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  • FIRST POST
    • evilsheep
    • By evilsheep 14th Feb 18, 8:32 PM
    • 223Posts
    • 219Thanks
    evilsheep
    Small Debt, Smaller Income, big potential?
    • #1
    • 14th Feb 18, 8:32 PM
    Small Debt, Smaller Income, big potential? 14th Feb 18 at 8:32 PM
    *gulp*

    I should've done this years ago, or at least one year ago, but hopefully, I'm not too late to nip this in the bud.

    Back Story
    I was employed, and salaried for 15 years until suffering a stress/depression/anxiety/work-related breakdown a couple of years ago. Luckily, I received statutory sick pay for a year, which enabled me to mostly recover, but after realising my life and health were worth more than the salary and the job, I terminated my employement there (through mutual consent) and have technically been unemployed since then.

    I say 'unemployed', but I'm not really sure what I am. I'm trained in the 'arts' field and would like to become freelance/self-employed, but I haven't yet declared as self-employed, and my monthly income through this varies from £0pcm to around £500pcm. Pretty crap really. So, this is a problem. I'm over 40, and this freelance career has been a goal/dream that I've hankered after since childhood, so do I chuck it in for the sake of a salary in another field, or is there a way I can pursue this?

    As my period of il-health was related to my previous job, I received a settlement figure (which I am unable to discuss due to signing various bits of paper). This figure was essentially enough to clear my debt at that point, and enable me to live for the following few months. I was foolish with this money and didn't save any, although to my credit, I didn't really blow it on crazy things either - I just relaxed and used it on small things like a couple of nights with my partner, eating out a little more often - just little things to enjoy being in a much better place than before. Unfortunately, thanks to having naff-all income since then, and not having adjusted my spending compared to when I had a salary, I have obviously accrued debts ...

    Even worse, I'm fearful that I have a mild shopping addiction. We live frugally compared to many, don't have kids, don't smoke, don't subscribe to TV packages (we only actually bought a TV a couple of weeks ago) and arne't particularly 'high maintenance' regarding fashion/lifestyle things etc. However, I've started to tell myself that little purchases for the house/myself are an investment into my quality of life/future happiness/employability, when surely being debt-free is a priority.

    Enough blathering, here's my SOA. I haven't included my partner's income (it's only around £15kpa) as I need to know that I can cover my expenditure/debt without having to rely on him. Any house-related expenditure figures below are my half of the whole sum. My partner does help me where he can, but he's not in a position to do this really. Here goes.

    Evilsheep's First Statement of Affairs
    Monthly Income (after tax) - £0-500

    Council Tax - £56
    Dual Fuel - £40
    Water Rates - £20
    Broadband - £20
    Buildings Insurance - £5
    Contents Insurance - £6
    Mortgage Payment - £112

    Car Repayment PCP - £95
    Car Tax - £2
    Car Insurance - £21
    Petrol - £60
    Groceries - £100
    Eating/Drinking Out - £150

    Other Insurance - £17
    Union Subscription - £22
    Lotto - £32
    OddsMonkey - £15
    Haircut/colour - £50
    Therapy - £300

    CC1 (Tesco) - £62 (current balance £2,823, monthly interest 1.45%)
    CC2 (Barclaycard) - £20 (current balance £878, monthly interest 1.38%)

    Total Monthly Outgoings: £1, 205
Page 1
    • evilsheep
    • By evilsheep 14th Feb 18, 8:47 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    evilsheep
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 18, 8:47 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 18, 8:47 PM
    So, what can I do first?

    I've already cancelled two subscriptions - one to Audible, one to Kindle Unlimited (I didn't include them in the above list anyway).

    I'm keeping the OddsMonkey subscription for now as I'm returning to matched betting to get some income in (I'd only done 5 or 6 introductory offers when I started it last year, so there's a a few hundred potential earnings there).

    I have to keep my union subscription and the 'other insurance' as that also covers some insurance/public liability, but I do check prices on insurance each year, so I'm on the cheapest option there.

    The Lotto ... unfortunately I chose two lines of numbers when the Lotto first began and I cannot forget these numbers. I wish I could. Having seen what happened to a neighbour who lost her winning lottery ticket, I really don't think it would be wise to stop this payment. Bl**dy Camelot and their tax on the poor ...

    The haircut - I'm vegan, and will only use cruelty-free options, which limits my choices somewhat. I did use home hair-dye kits, but as my freelance career relies on my being presentable, they just weren't an option. At present, I go to the hairdressers once every two months which is the longest I can leave it really without looking scraggy.

    Therapy - I've been on medicaton for two years now (I'm off the valium, and am reducing my antidepressant dosage), and am trying to wean myself off it completely. There are various issues in my past which compounded the breakdown of two years ago, and medication is only helping the symptoms without solving the root cause. I've researched this intensively, and have just begun a course of therapy which supposedly stands a good chance of working (it's EMDR if anyone's particularly nosey - I would be!). Unfortunatey, this therapy doesn't come cheap, but on the plus side, it may only take 10 or so sessions (I'm 2 in already), and the person who comes out the other side may be the one to go on to fulfil her true potential! I'm not able to get this treatment on the NHS as I'm not considered at risk. I did get a course of basic therapy through MIND/NHS when I was first ill, but only after literally begging for it and telling them I had no intention of making it home from that particulary doctor's appointment if they couldn't help me. I'm one of the lucky ones who has a fantastic supportive partner who helped me through this period though, so I just hope that there is free treatment available to those out there who don't have this.

    What I CAN do right now is look into the CC interest rates, as hopefully one of those will have a 0% offer that I can transfer everything to (even if it means transferring the barclaycard onto Teso and then back again - is this the best option? I've never been that great with maths ...
    • evilsheep
    • By evilsheep 14th Feb 18, 9:02 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    evilsheep
    • #3
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:02 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:02 PM
    Boosting Income

    As stated above, I did begin matched betting last year, but didn't commit enough time to it, and then forgot about it. I have around £200 in my Betfair account, so am in a good position to race through the introductory offers and accrue some profit. I've started diarising this on Evernote to keep tabs on what I'm learning/betting on, and I'm aiming to do at least one introductory offer per day. Is it too much to hope for £500 profit in one month from this?

    I've also created a bookmark list for some 'Daily Click' sites. So far I have Lucky Phone, Free Postcode Lottery and Swagbooks. I'm struggling a bit with Swagbucks as it runs really slowly on my computer though. I hope to add to this list as I go along, and timetable in this daily clicking.

    I've signed up with Red WigWam to try and pick up some temporary work. I'd quite like to do some sort of work-from-home thing to boost income, especially as I could easily fit it in around the freelancing. I used to answer questions for the AQA answering service, so might look into getting back to that (I earnt very little from it before, but I guess every little bit helps!).

    I have bought a couple of things on Gumtree/eBay that I've managed to sell on for a better price. My latest purchase this week was a £35 old iMac that was sold for 'spares/repairs'. It's came with no RAM, so I've ordered some on eBay (£2.99), and when that arrives I can hopefully see if I can further diagnose the problem. Even if it's knackered, I'm pretty sure that I can sell it on for a few quid more going by the current prices on spares/repairs on eBay.

    I also have two old laptops, an old iPhone 6, and various kitchen appliances to try and sell, as well as a number of other possibly saleable clothes items. I'm considering lumping the clothes into 'bundles' (i.e. selling 4 jackets together instead of separately) as it seems they may have a better chance of selling this way.

    The search for more ways to boost my income will continue ...
    • Onebrokelady
    • By Onebrokelady 14th Feb 18, 9:05 PM
    • 369 Posts
    • 989 Thanks
    Onebrokelady
    • #4
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:05 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:05 PM
    Im the same as you with the lottery,I worked out its cost me £4000 since it began ,I cancelled the DD last week and have now gone from hoping I win to hoping I dont as I will be destroyed if my numbers come up now,Im hoping to buy the odd ticket when I can treat myself
    Just keep swimming
    Original Debt Owed Jan 18 = £17,630 Paid To Date = £770.00 Total Now Owed = £16,860
    Emergency Fund = £400.00 Xmas savings = £250.00
    • evilsheep
    • By evilsheep 14th Feb 18, 9:08 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    evilsheep
    • #5
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:08 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:08 PM
    Im the same as you with the lottery,I worked out its cost me £4000 since it began ,I cancelled the DD last week and have now gone from hoping I win to hoping I dont as I will be destroyed if my numbers come up now,Im hoping to buy the odd ticket when I can treat myself
    Originally posted by Onebrokelady
    I dread to think what it's cost me since 1994 ... I remember buying my first ticket during my first year at university and it didn't occur to me to do a lucky dip so that I wouldn't remember the numbers! I've never won anything over £25 too ...
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 14th Feb 18, 11:15 PM
    • 6,606 Posts
    • 13,843 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 18, 11:15 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 18, 11:15 PM
    Sorry about your health issues but you have a substantial gap between income and expenditure so there are a few things in your soa that should go or that £3700 debt you currently have costing you £53 a month in interest could be as high as £19k or £20k by the end of the year depending on how much income you bring in (assuming the worst of 0).

    The lotto, hair colour, eating and drinking out should go to start with. The therapy is a hard one and only you know whether it is worth going further into debt for it. You have very little chance of winning the lotto, the odds are miniscule. Try adding up what you have spent on it and see if that changes your mind about continuing to pay out when you cannot afford it.

    If you are able to transfer the existing debt to a 0% card then certainly that will save you interest (currently about £50ish per month) but I am not sure how successful an application will be if you are technically unemployed/self employed without any certainty of income.

    I hope you manage to sort this but it will involve some tough choices.
    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
    • evilsheep
    • By evilsheep 15th Feb 18, 2:18 AM
    • 223 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    evilsheep
    • #7
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:18 AM
    • #7
    • 15th Feb 18, 2:18 AM
    you have a substantial gap between income and expenditure so there are a few things in your soa that should go or that £3700 debt you currently have costing you £53 a month in interest could be as high as £19k or £20k by the end of the year depending on how much income you bring in (assuming the worst of 0).
    The substantial gap is most definitely what I need to work at. However, as my outgoings are low, surely it!!!8217;s income that needs addressing just as much as reducing outgoings? I don!!!8217;t want to give too much away lest I!!!8217;m identified, but my level of qualification and experience should mean that I won!!!8217;t be bringing in £0 pcm, and if that does happen to be the case, then presumably there are state benefits available. I!!!8217;ve paid taxes for the last twenty years and never claimed anything so have no idea where to start with this, but if I!!!8217;m left with no option I guess I!!!8217;ll have to. As I stated earlier, matched betting should bring in at least £500 given my current balance in the betting exchange, and if I keep it up, there!!!8217;s essentially a guaranteed income (albeit a very small one) there.

    The lotto, hair colour, eating and drinking out should go to start with.
    My freelance career means I have to be presentable as I said earlier, and I don!!!8217;t mean just turning up dressed smartly - I!!!8217;m on stage/in a performance environment. The lotto could go, but given what I know about my mental health, that!!!8217;s a hell of a gamble to take for a relatively small monthly outgoing. I don!!!8217;t smoke, I don!!!8217;t have a tv licence, I don!!!8217;t have any sort of tv subscription service so it!!!8217;s peanuts compared to most people!!!8217;s vices I guess. The eating and drinking out is of course going to stop. Myself and my partner have frequently had periods of total abstinence so that won!!!8217;t be a problem at all (especially as we live far from any decent restaurants!)

    The therapy is a hard one and only you know whether it is worth going further into debt for it.
    It!!!8217;s not a hard one at all. Without therapy, I may stand little chance of staying around long enough to pay debt off. Perhaps I wasn!!!8217;t clear enough earlier; but I have a level of anxiety that means I can!!!8217;t leave the house sometimes. And it!!!8217;s getting worse. It took twenty years to accept that I needed therapy to deal with the abuse in my youth, so to be asked whether it!!!8217;s !!!8216;worth it!!!8217; is difficult to read. This therapy is simply not available for free on the NHS. Essentially, unless you pose a direct risk to others or yourself, you stand no chance of being referred to therapy. I waited 6 months for therapy two years ago when I was suicidal, which is also why I!!!8217;m forever grateful for the support of my partner.

    If you are able to transfer the existing debt to a 0% card then certainly that will save you interest (currently about £50ish per month) but I am not sure how successful an application will be if you are technically unemployed/self employed without any certainty of income.
    As I said, I think at least one of my current cards has a 0% transfer offer so I may not need to apply for a new card, it!!!8217;s just a case of moving things around. My credit score is currently very high, and Tesco have just increased my limit (I!!!8217;ve never missed a payment) so I have ample room.

    Increasing income to minimum wage is priority overall, and stopping any unnecessary spending in the interim at least. This diary will hopefully enable me stay on track.
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 16th Feb 18, 7:22 PM
    • 54,944 Posts
    • 219,346 Thanks
    beanielou
    • #8
    • 16th Feb 18, 7:22 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Feb 18, 7:22 PM
    Unfortunatly the reality is that you cannot afford £150 on eating/drinking & nor can you afford £50 a month on your hair.
    I suppose it depends on what you really want?
    To become debt free or to continue in a lifestyle that you unfortunatly cannot afford to sustain.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 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.
    • Buffythedebtslayer
    • By Buffythedebtslayer 16th Feb 18, 8:07 PM
    • 15,177 Posts
    • 50,235 Thanks
    Buffythedebtslayer
    • #9
    • 16th Feb 18, 8:07 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Feb 18, 8:07 PM
    I have ridiculous spending habits - pets, dentists, a gardener. I had the pets when I was in debt and they did hold me back quite a bit so I have 0 room to talk. I did have a hairdressing habit, 65 quid a time, I gave that up and got...my Mum to cut my hair - also have employed the unicorn hair cut - pretty decent but my hair is easy long straight stuck to the back of my head, however home dye is pretty good? Could you get it cut and colour it yourself?

    Ultimately in my view there are two ways out of debt, prepare for a minimal impact on your daily life and pay it off slowly or clamp down on spending, increase your income as much as possible and have a limited life in the mean time, it is rubbish but you get used to it and it isn't that bad, I am one for turning it into a game - how long without an am amazon order? How long can I keep a twenty pound note in purse? How long without using a credit card? etc etc. Then it feels less of hardship.
    Frugal Living Challenge, Pound a Day challenge, Sealed Pot Challenge Debt 4990 (March)
    • evilsheep
    • By evilsheep 16th Feb 18, 10:17 PM
    • 223 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    evilsheep
    Unfortunatly the reality is that you cannot afford £150 on eating/drinking & nor can you afford £50 a month on your hair.
    I suppose it depends on what you really want?
    To become debt free or to continue in a lifestyle that you unfortunatly cannot afford to sustain.
    Originally posted by beanielou
    You appear to be having difficulty reading my posts. I said that the eating/drinking was going to stop. The SOA above is the current status, not the proposed one (which I thought was the whole point of an SOA?). If I don't maintain a stage-ready appearance, I won't get work. Which will make me far worse off. So I'm struggling to see why this relatively small amount is a problem, given that plenty of debt diaries here have unnecessary TV subscriptions etc. As it is, I leave the hair appointments until I HAVE to get it done prior to an audition, so I'm doing the best I can. Which part of my SOA indicates that I'm living a lifestyle I can't afford? I have no income because I haven't signed on after being released from my employment. I'm educated to masters level in my chosen field, and I'm making huge efforts to get work, If I can get my earnings up to £1000 pcm (which is less than half the average wage in the UK), then I'll be able to clear my debts. What on earth is this 'lifestyle you can't afford'? The Oddsmonkey subscription that's paid for itself in one day? The Lotto is a frivolity I know, but if you'd seen a neighbour descend it alcoholism and drug addiction after losing a winning ticket you may well see things differently too. I thought this board was for support ...

    ... however home dye is pretty good? Could you get it cut and colour it yourself?
    Originally posted by Buffythedebtslayer
    Tried that, and it just isn't good enough unfortunately. I have to have a lot of photos taken as part of work, and the home dye doesn't cut it.

    Ultimately in my view there are two ways out of debt, prepare for a minimal impact on your daily life and pay it off slowly or clamp down on spending, increase your income as much as possible and have a limited life in the mean time, it is rubbish but you get used to it and it isn't that bad, I am one for turning it into a game - how long without an am amazon order? How long can I keep a twenty pound note in purse? How long without using a credit card? etc etc. Then it feels less of hardship.
    Income is the main thing for me! It's frustrating that as I'm effectively starting out and building a name, my income can be £0 per month or over £2k in exceptional months. Hence the matched betting/other things to supplement (£70 profit in two days so far, so not bad), and looking for additional work-at-home income.

    I can't remember the last time I had any cash out, as I rarely use it. We do the bulk of our shopping late at night when the reduction stickers are on (being vegetarian/vegan, it's a very low monthly spend too as we buy dried pulses and don't eat processed foods).
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 17th Feb 18, 12:40 PM
    • 54,944 Posts
    • 219,346 Thanks
    beanielou
    The board is for support.
    I am pointing out to you what you currently cant afford based on the SOA you posted.
    Other peoples SOA's are irevelevent as it is your SOA on your thread.
    At the end of the day it is your choice whether to take the advice given.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 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.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 17th Feb 18, 12:58 PM
    • 6,606 Posts
    • 13,843 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    You may have a problem claiming benefits if you are registered self employed. You should look into that.

    It is difficult to comment on a soa when there is no income and this is your problem too as budgeting with no reliable source of income is almost impossible. Given that you have £1200 of monthly outgoings and no fixed income I cannot see how that is sustainable unless your partner picks up your bills or your debt increases. As your debt increases of course so do the monthly payments so ideally that should not happen.

    I guess all you can do is try your freelance career for a fixed time and see how you get on and muddle through until then. Or you look for a regular salaried job and do your freelance work on the side. That is what I would do given your situation.
    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
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