Here's to a happier and financially healthier 40s!

So, I've been reading a few debt free diaries and have gained quite a bit of inspiration from them, so thought why not try doing my own. Not because I think I can inspire anyone else necessarily but mostly for myself to see how my journey goes and to hold me accountable. 

So, a bit about me. 
I'm Emma, I'm 39 I have always been pretty bad when it comes to money. Ever since I first discovered store cards in my teens, followed by overdrafts and loans. I've racked up debts and paid them off so many times over the years I have lost count. But since my big 40th is coming up I finally had a light bulb moment, why am I making myself suffer? I could just try and get it sorted to possibly go into my 40s with a much better outlook and lifestyle than I have had for my 20s and 30s. 

My debts rose when I lost my mum, I was caring for her when she got diagnosed with leukemia alongside my dad but to and fro to the hospital as well as working full time meant I didn't have time to eat as well as I should, plus travel to the hospital if she was there rather than at home. Weekly appointments to attend. When she passed I didn't really deal with it as was supporting my dad, as well as had taken a promotion at work, so I treated myself more than I should in terms of shopping to get a bit of joy, but that as you can see has obviously back fired!  Then on her year anniversary, exacerbated by a relationship ending, I hit rock bottom and had a breakdown. This resulted in me realising that work was a huge cause of my issues as well as the grief and they were hugely unsupportive, so I left and took four months off to have therapy and work through everything, this obviously meant relying on my savings and credit cards and we are where we are now!

I have recently paid off the overdraft on my current account which was £350, but my current debts are below:

CC with M&S - £5,999.94 - 19.9% interest
CC with Nationwide - £2,175 - 0% interest 
My father has recently helped me clear my other credit card with Halifax (This account has been cancelled and the card destroyed - boy that felt good) and is allowing me to pay him back once I have cleared a large amount of my M&S card, but that amount was £5,391 - I will include it as I do want to eventually pay that back too. 
Therefore my total debt repayment is currently: £13,591

I do make a reasonable salary with £1,922 coming in per month but obviously I am looking to boost that where I can. I have started going surveys again with prolific and yougov as well as selling a few items (not much more to sell as did a lot of that when I moved into my current flat to make space and make extra money).

I am also looking at ways to reduce my spending, one of my biggest is food. I don't always take food to work and end up getting food at the cafe which is roughly £5-6 a day so I have made a huge effort the last few weeks to batch cook once a week and make sure I have a stock of food in the fridge to reduce my excuses for not taking lunch, also when making meals at night any leftovers are also kept for a lunch during the week at work. I know this will make a huge difference. 

I see a chiropractor once every 6 weeks due to an issue with my back/rib, as well as a sports therapist for the same once every 4-6 weeks. I have recently discovered that I can offset the costs for my chiro as work gives me £250 for that in my health care package each year. Whilst that's not the full amount over the year, it's definitely been helpful for me to be able to do that and a £250 saving over the year is not to be sniffed at. 
I am hoping that once I can get my weight under control this might help reduce my reliance on both of these guys and therefore reduce my outgoings in the medical section of my budget. So health and fitness is also a goal for the coming year. 

On advice from a friend, I have opened a starling account to allow me to transfer across only money for saving and spending and use my main nationwide account for my main bills. Therefore allowing me to see straight up where my money should be going and help with better budgeting as I can put the money available into pots - Has anyone else had experience of this and did it work for you?

So, in summary my goal for my 40th at the end of August is to have got rid of at least £2,500 of my debt, beginning with my M&S Credit card.

Here goes... as always any advice is welcome. 


  • joedenise
    joedenise Posts: 16,416
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Well done taking the first step on your DF journey.  Is there any chance of getting your M&S CC onto a 0% card?  19.9% interest is a lot extra to pay.  When does the 0% run out on your Nationwide account?  Are you paying minimum on this card and making any extra payments agains the M&S card?

    If you post up your SOA people on here may be able to see areas of your budget where you could cut back.  You've already said that you are trying to take your lunches into work - that in itself will reduce the amount you need to spend on food.

    I use pots for budgeting but not with a bank account but using YNAB (I bought it outright back in 2014 but unfortunately if it stops working I can't get any support with it as the latest version is now a paid for app).  You could try that for free for 34 days to see if it's something which would work for you.  I know it sounds counter productive to pay for something to help you save money for it certainly works for lots of people.

  • Well done for posting and wanting to get things in order, I'm sorry for your loss of your mum and all the other upsetting things you've been dealing with x
    As @joedenise says, put up your outgoings and incomings and see if there are any fresh eyes on what can adjusted. Fantastic start to not pay for lunch at work!
  • Best wishes with your plans. Very important to get a workable and realistic budget in place.
  • Thanks to those who have followed along with me so far! 

    I will post my SOA up again once it has been redone. I have been spending some time making sure I have gone through all of the years finances in detail - I cannot lie it has been a very enlightening and at times really difficult experience. But something I needed to do to show me exactly what I have been spending and where I have already and where I need to in the future makes cuts! 

    I will be back to update as soon as I've got that more in order. 
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