costs on a credit card and hoping that it'll somehow magically pay itself off.
    I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I'm just trying to be realistic.
    If there really is no wriggle-room in your budget for cutting expenses, would it be feasible to take on some part-time evening/weekend work to bring in some extra cash?  I fully appreciate that's not the easiest thing to contemplate when you come home tired out after a day at work - but if you could make a few hundred extra quid a month to throw at the debt, it'll pay huge dividends in the longer term.
    And remember, paying more to a debt has a double benefit - you reduce the debt more quickly, and you also pay less in interest.  So an extra hundred quid paid to a credit card is actually worth more than a hundred quid in your pocket, if that kind of makes sense?

  • The world won't come to an end if you don't spend anything on entertainment for 5 months,

    I see you don't have anything down for TV licence so if you don't watch live TV then Netflix is worth keeping. Spotify, you can survive without that, same for Guitar Practice, Bouldering, Gym and Lotto.
    Entertainment: No it won’t, although for the sake of my mental heath I’d prefer to hold onto at least one social activity.

    Netflix: I don’t have a TV license so only use Netflix as a streaming service (I’m a +1 on another account, so it’s £5 a month instead of full price).

    Spotify: I can look to cancel this and explore free alternatives.

    Other Entertainment: Probably going back to the above, cutting everything will mean I’m effectively just going to work, coming home, going to work again, coming home again… rinse repeat… I could understand if this was going to achieve some major financial break through, but it’s simply not. So I’d prefer to hold onto at least 1 of the social activities that I currently have.

    With the above changes made, I’d be saving around £50 a month which would probably cover making the additional finances up to cover the Car Stuff, but I’m no better off, I’m just now sat at home alone more and still drowning/treading water every month…
  • MrDucky said:

    Netflix / Spotify: What free alternatives exist?


    Freeview for TV.  About a million different radio stations these days with all the various digital channels as well as the good old BBC channels.
    MrDucky said:


    Lotto: Can go… but what if my numbers come up?
    At the risk of getting a slap on the wrist from the mods - don't be so ridiculous.
    MrDucky said:


    Car Stuff: I’m fully aware that there are requirements, if there was money left in the pot then I’d be putting it away for them, but when there’s basically zero left over that means zero saved, zero budgeted for future financial requirements and zero for emergencies. Cars needed for work as I travel to multiple different locations daily (work cover internal travel between sites, my £80 a month covers getting to-and-from the main office plus any other travel).

    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, this is something you need to sit down and work out very carefully.  If you want/need to run a car then you absolutely have to budget for it.  There is no way you can run a car without incurring substantial costs.  And you can't just keep on sticking those costs on a credit card and hoping that it'll somehow magically pay itself off.
    I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I'm just trying to be realistic.
    If there really is no wriggle-room in your budget for cutting expenses, would it be feasible to take on some part-time evening/weekend work to bring in some extra cash?  I fully appreciate that's not the easiest thing to contemplate when you come home tired out after a day at work - but if you could make a few hundred extra quid a month to throw at the debt, it'll pay huge dividends in the longer term.
    And remember, paying more to a debt has a double benefit - you reduce the debt more quickly, and you also pay less in interest.  So an extra hundred quid paid to a credit card is actually worth more than a hundred quid in your pocket, if that kind of makes sense?

    Netflix/Spotify: Without a license is Freeview available to me / same goes for radio?

    Lotto: That was generally meant as a lighthearted joke, although I do know someone that stopped playing and their numbers came up a few months later.

    Car Stuff: Not harsh at all, I’m fully aware it doesn’t run itself, I simply don’t/haven’t had the funds to cover the future/potential running costs.

    Employment: I’d have to check as there’s a section in our HR policy around moonlighting, but beyond that what are you thinking, I’m open to suggestions on how to make some additional income.
  • Martico
    Martico Posts: 907
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    edited 19 September 2023 at 1:37PM
    I think it would be worth checking your water meter readings and account if you say you are already on a meter, as £40 per month is very high. (I pay £16 per month in the "expensive" south west for a one-person house.)
    It would be a free win if it turns out that you're in credit or that you're paying more than you should be.
  • MrDucky said:

    Netflix/Spotify: Without a license is Freeview available to me / same goes for radio?



    Employment: I’d have to check as there’s a section in our HR policy around moonlighting, but beyond that what are you thinking, I’m open to suggestions on how to make some additional income.
    I think you're supposed to have a licence to watch Freeview - I think the rules are "if you watch any live broadcast".  Not 100% sure on that one, I must admit.  But you don't need a licence for the radio (unlike in my grandparents' days !)
    Employment - it's very common for there to be a clause saying you mustn't do any other work that "conflicts or competes" with your main job, words to that effect.  But there's usually nothing to stop you doing a bit of bar work, cleaning work, picking up a few evening shifts in supermarkets, that kind of thing.  Sure, it won't pay a huge amount, but every little helps, as the saying goes.

  • Martico said:
    I think it would be worth checking your water meter readings and account if you say you are already on a meter, as £40 per month is very high. (I pay £16 per month in the "expensive" south west for a one-person house.)
    It would be a free win if it turns out that you're in credit or that you're paying more than you should be.
    Water: I spoke to them recently in regards to the cost (a friend lives in a similar sized property and also only pays £16) but when I mentioned this they said that they can comment on other accounts or individual usage, my meter gets read regularly by the provider and the numbers are correct from the most recent meter reading, so the £40 charge must be right.
  • MrDucky said:

    Netflix/Spotify: Without a license is Freeview available to me / same goes for radio?



    Employment: I’d have to check as there’s a section in our HR policy around moonlighting, but beyond that what are you thinking, I’m open to suggestions on how to make some additional income.
    I think you're supposed to have a licence to watch Freeview - I think the rules are "if you watch any live broadcast".  Not 100% sure on that one, I must admit.  But you don't need a licence for the radio (unlike in my grandparents' days !)
    Employment - it's very common for there to be a clause saying you mustn't do any other work that "conflicts or competes" with your main job, words to that effect.  But there's usually nothing to stop you doing a bit of bar work, cleaning work, picking up a few evening shifts in supermarkets, that kind of thing.  Sure, it won't pay a huge amount, but every little helps, as the saying goes.

    Ah, that’s probably going to limit what I can and can’t watch then, as I don’t have a license.

    I’ll see what’s available in my area, it’s quite rural so no supermarkets unfortunately, most of the shops, takeaways and pubs are family run as it’s a small village (less than 1000 residents I’d guess), at least I get to benefit from cheaper property rental prices, if I’m caught in breach of some sort of moonlighting clause what would the potential ramifications be?
  • MrDucky said:
    MrDucky said:

    Netflix / Spotify: What free alternatives exist?


    Freeview for TV.  About a million different radio stations these days with all the various digital channels as well as the good old BBC channels.
    MrDucky said:


    Lotto: Can go… but what if my numbers come up?
    At the risk of getting a slap on the wrist from the mods - don't be so ridiculous.
    MrDucky said:


    Car Stuff: I’m fully aware that there are requirements, if there was money left in the pot then I’d be putting it away for them, but when there’s basically zero left over that means zero saved, zero budgeted for future financial requirements and zero for emergencies. Cars needed for work as I travel to multiple different locations daily (work cover internal travel between sites, my £80 a month covers getting to-and-from the main office plus any other travel).

    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, this is something you need to sit down and work out very carefully.  If you want/need to run a car then you absolutely have to budget for it.  There is no way you can run a car without incurring substantial costs.  And you can't just keep on sticking those costs on a credit card and hoping that it'll somehow magically pay itself off.
    I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I'm just trying to be realistic.
    If there really is no wriggle-room in your budget for cutting expenses, would it be feasible to take on some part-time evening/weekend work to bring in some extra cash?  I fully appreciate that's not the easiest thing to contemplate when you come home tired out after a day at work - but if you could make a few hundred extra quid a month to throw at the debt, it'll pay huge dividends in the longer term.
    And remember, paying more to a debt has a double benefit - you reduce the debt more quickly, and you also pay less in interest.  So an extra hundred quid paid to a credit card is actually worth more than a hundred quid in your pocket, if that kind of makes sense?

    Netflix/Spotify: Without a license is Freeview available to me / same goes for radio?
    Without paying a TV license then Netflix is cheaper so probably worth keeping, Spotify could be dropped for a small saving, free radio stations of nearly every flavour are available.
    MrDucky said:
    Lotto: That was generally meant as a lighthearted joke, although I do know someone that stopped playing and their numbers came up a few months later.
    The lottery is an idiot tax and I happily say that as someone who buys the occasional ticket, personally it is an expenditure that should be dropped.
    MrDucky said:
    Car Stuff: Not harsh at all, I’m fully aware it doesn’t run itself, I simply don’t/haven’t had the funds to cover the future/potential running costs.
    The issue is that not planning for those expenses will likely make things worse as soon as those costs occur, so people will be attempting to find a way to help you so that does not happen.
    MrDucky said:
    Other Entertainment: Probably going back to the above, cutting everything will mean I’m effectively just going to work, coming home, going to work again, coming home again… rinse repeat… I could understand if this was going to achieve some major financial break through, but it’s simply not. So I’d prefer to hold onto at least 1 of the social activities that I currently have.
    I might be slightly more lenient on this than others, but I think you need something to live for, so a social life is essential, even if it needs to be frugal entertainment. Seeing how tight that part is I would potentially even be looking to increase it. 
    MrDucky said:

    Electricity/Gas............................. 168

    Water rates............................. 40 

    Both of these seem high to me, I live alone, I shower every morning and around 4 evenings a week at home, I do all the usual things, laundry, washing, cooking etc. and my water bill is an average of £18 a month, how much water does your bill say you are using a month?
    For the combined Electricity and Gas that does seem high either for summer usage or as a 1/12th averaged payment. How much energy in kWh are you using on both? It does come down to insulation and region (Scotland is colder than Cornwall) but I would expect some minor changes could probably bring that down by £50 pm.
    MrDucky said:
    Mobile: Ends in January
    When this ends go to a SIM only contract as others suggest, £72 a month on a phone, even if you do not go down to <£10 you could still get an unlimited data contract for around £20 a month. 
    MrDucky said:
    Employment: I’d have to check as there’s a section in our HR policy around moonlighting, but beyond that what are you thinking, I’m open to suggestions on how to make some additional income.
    It is worth checking, a couple of evenings bar work, working on a Saturday or a Sunday could be of serious benefit, three six hour shifts a week could add up to another £600-800 a month after tax, which would as a short term measure allow yo to make a significant dent in your debts, potentially allowing you to totally clear your debt in two years. 

    On top of that things like Topcashback when you renew your insurance, a cashback credit card can help, although you will probably not qualify at the moment it could be useful in the future. Things like various surveys can also pay off, I get around £150 from YouGov and anywhere from £200-1,400 a year from other options, have a search on here for paid surveys, though the best ones to get on are in person focus groups, you can get offered £100 or more to attend for a few hours, it is usually in vouchers but you can use it to save against other expenditure.

    From the debt you have accumulated, was any of that used to buy assets which you could sell and which you would not miss?

    You have not mentioned your living space, but if you have a spare room could you get a lodger? You also mention a date night in your entertainment, do you have a partner, is there a prospect of moving in together? I would not suggest you move in ahead of being ready, but living together is significantly cheaper than living alone, so going forward that may also help.
  • MrDucky said:
    MrDucky said:

    Found it in someone else’s thread:-

    Household Information

    Number of adults in household........... 1

    Number of cars owned.................... 1


    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 2160

    Total monthly income.................... 2160


    Monthly Expense Details

    Rent.................................... 517

    Council tax............................. 117

    Electricity/Gas............................. 168

    Water rates............................. 40 Do you have the option of switching to a metered supply?  It often works out a lot cheaper for a single person.

    Mobile phone............................ 72 This is very high - a SIM-only deal can be had for £10 or less once you're out of contract.

    Internet Services....................... 35

    Groceries etc. ......................... 200 This is quite high for 1 person.  Shop at Aldi/Lidl if you don't already do so, try batch-cooking and freezing to save money.

    Clothing................................ 0

    Petrol/diesel........................... 80

    Road tax................................ 16

    Car Insurance........................... Paid in Full Well done for paying in full, this saves money - but you still need to divide your annual premium by 12 and put that money aside each month, it's still got be paid and budgeted for.

    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 0  You surely need something in here - or is absolutely everything covered by a finance package?  If it is, I can't see anything in your SOA for HP or PCP or whatever.

    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 33

    Contents insurance...................... 13

    Life assurance ......................... 0 

    Presents (birthday, Christmas etc)...... 0 Not even a small Birthday/Xmas gift for close family?  If not then great, but you do need to budget for every outgoing.

    Haircuts................................ 20 Can this be cut (excuse the pun!) ? 

    Entertainment........................... 95 I'm sure this could be trimmed significantly if you're determined to nail the debts.

    Holiday................................. 0  Appreciate you may not be able to afford or want a "big" holiday, but do you never go for the odd day out or weekend away?

    Emergency fund.......................... 0  Ideally you should have something in here.

    Window cleaning.……………….. 12 Is this necessary - can you do it yourself?

    Total monthly expenses.................. 1498


    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0

    Car(s).................................. 15000

    Other assets............................ 0

    Total Assets............................ 15000


    Unsecured Debts

    Description..................…....Debt..….……Monthly

    Very.........................……….882...………...0 (BNPL - Ends  2024)

    Next .....................………...1100.....………60

    Monzo loan ................….…9853.………...190

    Virgin credit card ...........…..2000....………70

    Tesco loan.................………13711...……..327

    Capital One credit card …… 200………….6

    Total unsecured debts...........653



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 2160

    Expenses (including HP & secured debts) 1498

    Available for debt repayments........... 662

    Monthly Unsecured debt repayments....... 653

    Amount left after debt repayments....... 12


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary

    Total assets (things you own)........... 15000

    Total HP & Secured debt................. 0

    Total Unsecured debt.................... 27746


    Some observations in bold above.  As always, no criticism or judgements about your lifestyle, purely some impartial/objective comments on the figures.
    It's also helpful if you can find out the APRs for your various unsecured debts - any spare cash should be prioritised to the one with the highest APR, this will save the greatest amount of interest.
    One other thing, the Very BNPL.  Although (I assume) you're not having to pay anything towards it at the moment, it's going to have to be paid in 2024.  You need to be putting something aside for that so you've got the cash available when the time comes to pay it.

    Thank you for the reply, I’ll try to comment on the above golfed sections;-

    Water: my water is already metered.
    Mobile: Contract is still in place for mobile phone so can’t reduce it.
    Groceries: Already shop at Aldi, don’t tend to batch-cook anything though, I thought £200 would be below average, that’s around £1.60 a meal for a months worth of meals.
    Car Insurance: I know, zero money left means I can’t.
    Presents: Don’t buy for anyone, so 0 is a true reflection.
    Haircut: Open to suggestions, have a suit and tie job so have to look presentable at the office/with clients.
    Entertainment: Open to suggestions to reduce it.
    Holiday: Want, yes, can afford to, absolutely not. My last holiday was in 2015, but I think I’ve got more pressing issues than thinking about sitting on a beach…
    Emergency: I know, zero money left means I can’t.
    Window Cleaning: Could cancel it, can’t do it myself though (no equipment to do it).

    I’ll try and find out the APR, it’s highest on the Very/Next/Capital One accounts, Tesco loan is probably the lowest, but there’s no “spare cash” to make any changes to my current payment plans.

    I have no means to pay the Very BNPL when it reaches its due date, only option is sell personal items to cover the outstanding balance.

    Cheers,
    Great input already from several posters including running through the SOA in full. 

    That's a really high bill for metered water for a single person. Have you checked the meter recently, and are the readings correct? I'd suggest that unless you've got a really large garden which you water a lot, there could be something amiss there - our supplier are estimating our large 3 bed house with two of us in it at £34 a month, and I fully intend to be making savings on that if possible! 
    Mobile: diarise when your contract is up and as soon as it is (or rather, a month or so ahead of it finishing) start shopping around for SIM only deals.
    Groceries: I average around £225 a month for two of us. That's meal planning 90% of the time, shopping from a list, and cooking from scratch. I vary where I shop between Aldi, Lidl and Tesco, with an occasional Morrisons or Sainsbury's shop thrown in. 
    Haircut - a set of clippers and learn to do it yourself? A change of style so barbers visits become needed less frequently? 
    Entertainment - reducing this is simple - go out less! 

    You must budget the car insurance - not doing so is one of the reasons why you're finding the debt spiral is never ending. If your insurance is £300 a year for example, you need to find £30 a month (the policy cost this year, plus a margin for likely cost increase) to save from somewhere else in the budget (I'd vote for groceries to be your target here!) and set that aside in an account so the money is there ready at renewal time. Same applies to your car maintenance costs too - work out the annual costs, and set aside the right amount monthly. 

    The key thing here if you want to tackle this situation is to start learning to budget. There are places where savings can be made - 
    Start being really mindful with water use - I'd be astonished if there isn't at least a £10 a month saving to be had there.
    With energy prices having dropped back, there may be scope for some changes there. As with the water the key thing is to ensure that regular, correct readings are given to make sure you are being charged correctly.
    Nail down costs on things like mobile, internet as soon as you are out of contract on them. At a glance I'd say that you have £60+ savings to be made on the mobile bill, and perhaps up to £10 on internet. 
    Groceries - already mentioned.
    On the car costs, you can save on your road tax by paying that in a lump sum, too, as it costs more to pay monthly - so as you nail down savings elsewhere, set aside money for this too. 
    Contents Insurance - that seems quite high for what seems a fairly small household. Worth running through a comparison site on renewal. 
    Investigate whether that pre-paid certificate for prescriptions would save you money.

    On the groceries - your maths is a little amiss I think, and this is leading you to think that you are eating more cheaply than in fact you are. Think of the various options - breakfasts can be toast, or cereal, or a piece of fruit and a yogurt. Any of these options will come in well below £1 a day, and probably more like 50p. Lunches - prepare a roll or a sandwich at home, add some fruit, a packet of crisps, or maybe a cereal or snack chocolate bar.  £1.50 at the most per day?  For main meals think about batch cooking, and how you can make things stretch for several days. I take it that you have access to a freezer, as a starting point? Think about buying and roasting a chicken - the legs will give you two sunday lunches (eat one hot on day of cooking, freeze the other. The white meat will do two meals at least - maybe chopped into chunks and used in a curry, with pasta, or with salad? Then there will be "pickings" from the carcass which can be used in a risotto for example. That chicken which may have cost you £5 or less to buy has now fed you for at least two meals, and very probably more depending on your chosen portion sizings.  Also think about buying frozen veg rather than fresh - frequently better value. If you're buying branded goods, step these down to own brand, and if you buy own brand, try out some of the discount or budget lines and see how those compare. Really nail down on food waste too - when you clearing debt you need to make every penny work for you - so keep a close eye on the thigs in your fridge and ensure they get used while they are still fresh.
    🎉 MORTGAGE FREE (First time!) 30/09/2016 🎉 And now we go again…New mortgage taken 01/09/23 🏡
    Balance as at 01/09/23 = £115,000.00
    Balance as at 31/12/23 = £112,000.00
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): SOA Calculator
    she/her
  • As an aside - you need to stop thinking about the things you "can't" do, and instead start working out how you can make the budgeting that needs to happen work. That does indeed mean making savings - but there are certainly savings there to make if you want to get yourself back on track. 
    🎉 MORTGAGE FREE (First time!) 30/09/2016 🎉 And now we go again…New mortgage taken 01/09/23 🏡
    Balance as at 01/09/23 = £115,000.00
    Balance as at 31/12/23 = £112,000.00
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): SOA Calculator
    she/her
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