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
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 1st Jan 18, 10:54 PM
    • 710Posts
    • 3,628Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Positive Balance: Focused on Budgeting
    • #1
    • 1st Jan 18, 10:54 PM
    Positive Balance: Focused on Budgeting 1st Jan 18 at 10:54 PM
    Hello everyone and happy New Year!

    I'm back. A bit shamefacedly, but here I am.

    I shuffled off to the MFW boards once I bought my house 2 years ago, shiny-faced, nave and hopeful that I would be able to debt-bust and overpay my mortgage all at the same time.

    Then reality hit and I needed to repay a large chunk of my debt back to source quickly - more quickly than I would have been able to based on my rather meagre wages - so I took out a 0% credit card and paid everything I could against it (bills, shopping etc.), stashing the cash I would have used for those in a bank account and using that to pay back the debt.

    Now it's time to pay the card back.

    I've still got the remaining balance on the debt to repay, but I'm going to focus on paying the CC back first (subject to change if necessary).

    This past year has been financially tumultuous with making sporadic payments on an as-necessary basis.

    This year I need to get a bit more structure. I've also realised that I am not great at creating budgets and sticking to them, so that's also my aim: I need to be sure where every pound and penny is going and be able to stick to it.

    I'll be back soon with more (including SOA) but I just wanted to post this while it was still New Year's Day.

    At time of this first post debt repayments stand as follows:

    Original debt: 11639.02
    Repaid to source: 6000.01*
    Remaining balance due to source: 5639.01
    Credit card balance: 4999.10

    So here's to a structured and thoroughly boring financial year ahead!

    *Yes, I did make an extra payment last night to get it to over 6K repaid in time for the New Year. Call me superstitious if you will!
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 07-03-2018 at 12:49 AM.
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
Page 2
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 6th Mar 18, 1:15 AM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Hi Wanabee,

    I started replying to this message so many times but kept getting pulled away every time I did. That's not a bad idea. I have looked at several SIM-only deals over the month but not quite got round to sorting it our properly, so perhaps this had better go back to the top of my To Do list.

    The same for my landline and broadband as my provider is apparently putting up prices next month. And I think my fixed rate on my gas and electricity comes to an end this month as well.

    Oh dear - I'm going to be very busy!

    Thanks for the advice and I'm glad to see you are doing so well over on your thread. x
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 6th Mar 18, 1:35 AM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Hello all.

    Well, I did a good disappearing act, didn't I?

    I have to admit I lost it a bit somewhere during the month and although I was compiling receipts and noting spends, I didn't sit down and do the sums until just now. I think I need to set some time aside to do that every week from now else it's not going to get any better.

    I need to do a little bit more number crunching to figure out exactly where I landed but the following little things also happened:

    1) I finally got a 137 refund for a botched rail journey I took last year (it has taken them MONTHS to process the refund - disgraceful! ) which has been duly whipped off to savings.

    2) I missed an exercise class (6.50) last week and I won't need a prescription this month (8.60) so I have whipped these small amounts into savings, as well as the extra council tax payment of 83.00 this month meaning that I have saved 98.10 from my regular monthly budget.

    3) Due to returning an item bought on my CC (29.99), a small OP to placate my OCD about random ends of numbers (1.21) and today's monthly min, payment my CC is now down to 4744!

    Now the CC is my current financial worry: it's on a 0% until June and I'm a bit worried that as the utilization on it is high that I might struggle to get a balance transfer to another 0% card.

    I've been listening to a lot of Dave Ramsay lately and I agree with having a 1000 emergency fund which I am effectively building in a separate account, but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to throw it at the card before June to get the balance down as low as possible before it comes to looking for a transfer. If this is what I do (and it's 99.9% certain to be), I will rebuild the 1000 ASAP the other side of the transfer, then start attacking the debt again.

    So far my emergency fund is 546.06. This includes OT, all the shuffled over payments such as the unrequired prescriptions rail refund. There is actually 686.83 in that account but I have been putting money aside for my annual house insurance bill as well plus the remainder of any present funds etc.

    I don't see last month's council tax payment there, though, so I still haven't got this 100% correct.

    Still, it's a big improvement on where I have been, so I'll take it, and instead of throwing the dummy in as I might have otherwise done, I'll keep refining the process.

    I'll be back with more proper figures and March's budget soon.

    EDIT: my gas and electricity tariff doesn't change until May. Thanks heavens!
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 06-03-2018 at 1:53 AM.
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 6th Mar 18, 8:08 AM
    • 6,369 Posts
    • 13,018 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    At least the debt is going down and not up. With just the one debt and a small mortgage I don't think you will have an issue getting another 0%. The deals are getting shorter though. Good going on the EF.
    Debt free and mortgage free and early retiree. Living the dream

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 6th Mar 18, 8:09 AM
    • 6,369 Posts
    • 13,018 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    It seems daft saying a 73k mortgage is small by the way but in this day and age it is.
    Debt free and mortgage free and early retiree. Living the dream

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 6th Mar 18, 6:25 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    At least the debt is going down and not up. With just the one debt and a small mortgage I don't think you will have an issue getting another 0%. The deals are getting shorter though. Good going on the EF.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Gosh I hope you are right, ES, but my credit rating has taken a bit of a battering as I changed my mortgage recently and thought I closed a store card with a tiny limit on it before Christmas it is still showing as open and everywhere I have been reading says that if you use more than 60%/70% of your limit lenders look at it less favourably. I doubt I can get it down that quickly but I can try.

    It seems daft as taken a bit of a hammering saying a 73k mortgage is small by the way but in this day and age it is.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Indeed it is but I have one small income so it's enough for me (and only just over half of what I used to pay to rent! )
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • foxgloves
    • By foxgloves 6th Mar 18, 7:28 PM
    • 4,023 Posts
    • 20,699 Thanks
    foxgloves
    That is a small.mortgage in the scheme of things, but I know what you mean. When we were sorting out a new mortgage deal a few years ago, the advisor I spoke to said "Oh, but you only have a very small.mortgage". At that time we owed
    58k. I said that still needing to pay back 58k when one of us had taken redundancy in the austerity cuts & the other half of the relationship's job was not that secure actually FELT like a big debt. She just said 'Well I can assure you that's a very small mortgage". I guess it feels different when you're the person paying it back. It does to me!
    Money can't jump out of your purse on its own so ask 'Can I borrow one, make one, grow one, bake one, re-purpose or recycle, acquire it for free?' Yes? Then put that purse away & keep your money because little savings grow!
    Loan pay-down fund instalment 2 = 714-70
    Payment received from surveys: 2015 = 320 2016 = 210 2017 = 304 2018 = 244
    • savingholmes
    • By savingholmes 6th Mar 18, 9:24 PM
    • 8,955 Posts
    • 17,004 Thanks
    savingholmes
    Good luck on your journey

    Quick comment - Do you really need to do the lottery?
    Today is a new day 93/310 10 a day Mar Challenge DFD August 2021
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 6th Mar 18, 11:39 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    That is a small.mortgage in the scheme of things, but I know what you mean. When we were sorting out a new mortgage deal a few years ago, the advisor I spoke to said "Oh, but you only have a very small.mortgage". At that time we owed
    58k. I said that still needing to pay back 58k when one of us had taken redundancy in the austerity cuts & the other half of the relationship's job was not that secure actually FELT like a big debt. She just said 'Well I can assure you that's a very small mortgage". I guess it feels different when you're the person paying it back. It does to me!
    Originally posted by foxgloves
    Absolutely foxgloves! One of the things that has become horribly apparent to me through all this has been the need to have a fairly decent Rainy Day Fund for such times. I'm single: perhaps that will change, perhaps it won't, but I can't ever find myself in a position where I can't pay my mortgage either way. It literally gives me goosebumps thinking about it. It's worst nightmare territory.

    As I said before I've been listening to a lot of Dave Ramsey lately and he says once you have paid off all your debt to save up an emergency fund of 3 - 6 months of expenses before doing anything else and this seems like a really good idea to me and also a good place to stop. One question I have alway had has been 'how much savings is enough? ' and that provides a pretty reasonable contingency plan.

    I just need the rid of all this debt first!
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 06-03-2018 at 11:44 PM.
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 6th Mar 18, 11:51 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Good luck on your journey

    Quick comment - Do you really need to do the lottery?
    Originally posted by savingholmes
    Thank you, savingholmes.

    I have debated this one numerous times and the reality is this: I'm in a syndicate with basically all the nice people in my work place. Every single one of them to a man hates our job and without a shadow of a doubt if we ever won a reasonable amount they would all resign instantly. Monday morning, half the desks would be empty.

    I could leave the syndicate, but there are a fair number of deeply unpleasant people where I work and if all the nice people left and I had to swim in a tank full of just those sharks, it would be suicide.

    I look on it like an insurance policy: if one leaves, we can all afford leave. If not, we all have to keep the sharks at bay together!
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 13-04-2018 at 12:10 AM. Reason: spelling
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 7th Mar 18, 8:12 AM
    • 6,369 Posts
    • 13,018 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Thank you, savingholmes.

    I have debated this one numerous times and the reality is this: I'm in a syndicate with basically all the nice people in my work place. Every single one of them to a man hates our job and without a shadow of a doubt if we ever won a reasonable amount they would all resign instantly. Monday morning, half the desks would be empty.

    I could leave the syndocate, but there are a fair number of deeply unpleasant people where I work and if all the nice people left and I had to swim in a tank full of just those sharks, it would be suicide.

    I look on it like an insurance policy: if one leaves, we can all afford leave. If not, we all have to keep the sharks at bay together!
    Originally posted by PositiveBalance
    I think the odds of winning are so small and if you add up what you have spent it would come to a considerable amount. However if you are in a work syndicate I can understand you continuing to a degree as this happened to a department in the university where I worked. 18 staff won 9 million a few years back now but although they said they would leave if they won they didn't. They had around 500k each and those who hadn't participated obviously had to live with them talking about the expensive cars, holidays etc they were going to buy. One non participant said she wished they had left. I don't think any of them hated their jobs though and a few went part time. One of them kindly bought our local guide hut for the guides so there was no rent to pay.
    Debt free and mortgage free and early retiree. Living the dream

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 7th Mar 18, 4:08 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    I think the odds of winning are so small and if you add up what you have spent it would come to a considerable amount. However if you are in a work syndicate I can understand you continuing to a degree as this happened to a department in the university where I worked. 18 staff won 9 million a few years back now but although they said they would leave if they won they didn't. They had around 500k each and those who hadn't participated obviously had to live with them talking about the expensive cars, holidays etc they were going to buy. One non participant said she wished they had left. I don't think any of them hated their jobs though and a few went part time. One of them kindly bought our local guide hut for the guides so there was no rent to pay.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    Yup. Although where I work I can guarantee that people would leave for sure and for a whole lot less, probably 100,000K or less - I however much they need to clear their mortgages.

    I doubt they we will ever win a significant amount but one thing is guaranteed to trigger a massive win; me leaving the syndicate!
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 11th Mar 18, 8:26 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Soooo, I need to crunch numbers about my spending this past week but I have spent a long and involved afternoon cancelling my current crappy broadband and telephone line and mobile deal, on which I occasionally go over on data sending the bill skyrocketing.

    I've ditched my current mobile deal of 10.49pcm. I still have a month to go so I haven't got a new pay monthly SIM (I don't want to get into any long contracts) but I look like I can get a similar number of 7.50 - 10.00pcm.

    As for my broadband, I will get a similar services inc. much-needed international calls for 27pcm down from 40.99 (which is about to go up to 43pcm.) The 27 will go up to 28 in a few months, but I am good with that as it's still way cheaper.

    I've needed to do this for ages so I'm glad that I have, but it just shows how ripped off I was being. Grr!
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 11-03-2018 at 8:33 PM.
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 2nd Apr 18, 9:19 AM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    *Watches tumbleweed blow by*

    It has been a while.

    So, it has been a busy month (as per usual)..

    Broadband/phone/mobile changeover: This has kicked in for the phone and broadband and will save me money but will cause me some cross-over expenses due to calls being calculate the month after or something like that and a small cross-over period on the mobile, which I have tried to keep as small as possible.

    My new provider mucked up putting a call package on, so I've had a bit of fun with that, but it should all be resolved fairly shortly. I've also noticed that my broadband is marginally better, which is another added plus!

    I have realised that I'm getting good at drawing up a budget but less good at reconciling my spends with the budget as the month progresses, particularly the food part, which is always the bit that gets the most hacking as it's an ongoing expense each week, not just something that gets paid once and then it's done with for the month.

    Must. Do. Better.

    I think I'm about 5.00 over on my food budget, and I'm quite a bit over on my transport budget as I took a relatively large number of trams last month. This is primarily due to me 'being on the last minute' so I need to sort that out as it's one of my biggest failings and costing me financially and in other ways. Of course, as a non-reconciler, I don't have any hard figures, so I'll have to try to get some and see what I have done right and wrong.

    One thing that has changed is my mindset to budgeting: before if it had gone wrong I would have been tempted to so 'oh flook it' and thought 'well, if it's broken carrying on breaking it isn't so bad', but now I realise that it's a case of continuous improvement and so long as I'm trying to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them in order to change my way of handling money forever.

    So, to the bad news: I've had 246.50 unexpected bills this month and it has wiped out all the 'extra' money I had in my budget for debt repayment. One bill was for 220 and is a one-off and the other was an annual renewal that I didn't know when would happen and, to be fair, I should have been salting a few pounds away each month to cover it, but it slipped my mind and therefore my budget. I'll add it in the annual category and then divide the amount by 12.

    Debts can be another post as I'm aware that I tend to write essays not easily-readable small notes like most people, so I'll mention that it the next diary entry.
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 13-04-2018 at 12:11 AM. Reason: verb tenses
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 5th Apr 18, 7:52 AM
    • 1,674 Posts
    • 10,000 Thanks
    redofromstart
    ha, ha I like essays best.

    I also have to make numbers even. I am struggling that I evened up the savings pots, and the mortgage account but now there is an uneven amount in my current account.

    Don't forget the debt update!
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 5th Apr 18, 8:05 AM
    • 6,369 Posts
    • 13,018 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Do you use a spending app tracker to keep track of spends? That can give you an up to date figure as to how much you have spent over the month. It can go on your phone so always with you.
    Debt free and mortgage free and early retiree. Living the dream

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 12th Apr 18, 11:59 PM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Sorry for disappearing...it has been quite an unbelievable few days!

    ha, ha I like essays best.

    I also have to make numbers even. I am struggling that I evened up the savings pots, and the mortgage account but now there is an uneven amount in my current account.

    Don't forget the debt update!
    Originally posted by redofromstart
    Are you more bothered about them being what they should be at or random pennies after the amount?

    Do you use a spending app tracker to keep track of spends? That can give you an up to date figure as to how much you have spent over the month. It can go on your phone so always with you.
    Originally posted by enthusiasticsaver
    I make a note of what I have spent on my phone as a note, but don't have an actual spending app. I'm trying to avoid getting sucked in to a subscription one like YNAB. Any free recommendations? I tried a few but found them a bit cumbersome.

    Back to what I've been up to...

    I have been saving all my spare money in a separate current account with a reasonable interest rate for my savings pots and for my emergency fund, which I knew I would need to empty to pay it onto my credit card before I apply for a new one at 0% in June (application in May to give me the most time to save up as much to pay off as much as possible before the transfer as I believe the nearer I am to 60% credit utilisation, the better my chances from what I've read).

    My online credit score appears to be taking a lot longer than a month to update, so I've transferred the 635.49 I've managed to save over to my card. The min payment has also gone out bringing the balance down to 3997.51 which is good as it means that I have paid off over 1000 but is still less further along that I was hoping to be due to unexpected bills this month and in January.

    This brings me down to just under 80% credit utilisation so I really hope this is enough the help me get a new 0% deal next month as I'm going away for a week next month so am literally only going to be able to pay off the bare minimum next month, although hopefully my credit report will be showing at under 4000 by then as I'm going to have to apply for the new 0% card.

    Or not...in a fit of curiosity, I just called my CC company and they confirm that the end date isn't until July so perhaps I have a little longer to play with than I though. Result!

    *Thinks hard*

    Hmm....my plan was to build my 1000 emergency fund back up once I got the card transferred. This should now mean that I have enough time to put enough money to one side to get the card down to 60% credit utilisation (3000) by then. Given the current balance of 3997.51 minus 3 months worth of minimum payments at 111pcm this means I need to find 638.51 extra between now and then, which is realistic and reasonable if I do overtime (and I will!) even counting a fairly dead month for extra repayments next month.

    And now I think about it, I should hopefully get a small end-of-year work bonus (no idea how much, or when) at some point, which would also help.

    Oh I do love it when a plan comes together!

    It's not going quickly, this debt repayment, but it is going in the right direction.

    As soon as the card has been transferred, I will get my Dave Ramsay style 1000 starter emergency fund back in place and crack on putting enough money to one side to repay the card in full.

    Next things next...need to change my gas/electricity to a new supplier before my current deal runs out next month.

    Give me until Sunday/next week as I'm rather busy for the next few days.

    Hope you all well.
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 13-04-2018 at 12:13 AM.
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
    • PositiveBalance
    • By PositiveBalance 23rd Apr 18, 12:45 AM
    • 710 Posts
    • 3,628 Thanks
    PositiveBalance
    Sooo tired..heading off to bed.

    Had a really busy day with tremendous amounts of cleaning and cooking. The only pity is that I've barely scratched the surface!

    Spends this month are just erring into 'just over budget' but I'm not sure where, exactly - I think a bit too much transport and I'm not sure where else. Probably food. (Guess who needs to reconcile her accounts more?!)

    And I just found out that I am due 13.39 cashback from a cashback website. Woo hoo! Part of me desperately wants to pay it off my CC and the other part of me wants to put it to one side for the very expensive month that is coming in 7 days. What to do, what to do...
    Last edited by PositiveBalance; 23-04-2018 at 11:57 AM. Reason: Spelling
    Original debt to source: 11,640.02; debt repaid: 6201.01 (53%); remaining debt: 5439.01
    0% CC balance: 4999.67 now 3997.54
    Emergency Fund (#187): 0/1000
    Terrimundi: 30.00ish
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

2,777Posts Today

5,788Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • It's the start of mini MSE's half term. In order to be the best daddy possible, Im stopping work and going off line? https://t.co/kwjvtd75YU

  • RT @shellsince1982: @MartinSLewis thanx to your email I have just saved myself £222 by taking a SIM only deal for £7.50 a month and keeping?

  • Today's Friday twitter poll: An important question, building on yesterday's important discussions: Which is the best bit of the pizza...

  • Follow Martin