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  • FIRST POST
    • AnnieG
    • By AnnieG 14th May 18, 10:55 AM
    • 503Posts
    • 3,777Thanks
    AnnieG
    A diary about debt, dilemmas and a dog
    • #1
    • 14th May 18, 10:55 AM
    A diary about debt, dilemmas and a dog 14th May 18 at 10:55 AM
    Hello anyone who might be reading

    I'm writing this to help with my decision making in relation to a dilemma.

    Here is my slightly unusual situation... I'm a 44 year old single mum, I've been in debt since the first opportunity to 'spend extra money' presented itself to me when I was 18. At the worst point my debt stood at about 42k (I'm using a foreign laptop with no pound sign, bear with me!) and currently stands at around 13,500. Nothing too unusual there, right?

    Last year, I got a new car on a PCP, managed to get myself onto the property ladder and bought a puppy... then I had what seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime and I was offered job in Vietnam. It was an amazing job with a massive salary and a full expat benefits package, I wasn't happy in my job in the UK so I thought great, let's go. So in August 2017, my 17 year old son, my puppy and I flew to Vietnam for an exiting new life and untold riches.

    Of course, life isn't like that is it? My son HATED it and before 3 weeks were out he was back in the UK living with his father. Of course, I was a wealthy expat filled with single parent guilt, having just taken my boy away from his entire life and now I was sending him back to a different part of the UK away from all his mates... so when he asked me if he could fly business class... yup, 1500 on my credit card.

    Having only recently taken out the PCP on my car, I had a choice of either letting it sit on my driveway or giving it back to the finance company along with a payment for the balance of 50% of the car's value... another 5k to pay.

    I decided not to rent my house out.. it needs to be decorated and have new carpets and having spoken to a friend who works in property it was going to cost me 1000+ to get it ready to rent, and with my son back in the UK and not wanting to pay out any more money, I decided to keep it empty.

    So, I tried to get my head down in Vietnam, just me and my best friend the dog. It was hard. It was really hard, and nothing like I had expected. I wanted to go home. I missed my friends and my family and my life, but I couldn't go home because I'd taken on an apartment with a 12 month lease... paid for by the company but with no break-clause and if I left early I'd have to pay the penalty of 3 months rent... around 7,500, and there's a clause in my contract stating that if I leave within the first year of employment I have to repay the costs incurred by the company of bringing me out to Vietnam.. flights, visas etc. The lease on my apartment runs until 7 October and I have a 3-month notice period.

    So I had no choice, I was stuck here.

    It was difficult with the dog, I found it hard to find anywhere to walk him properly and I travel quite a bit with my job so he was having to go to a dog boarding house which was more guilt for me, so in January I decided to send him back to the UK. It cost 3500 to send him home. I found somewhere for him to stay until I go back for the summer holidays and he's well looked after... but he's my dog and I want him back when I eventually go home. I miss him terribly.

    Now to the debt and dilemma. I currently owe about 13,500. I can repay about 2000 a month currently so it'll be cleared by Christmas, if I stay here. But I want to go home, I desperately want to go home. I am on a permanent emotional rollercoaster, completely torn between these scenarios:

    1. I go home at the beginning of October, with some debt left, no money in the bank and no job (at the moment although Iíve started applying for things, hoping that being in Vietnam and interviewing over Skype will work). Iím fairly confident that Iíll be able to get some work, but Iím absolutely terrified of the possibility of that not happening, not being able to pay my mortgage or other bills and ending up in massive debt again

    2. I stay in Vietnam until the end of MarchÖ the reason Iíve picked this date is that if I stay, I should stay until bonuses are paid at Christmas Ė you donít get your bonus if youíve handed in your notice at the time theyíre paid. So, Iíd need to wait for my bonus which is around 12k, then give my 3 monthsí notice. I could go home with around 30k in my pocket, no debt stress and enough money to tide me over until I get a job. I could probably grit my teeth and manage this if it werenít for the dogÖ.

    3. I save frantically between onw and October so I've got some cash, carry on making minimum payments on everything for now and worry about the debts when I get home and find a job.

    The dog
    My beautiful dog Teddy is a springer spaniel and I adore him. Heís currently living with some friends and having a lovely time, but they canít keep him until March. When he first went back to the UK he was going to live with my son and ex-husband until I cam home. However, after Teddy arrived in the UK and was in quarantine, something changed and this wasnít an option any longer so I had a week to make an alternative arrangement. At the time I thought Iíd just sort something until July when Iím back in the UK for a holiday and then I can sort something elseÖ but the something else is proving to be a little more difficult than I envisaged. October I could probably sortÖ but MarchÖ..

    I think I might have to bring him back out here, hire a dog nanny to care for him when I travel and take the costs out of my bonus. Iíd still have 25k-ish to go home with, more money than I ever thought Iíd have in the bank. ButÖ I could go round in circles all day, and in my mind, thatís exactly what I do.

    Please don't suggest rehoming the dog permanently, that's not an option I'm willing to consider at the moment.

    So, thatís my dog, and my debt, and my huge dilemma. When Iím being rational, I think just wait and see if you manage to get a job in the UK. If you have a job by the time you come back to Vietnam after the summer holidays, resign at the beginning of August and go home. If notÖ. Bring the dog back.. then I think Oh just go home, take a risk and be happy.

    Wow, an essayÖ.

    In my next installmentÖ the various scenarios Iíve got for paying the debt and attempting to get an emergency fund together.
    Watch this space!
    Say what you mean.. mean what you say... without being mean.
Page 1
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 14th May 18, 12:18 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 222 Thanks
    Starmummy
    • #2
    • 14th May 18, 12:18 PM
    • #2
    • 14th May 18, 12:18 PM
    What a story.

    First of all how very brave of you to have taken the plunge on such a fantastic oppertunity. I am so sorry it didn't work out but I honestly believe we have to take such risks to enrich our lives and grow as people.

    Do you have anyone you can talk to about the ins and out, maybe a counsellor to help you come to terms with the conflicts you are having in your head?

    I think you need to think of this in terms of what you want/need to do. Yes the money is nice but in this case (don't shoot me MSE's) it is not the important thing here. You well being and family are.

    best of luck and do keep us posted.

    take care

    SM
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (01/05/18) £14,331.20
    20.1% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • AnnieG
    • By AnnieG 14th May 18, 12:54 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 3,777 Thanks
    AnnieG
    • #3
    • 14th May 18, 12:54 PM
    • #3
    • 14th May 18, 12:54 PM
    Ah thank you Starmummy.... I was just reading your diary!
    I've spoken a little bit to my Mum, who told me to go home, and when I suggested seeing it out until March she said she didn't think I'd last that long without crashing and burning, which may be true. I then tried to talk to my Dad who told me I was selfish and instructed me to rehome Teddy. The friends I've mentioned it to have all said 'just come home, life's too short'...I think maybe finding a counsellor would be a great idea, as I've also got feelings of not wanting to fail, and wondering how I'll react emotionally if I go home and then regret it.

    Oh it's not easy is it?!

    Anyway, my debts at the moment look like this:
    Barclaycard 7500
    Overdraft 1 1500
    Overdraft 2 2700
    M & S Credit Card 1277
    Next Directory 340

    My thinking is to pay off the M&S card and Next with my May salary. In June I don't think I'll have much spare as I'm going back to the UK and have hired a campervan for a holiday plus it's my son's 18th. Then I've potentially for 2000 in July, August and September to play with... to either pay off overdrafts or save towards going home.

    I also get about 4500 severance payment for each completed year of service so would have that to take home in October if I leave then.

    But what's another 8 months between friends... and I'd have my Teddy with me.....

    Aaaaarrrrrggghhh!!
    Say what you mean.. mean what you say... without being mean.
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 14th May 18, 2:18 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 222 Thanks
    Starmummy
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 2:18 PM
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 2:18 PM
    I can't begin to imagine how torn you are.

    Do you enjoy your job at all or is it totally overshadowed with this lost feeling?
    Debt at LBM (01/01/18) £17,937.19
    current Debt (01/05/18) £14,331.20
    20.1% gone forever
    DFD 12/09/19
    • AnnieG
    • By AnnieG 14th May 18, 2:44 PM
    • 503 Posts
    • 3,777 Thanks
    AnnieG
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 2:44 PM
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 2:44 PM
    It's ok, sometimes I really enjoy it, I'm travelling around South East Asia and seeing some fantastic places. The people I work with are nice, and it's brilliant experience for my CV and my next job.
    Say what you mean.. mean what you say... without being mean.
    • kittykatneedscash
    • By kittykatneedscash 14th May 18, 4:19 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 137 Thanks
    kittykatneedscash
    • #6
    • 14th May 18, 4:19 PM
    • #6
    • 14th May 18, 4:19 PM
    I totally feel for you and the decisions you have to make. My dog Elsie is my best friend and I feel guilty every time I leave the house so I canít imagine what itís like to be in another country without your Teddy. I wish I could look after him for you. I totally understand that you wouldnít dream of rehoming him but Iím sure you will be able to find someone that would be willing to look after him if you covered his food costs etc. How does it affect him? traveling? Getting used to a new environment if you took him back over again? You must be so torn by work and how long to stay for if it was me I think it would be thinking about how long you can Ďlastí out there for. The longer you can do you will come back further on in your debt busting plan or debt free but donít let it make you miserable or effect your mental health.
    • Jox
    • By Jox 14th May 18, 4:29 PM
    • 1,287 Posts
    • 2,764 Thanks
    Jox
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 4:29 PM
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 4:29 PM
    i would say stay there, earn the money, get the bonus, enjoy the experience, skype your son, he will be having a bonding experience with his dad, don't fly him to you business class, just economy and save some money

    I'm not sure what to do about your dog sorry

    It's 9 months til March, just stick it out, make the best of it and you will have great memories for life!
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 14th May 18, 10:35 PM
    • 53,923 Posts
    • 213,361 Thanks
    beanielou
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 10:35 PM
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 10:35 PM
    I would try to stick it out until March for the money but thats just me.
    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.
    • Things To Do
    • By Things To Do 14th May 18, 11:00 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    Things To Do
    • #9
    • 14th May 18, 11:00 PM
    • #9
    • 14th May 18, 11:00 PM
    Hi AnnieG

    I know you're not on here looking for sympathy but I really really feel for you. what a truely awful dilemma!
    Just goes to show that money isn't everything.
    For what it's worth, I think it could in the long run be worth staying until March due to the position you will be in. However, I fully understand about Teddy and you have to do what's right for you.

    Do you have any family/friend that could come and stay with you (and Teddy if you brought him over) for the 9 months? And you covered the cost of their travel, didn't charge them anything to stay with you but in return they help you look after Teddy/keep you sane? I only say this because if I knew someone in a similar position, I think it's something I would be very tempted to do.

    I really wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
    Debt @ LBM £2617.72 Now £0

    Start saving Jan 2017. Total on 14.5.18 £2000
    • AnnieG
    • By AnnieG 18th May 18, 2:52 AM
    • 503 Posts
    • 3,777 Thanks
    AnnieG
    Thank you so much for your good wishes, I'm sure it'll all work itself out in the end. In the meantime, I'm going to attack this debt so that I can eventually get myself into the black and remove at least one source of worry!

    This week it's been fairly easy as I've been away on a business trip so haven't really had to spend any money. I had to pay for one of the hotels and a taxi, but I can claim that back on expenses. My trip was Thailand for 2 nights and then KL for one night and annoyingly I needed cash with me and the smallest amount I could get from the ATM in Bangkok was about £100, so I had to withdraw that, then on Wednesday I changed the money I had left into Malaysian Ringgit, and now I need to change those back to the Vietnamese currency, I dread to think how much I've lost in the whole currency change process x3, it wasn't a very efficient way of managing my money but the taxis here don't take cards and I was worried about being stranded.

    So it's about a week until payday; they don't have consistent pay dates here, it's just 'sometime before the end of the month'. I've got about £120 to last me and all I need is groceries, so I'll be fine. I try and shop in the local supermarket but I'm vegetarian and I find it quite tricky so sometimes indulge at the posh supermarket aimed at Western expats. I must try and minimize my spending there, it's so easy to fall into the mindset of 'I'm away from home/miserable/can't cope with the local food' and spend a small fortune there, so will make a conscious effort this week to restrict my spending to the local shop.

    Right, I must do my expense claim. Have a happy day!
    Last edited by AnnieG; 18-05-2018 at 2:55 AM.
    Say what you mean.. mean what you say... without being mean.
    • AnnieG
    • By AnnieG 19th May 18, 5:11 AM
    • 503 Posts
    • 3,777 Thanks
    AnnieG
    So yesterday I went to the local supermarket.. I hate it there, it stinks! I managed to grin and bear it though and spent about 16 quid on salad, cheese and diet coke.

    I also swapped my Malaysian money for Vietnamese money with a colleague and probably got a better deal than I would have by using an exchange place, so that was a win.

    No further on with the dog dilemma, but I'm trying not to think about it at the moment... if I find a job at home I'll go back, if I don't, I think the pup will have to come here. I have a couple of applications in so fingers crossed something will come of them.

    I have a quiet weekend planned which shouldn't involve too much spending, I've got stuff in for dinner, I need to get water and some more fruit but that shouldn't cost much. My landlord also owes me about 200 quid, he was meant to transfer it on Monday but hasn't. It's quite tricky to negotiate when people don't speak very good English, so I have no idea when I'll receive that money.

    I just checked how much the camper van hire is for my UK holiday in July, I had 1000 in my mind but on looking again it's only 650 and I've paid a 200 deposit, so I might be able to take a couple of hundred off my credit card balance in July after all!
    Say what you mean.. mean what you say... without being mean.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 19th May 18, 8:20 AM
    • 20,140 Posts
    • 33,324 Thanks
    Spendless
    If son is about to turn 18, would it be an option for him to move back home and keep the dog with him until you return?
    • AnnieG
    • By AnnieG 19th May 18, 8:36 AM
    • 503 Posts
    • 3,777 Thanks
    AnnieG
    Sadly not, heís waiting for a start date for the RAF and is loved up with his girlfriend in Essex, I donít think Iíd be able to persuade him to move back to Cardiff even if he wasnít joining the RAF
    Say what you mean.. mean what you say... without being mean.
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