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    Eddie Catflap
    Help changing my seeming addiction to debt
    • #1
    • 26th Jan 09, 10:30 PM
    Help changing my seeming addiction to debt 26th Jan 09 at 10:30 PM
    Hi all,

    I'm 27 and in a good job that allows me to pay around 300 a month off my debts but I think I have some kind of addiction to debt because I pay off one debt but then just rack it up on another card! I worked hard to pay off an 11,500 loan last year and was very proud of myself making big over payments but I seem to have now racked up over 7k on my Virgin Mastercard.

    I had a lightbulb moment and was determined to sort myself out when I actually logged in online at Virgin (or MBNA) and saw that I was being charged 20 month more in interest than I was paying off each month. I think I really knew this but was scared to log in and it felt much easier to bury my head in the sand. I have my current account with LloydsTSB and they have offered me a 6 month 4.9% balance transfer to handle the whole amount outstanding on my Virgin card which is very tempting as it certainly makes the debt much cheaper to service but I don't trust myself not to just go on and rack up the debt again on the Vrign card and be back at square one.

    I know I could snowball my debts and get myself sorted but I find it so psychologically draining and demoralising paying Virgin, Mint, etc. each month to service my expensive debt instead of seeing my hard-earned go into a savings account that is building something for my future. I'm scared that time will fly and that i'll be in my 50s and still in this much level of personal debt having acheived nothing at all for all my faffing around and having not changed the way I thought about money.

    I can't carry on like this as I should be saving for a deposit on my first place and I am embarrassed when I have to explain to friends and family why i don't have my own flat yet and still live in a shared house.

    I think that, deep down, the problem is that I cannot stop myself spending money that I don't have if there is something I need (like a car service), I find I am always managing to justify the spending to myself. Please can anyone out there offer any tips or advice on how to change their mindset and get themselves on the road to being debt-free wihotu giving up their life and living under a stone for 3 years!

    Many apologies for my rambling but I'm at a dead end and feel like I am being left behind and resticted in life.

    Many thanks in advance,

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    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 27-01-2009 at 7:02 PM.
Page 1
    • boredofbeingathome
    • By boredofbeingathome 26th Jan 09, 11:36 PM
    • 15,386 Posts
    • 37,539 Thanks
    • #2
    • 26th Jan 09, 11:36 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Jan 09, 11:36 PM
    I think we are all tarred with the same brush at times Eddie, two steps forward and ten steps back.
    It may be more beneficial to you to have a firm budget and a spends diary. Have a look at painless cutting back in Martin's give yourself a 25% payrise article. Also go on the snowball in it is an amazing tool which can help you set a pace to pay it all back at.
    I find freebie money very good by using cashback sites such as Quidco and i check out every possible good deal i can through household insurance, car insurance etc.
    Look at the Grabbit boards for deals for cinemas. bargains etc.
    Up your income board and Mystery shopping sites for freebie meals out and being paid to go shopping is really hard being forced to buy something..honest.
    Finally with all the painless cutbacks etc, pay yourself in the form of a regular savings account. Put what you don't miss in there and you will find that you will have enough money for everything.

    Some folk swear by Matched betting i am a coward on that but will get into it.

    Good luck and keep posting.

    Edit to ask are your debts on 0% if not have a look into transferring you will save yourself a fortune on interest rates, but cut up your old cards and close the account so you are not tempted to run it up again.
    Last edited by boredofbeingathome; 26-01-2009 at 11:57 PM.
    Blackadder: Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words 'I have a cunning plan' marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?
    Still lurking around with a hope of some salvation
    • Sue-UU
    • By Sue-UU 27th Jan 09, 1:39 AM
    • 8,797 Posts
    • 49,294 Thanks
    • #3
    • 27th Jan 09, 1:39 AM
    • #3
    • 27th Jan 09, 1:39 AM
    Hi Andy,

    It's good to see you've had your lightbulb moment and realised what you're doing to yourself and to your future. I thoroughly agree will all "boredofbeingathome's" suggestions and agree that once you've 'Balance Transferred' the remainder of your debt with Virgin, you really do need to cut up your card asap and get rid of all temptations.

    Get your finances in order this year and then be really strict with yourself and whenever you're tempted to buy, always ask yourself "do I need it - or just want it?" If it's the latter then leave it in the shop! If you're not sure then go home and really dig deep into your thoughts about how sensible or how rash you're being. It's easy to go back IF you NEED it, not so if you find you don't!

    Who knows when the chance of love and marriage/living together might come along and you'd be so embarrassed, possibly terribly hurt too if you couldn't even think about it. Once you've paid your debts back Andy, put everything you can into savings, you'll feel so much happier and content when you have enough to know all will be well.

    All the very best for a far brighter future with you in control!!

    Sealed Pot Challenge 001 My Totals = 08 = 163.95 09 = 315.78 10 = 518.80 11 = 481.87 12 = 694.53 13 = 1200.20! 14 = 881 15 = 839.21 16 = 870.48 17 = 871.52 18 = 800.00 Grand Totals of all members (2008 uncounted) 2009 = 32.154.32! 2010 = 37.581.47! 2011 = 42.474.34! 2012 = 49.759.46! 2013 = 50.642.78! 2014 = 61.367.88!! 2015 = 52.852.06! 2016 = 52, 002.40!! 2017 = 50,456.23!! 2018 = 47, 815.88!!!!

    • Debt_Free_Chick
    • By Debt_Free_Chick 27th Jan 09, 3:15 AM
    • 13,149 Posts
    • 9,492 Thanks
    • #4
    • 27th Jan 09, 3:15 AM
    • #4
    • 27th Jan 09, 3:15 AM
    the problem is that I cannot stop myself spending money that I don't have if there is something I need (like a car service)
    Originally posted by Eddie Catflap
    The problem is that if you don't have money to spend on the things you need, you are spending it on other things. If you take a cold hard look at what you've bought, can you honestly say that you needed every single thing you bought? :confused:

    What I'm trying to say is the car service is not the problem - the problem is whatever you spent the money on.

    Do you have a budget for all your essential/needs spending?
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac
  • Eddie Catflap
    • #5
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:01 PM
    • #5
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:01 PM
    Thank you all for your very salient advice and insights, it is so good to hear I'm not alone and that other people have managed to do themselves proud and work hard to overcome the burden of debt.

    I am pretty good at budgeting and I keep a spreadsheet of my outgoings, etc. I just seem to go off the rails at weekends if I'm out shopping with my girlfriend for example, although last Saturday my reply to her question "What do you need to get today?" was "nothing at all" and it's been a while since I've been shopping and not come home with a magazine, book or clothes bought purely on a whim!

    The majority of my debt is on good deals for the current economic climate, i.e. Mint 14 month 0% interest balance transfer (although that is about to end) and Barclaycard 5.9% life of balance rate. It is just my LloydsTSB overdraft and the dreaded Virgin card that are on extortionate interest rates. I am clearing the overdraft quickly though and this month that will be down to 1,000 from the 2,300 it was this time last year at an interest rate touching 20%!

    It sounds like everyone on these forums who has had their lightbulb moment has now grown a steely determination and hearty fondness for money saving and clearing debt as quickly as possible and I hope it's that feeling that I can feel growing inside me too! My first port of call this evening when I get home from work is to phone LloydsTSB and transfer the Virgin balance to the 4.9% offer and cut the evil card up! I will then produce another snowball spreadsheet via the site and actually stick to it!

    The small savings pot is a great idea too, if I can just put a little something in there each month alongside the majority going on repaying debt then that will be a nice psychological boost.

    Many thanks again for your help,
    • tyllwyd
    • By tyllwyd 27th Jan 09, 12:08 PM
    • 5,401 Posts
    • 4,386 Thanks
    • #6
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:08 PM
    • #6
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:08 PM
    Also, don't be too harsh on yourself. You say you are earning a reasonable amount - but then a big chunk of it will be eaten up by debt repayments. So in effect, you have a lot less money available to you, which makes it much easier to overspend just in day to day living, which makes the problem worse the next month, and so on. If you can be very strict with yourself for a certain amount of time, the debts will come down, you will have more cash available and life will get more comfortable ... but that's probably what happened this time, you got that little bit too comfortable and the debts grew up again. Or maybe you tried to pay off the first loan a bit too quickly, and that's why you ended up running up the credit card, because you hadn't left yourself with enough money to cope. Maybe this time try to be realistic about what you can manage, and make sure you keep a very good track of your cash. And maybe avoid shopping for a while!

    Any how, good luck - I'm sure you can do it, and think how good it will be without all this debt hanging over you each month.
    Last edited by tyllwyd; 27-01-2009 at 12:11 PM.
  • SouthCoast
    • #7
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:17 PM
    • #7
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:17 PM
    It can be revealing to work out how many days a month you need to work just to pay the interest and charges on your debts.
    • Miss_Marple
    • By Miss_Marple 27th Jan 09, 12:32 PM
    • 539 Posts
    • 773 Thanks
    • #8
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:32 PM
    • #8
    • 27th Jan 09, 12:32 PM
    If the problem is impulse buying of stuff you don't really need, then the thing I find helpful to me, is keeping a list of what I want.

    I have a notebook, and every time I see something I really want ( or convince myself I need !) I write it in my notebook with how much it costs and where I saw it. Sometimes my 'need' was so impulsive that by the time I've got home I've forgotten about it completely, so I am really glad that I didn't buy it.

    Other times, I decide I want it, so then take time researching it, trying to find it cheaper - by the time I've done that, I've sometimes lost interest as well, but if I haven't, it goes on my list of things to get when I can afford it. This list changes all the time as things I assumed I wanted turned out to be a whim - in fact I was looking back at some early entries last night and I thought ' What on earth did you ever want that for ?' So I basically only ever end up getting stuff that I really want and can afford.
    Please note that this approach does not work for chocolate

    DFW Nerd number 729

    Debt Free & Proud
  • pebblespop
    • #9
    • 27th Jan 09, 1:13 PM
    • #9
    • 27th Jan 09, 1:13 PM
    i was/am exactly the same as you OP, always paying things off whilst sticking more debt on other cards.

    i have now cut up the cards except one which is frozen in a block of ice in the freezer!! i can use it if a real emergency comes up but i havn't needed it yet (it's been about two months now!) i am amazed when i look back at all the bits of rubbish i used to put on there.

    i also try to make as much money as i can via ebay, matched betting, mystery shopping etc and put this money in my savings account for emergencies. i now have enough money in there to never need the cc again.

    i pay the cards off from my wages - around 300 per month.

    it is amazing how your mindset changes reading this website.
    Last edited by pebblespop; 27-01-2009 at 1:16 PM.
    • Billy-no-Money
    • By Billy-no-Money 28th Jan 09, 6:45 AM
    • 320 Posts
    • 341 Thanks
    OP, you're right to worry about debt now when you're 27 - I'm in my mid-40s, and only now really getting to grips with it as my kids become more independent.

    I had all sorts of excuses, but like you I would spend all my money and then come up against something I needed to pay for. As it was an essential it went on the credit card. It never struck me that the reason I ran out of money was I'd spent it on stuff I didn't need (Which at that time was cars and beer mainly).

    When my pay arrived next month I would start with what I saw as a clean slate; rather than pay off last month's overspend, I'd just leave it on the card.

    My advice, having been working on my debt for 18 months, is:
    • Don't deny yourself impulse buys, but make them small ones. A magazine is much less damaging than a satnav.
    • Don't fall into the trap of piling payments onto one debt while letting another creep up. Put all your debts on one spreadsheet and worry about the big number at the bottom!
    • Track your total debt month by month, and stick it on a graph.
    • Keep a spending diary at least until you understand your expenditure. I found I could relax this a little once I'd broken the back of my debts.
    HTH - good luck!
    Long-haul Supporters DFW 120
    Debt @ LBM (October 2007): 55187
    Debt Now (April 2014): 0
    Debt-free-date: July April 2014
  • Treading Water
    i have now cut up the cards except one which is frozen in a block of ice in the freezer!! i can use it if a real emergency comes up but i havn't needed it yet (it's been about two months now!)
    Originally posted by pebblespop
    Love this idea.
    • nearlyrich
    • By nearlyrich 28th Jan 09, 8:26 AM
    • 13,335 Posts
    • 16,542 Thanks
    Welcome to DFW Andy, one observation from me is that you say you go shoppping at the weekend with your girlfriend, that could be part of the problem, shopping has become a recreational activity not just for you but for many people. Can you change this habit to something that doesn't put you in the way of temptation? Maybe just go shopping when you really need something and do something else on the other weekends?

    I know if my daughter says let's go shopping I am going to spend on stuff I don't really want or need, I usually end up taking some of it back because it's just an impulse buy and I don't really need it.

    Good luck on your plan to get rid of your debts.
    Free impartial debt advice from: National Debtline or Stepchange[/CENTER]
    • tallyhoh
    • By tallyhoh 28th Jan 09, 8:53 AM
    • 2,188 Posts
    • 2,305 Thanks
    If you feel the impulse to buy something, work out how many hours you have worked to pay for it.
    Example: if you earn 7.50 an hour an average pair of jeans would work out at approx 6.5 hours at work. More if you add the interest charges on top.

    It works for me.

    Stopped Smoking October 2000. Saved 21,840 so far!
    • Dinah93
    • By Dinah93 28th Jan 09, 11:14 AM
    • 11,307 Posts
    • 45,575 Thanks
    At the start of the month I used to transfer out all the money I will be needing for rent, bills, food etc, only leaving myself spending money in the main account. Then as direct debits are due I transfer the money back into the main account. Other people do something similar but use their account for bills and have cash for spends, and when its gone its gone!
    Debt January 1st 2018 65,773.65
    Debt November 1st 2018 55,564.51
    10,209.14/15.52% paid off
    Met NIM 23/06/2008
    • louby_lou
    • By louby_lou 28th Jan 09, 1:28 PM
    • 274 Posts
    • 257 Thanks
    hey O/P - I could have written that post myself. Loving some of the ideas in here, especially the need/want notebook and working out how many hours you'd have to work for something (dont forget to minus tax and NI lol!) I'm going to start doing the want book. if i really want something and its still in the book after a period of time i'll allow myself it. no more buying clothes for the next night out when i have an ENORMOUS wardrobe as it is. Good luck and let us know how you get on, sounds like you are on top of things just need to stop the frivelousness. (Join the club ) also I find Martin's deterrant calculator on the frontpage useful - even if its a small thing they can add up. mines bottled drinks and magazines. Nightmare!
    * MFW by 2020 *
    • lilian1977
    • By lilian1977 28th Jan 09, 2:48 PM
    • 4,656 Posts
    • 18,375 Thanks
    Eddie, you say you always find you come home with a book, clothes etc when you go shopping - I think nearlyrich is right in saying you should do other things for recreation when you don't 'need' anything - the whole point of shopping is to purchase, or to look for things you need to purchase, so why put yourself in temptations way?

    Also, is there a library on your way back from town? Perhaps become a member and instead of buying a book, pop in and see what they have. No spend, and you get to come home with a book!

    If you don't want all the books/clothes you've racked up in the past, try Ebay, Amazon, Greenmetropolis etc to get rid of them, and throw this money at the debt.

    Good luck x

    My debt free diary
  • IsoChick
    I am dreadful for buying books and magazines!

    Last weekend I joined our local library (and will be going every week!) and I decided which 2 magazines I most wanted and took out a yearly subscription (for ref, one is a gardening magazine and the other a poultry keepers magazine).

    This means that the mags are delivered to my house - no shopping needed!

    I've also started to do my weekly grocery shopping online - no more CD's, DVD's, books, mags etc to tempt me.

    We also don't go into town unless we absolutely need something specific - no random browsing (and buying!). Shopping is NOT a hobby!

    If you find yourself stuck for something to do - go walking, get an allotment (and grow your own food!), find a very low cost hobby!
  • aml1977
    Hi Guys,

    Is any one able to offer any advice to me?

    I have a $4000 balance on a barclaycard and a 3500 balance on a santander card

    I also have a loan with Halifax which is currently at 7500

    I am paying 128 a month off my barclaycard and around 87 a month of the Santander card

    as you know this is barley paying off any of the balance as most of the payment goes off the interest

    I would like to consolidate these to a loan so that I am actually paying the debt - however, I do not think I can get credit to do this

    any suggestions as I do not want to ruine any of my average credit rating

    Thanks in Advance

    • Dinah93
    • By Dinah93 29th Jan 09, 1:40 PM
    • 11,307 Posts
    • 45,575 Thanks
    Hi Lori, I would suggest you start your own thread on these boards so people can answer your query. However you will find the vast majority are extremely opposed to consolidation, as it is turning unsecured debt into secured debt. Have you tried a balance transfer to a 0% card? Also you will still be paying interest on the loan, and may not be able to overpay he loan, meaning you pay more in the long run.
    Debt January 1st 2018 65,773.65
    Debt November 1st 2018 55,564.51
    10,209.14/15.52% paid off
    Met NIM 23/06/2008
  • Eddie Catflap
    Many thanks again everyone for all the advice, there are some great tips here, the card encased in ice is inspired!
    I am going to start carrying a small notebook around with me but I have been increasingly proud of myself over the last two weeks as I've learned to resist the temptation to buy clothes, etc. when being dragged round the shops, I have everything I need and all I really need, when it comes down to it is a roof over my head and a bit of food. There was a good point made about distinguishing between needs and wants and Oliver James mentioned this also in his book, Affluenza (if anyone hasn't read this then it is a good account of how materialistic and emotionally distressed people have become in the most recent generations).

    The points made about the library are very pertinent also, I used to be terrible for buying books and having 6 stacked up in my 'to read' pile (usually as a result of not being able to resist the Waterstones 3 for 2 deal!). Recently I have sold some paperbacks that I was never going to read again but it is difficult with hardbacks and ebay because I think buyers are put off by the hefty postage, I have sold the odd hardback for a few pennies and it hardly seems worth the effort. However I have had much more success with clearing out CDs that I was never going to listen to again.

    I've always found it easy to entertain myself with reading and trying to expand my mind (unsuccessfully some might say!) and it may be that my girlfriend is a shopaholic but if she enjoys that then who am I to argue? I am happy in the knowledge that I come home having had a bit of fresh air, spent a couple of pound on a newspaper and cup of tea and nothing more

    Life is a balance I guess, everything in moderation.
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