Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    • JonW1984
    • By JonW1984 22nd Jun 18, 10:58 AM
    • 29Posts
    • 132Thanks
    Start of my journey
    • #1
    • 22nd Jun 18, 10:58 AM
    Start of my journey 22nd Jun 18 at 10:58 AM
    Hi all and thanks for reading. Sorry it's quite a long first post!

    I find it inspiring to read the debt diaries that others put up and I thought I would do one to try and stay on track.

    I have struggled with debt for most of the last decade. After leaving uni I did some travelling and built up a 1,500.00 overdraft. At the time it was 0% and I was still living with my parents so I cleared that debt quickly and without too much effort. I then went to work for a credit card company and quickly fell into the trap of using free credit and paying the minimum amounts. Again, this didn't cause much trouble on a day to day basis and I think I naively thought that using credit cards was ok.

    I then started a post-graduate course over a 2 year period. That is where my troubles really started because I paid the 11,000 course fees using a combination of a personal loan and 0% credit cards. I was also renting privately with my girlfriend and I quickly built up an overdraft, mainly through overspending on day to day items and with trips to the pub.

    My aim all along was to enter the legal profession but I struggled to get a job in that sector. Eventually I was offered an opportunity to join a firm with a view to training as a solicitor - the only catch was that it was minimum wage!

    Nevertheless I jumped at the chance and went from a 16k job to earning around 11k. I took on extra jobs as a nightclub doorman and building site security guard. For a period of 6 months I didn't have a day off and on weekends I worked two 12 hour shifts plus 5 hour stints working in the evenings. Shattered is an understatement...

    Eventually I managed to pay off all of my debts and I had also secured a very small payrise to about 14k. At this time my girlfriend and I got married and had a daughter.

    We were fortunate enough (thanks to a 5,000 gift) to buy our own "doer-upper" home with a 95% mortgage. The house needed lots of work and I spent without checking what I could afford and soon built up an overdraft of around 2,000 although my wages remained low. I had also stopped the part time work by this point.

    Within a year or two I finally qualified as a solicitor and immediately found a new job with a payrise from 16k to 22k. I continued to spend, wrapping up my overdraft onto a credit card with repeated 0% cash transfer offers. Before long I had about 8,000 on the credit card plus a further overdraft and the minimum payments were becoming substantial.

    I took a consolidation loan to pay off the credit card and overdraft and felt much better knowing that provided I made the monthly payments I would eventually clear it all.

    But that wasn't the end!! I carried on spending recklessly and without keeping track of my budget nor even checking my bank balance! Often the only way I knew where I was up to was when my bank texted me to say that I had entered an unarranged overdraft!

    I kept extending the overdraft until about 10 weeks ago where I realised that my overdraft was up to 3,500 just before payday. I immediately decided to look for a better paid job and was offered a role with a salary of 36,000 (plus 4k car allowance) although the role involved lots of travel. I spoke to my current employers and (to my surprise) they offered a payrise to 31,000 (about 400 per month more).

    So that's where I am now. I hope that I have finally had my "lightbulb" moment. For me it was seeing that even though I was a solicitor earning good money I had nothing to show for it. I realised (and have realised it further having written this down) that over the last decade I have had a pattern of continuously running up debt before consolidating it and ignoring the problem. I am genuinely worried that if I do nothing now I will spend the rest of my 30s in debt.

    My wife has a good income and has about 13,000 in savings. I have only told her that I have about 2,000 on a credit card and I want to clear my debts as soon as I can to get out of this mess. She is careful with money and we have agreed to have a lean few months to see what we can save. My number one priority is to keep on top of my spending and prevent the overdraft getting any worse.

    So, to the planned budget. I have put down the bills / costs that I pay myself. My wife tends to pay for things like council tax, electric and gas.

    Adults - 2
    Children - 1 (4 year old)

    Monthly income

    Wages - 1,881.57

    Monthly expenditure

    Mortgage - 600.00
    Water - 41.94
    Overdraft interest - 33.65
    Loan repayments - 234.57
    Car tax - 16.62
    Car insurance - 30.94
    Phone - 8.71
    Broadband - 21.50
    Petrol - 88
    Food - 140 (circa 35.00 per week)
    Social / other - 60.00

    Total expenditure - 1275.93

    Available to repay debt - 605.64 per month


    Overdraft (as of 18/06/18 - day before payday) - 3,522.51
    Loan - 12,666.78 (54 months to run)

    My goal is to clear the overdraft entirely by 18 December 2018. That will then free up an additional 33.00 or thereabouts which I am currently paying in interest leaving me with 638.64 to pay towards debts.

    By 18 December I will have made a further 7 loan payments and the balance will be around 11,024.00.

    If I can then continue saving 638.64 over the next 12 months I will have a lump sum of 7,663.68 against a loan balance of 8,209.95. Hopefully the settlement figure on the loan will come out a bit lower in any event but we'll see.

    My debt free date is therefore hopefully going to be 01 December 2019 or 17 months. If I can simply pay off the overdraft and establish some healthy financial habits over the next 6 months though I will be overjoyed!!

    I have established a routine over the last 2 weeks of updating my budget spreadsheet every morning with details of my spends. I am also withdrawing cash only for the week and leaving the card at home. I plan to update this diary perhaps every few days, for my own motivation if nothing else.

    If anyone has any tips / comments to make please feel free to add.
Page 2
    • JonW1984
    • By JonW1984 7th Aug 18, 11:01 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Checking in to stay accountable...

    Had an expensive weekend, day at the horse races on Saturday. Had a few bets and came out 1 down overall so wasn't bad. Have overspent on a few other things though and I'd put off checking my bank for a few days. That's a major problem for me and in the past I've often been afraid to check it and then just buried my head in the sand.

    I checked it this morning though and updated my spreadsheet and it wasn't quite as bad as I feared. Importantly I've updated the figures and going to keep on it for the rest of the month. Still (roughly) on course to save around 500 this month
    18/06/18 - 16,189.29
    18/07/18 - 15,384.34
    • efes shareholder
    • By efes shareholder 7th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    • 203 Posts
    • 353 Thanks
    efes shareholder
    this was my downfall Jon for many years
    I would not open statements and close my eyes at the cashpoint as I did not want to know how much money I didn't have
    In fact because of this , when my account was hacked I didn't realise for 4 months as I hadn't looked through a statement
    I guess the saving grace was the fraudster didn't extract much as there was never much available !!
    • JonW1984
    • By JonW1984 7th Aug 18, 11:30 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    this was my downfall Jon for many years
    I would not open statements and close my eyes at the cashpoint as I did not want to know how much money I didn't have
    In fact because of this , when my account was hacked I didn't realise for 4 months as I hadn't looked through a statement
    I guess the saving grace was the fraudster didn't extract much as there was never much available !!
    Originally posted by efes shareholder
    I know exactly what you mean! It's obvious but confronting the debt head on and knowing where every penny is has got to be the golden rule. I'm determined that this will be the last time I have to dig myself out of the debt hole! Hope all going well for you, will call over and check out your diary
    18/06/18 - 16,189.29
    18/07/18 - 15,384.34
    • juliejim
    • By juliejim 7th Aug 18, 11:51 AM
    • 7,572 Posts
    • 151,547 Thanks
    Hi Jon

    Just a quick note on doing a balance transfer to a 0% CC, yes you will have to pay a BT fee but that would be covered by a couple of months of the interest you're paying on your o/d and then it will interest free.

    You're doing well with keeping an eye on your budget and spending quality family time with your DD.

    NST #10 Steps 7K 2/30 10K 2/12 5 a day 3/30 NSD 0/20
    MBNA 5500
    • UncannyScot
    • By UncannyScot 7th Aug 18, 11:58 AM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 8,682 Thanks
    Hi Jon

    You're doing grand in your debt busting and enjoying quality time with the family.

    Don't know where you are but you and DD could try wild camping (non-site) and save a fortune as well as having a grand adventurous time away.

    North o t wall there are loads of good places to camp for free. Just leave site as you found it, as if you'd never been there

    In this glorious summer myself and the pupper have had a great few days away with just a basha, a ground sheet n sleeping bag
    It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you do not know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you are going. If you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.
    R.I.P. T.P.
    • JonW1984
    • By JonW1984 13th Aug 18, 7:47 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Pay day is so close... Total spends have gone a fair bit over budget this month but we've done quite a bit of family stuff whilst the weather's been so nice. I know I'm just being impatient in wanting to clear my debt as quickly as I can but I need to remember that it took me years to get to this stage so it'll take a while to pay off. Looking forward to totting up the totals at the end of the month
    18/06/18 - 16,189.29
    18/07/18 - 15,384.34
    • JonW1984
    • By JonW1984 14th Aug 18, 1:16 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Checked my online banking last night and the settlement figure on my loan is around 10,500 as oppoosed to 12,197 which is the balance remaining over the lifetime of the loan.

    Means that my total debt is (in principle) 13,187.00 rather than 15,384.34 and the settlement figure will go down with each month that passes.

    To keep things simple for the time being I'm just going to work off the current loan balance and once I clear the overdraft I can then work towards saving up a lump sum equivalent to the settlement figure.

    As my overdraft is currently standing at 2,687 it means that by the time I pay it off (hopefully Christmas) the loan settlement figure will hopefully be below 10,000 as I'll have made a further 5 repayments of 234 (1172.85 total).

    Can't wait to get my debt down into 4 figures rather than 5!!

    Still feeling a bit down about this last month. I've definitely over indulged with alcohol and have decided to quit completely for the next 4 weeks. I have a blood test on 14 Sept so that will be a good goal to aim for.

    Also not been doing so many surveys so I spent an hour last night catching up on all the invites I'd had. It's so frustrating as you often get routed out of the survey after a few minutes but it's worth it when you build up an additional 20-30 of "free" money.

    Resolving to be on best behaviour between now and 18 September!!
    18/06/18 - 16,189.29
    18/07/18 - 15,384.34
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

110Posts Today

1,371Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Ta ta... for now. This August, as I try and do every few yrs, I'm lucky enough to be taking a sabbatical. No work,?

  • RT @lethalbrignull: @MartinSLewis I've been sitting here for a good while trying to decide my answer to this, feeling grateful for living i?

  • Early days but currently it's exactly 50 50 in liberality v democracy, with younger people more liberal, older more?

  • Follow Martin