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  • FIRST POST
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 6th Mar 18, 8:09 PM
    • 161Posts
    • 697Thanks
    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 8
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 3rd Jul 18, 4:42 PM
    • 1,834 Posts
    • 11,247 Thanks
    redofromstart
    anyone had this happen?
    I'd forgotten to use it in a couple of months and I know I had almost enough points for a £20 voucher. annoyed!
    Originally posted by Starmummy
    No, try contacting them. Mine was dormant for over a year and was fine.
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 4th Jul 18, 12:15 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Future proofing and other tales
    In the spirit on being a little bit more long term with financial plans and knowing I have the support both emotionally and financially from Mr Star I have made some changes.

    1) Apply for another balance transfer CC, S4nt4nd3r looks the best option for me and the eligibility checker says I have a 90% chance. I shall transfer all of CC2 onto this to relieve the pressure of my 0% rate ending in September. Then both CC are interest free until well into 2020.
    The loans alone reduce my debt by £491 a month. I plan on paying the minimum needed to pay off the CC by the end of the 0% dates...I won't know what that is until I find out if I am approved though. This sets my DFD back a bit but as it's 0% I plan on putting into savings and earning money on my money.

    2) I've opened a LISA. I already maximise on my employer contributions to my pension and there isn't an option of increasing my contribution further. After a little research into the tax benefits I decided a LISA would be a good pension top up. At the moment I have set up a £25 DD to this but I can increase this anytime, with an aim to be paying the maximum each tax year within the next 18 months.

    3) Star Child savings. She has a child trust fund that I've not added to. I want to look into moving this to an ISA. She also has a young saver account with Halifax that I have failed to add to. I want her to have something when she turns 18 to start her financial future in an educated and supported way. My plan is to put a token £10 a month in her savings account, increasing this when I can to at least £100 pcm.


    In other news I had a call from child maintenance saying they had record that I was owed a sizeable sum (in the thousands) for between 2011 and 2014, would I like them to chase it up or would I like to write it off...I laughed and wished them the best of luck trying to get it...I shan't count on ever seeing that money though...if I do I shall pay it to Star Childs savings.

    Happy hump day folks, enjoy the sunshine and stay on the high from last nights world cup match

    take care

    SM
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 5th Jul 18, 9:46 AM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Another sunny morning folks!

    I completed the application for the S4nt4nd3r balance transfer credit card at 9.15 this morning. Received an email at 9.22 to say my application had been approved. That must be some record.

    I already hold an account with them so the card is visible on my online banking app.
    Isn't technology amazing. What's also amazing is how much my credit score must have improved for it to have been approved so quickly. Well done me. It means I'm interest free for another 2 years.
    They will do the BT as soon as I've activated the card when it arrives., then I can close my MBNA account for good. I feel so in control of my finances. It is amazing the difference 6 months can make. I mustn't let myself lose too much focus. I've set up the DD to the new account to a level that pays off the balance in the interest free period. I can throw anything extra at it at will, but I'm going to turn my focus to saving extras and earning some interest on my money.

    In other money news I need to look at cleaning my car and getting it advertised to sell. It should sell better while the weather is nice so better sooner rather than later. Plus I can stop paying tax and insurance then...Also if i don't own a car I don't have to worry about repairs (that will be Mr Stars problem when he buys himself a more practical car)
    . My EF will just be 3-6 months of Debt/DD payments now as I have no need to have to replace white goods or pay car repairs as these are/will be Mr Stars responsibility. I feel like a kept woman
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Moguline
    • By Moguline 5th Jul 18, 12:23 PM
    • 263 Posts
    • 685 Thanks
    Moguline
    Well done, that's great news! And I can attest to the fact that not having a car takes a whole layer out of what I like to call the "stress onion" that is life.

    No worrying about repairs, parking spots, MOTs, tax etc etc
    LBM: Christmas 2017 Highest debt (01/01/2018): £23,786 As of 01/07/2018: £19,887 Total reduction in 2018: -£3,899 DFD of my dreams: 31/12/2019
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 5th Jul 18, 2:43 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    I like the stress onion analogy. That was my thought on the walk to work. The less stuff I have the less I have to worry about going wrong/replacing.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • NelliePie
    • By NelliePie 5th Jul 18, 4:27 PM
    • 187 Posts
    • 426 Thanks
    NelliePie
    Hi StarMummy,

    I've just come across your diary and read the lot. I have to congratulate you on your LBM and taking the bull by the horns, you've made great progress both will the debt, your attitude towards money and (I hope you don't mind me saying) but it seems as if you've made great personal progress as well.

    I'm not currently in debt (other than mortgage) but finding the between spending to enjoy life and saving for the bigger things (we have a little one on the way) can be really difficult. It needs frequent reassessment and refreshing. Don't be put off by this though - you have the tools and knowledge (and support from your OH in a round about way) to be able to do this, live a little and still debt bust without going back to where you were. Recognising triggers such as feeling down and wanting to eat, are just as important as setting goals for the future and prioritizing what you want to get out of your mission - you seem to have a handle on both and a good plan for getting you there.

    Well done and keep going - I (and i can probably speak for many of your subscribers) look forwards to reading the rest of your diary, keeping you in check when you need it, listening to you when you need an ear, encouraging you through the hard times and celebrating you victories. You're not alone and we'll all be here to cheer with you when you make your last payment!

    NP
    Little One's due date 18/12/18
    5/5/18 I became Mrs Pie
    FTB June '17 - £144k motrgage
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 5th Jul 18, 4:57 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Hi NelliePie

    what a lovely post.

    Thank you so much for your kind words. It has definitely been a personal journey for me. I've let down an awful lot of barriers that I'd spent all my life building up. Failure is not final. It's been such an interesting journey so far.

    SM
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 9th Jul 18, 10:20 AM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Happy Monday lovelies.


    Wasn't the football fantastic this weekend?


    We had a lovely weekend in the Star household. Saturday was swimming and trips to the park (£5 spent on lunch and bought some new sunglasses for star child). Sunday was a family day at the seaside with a six mile walk along the sea front. We spent no money! It's a miracle. I packed a picnic, lots of water and a flask of coffee and a great time was had by all (even if Star child tripped over and skinned her knee- a few tears but no drama, brave girl)
    We spent about £30 on this weeks shop, it wasn't a proper shop, just topping up on fresh bits so we can use up stuff in the freezer. We will probably need to get milk, bread and fruit at some point.


    Spent some time talking with Mr Star about plans for next year and there are some very exciting adventures in the pipeline. Mustn't get carried away too much though we still need to finalise plans for Italy and Paris this year. I feel I'm really living the life I dreamed of. I feel so lucky that I'm fortunate enough to do that and still pay down the debts. It really feels like another world compared to how desperately poor I was when Star Child was a baby and I was faced with the choice of food or heat.


    I feel so grateful of how my life has changed. Dreams really do come true.


    Take care


    SM
    Last edited by Starmummy; 10-07-2018 at 9:16 AM.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 11th Jul 18, 5:46 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Hi folks.

    I hope you've had a wee, made a cup of tea and are sitting comfortably today's instalment could be a long one.
    The new BT credit card has arrived today so as soon as i activate that then they will action the balance transfer. No fee too so that's a tiny bit amazing.

    Money-wise I can feel the strains of summer starting to rear their ugly head. I really must knuckle down and work out the cost of childcare in the summer holidays. I am hoping I can beg some family members to help out and that I can also wangle some working from home days. Mr Star works away a lot in the summer so I can't count on him to share the load...her father barely turns up on the weekends when he is supposed to see her so the school holidays is a pointless consideration. On top of the childcare cost is the fact that she always seems to grow like a weed in the summer. So school uniform, swimwear and hiking shoes are needed as a bare minimum.
    Any family days out need budgeting.
    Spending money for our holidays/day trips/ family events will be needed. A quick tot up and we are into the thousands
    We also need to book the second hotel for Italy and the car hire...we have a couple of paydays though.

    On a more positive note I am so very proud of star child at the moment. I had to bring her to my swim coaching session yesterday as Mr Star had a work thing. My coach let her join the class and she kept up with us well (my class all swim long distance and open water swims, all strong swimmers, she is only 8 so I'm amazed) on the way home she saw a load of litter and she decided to pick it up and put it in the bin to help 'save the turtles'. She's become such a sweet, kind, compassionate young lady.

    Today was sports day and she came 1st in 4 of the 8 events and second in another. So an unbudgeted treat of tea and cake was had on the way home. I also spent out on new hiking shoes for her that were 70% off and some help with homework books from the works, she struggles with spelling quite a bit despite reading well and having a good grasp of language and a healthy imagination. These were joint account spends though of about £30.

    Inspired by MumblingTaffs diary I also got my running shoes on this morning for the first time in months, I managed 4k and by some miracle I didn't need an ambulance at the end of it. So I was all primed and ready for the Mum's race at sports day...alas I did not win. Our school is so competitive...one of the dad's took a tumble trying to overtake another

    Mr Star has been "bullied" into going out to watch the football with the other managers at work tonight (I think he thinks I'm daft I doubt he took much convincing) he seemed surprised when I encouraged him to go. I of course have an ulterior motive...he is even more lovely and generous after he has been sociable with his friends so I can probably look forward to some kind of nice lunch out this weekend.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 12th Jul 18, 10:34 AM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    It's so very nearly the weekend!!!

    The DD for my bigger loan came out this morning and I've shifted £45 from savings to pay off the rest of CC2 that I couldn't transfer to the new BT credit card. All CC debt is now 0% for at least 2 years which takes a lot of pressure off. As soon as the BT clears on the old card I can phone them up and close down the account completely I have never spent on this credit card and only ever used it for balance transfers but it's best to remove temptation. I have updated my signature.
    A new milestone has been achieved I've paid off over 30% of my debts in 6 1/2 months paying off over £5630.
    next month will see me enter the 11's and I should be under 10k in November.

    I've just got to keep chipping away and try to maintain a bit of focus.
    Last edited by Starmummy; 12-07-2018 at 11:07 AM.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • DrSpendLittle
    • By DrSpendLittle 12th Jul 18, 11:13 AM
    • 343 Posts
    • 1,156 Thanks
    DrSpendLittle
    Excellent progress, Star! You're doing really well!

    I had a '50% wobble' and took a couple months of intense debt slaying in Feb / March. I didn't add to the debt but I only made minimum payments those months. I felt I needed to get a good old spending session out of my system (...the result of a huooooooge wardrobe clear out and wanting to build a new capsule wardrobe comprised of good quality pieces). It definitely worked for me, since I'm now even more determined than ever to get to the finish line (... and I'm much more precious about what / when I spend on clothes which is a big and welcome step change in my clothes spending mentality). But, my point: don't be too disheartened if you lose focus and take a month or two off the intense repayments. It will all work out well in the grand scheme of things and you've already shown you can change your spending / saving behaviour. You also have some pretty cool short, medium and long term goals which are super important for successful debt slaying!

    Prosecco to celebrate 31.4%...?
    Since 1st September 2017
    CC1: £paid off/£1,253.73 | CC2: £4,124.16/£9,124.15 | CC3: £paid off/£312.34 | Car Finance: £paid off/£1,894.92| Total Debt Repayments: £7,585.15/£12,585.14 (60.27%) | LBM Debt Exposure: £13,915.17 | Outstanding Debt: £4,999.99
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 12th Jul 18, 11:55 AM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Hi Dr S.

    Thank you for the support. It really does help make this journey easier having people care and check in on me.

    No prosecco ...but it's my birthday next week (the big 3-0 eeek!) so I have a bottle of Taittinger chilling in the fridge ready

    I had a bit of a wobble about my birthday last night (might have not been helped by the footie results and a couple of gins) Mr Star was wonderful as always. He Reminded me what I've achieved and what I'm capable of and he explained me that I AM already the woman that I want to become and should be proud of myself, reminding me that 30's doesn't mean I have to grow up or be boring and I can just carry on as I am.
    I'm back to embracing it this morning.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Rachel24
    • By Rachel24 12th Jul 18, 2:04 PM
    • 164 Posts
    • 581 Thanks
    Rachel24
    I think you are doing incredible star mummy. Once you get under the 10k of debt I bet it'll feel amazing! I was 30 in Feb and I had a bit of a wobble about where I was in life. But I had an amazing time and I feel great :-)
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 13th Jul 18, 4:41 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Are we weekend ready?

    Spoke to Mr Star last night about worrying how to balance the cost of childcare over the summer. His answer...why the hell aren't I paying for it from the joint account...I do like to make things difficult for myself.
    He also asked why I was still paying the insurance and tax on my car myself given that he uses it more than me and he thinks it should come out of the joint account too.
    I'm going to sell it anyway so not much point transferring the DD details so I may just transfer money into my current account from the joint account to cover that.

    I've managed to get one of my siblings to have Star child for a week and a bit in the holidays. I have a week off work. I'm hoping to do a few working from home days too...that means only 12ish days of childcare to pay for. I've booked 3 so far.

    There's been one main struggle with getting my budget to balance since I started this journey, the child maintenance I should receive from Star Child's Dad.
    He just isn't reliable. It's never ever been paid on time and I only really started getting anything about 18 months ago (we split in March 2011). I've decided I need to just not include the agreed amount as income to my budget. If it gets paid then I can split it between her savings and putting away for big things like school trips and treats. So I need to try and adjust things by about £200 to make it balance. I'm on a fairly decent wage I can do that.

    I use childcare vouchers for term time childcare anyway so the only costs I really see that come from my budget are her swimming/youth group fees and nice clothes etc. The roof over her head and the food in her belly are all household expenses from the joint account, as are essential clothes like school uniform and pj's and shoes. Really she doesn't cost us that much and as a family we really do not need the money from my ex. I just get really angry at the principal of him not making any effort, I need to get over that because I only end up upsetting myself.

    Anyway on a positive note. I'm still in control of my finances, the sun is shining and I'm looking forward to another lovely weekend with my stars.

    Take care

    SM
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 13th Jul 18, 7:16 PM
    • 6,680 Posts
    • 14,163 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    It sounds like you have hit the jackpot with Mr Star and he sounds completely different to your ex. As you say not relying on the maintenance sounds like the way to go to avoid stress. Put it aside when received so hopefully it will be there for school trips etc. Childcare of course should be a joint expense if you and Mr Star have merged finances and good he encourages that and does not see starchild as solely your responsibility. She sounds lovely.
    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
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 16th Jul 18, 12:42 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Monday is here again folks and the sun is still shining.

    We had a wonderful weekend. Star child was incredible with her swimming and then went for a sleepover with one of her friends so Mr Star and I got some lovely adult only time, an evening in the pub, a lay in and a lazy lunch out.

    This week is set to be a busy one but a fun one.
    It's my birthday week so family dinner out, work lunch out, surprise weekend away with Mr Star and Star Child, and a trip to the salon to get my hair done for the first time this year, as well as the usual work and swimming lessons.

    Childcare for the school holiday's is almost sorted so that's a relief.
    The house is going to need some attention this week it's incredible how quickly it gets cluttered when you take your eyes off the ball...and that's with only one child.

    I also need to pick up some Euros this week before my trip at the end of the month.

    Food budget is looking respectable, only £150 spent so far and only a small top up needed this week. I think we could acheive £250 this month. that's £110 saving on last month.

    We have also booked the second accommodation for our Italy trip. A gorgeous farm stay just outside the city. This holiday would make any MSE proud. flights and hotels for the three of us first week of September under £800. It works out as £265 each. We still need to book hire car and we will need spending money but both places have kitchens so food spends should be little more than what we would spend at home.

    I did have a tearful Star Child on Friday, it was a non-uniform day and she said she felt ugly and boring and baby-ish compared to her friends and she just wants to fit in. It breaks my heart, she really is beautiful and I'm not saying that because I'm biased, regardless of looks shes smart, funny, kind, helpful, sporty, brave. I'm so proud of her I hate that she lacks confidence. I'm not sure how to handle it other than to listen. I can sympathise I remember feeling the same when I was young. My parents didn't have the money to buy nice clothes or cool trainers and everything was a hand-me-down. My confidence eventually came with age but I'm sure it will only be harder for her generation in the age of the internet.
    We spent an hour gutting her wardrobe and getting rid of anything that she hated or didn't fit. She barely has anything left. I have told her that she is 100% free to find her own style and we can buy the things she likes from now on. I'm going to scrape together £100 to get her a few bits she feels good in for summer given she can't hide in school uniform in the holidays.

    Parenting never gets easier does it? the challenge just changes.

    Take care

    SM
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 16th Jul 18, 9:52 PM
    • 1,834 Posts
    • 11,247 Thanks
    redofromstart
    Oh poor Star Child, and hard for you to hear. I totally get wanting to fit in at that age. Hope you can identify some things for her that she does like.
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 17th Jul 18, 9:40 AM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Thanks Redo.
    She can be quite sensitive, I guess that given she has no siblings to argue and bicker with whenever anyone at school says something that might be unkind she really takes it to heart. She just isn't used to any kind of conflict. Her teachers always comment on how everyone gets on with her and she is well liked in school so I'm sure there is no genuine bullying going on.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 17th Jul 18, 3:12 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 697 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Thirty, Flirty and Thriving.
    In the spirit of this weeks birthday I feel the need to write a list...oh I do love a list!
    Of all the things i want to achieve in this new decade.
    (p.s anyone who gets the title reference can be my friend )

    *Pay off my debt and maintain debt-free-ness
    *Finish my qualifications...3 exams to go.
    *Get promoted to a senior role.
    *Travel to at least 10 more countries I've never been to before. (Nepal, Vietnam, Iceland and Portugal definitely on the list)
    *Keep fit - maintain my daily walks, Monday and Tuesday swims and Friday yoga class, add in the odd run.
    *Learn to dive.
    *Take myself on another surf trip, and one with Star child when she is a bit older.
    *Make sure Star child feels the support she needs for all the exams/schooling she has to face in the next 10 years. (SATs, GCSE's, A Levels)
    *take a 'GAP_YEAR' or few months with Star child when she leaves school.
    *Save at least £40k.
    *Get my pension really working for me.
    *Move somewhere new.
    *Look after myself, sleep, meditate, eat well, exercise, try not to overthink.
    *Say 'YES' more.
    *Buy the good face cream.
    *Smile more.
    *Simplify my material possessions.
    *Be more environmentally aware.
    * Do a skydive or learn to para-glide (or both).
    *Read more. fiction, psychology, biographies, travel, read everything.
    *Do yoga teacher training.
    *Only buy nice underwear and pyjamas.
    *Finish the book I've started writing/brainstorming.
    *Get our lovely home more liveable.(Bathroom revamp, kitchen update, blinds and carpets)


    I think that should keep me pretty busy and happy.
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (02/07/18) £12,307.50
    31.4% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
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