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  • FIRST POST
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 6th Mar 18, 8:09 PM
    • 217Posts
    • 1,000Thanks
    Starmummy
    Aligning the Stars
    • #1
    • 6th Mar 18, 8:09 PM
    Aligning the Stars 6th Mar 18 at 8:09 PM
    Hi All,

    I've been lurking on the forum for a couple of years and this year I am finally ready to fully address my problems.
    A little background... I became a parent at 21 and became a single parent at 22 with no support from my DD father. Not exactly how I expected things to turn out! Thankfully I have an amazing family who have tried to help where they can.

    Well 6 years of working my bum off still didn't give me enough money to live off and between health scares, court fees (thanks to ex) and just trying to get beans on toast on the table I found myself in a LOT of debt.

    Now I shan't pretend I am a complete saint. As well as needing credit cards to pay for solicitors fees, my studies, food, council tax and just trying to keep us warm and fed...I also treated us to nice clothes and holidays. It was a pride thing, I didn't want people to think I couldn't cope, I didn't want my DD to miss out and being a single mum working 7 days a week is HARD.. I needed the treats for my sanity.

    At my very worst I carried almost 24,000 in debt over various loans, store cards and credit cards. YIKES!

    Well fast forward to present day and my life has improved unimaginably. I met my DP who has honestly changed our lives. He helped me see how strong and capable I was and with him by my side I set about living instead of surviving.
    My DD and I moved in with him almost a year ago and at the end of last year I pushed myself to get the job I deserved. So without the pressure of being completely financial responsible for my family (and the nice pay rise from my new job) I'm now in the position to get rid of the last reminders of my old life...The debt.

    I had my light bulb moment just after Christmas and have made massive headway in the year so far.
    As of today my debts look like this:
    Overdraft 1000
    CC1 2247 (currently @18.9%)
    CC2 3347 (2/3 of this is at 0% until October)
    Loan1 2113 (this is due to be paid off in August 2019 and fairly low interest approx 7%)
    Loan2 7352 (this months payment still to go out- paid off Oct 2019 again lowish interest was used to pay off a 24% CC)

    so total debt today 16,059

    I know I can do this. I am determined. This diary is for general ramblings and to keep me on track.

    So here's to getting my life in order and aligning the stars for an amazing future
    Last edited by Starmummy; 20-03-2018 at 3:32 PM.
Page 4
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 11th Apr 18, 10:10 AM
    • 217 Posts
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    Starmummy
    Thanks for the comments redo. you are a star.

    I looked at dunelm but I would prefer roman blinds and theirs just aren't long enough. We need a drop of 170cm.
    I have found a website that makes them to measure with blackout lining for 83, which seems good value but still a lot of money. I've ordered some free fabric samples and shall discuss with Mr Star later.
    Thanks for the tip on B&M there is a store opening up next door to my office this weekend so I shall check them out on a lunch break next week. that is really good value. I have found some plug plants on Am$zon 10 for 4.49, fuchsias and begonias so that should see to the hanging baskets and i can pay for them with leftover vouchers from Christmas.
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 13th Apr 18, 11:28 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Happy Friday Folks

    It's been a productive week back at work after our trip to Spain to see family. I'm really not appreciating this weather though. I'm so bored of grey skies.

    Budget is still looking good. The joint account has a healthy amount in still and it's only 2 weeks until it's topped up. I think there may be a little room for some treats, We need it, life has been a little stressful especially Mr Stars job.
    We spent 20 last night for a local comedy night...we expected stand up but it was the local AmDram group doing sketches...badly. Oh, honestly it was so bad we were laughing for totally the wrong reasons and made a sharp exit stage left in the interval to the village pub...which we also walked out of because Mr Star thought it ludicrous that a village pub had no cask ale

    Oh well, first world problems and a trip to a trusty local pub with proper beer

    Star Child and I are meeting one of my best friends for dinner this evening before she moves to the south coast. I'm so sad to see her go but looking forward to my city break with her in the Summer...and potentially a lovely place to stay when we go and visit her throughout the year.

    Mr Star and I have been struggling with communication recently. A lot of tears and strops caused because we just communicate so differently. We had a really good chat before work this morning. Our lives are going down the same road we just need to talk more instead of expecting each other to be mind readers. Shall definitely work on this but feeling much more positive. It's hard, Mr Star is not Star child's dad. We have been together just 3 years and sometimes it feels like we've been dropped into a relationship 10 years down the line. With a 'traditional- pre-kids' relationship you find a normal/standard and know how things work and build on that. When children are there from day 1 this complicates things somewhat and we both struggle with being too independent. I suppose every day is a school day and we will get through the difficulties. Talk more, work together better.

    This weekends project to work together better = sorting out the roman black out blinds for the upstairs sash windows. We have decided to do this as a little project together like we would a work project. I'm hoping that this approach will open up communication better and prove that we can actually do things together rather than around each other.
    Fabric samples should arrive today and the tape measure is ready and waiting...and he agrees that the 83 a blind quote I've found is actually reasonable and we do have the money in the joint account. It needs doing before we start getting 5am wake up calls from Star Child.

    Another cause of stress at the moment is my professional exams. I'm on exam 12 of 14 so near the end but in the weeks leading up to exams i'm such a bore and Mr Star gets really fed up.
    I am on the home stretch now though and I will be fully qualified this time next year. Then the world is my oyster and the big pay rise will mean that the debt will be paid off almost as soon as i'm qualified too....then we can really start living.

    Anyway I'm rambling on again (it's pretty therapeutic so thanks for listening)
    Take care and have a fabulous weekend

    SM
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 16th Apr 18, 11:01 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    It's Monday again and we are halfway through the month

    Friday night's dinner with my friend was lovely, but I did slip into old habits insisting on paying for the whole meal. It could have been worse, I had a voucher (3 courses for 14) so me and StarChild shared (plus an extra pudding) and I ordered a tap water. Still that was 36...10 OVER BUDGET. Made worse by treating StarChild to lunch out on Saturday...I get so spendy when the sun shines because I just want to be out and sociable.

    Sunday was a lot more reserved. I spent the whole day turning a jungle back into our front garden. There is not a weed in sight and the tulips have started to bloom. I'm unsure how many weekends it is going to take me to tackle our much larger back garden though.

    From the joint account this weekend I have spent 40 on groceries, 52 on new swimming costumes and training aides for StarChilds swimming club training and Mr Star purchased Some bits and pieces for the garden in Wilko (not sure on the amount as not cleared on banking app) still have 317 in joint account. This should more than cover food, fuel and new blinds.
    Progress has been made on the house renovations this weekend too. Mr Star has made an amazing start on removing the concrete render off the outside wall, it's been causing moisture build up so the hallway that we totally stripped and redecorated 4 months ago is already ruined. Lesson learned, do lots of research and don't just believe what one damp 'expert' is trying to sell you.

    I'm working from home today as it's the last day of the school holidays so the windows and doors are all open to air the house, StarChild is outside playing and between work emails i'm de-cluttering the spare room, turning it from a full time guest room to a more useful office/yoga studio/ dressing room with a sofa bed, a room we will actually use and enjoy instead of having a bed for hiding luggage under.
    I've started following a few minimalist blogs. Not spending has made me realise how little pleasure i get from 'stuff'. I managed two bin bags of clothes and shoes to charity on Saturday. We don't own many clothes anyway, we share a wardrobe and have a chest of drawers each, but there is room for improvement. I really don't need to keep the dress I wore for my first date with an ex-boyfriend. It was theraputic getting rid of an old life.

    I am starting to worry that in my panic to save an EF i'm leaving my budget a little short, next month i'm only leaving myself 60 for personal spends...and I need new running shoes (mine saw me through marathon training last year and have walked me to work almost every day for the past 6 months- 8km round trip) I also need a new swim suit, mines going see-through on the bottom and i swim 2-3 times a week. so that's the 60 for next month gone, leaving zero scope for a social life, or anything else.

    Time to fiddle with figures in my spreadsheet.

    Take care
    SM
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 17th Apr 18, 4:44 PM
    • 217 Posts
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    Starmummy
    Quick update.

    All monies for April into my account.
    Current account balance 200.55

    15.75 for last overdraft fees
    4 subscription (work thing)
    50 Emergency fund
    125 to pay off CC2.
    leaving 5.80 left of personal spending money.

    no plans for the rest of the month other than swimming (paid for with swim/gym membership), running (free) and enjoying the sunshine.

    Crazy busy at work and 7 weeks until next exam. 12 days until pay day.

    Happy thoughts
    SM
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 18th Apr 18, 4:19 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Spend what makes you happy.
    Hi Folks

    I hope we are all enjoying this glorious weather. I'm a little bit annoyed that Mr Star slept in so I couldn't wash the bed sheets before work and hang them out.
    Pub garden beckons this evening. Smoozing a client from Mr Star's work so free too

    I've been having a little think about where my 'fun money' goes and what enjoyment I REALLY get out of it.
    Things I don't really enjoy:
    *getting my hair done- trim twice a year suits me, I normally have to take Star child with me so it's far from relaxing.
    *buying new fashionable clothes. I have a habbit of buying a consolation version of what i really want because I can't afford the what I really want. I will then wear in once or twice and it will go to the charity shop. complete waste of money and I always feel guilty for spending on junk.
    * house fluff. - I love making the house homely but we have done pretty well on Gumtr33 and giveaways. I don't wish to spend 30 on nic nacs I have to dust anymore.
    *expensive cars - my car cost 1600 almost 2 years ago, I barely do 3000 miles a year and she runs like a dream. Why would I spend thousands on something that only gets used on the odd weekend? It's a second car anyway...plus it has a foldy roof so Star Child thinks i'm cool (mum points)

    Things I do enjoy:
    * HOLIDAYS- I want to travel at every opportunity. which over the past few years has meant 3-4 trips a year. these are always well planned, joint expenses...or at least will be from now on. I love soaking up culture and exploring.
    * getting a massage/pedicure- it feels so indulgent. it's total me time rather than mummy time and they are things I can't do for myself. i usually go to a country spa a couple of miles from my house 2-3 times a year. They do have great offers. BUT, I have just discovered the local college beauty school (which I walk past every day for work) does a full body massage and luxury pedicure for less than 15 each. So once I've really got into this budgeting lark I am going to account for it as a monthly treat.
    * Yoga- It is so good for my soul but classes are so expensive so I only really practice at home. My surf/yoga retreat earlier this year has reminded me how much I benefit from classes. So when the debt is gone I will budget 40 a month for weekly classes.
    * good face cream - I treated myself to a grown up 40 face cream last birthday. not only is my skin now so great that I no longer wear make-up (just mascara and eyebrow tint) but the tub lasted 6 months and Mr Star bought me a replacement for Christmas. so expensive but good value and I'm not getting any younger.
    * dinner in a nice restaurant- I love really good food and we are spoilt with reasonably priced high quality restaurants in our town and if it's just a catch up with friends we always use a voucher.
    * bucket list activities - this year I have already tackled travelling solo and learning to surf. I have a constant need to challenge myself and grow. this links in to the travel.

    So there's my focus. I'm not after things, a big house, a German car. I want to see, touch taste and smell the whole world.

    SM
    Last edited by Starmummy; 18-04-2018 at 9:58 PM.
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 19th Apr 18, 4:41 PM
    • 1,942 Posts
    • 11,919 Thanks
    redofromstart
    Good post - similar views here. Apart from Mr. Redo who would like the big shiny car and many motorcycles
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 23rd Apr 18, 4:22 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Monday has come around again.

    I can't believe it's been almost 4 months since my LBM. I've reduced my debt by 3,505.99 which is 19.5%
    I'm so chuffed with that but I am struggling a bit with the balance. I should have paid 80 more this month but I had to buy a wetsuit for some open water swimming training I'm doing. For the first time it was my money I spent, not my overdraft or the credit card. Which feels good, but I'm annoyed my over payments aren't as much.

    I still need to live and enjoy myself I suppose....and I can't expect Mr Star to live in doom and gloom, but I'm 16 months away from being debt free. Half of me wants to scrimp and scrape and get it over with, the other half thinks, I don't want to ruin my life and be a total bore for the sake of being debt free a couple of months earlier.
    I suppose I should just take each week as it comes.

    I still haven't got my new First Direct account sorted, they had issues with some of the ID stuff i sent online, pictures were too fuzzy, that's gone back and forth for the past month. When I do the switch and get my bonus I've decided to use it as my spending money for my trip in July as it isn't budgeted in my scheduled debt repayment over payments. I've only got 200 of personal spending money in my budget until i go, so I'd make it impossible to expect to find the money out of that.

    I've decided to just get my EF to 500 until the smallest CC is paid (November this year is my target) to give me a little more wiggle room in my personal spends, I have a glut of birthdays in the summer and I've found a local yoga class that I really want to do at 6 a class (24-30 a month) which is a bargain for yoga. Mr Star has assured me that he wants me to use him as an EF and that it does upset him that we don't combine finances more. I have told him that until my debts are paid and we are married I don't want to effect his financial situation (which is far far healthier than mine).

    looking at my spending tracker it shows that most of my personal spending goes on eating out, followed by sports equipment ( I run 3 times a week and swim twice- Mr Star wants me to train with him cycling too...will take some saving to afford a decent bike though), and then clothing/stuff for Star Child.
    It does make me feel guilty that I've spent an average on 35 a month on lunches and dinners out...but this is my social life, it's been to meet friends and I don't go out drinking or to sports matches or anything else so I guess it isn't too bad. I've not spent any money on clothes or make-up this year which i'm impressed with, clothing was my weakness in the past. I don't miss it and I was lucky to receive a bag of things (mostly with labels still on) from one of my sisters a couple of weeks ago.

    I'm rambling again. I guess the exciting start to this journey has passed and i'm in the boring middle bit with debts still over 10k and the light still very far away at the end of the tunnel.
    Oh well must push through by the end of next week another round of DD will have gone out and the debt will have dropped below 14k. That's something to smile about.

    Take care
    SM
    • onedaysomeday
    • By onedaysomeday 23rd Apr 18, 5:07 PM
    • 560 Posts
    • 818 Thanks
    onedaysomeday
    That's so much down in 4 months! Well done xx
    Just trying to make up for past mistakes and work towards the future I want
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 24th Apr 18, 10:06 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Thanks Onedaysomeday. It is isn't it! I should be pleased.

    Feeling more positive today (maybe it's the power dressing- blazer, shirt and chino's in the office today for a meeting). I'm trying to deal with issues as soon as they arrive so I don't dwell and upset myself.
    So by 9 am this morning, i'd managed to request a refund on a package that never arrived and emailed a ticket box office about trying to swap tickets for an event I can no longer attend. I also did 1 hour of study this morning before the rest of the house woke up and had an informal chat with my boss about some concerns in our work expectations in the coming months, turns out we are singing from the same hymn sheet so I'm feeling a bit kick a$$.

    Next on my to do list:
    *Get the runner cut to size in the hallway DONE
    *Send Mr Star a shopping list for the last top up shop for the month DONE and over spent
    *Discuss plans for our next two holidays. (winter sun and possibly skiing next February-these get paid from our joint account spends so totally separate from my debt repaying budget and personal spends)
    *Pay for my next exam (and claim back on work expenses) DONE waiting reimbursement
    *Update the DIY/renovations to do list. DONE its getting longer
    * Attend my session with my swimming coach this evening. DONE
    * Complete another 5-6 hours of study this week. sorta done...must pull my socks up with this
    *Take bag of stuff to charity shop. NOT DONE
    *catch up with laundry. DONE
    *Have a general wizz around tidy up of the house...there seems to be swim kit hanging off every radiator in the house this morning...we are all guilty. DONE


    have a wonderful day money savers.
    Take care
    SM
    Last edited by Starmummy; 01-05-2018 at 11:57 AM.
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 26th Apr 18, 10:49 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Hi folks.

    Pay day is within grasp. Budgets are on target. All is good.

    I had an exam fee to pay today of 132. I have already processed my expense claim for work to claim it back but total MSE victory for me. I had money in my accounts to pay for it. It didn't come out of my overdraft and I didn't put it on my credit card (promising to pay it off when my expenses were paid but never actually doing that). Feeling in control.
    Just 16 months more to go and I'll be free from these shackles and ready for big adventures.

    It will pass in no time right?

    Take care
    SM
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 26th Apr 18, 11:02 AM
    • 1,942 Posts
    • 11,919 Thanks
    redofromstart
    I think feeling in control is the key thing, and I'm very impressed on the expenses. Used to take me forever to do mine and I lost half the receipts, joys of being on the road all of the time and generally being disorganised.
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 27th Apr 18, 10:04 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Well what a grey day it is...but at least it's FRIYAY!

    Payday is on Mondays, don't Monday paydays make the month feel so long?

    No real plans this weekend as we are at the end of our budget. But I'm trying out a new Yoga class, Star child has youth group and Mr Star has Circuit training so a busy evening for us all.

    Weekend mornings will be taken up with Star Child's swimming as normal and the rain will put play to most out door activities. I am hoping the rain holds off just long enough for me to get a run or two done...and for me to plant my Dahlia tubers. Shall try and blitz the house and do some indoor DIY and get some studying done instead.

    Have a lovely weekend all.

    Take care
    SM
    • onedaysomeday
    • By onedaysomeday 27th Apr 18, 10:06 AM
    • 560 Posts
    • 818 Thanks
    onedaysomeday
    Monday paydays are rubbish - at my old job if we were due to get paid on a Monday it'd be in the bank the Saturday before. I do miss that!
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 27th Apr 18, 4:02 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    oh Boo!

    i just received my payslip for April...the total effect of the increase in personal allowance along with the increase in pension contribution (my work only does the govt recommended minimum split Employee 3%/Employer 2%) means that my take home pay has reduced by 39 from last month! I knew it would go down but I hadn't thought it would go down quite so much.

    Shall have to rejig the budgets...AGAIN!

    Oh well at least i'll see that extra money again...eventually (and it will have accrued some healthy compound interest by retirement in 39 years (hopefully))
    Total debt at LBM c.19k
    debt consolidated 16/8/18 12,618.12/12,618.12 Total savings 450
    • onedaysomeday
    • By onedaysomeday 27th Apr 18, 4:14 PM
    • 560 Posts
    • 818 Thanks
    onedaysomeday
    My contribution goes from 3% upto 5% (although not until October according to my paperwork) and I'll lose about the same each month too. I say 'lose' as it's hard to always think long term/ big picture
    Just trying to make up for past mistakes and work towards the future I want
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 27th Apr 18, 4:52 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    In other news the new element for the oven has arrived.

    I tell you having the oven and Mr Star's car die in the space of a month has been annoying. The oven was off Gumtr33 anyway (no point buying new when the kitchen is being extended soon). So Mr Star can fix that and I don't have to be quite so imaginative with how to cook dinner without an oven (especially given that I couldn't deviate from the food plans i'd already made because the joint account is depleted)
    Mr Star hasn't replaced his car yet either. He can take my car to work as i walk to work anyway.

    So pleased with myself for not self-sabotaging and spending money I don't have to cheer myself up.

    Can not wait for the 1st May! my minimum payments on the debts going out will mean that i'll have paid off 4k! in under 5 months. gone forever!

    Right! i promise that's the last post for today.

    Take care
    SM
    Total debt at LBM c.19k
    debt consolidated 16/8/18 12,618.12/12,618.12 Total savings 450
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 1st May 18, 10:00 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Pinch! Punch! First of the month
    Happy 1st May Lovelies

    A brand new month can only mean one thing....time for the scores on the doors

    Loan 1 7,719.81 / 6,249.37
    Loan 2 2,362.27 /
    1,864.95

    C Card 1 2,905.66 / 0 (paid off with balance transfer
    C Card 2 3,681.65 / 1,682.88 (1500 of this was a balance transfer)
    C Card 3 0 / 4,534.00 (this is the )% card that BT were done to
    Overdraft 1,000 / 0

    DEBT AT 1ST JAN 2018 = 17,937.19 (incl interest accrued before BT and BT fees)
    DEBT AT 1st MAY 2018 = 14,331.20

    That's 3605.99 or 20.1% payed off and gone forever in 4 months!
    Total debt at LBM c.19k
    debt consolidated 16/8/18 12,618.12/12,618.12 Total savings 450
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 1st May 18, 10:26 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Targets for MAY
    So progress is good and I'm feeling optimistic.

    Minimum debt repayments for MAY total 716.94 which should bring total debt down to 13,614.26 (24.1 % paid...almost 1/4 of the way through)

    I am holding out for some overdue child maintenance from Star Child's Dad which I have been promised next week. I'm hoping to split this between Debt payments and spending money for a weekend away I have coming up. This could bring Debt payments up to over 900 but I shan't bank on it.

    Must sit down with Mr Star at some point this week and try and make him understand that this boring debt repaying is pretty short term (projected DFD Sep 2019) and he just needs to bear with me. I think he feels like I am spoiling all the fun and becoming a bit of a bore at the moment. However , the joint account budget does allow for weekends away and meals out I just need to be careful with my money a bit. He did overspend in the Joint account this weekend because he doesn't monitor it ( we shall ignore the fact that I told him we only had 14.30 in there until our standing orders went out today). However, I am taking it as a massive MSE win...because I could transfer 50 out of my EF to cover it. That's right folks! Star Mummy has savings old me would have just had to suck up the penalty.

    No real expected spends this month, I'm going to hunker down a little bit as next month we have, school holidays, my friends UK hen do, My friends wedding and MR Star and Star Mummy's 3rd anniversary! expensive times

    I really enjoyed my new Yoga class last Friday so i'm going to make it a weekly thing 6 a week for the class which is stupidly cheap for yoga and 24 a month for a bit of fitness and social life is good value.

    Joint account spends this month:
    *replace kitchen radio (use last of 4m4zon vouchers means cost 20ish)
    *planned date night this Sunday (Star Child was desperate for a weekend with her grandparents so we thought we would make the most of it)
    *food/fuel as usual
    *summer school dresses for Starchild (may use clubcard vouchers)
    *potentially purchase curtains for dining room.
    *Starchilds annual membership fees/ insurance for swimming club
    *campsite fees for little camping trip to see friends in August

    Here's to another debt busting month
    Take care
    SM
    Total debt at LBM c.19k
    debt consolidated 16/8/18 12,618.12/12,618.12 Total savings 450
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 1st May 18, 10:51 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Woo Hoo! Summer School dresses cost us 0!!! thank you vouchers
    Total debt at LBM c.19k
    debt consolidated 16/8/18 12,618.12/12,618.12 Total savings 450
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 2nd May 18, 11:09 AM
    • 217 Posts
    • 1,000 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Little bit annoyed with myself today.

    I have a confession...I caved to a work lunch invite in a nice cafe. It cost 14.40 which is pretty much my entire weeks personal spend budget. It was enjoyed but not enough given the cost.
    Total debt at LBM c.19k
    debt consolidated 16/8/18 12,618.12/12,618.12 Total savings 450
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