Feeling Like It Is Starting to Spiral

bigbadphil
bigbadphil Posts: 9 Forumite
First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
edited 6 March at 11:12AM in Debt-free wannabe
Hi all

I thought I would ask for some advice here as I feel like I am starting to lose control of my finances.

I wouldn't say I am in massive debt. But heading there non the less. Maybe I am in denial. Maybe I just need to budget better. I am unsure. I have ready a good few posts on here and am trying to come understand some of the terminology as I've never really had an understanding of things. Defaulting for example. 

A little bit of background

I am married and currently working full time. I also do occasional delivering for Just eat. This usually helps towards shopping and towards an upcoming holiday in August. However, its not enough.

I have filled out an SOA. I am not sure if I have done it totally correctly as I am unsure of what's what in terms of secured/unsecured/HP. The figures on there for bills are mostly halved as my wife and I put half of the total each into an account I hold where all the bills come out of. It is not a joint account, there is no card for it, it is solely for the direct debits to come out each month and she is not named on the account. In the SOA, the rent is £0 as the mortgage is paid. Mobile bills are a must and the contract does not expire for another 18 months. Haircuts are £0 as I am bald and cut my own hair.

This bit I hovered over the keyboard. I am ashamed and embarrassed and feel I cannot talk about it. I would say I have a gambling problem. I'm not thousands and thousands in debt with it but I could see how it could get there. Please don't judge. I've come to terms with it and I have measures in place to combat it. I have registered with GamStop and cannot open any accounts or play instant win games and I don't enter highstreet shops as I have no spare money to use to play. I feel this may be the biggest red flag on the issue but I haven't gambled for months.

Any help on saving money would be grateful as I am not the best at saving money. I just want to get my head above the water and start to learn how to save. I got a loan from HSBC 18 months ago to consolidate debts and have one manageable payment but somehow I have ended up in the same situation and still paying the loan. Majority of bills are covered with one or two being reversed back to the account due to low funds which is why I'm reaching out for help as more and more may be reversed each month if I don't get on top of it. I feel if I had a certain amount of money I could manage but I cannot get to that point.

Thank you in advance. SOA below. 


Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

Household Information
Number of adults in household........... 3
Number of children in household......... 1
Number of cars owned.................... 1

Monthly Income Details
Monthly income after tax................ 1439.23
Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
Benefits................................ 0
Other income............................ 0
Total monthly income.................... 1439.23

Monthly Expense Details
Mortgage................................ 0
Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
Rent.................................... 0
Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
Council tax............................. 41
Electricity............................. 65
Gas..................................... 65
Oil..................................... 0
Water rates............................. 26.7
Telephone (land line)................... 0
Mobile phone............................ 100
TV Licence.............................. 7
Satellite/Cable TV...................... 0
Internet Services....................... 12
Groceries etc. ......................... 200
Clothing................................ 10
Petrol/diesel........................... 150
Road tax................................ 8
Car Insurance........................... 37
Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 5
Car parking............................. 0
Other travel............................ 0
Childcare/nursery....................... 0
Other child related expenses............ 0
Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 12
Pet insurance/vet bills................. 20
Buildings insurance..................... 7
Contents insurance...................... 7
Life assurance ......................... 7
Other insurance......................... 0
Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 50
Haircuts................................ 0
Entertainment........................... 50
Holiday................................. 0
Emergency fund.......................... 0
Couch Payment........................... 40
Total monthly expenses.................. 919.7

Assets
Cash.................................... 0
House value (Gross)..................... 135000
Shares and bonds........................ 0
Car(s).................................. 12000
Other assets............................ 0[b]
Total Assets............................ 147000[/b]
[b]
No Secured nor Hire Purchase Debts[/b]

Unsecured Debts
Description....................Debt......Monthly...APR
Vanquis Credit Card............1192.84...50........39.9
HSBC Credit Card...............3000......120.......29.9
PayPal Credit..................2360......70........29.24
HSBC Loan......................8100......233.......18.9
Total unsecured debts..........14652.84..473.......

Monthly Budget Summary
Total monthly income.................... 1,439.23
Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 919.7
Available for debt repayments........... 519.53
Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 473
Amount left after debt repayments....... 46.53

Personal Balance Sheet Summary
Total assets (things you own)........... 147,000
Total HP & Secured debt................. -0
Total Unsecured debt.................... -14,652.84
Net Assets.............................. 132,347.16

Created using the SOA calculator at www.LemonFool.co.uk.
Reproduced on Moneysavingexpert with permission, using other browser.

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Comments

  • londoner2019
    londoner2019 Posts: 147 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    First things first, you've come to the right place. There will be some experienced folk along shortly to help and advise.

    Next: no judgement here on anything - plenty of people will have been in your situation. And you're in a better place than many - you have no rent or mortgage to pay, and you have more than 500 a month to throw at the debt, assuming your SOA is accurate. (The gurus on this forum will take a close look and suggest areas where things might be missing / it's not realistic). For instance - they'll likely ask about the 100 a month on a mobile phone, and where does the money you gamble with come from in the SOA? Entertainment?

    Do you find you are making these minimum payments each month?

    My advice will be not to worry too much in these situations - there is always a solution and a path forward and you'll get plenty of great support here.

    CC: £0!!!!!! (have paid off £13,000+ over 3 years-ish)
    Student loan: GONE

    Goals for end of 2024:
    EF: £1,000/£1,000
    House repairs: £100/£2,000
    Building insurance (due Sep 2024): £400/£400
    Safety net savings: £1,500/£3,000 
    Holiday fund: £1,000/£5,500
    Christmas: £0/£1,000
    Fun pot: £50

    2025 goals:
    Holiday fund: £4,000
    Christmas: £1,000
    To partner: £8,000 - no hurry to pay)
    Save for house move: £10,000

    DFD: Finally taking back control after a decade of debt
  • enthusiasticsaver
    enthusiasticsaver Posts: 15,551 Ambassador
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    Would you say the debt is down mainly to the gambling then rather than overspending? Good that you have put measures in place to stop that happening again as you obviously know you  cannot afford that. 

    Do not consolidate again.  As you have already found it makes matters worse. 

    As to the soa.  There is nothing too awful on there except for the mobile bills.  Why are they so high?  When the contract finishes I would definitely get out of that. If the essential bills are being paid through a separate account and you and your wife are moving over money each month why are they bouncing? Are you dipping into the bills account for groceries etc? If that £200 is just for you then that is quite high.  Who is the other adult and does your wife know about the debt? 

    You have two choices.  The soa does show a surplus so you could continue as you are trying to cut back and being very disciplined about spending.  However the interest rates are quite high and I am assuming you are unable to get 0% deals so I would not take that option if I were you given you have no leeway for saving for emergencies and you have put nothing in holidays but have said you do them.  Your side job obviously is not put down on the soa or does that £1439 include the extra money you make through Just eat? 

    Alternatively you could default which means you stop making debt repayments and wait for the debts to default and usually they are sold on to a debt collection agency.  You have a house and a fairly expensive house so bankruptcy is not an option so you would need to go down the DMP route.  That would usually stop the interest and your credit record will be ruined but borrowing more is not advised anyway so I think I would take that option.  Put something in emergencies and holidays and I think I would calculate the amount you need to pay it off monthly over 6 years which is the length of time it will take defaults to fall off your file.  You could save for Full  and Finals in the meantime which would get rid of it quicker. Check out the DMP sticky for advice from others who have been through it. You could write and ask them to only communicate in writing but you will probably get phone calls initially. You can either self manage or contact stepchange who could deal with it for you. If you paid just over £200 a month towards the debt it would be gone by the time the defaults are off and that would give you plenty of leeway to save for emergencies and make life a bit easier.  Obviously this would mean you must not take on any other debt and hopefully stop gambling altogether. Honestly it ruins lives. 
    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.
  • bigbadphil
    bigbadphil Posts: 9 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Would you say the debt is down mainly to the gambling then rather than overspending? Good that you have put measures in place to stop that happening again as you obviously know you  cannot afford that. 

    Do not consolidate again.  As you have already found it makes matters worse. 

    As to the soa.  There is nothing too awful on there except for the mobile bills.  Why are they so high?  When the contract finishes I would definitely get out of that. If the essential bills are being paid through a separate account and you and your wife are moving over money each month why are they bouncing? Are you dipping into the bills account for groceries etc? If that £200 is just for you then that is quite high.  Who is the other adult and does your wife know about the debt?

    You have two choices.  The soa does show a surplus so you could continue as you are trying to cut back and being very disciplined about spending.  However the interest rates are quite high and I am assuming you are unable to get 0% deals so I would not take that option if I were you given you have no leeway for saving for emergencies and you have put nothing in holidays but have said you do them.  Your side job obviously is not put down on the soa or does that £1439 include the extra money you make through Just eat? 

    Alternatively you could default which means you stop making debt repayments and wait for the debts to default and usually they are sold on to a debt collection agency.  You have a house and a fairly expensive house so bankruptcy is not an option so you would need to go down the DMP route.  That would usually stop the interest and your credit record will be ruined but borrowing more is not advised anyway so I think I would take that option.  Put something in emergencies and holidays and I think I would calculate the amount you need to pay it off monthly over 6 years which is the length of time it will take defaults to fall off your file.  You could save for Full  and Finals in the meantime which would get rid of it quicker. Check out the DMP sticky for advice from others who have been through it. You could write and ask them to only communicate in writing but you will probably get phone calls initially. You can either self manage or contact stepchange who could deal with it for you. If you paid just over £200 a month towards the debt it would be gone by the time the defaults are off and that would give you plenty of leeway to save for emergencies and make life a bit easier.  Obviously this would mean you must not take on any other debt and hopefully stop gambling altogether. Honestly it ruins lives. 
    Thank you for the response. 

    I would say it certainly helps toward the debt and the overspending contributes. I understand that sounds like a riddle. I apologise. But they've come hand in hand. 

    The mobile bill is so high due to me paying for my wife's sim only plan on my account. My tariff is quite high because of the phone I have (iPhone 15), unlimited data, minutes, texts and Spotify on the account. I got these as having a 7 year old, tethering to a tablet and listening to music and watching videos is a must these days. I am fully aware these are luxuries and caving into a child but I use these myself so at the time I thought that was a good deal and best option for me. I felt I could afford it rather than taking it out and worrying about it later. 

    The groceries, £200 agree is a bit high. Its hard to calculate as sometimes I'll pay for them and sometimes the wife pays. There always seems to be something to get every few days. The other adult is my step daughter. Wife's daughter from a previous relationship. The wife knows we have no surplus money and we just seem to muddle through. 

    The bills are paid through a separate account yes, and occasionally, when there is no money in other accounts or something needs paying, we would dip into the other account and before the next bill comes out, I would use any payments from Just Eat to cover the bill that's due. I didn't out down what I get from Just Eat on the SOA as it varies a lot. I aim to get £150/£200 a week. that always does not happen. This week I only made £70 so its got to a point where there's been no money to cover them when its due.

    Holidays, we are going on a summer holiday this year which is mainly being financed by the delivering and some of the money from pay day. 

    I feel like I am complaining about nothing. I understand there are people on here that are majorly worse off than me but I just don't want to get to that point. I just need to get myself sorted and into a position where I can start to make a dent in what I owe and have the ability to learn how to save.

    I am going to read all about DMP and find out what it all means as what I think it is, frightens me. The thought of not paying a bill and debt collectors turning up is one of my worst nightmares. 

    I am grateful for the help and non-judgement on here. There are some heroes out there after all.
    New to all this, heres hoping I join the club of winners!

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  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 21,287 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    You're not complaining about nothing - and whether others are "worse off" is irrelevant - you are in a position which is getting on top of you and want to deal with it - that's exactly why this board exists - to help! 

    One thing I will just mention - you are sure that your existing car insurance covers your delivery work - assuming you are using your own vehicle for this - aren't you? As I recall "business use" doesn't cover that sort of use - it need a policy specifically covering multi-drop delivering. I believe a lot of people doing Amazon and similar have now been caught out by that. 

    Your comment about muddling through probably explains why bills are sometimes bouncing. with 4 of you in the house, £400 (which I assume is the actual grocery spend?) isn't *that* high, and certainly if you are shopping day to day with different people shopping at different times it would be very easy to actually be spending more than this. I'd strongly suggest a meal plan, a shopping list, and trying to ensure that if you go back in for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread - you only come out with the milk and the bread!  Making sure that the figures you are budgeting for all the bills are in fact what you are paying is definitely something else to move forwards with - I'd suggest you need to sit down with your wife and make sure that the money you transfer across to the bills account is enough to cover your spending, as payments bouncing will probably be costing you money! 
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