Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 24th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    • 3,920Posts
    • 26,182Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Finally Debt Free After 34 Years, But Still Need to Live Frugally
    • #1
    • 24th Sep 17, 1:22 PM
    Finally Debt Free After 34 Years, But Still Need to Live Frugally 24th Sep 17 at 1:22 PM
    My DH and I have been in debt for 34 Years, apart from brief periods, ever since I was offered my first credit card at the tender age of19.

    Our debts were caused by us being impulsive spenders and not being very skilled at budgeting or managing our money, so we know it is our own fault. We always believed that one day we would have more money, mysteriously, and that this would bail us out .

    Our full light bulb moment came when we realised, "What if we never have any more money than we do right now?"

    A couple of years ago we were coping with the minimum payments, but didn't have enough to overpay on any of them. We were forking out £1300 a month in minimum payments, and the interest alone was £1000 a month .

    But then in 2015 our small business started to bring in less, and a family bereavement, and illness affected our ability to work. We could no longer afford the minimum repayments and we were scared we would lose our home. We were stricken with stress and depression .

    Step Change shone a light in the darkness for us and they arranged for us to make token payments of £1 a month to our creditors. This saved our sanity and we were reassured that our home was unlikely to be taken from us.

    My DH recently turned 55 and drew out his pension so that we could make full and final offers to our creditors. All but one accepted an offer of 50% of what we owed (which is all we had to offer). We are continuing negotiations with the final creditor and hope to be debt free by Christmas .

    Being so close to being debt free has made me realise what a heavy burden the debts have been all these years, like living our lives wearing lead boots.

    Once we are debt free we will still need to live very frugally because we have no emergency fund or savings, and our income can be irregular. I hope that starting a diary will help to focus me on frugal living, avoid impulsive spends, and keep my spirits up. Because frugal living can be a lonely and isolating experience.

    This site and Step Change has helped me so much, and I hope that my diary will help to inspire others that it's never too late to change your life .
    Last edited by HairyHandofDartmoor; 18-11-2017 at 9:49 AM.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
Page 135
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 8th Apr 18, 3:27 PM
    • 1,612 Posts
    • 9,640 Thanks
    redofromstart
    Carboot, they have some nice plants and pots in MrM, well worth a look. They often have reduced ones. They have some in the front vestibule (Climbers (£1.76 last year I think for clematis/honeysuckle, etc) and patio plants and pots) and then alpines and ivies, etc with the bunched flowers.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 8th Apr 18, 3:51 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    The office alcove shelves sound great and very . OH and I both love using things up.


    I'm a bookaholic but unlike you I consider most of mine to be clutter. I rarely read a book twice and apart from reference books I try to work on the one in and one out principle but I fail dismally. I can never resist a bargain when it comes to books. A bargain bin draws me like a magnet. People know I'm an avid reader and pass on all sorts of books to me. I give every one of them a try even if I'm not sure it's my cup of tea. Sometimes it isn't and I give up on it but I've discovered some wonderful new-to-me authors that way. I'm the middleman (woman) between them and the charity shop as I get to read them first and then I donate them. Sadly, I end up with more than I can read, hence boxes and cupboards full. All our bookshelves are bursting at the seams. I wouldn't have any time to cook, shop, clean if I read them all. On second thoughts though......
    Originally posted by carbootcrazy
    I do often read books several times if I like them a lot like, Agatha Christie, Ann Cleeves, Stephen Booth, Simon Beckett, Andrea Camilleri, Robert Barnard, Julian Symons, etc (some of my favourite crime authors). If I think I won't read a book again then I tend to donate it. Books look lovely though, I like looking at the colourful spines on the shelves. A room looks undressed to me without books .

    It is good to try new authors, which is why charity shops are great as you can try them cheaply and you haven't wasted much money if you don't like them. I have a notebook where I've jotted down books that are missing from a series I'm collecting, so that I don't accidentally buy duplicates in the charity shop.

    I do agree with the one in one out rule generally speaking (apart from books).
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
    • carbootcrazy
    • By carbootcrazy 8th Apr 18, 4:09 PM
    • 4,613 Posts
    • 26,155 Thanks
    carbootcrazy
    authors). Books look lovely though, I like looking at the colourful spines on the shelves. A room looks undressed to me without books .
    Originally posted by HairyHandofDartmoor
    I really agree with that. I love visiting people for the first time and seeing bookshelves full of books.


    The main problem here is that, although we have big rooms, we have very little wall space to site bookshelves. Our lounge has 3 doors in it, 2 massive windows and a big fireplace. I don't like furniture sticking out into the room so the sofas are pushed back against the little available wall we have left. I have narrow bookcases in other rooms which allow them and a big one in a spare bedroom but we also need to display other things on the shelves too as we have nowhere to put display cabinets. It's a very badly-designed house IMO. If I was starting over again it would be much more user-friendly


    By the way, the mediaeval crime book you bought from the charity shop on Saturday sounds intriguing. I had never heard of Michael Jecks before. I might see if anything by him is in my county library's catalogue and order it. The mobile library is a blessing round here but only visits my village once a month for 15 minutes so not much use for a good browse. I tend to order books online and they bring them in the library van. It's a brilliant service and all for free
    Last edited by carbootcrazy; 08-04-2018 at 4:17 PM.
    Make £10 A Day Challenge 2018: Jan-Mar: £475.38+. Apr: £269.95


    Original Debt: £56804 (@ LBM 02/13). Now: £10005
    . Getting there.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 8th Apr 18, 4:54 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Michael Jecks is a good author, I'm sure you'd enjoy his books. Try and read thee early ones in the series first. You can read them as standalone's, but it's nice to understand what goes on in the life of the main characters .

    We are lucky that we have alcoves in our rooms which are perfect for book shelves, but our bedroom is hopeless for book shelves because we sleep in an attic with sloping walls . Most of our alcoves don't have shelves however because of no time/money to buy wood. I hate chipboard because it sags under the weight of books eventually .

    So most of my books are in boxes in our bedroom which looks TERRIBLE .
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
    • elizabethhull
    • By elizabethhull 8th Apr 18, 5:30 PM
    • 200 Posts
    • 1,067 Thanks
    elizabethhull
    All our bookshelves are bursting at the seams. I wouldn't have any time to cook, shop, clean if I read them all. On second thoughts though......
    Originally posted by carbootcrazy
    I'm a bookaholic too, and frequently re-read favorites. I dread to think how many books are in the house. We estimated around 2,000 when we moved over 30 years ago !!! Still, now I have a Kindle with loads on it, all classics are free and I regularly get sent a list of selected books by BookBub, some of which are free and others only 99p.

    It's amazing how little space you need for growing something edible. Our elder daughter lived in a 1st-floor flat in Leicester with a walkway, on which she set up a mini ladder of shelves for growing chilli peppers. They got quite a little harvest and of course the peppers are very freezable. Now they have a tiny garden with their house, but actually grow strawberries.
    We are very lucky to have several fruit trees that I fancifully call 'the orchard'. You do have to be happy to eat a ton of one thing in season if you have a whole tree of it, and if you are fruiting wonderfully, everyone else's trees are too so they don't want any ! Our frozen rhubarb lasts us all year, and the perpetual spinach gets regularly picked & frozen. Hubby sows and tends, I reap and cook - the work division isn't fair but he's ok with it as he doesn't cook at all.
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 8th Apr 18, 5:36 PM
    • 2,408 Posts
    • 15,317 Thanks
    parsniphead
    I love my books too and and its nice to see recommendations for authors I haven't read before.

    I had to cull my collection when DH moved in as he had lots of books too. We both had to be ruthless but at least someone else would have got joy from them and the charity shop made some funds. It was hard though.
    Don't let yourself be controlled by three things: people, money or past experiences.
    Reds life!!! X
    2018 My year of creation, living life and learning.
    I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that b*tch up myself.
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 8th Apr 18, 8:24 PM
    • 52,890 Posts
    • 208,110 Thanks
    beanielou
    I have to say that I too notice a huge difference between 45 & 55. Bah.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger.
    • mummytogirls
    • By mummytogirls 8th Apr 18, 8:36 PM
    • 6,160 Posts
    • 22,477 Thanks
    mummytogirls
    Garden sounds lovely HHOD, I really need to get some more plants for my garden. I seem to never buy plants which come back so end up having to redo them every year. Do you have any suggestions for plans that come back and are easy to maintain? xx
    Mummytogirls x

    £23164.32 - 12/12/10
    £5419.83 - 08/04/18 - 76.61% paid off
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 8th Apr 18, 8:42 PM
    • 5,611 Posts
    • 36,311 Thanks
    Sun Addict
    I'm another book fan - I like the Richard and Judy Book Club recommendations as they make you read books you might not have picked. I like thrillers and chick lit but not anything soppy or gory. I like real books not Kindle, you can't beat the smell of a new book
    Virtual Sealed Pot 2018 £250.33
    Debt £2572.50
    April NSDs 2 AFDs 3
    Weight loss 7/10LBS Emergency Fund £2000/£10,000
    Dining room fund £
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 8th Apr 18, 8:48 PM
    • 1,873 Posts
    • 11,382 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    I like real books but only got room for one bookcase so all novels go on kindle now. One day perhaps I'll have some more room for actual books! DD and OH have walls of books but have the space for them. Good thing about kindle though is that I've always got something to read when I go away and don't have to fill the suitcase up with books. Can also order the kindle books straightaway if you're abroad!
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Ad Hoc Savings - 25/04/2018: £591.21
    MONTHS TO RETIREMENT: 36!
    My diary: “Paid off the £31,0000! BUT- still scrimping!”
    • Cumbria lass
    • By Cumbria lass 8th Apr 18, 9:22 PM
    • 1,684 Posts
    • 9,992 Thanks
    Cumbria lass
    I think we all like books, I'm like SA love real books to hold. However Kindle has it place when you are on hols.

    HH I am going to research some of your suggestions for authors I need to broaden my horizons.
    CC1 £3655 April 2018.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 8th Apr 18, 9:44 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Lots of book lovers here . I prefer real books too and don't even own a Kindle. I manage to squeeze a book or two in my suitcase when I go away, but I'm usually staying with family so can always borrow a book.

    I de-cluttered a load of books when we moved to this house fifteen years ago, but regretted it and have been gradually collecting them again from charity shops. I'd rather get rid of ornaments than books when I de-clutter.

    @MTG my stepdad says that Petunias should flower all summer, not sure about next year. Bedding plants do tend to be annuals, but daffodils, Narcissi, Grape Hyancinths and Primulas should last year on year. Violas go woody so are worth replacing each year.

    @Cumbria I mostly read murder mysteries but can recommend a ton of those . Ann Cleeves is the author behind the Shetland and Vera series, the books are worth reading. Andrea Camilleri wrote the Inspector Montalbano books.
    Last edited by HairyHandofDartmoor; 08-04-2018 at 9:48 PM.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 8th Apr 18, 9:49 PM
    • 52,890 Posts
    • 208,110 Thanks
    beanielou
    I have daffidols that still flower after 29 years!!!
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 8th Apr 18, 9:54 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Now that is good value Beanie .
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
    • jwil
    • By jwil 9th Apr 18, 1:36 PM
    • 8,412 Posts
    • 25,589 Thanks
    jwil
    Another book lover here. I used to get handed loads like CBC and it really widened my repertoire. I also challenged myself to read the '1001 books you must read before you die', which was good fun. I used to walk around charity shops/car boot sales with a list of the ones I needed.

    I am now seriously decluttering the books. I love the look of them, but want the space. The only ones I keep now are the authors/titles I love, and as I am working through the massive 'to be read' pile, it's nice to see space again. I used to have multiple bookcases all double stacked, with books piled on top and loads of stacks all over the floor too. I do have a kindle, but don't use it much as trying to reduce the quantities of books in the house. I never leave the house without a book in my bag!
    "If you can dream it, you can do it". Walt Disney
    • carbootcrazy
    • By carbootcrazy 9th Apr 18, 2:54 PM
    • 4,613 Posts
    • 26,155 Thanks
    carbootcrazy
    Another book lover here. I used to get handed loads like CBC and it really widened my repertoire. I also challenged myself to read the '1001 books you must read before you die', which was good fun. I used to walk around charity shops/car boot sales with a list of the ones I needed.

    I never leave the house without a book in my bag!
    Originally posted by jwil
    That challenge sounds a good one. I'll look it up and see if there's anything on it that I already have but haven't got round to reading. I might get the rest via charity shops, car boot sales, jumble sales and the mobile library. I'm hoping to pay my debts off this year and have promised myself that I'll spend the minimum on books this year. Reading is my only real personal 'spend' so I can't really go cold-turkey but I'm definitely not buying any brand new books.


    I'm not sure if any of you remember the BBC Big Read (I think that's what it was called) from way back around 2006ish. They published a 'shortlist' of 100 books and we had to vote for our favourite after presumably reading them all. There was a programme at the end which named the nation's favourites in the usual reverse order. Once I get involved in anything like that I'm a bit OCD about it and determined to read/re-read the whole 100 which I did. I'd already read a lot of the classics on there from my earlier life and had to borrow some of them again from the library because I'd long since given my own copy away. It was strange to see how my fondness or otherwise for them had changed after so much time between readings. My younger self was a totally different person.


    It certainly widened my reading horizons though, I read authors like Terry Pratchett among others for the first time. Some authors I liked and wanted to read more books by them, other books I was pleased when I'd finished and could cross off the list. There was only one book I gave up on and it maybe will surprise Hairy, being a historian, but it was Katherine by Anya Seton. Oh, make that 2. I still never got to finish James Joyce's Ulysses. That's 3 times I've tried. One of the ones that gave me the most pleasure, surprisingly as I'd found the TV series a turnoff, was The Thorn Birds. I love a big, heavy tome to get my teeth into
    Last edited by carbootcrazy; 09-04-2018 at 3:15 PM.
    Make £10 A Day Challenge 2018: Jan-Mar: £475.38+. Apr: £269.95


    Original Debt: £56804 (@ LBM 02/13). Now: £10005
    . Getting there.
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 9th Apr 18, 7:19 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Another book lover here. I used to get handed loads like CBC and it really widened my repertoire. I also challenged myself to read the '1001 books you must read before you die', which was good fun. I used to walk around charity shops/car boot sales with a list of the ones I needed.

    I am now seriously decluttering the books. I love the look of them, but want the space. The only ones I keep now are the authors/titles I love, and as I am working through the massive 'to be read' pile, it's nice to see space again. I used to have multiple bookcases all double stacked, with books piled on top and loads of stacks all over the floor too. I do have a kindle, but don't use it much as trying to reduce the quantities of books in the house. I never leave the house without a book in my bag!
    Originally posted by jwil
    I need more storage but my ultimate goal is to turn the dining room into a library (as we have a table in the kitchen) . That should provide plenty of book storage .


    That challenge sounds a good one. I'll look it up and see if there's anything on it that I already have but haven't got round to reading. I might get the rest via charity shops, car boot sales, jumble sales and the mobile library. I'm hoping to pay my debts off this year and have promised myself that I'll spend the minimum on books this year. Reading is my only real personal 'spend' so I can't really go cold-turkey but I'm definitely not buying any brand new books.


    I'm not sure if any of you remember the BBC Big Read (I think that's what it was called) from way back around 2006ish. They published a 'shortlist' of 100 books and we had to vote for our favourite after presumably reading them all. There was a programme at the end which named the nation's favourites in the usual reverse order. Once I get involved in anything like that I'm a bit OCD about it and determined to read/re-read the whole 100 which I did. I'd already read a lot of the classics on there from my earlier life and had to borrow some of them again from the library because I'd long since given my own copy away. It was strange to see how my fondness or otherwise for them had changed after so much time between readings. My younger self was a totally different person.


    It certainly widened my reading horizons though, I read authors like Terry Pratchett among others for the first time. Some authors I liked and wanted to read more books by them, other books I was pleased when I'd finished and could cross off the list. There was only one book I gave up on and it maybe will surprise Hairy, being a historian, but it was Katherine by Anya Seton. Oh, make that 2. I still never got to finish James Joyce's Ulysses. That's 3 times I've tried. One of the ones that gave me the most pleasure, surprisingly as I'd found the TV series a turnoff, was The Thorn Birds. I love a big, heavy tome to get my teeth into
    Originally posted by carbootcrazy
    You are much better read than I am Carboot.

    I should try and widen my repertoire as I mainly read crime fiction. Maybe when I retire I can get down to some serious reading...
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 9th Apr 18, 7:40 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    Spring seems to have vanished here, it's been dull all day and drizzling since lunchtime . It's lucky I did my gardening yesterday.

    I've been in working all day, so not the most exciting of days. I'm not a fan of wet Mondays .

    I did two PA surveys for 60p and 25p and that's the most exciting thing I've done all day . Roll on Tuesday.

    I hope everyone else is having a thrilling and fun filled day .
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
    • Seasidegal58
    • By Seasidegal58 9th Apr 18, 8:09 PM
    • 1,873 Posts
    • 11,382 Thanks
    Seasidegal58
    We've had rainy, dank misty weather all day here Hairy. . Can't say my day has been thrilling either - work, work!

    Re authors - if you like a big sprawling read try Susan Howatch or Margaret George - they are both brilliant - Susan Howatch hasn't written anything for the last few years and must be in her late 70s now so you may well come across her books during one of your charity shop trips!

    Have a good evening!
    Finally Debt Free! - July 2016
    Finished Emergency Fund- £10,000 April 2017

    Next Scrimpy Goal - Ad Hoc Savings - 25/04/2018: £591.21
    MONTHS TO RETIREMENT: 36!
    My diary: “Paid off the £31,0000! BUT- still scrimping!”
    • HairyHandofDartmoor
    • By HairyHandofDartmoor 9th Apr 18, 8:18 PM
    • 3,920 Posts
    • 26,182 Thanks
    HairyHandofDartmoor
    So many authors to read, so little time . My granny used to read the Jalna books by Mazo de la Roche, which are a big family saga, you don't see those around very often but they were very good.

    Hopefully we'll both have better weather tomorrow.
    My Diary http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5716867
    Debt in July 2017 = £58,766 DEBT FREE 31 OCTOBER 2017
    NEW GOALS - Build an Emergency Fund & Loss of Income Fund. Then save up for repairs to the house.
    Emergency Fund 1 = £281.59/Emergency Fund 2 = £41.81/Loss of Income Fund £0
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,107Posts Today

7,092Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Yes you would think in this electronic day and age. They could put digital ticket machines on trains https://t.co/RPo4XXvrwk

  • RT @Mattallwright: Martin: supplementary: Does she know which platform the train is on, or is it Paddington with five minutes notice to cov?

  • RT @KTMGordo: @MartinSLewis Imagine Jane is hungry and late for an urgent appointment & needs to buy a sandwich but the queue's huge. Is?

  • Follow Martin