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  • FIRST POST
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 19th Jul 18, 7:24 AM
    • 26Posts
    • 65Thanks
    seahorsey
    Debt Free by 40 - let the countdown begin!!!!
    • #1
    • 19th Jul 18, 7:24 AM
    Debt Free by 40 - let the countdown begin!!!! 19th Jul 18 at 7:24 AM
    Hello MSE

    So after the realisation I feel like a passenger in my own life, I've decided it's time to get a grip and start putting plans in place and into action. I've got a big birthday coming up in just over 2.5 years so thought it'd be the perfect time frame to work within.

    So why am I here? Since my uni days (nearly 20 years ago ) I've been in and out of my overdraft. This over the last 5-6 years has also been joined by the dreaded credit cards and catalogue / store card accounts. We had a series of unexpected spends (£4K plus in vets bills that insurance wouldn't cover, £2.5k car bills and then subsequent purchase of new car and plugging the maternity pay shortfall). I've been going round the merry go round of trying to pay them off for the last 6 years but never getting anyway. Any progress gets wiped out by the next emergency. Time for a change in tactics I think. Upto now it's been a case of chuck every penny at it and hope for the best. We've never had savings and I now believe this is the root cause of our problems.

    So initial plan of action.......
    1. £1k in savings by year end, whilst making at least minimum payments towards the debts...

    A side from the finances, I will use this diary as a bit of a life journal. I'm also wanting to lose weight (approx 2 stone), improve my fitness and mental well being, so will document the steps I'm taking towards this along the way.

    Here's to the next 32 months
Page 2
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 1st Aug 18, 5:34 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Soooo, after the small victories reported yesterday, a couple of small blows.

    One of the woofs needed to see the vet- without being too graphic, he'd left me a mess and there was a considerable amount of blood in it. Cue panic stations from me. Fortunately, our lovely vet had an appointment free, gave him a good going over and thinks it a touch of colitis which should clear up with a change of diet and a short course of anti biotics. Also got prescribed some meds for a potential pollen allergy as I mention he seems to be constantly licking and chewing his paws at the minute. Fingers crossed both kick in and make him more comfortable. Also paid for the ponies monthly meds whilst I was there (£16) so parted with £86 in total which was largely unplanned. I don't begrudge it though as it's well worth it to make my fur babies more comfortable.

    So knock on effect is that I've had to dip into my newly formed savings pot ( didn't last long did it!). I'm setting myself the target of replacing it by the end of the month - let's see how that goes.....

    Have a good day x
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 3rd Aug 18, 5:22 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Morning all,
    Been AWOL for a couple of days...wish I could saying missing in action, but the only action taking place is the complete draining of my bank account Being more aware of my finances has been a big eye opener. I've been all too quick to pin the blame for my debt on big mishaps and emergencies - but the fact there not paid off yet is as much down to the everyday overspend....... For example, my acccount balance and available balance were £70 difference this morning when I checked this morning. Went back through my spends yesterday and to my horror it was all accounted for, £15 window cleaner, £5 pets at home for new food for woof to try, £12 B&M on toiletries and cleaning stuff, £13 boots on the bits I couldn't get from B&M, £8 McDonalds treat for DS, £6 sainsburys Ouch!!! I have a monthly spreadsheet that details all the DDs, food budget, fuel etc but these fall largely outside of that. I'm wondering if it'd be worthwhile having a budget for housekeeping / DS activity budget in there too, to help provide a more accurate picture of what's available for debt repayment.

    I've had our RAC renewal through, will have a shop round for the best deal via quidco & topcashback.

    Little man is awake so best dash - be back soon x
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 3rd Aug 18, 9:51 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Been a productive day eBay- wise, which has seen the savings / emergency fund grow to £62 out of £200 target. Over a quarter of the way there with 27 days left til payday. Whilst it's 27 days to make additional money, I'm also very conscious that's 27 days for things to go wrong! Fingers crossed for a quiet, boring, non eventful 3 weeks
    • GlendaSugarbean
    • By GlendaSugarbean 4th Aug 18, 8:46 AM
    • 203 Posts
    • 1,325 Thanks
    GlendaSugarbean
    On the budget, I follow the YNAB principle of giving every pound a job. So if I spend money on it, I budget for it. You could either increase your grocery budget to include pet stuff and toiletries, or set up another pot/envelope for sundries. Do you track all your spends? I need to set YNAB4 up again as it fell over, but I'm currently using Goodbudget on my phone - it's not as user friendly but it is free!
    • pidge04
    • By pidge04 4th Aug 18, 9:19 AM
    • 478 Posts
    • 1,294 Thanks
    pidge04
    You are doing really well.

    Good news about your eBay sales!

    Those flat days are hard. You!!!8217;re absolutely right ... one small step/victory at a time. Those seemingly small things impact the most.

    I do find those £6 here, £8 there spends add up. They do not seem a lot at the time but I was shocked how much they add up. I was adding them up at the end of the month and regretted that that money could have gone to reducing my debt.

    Onwards and upwards!
    CC1 £2400/£422 CC2 £3000/£2269 CC3 £600/£233 LOAN £13,000/£5235
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 6th Aug 18, 5:31 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Thanks both.

    Glendasugarbean - I've had a look at Goodbudget over the weekend and started setting it up, but ran out of envelopes!!! Don't really want to pay for it at this stage. Any idea where I'm likely to be going wrong or any tips?

    Couple more small eBay sales over the weekend. Been more spendy than I hoped - largely due to the horrific food shop. I must must must get this under control!!!!!

    Not really a huge amount to report - still 24 long days until payday

    Aims for this week...
    1. Meal plan
    2. Write EVERYTHING down in the spending diary
    3. 30 mins house blitz daily
    4. Run 25km
    • zcrat41
    • By zcrat41 6th Aug 18, 5:51 AM
    • 1,501 Posts
    • 4,133 Thanks
    zcrat41
    Hi seahorsey. I budget for the following categories in ynab:
    Kids expenses
    Kids holiday expenses
    School clothes
    Normal clothes.

    I would highly recommend ynab. They do a months free trial I think.
    Aim: To o/p the mortgage by £131 pm.
    07/18: £254. Smashed it!
    08/18: £219.31 Smashed it again!
    09/18: £131 Acheived challenge
    10/18 £Target £131 plus £50 into savings
    • GlendaSugarbean
    • By GlendaSugarbean 7th Aug 18, 6:42 AM
    • 203 Posts
    • 1,325 Thanks
    GlendaSugarbean
    Goodbudget is irritating in that sense! I have to collate some categories - so all insurance premiums/monthly subs/utility bills come out of one pot, groceries and household good another, one for personal spending etc. It's not as flexible as YNAB but it is free, so.
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 10th Aug 18, 6:08 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Thank you for the budgeting app advice - need to sit and spend some time exploring them. Briefly tried YNAB before but didn't really get to grips with it. I have my trusty old excel sheet but would be good to have something I can use a bit more in real time.

    The emergency pot is at £137.54 / £200 - getting there nicely. Just need to keep focussed on all spending areas to ensure it's still there come the end of the month.

    At the moment I've got 3 'project' balls to keep juggling - paying of debts, getting on top of housework and my fitness. At the moment I'm struggling to keep all 3 in the air! Very limited free time means that I tend to go in cycles where each one seems to get priority for the week while the other two get dropped. Really need to work them into my daily routine until they become second nature. Any tips wise people of MSE???

    Right, best get going - will check in soon x
    • GlendaSugarbean
    • By GlendaSugarbean 10th Aug 18, 6:43 AM
    • 203 Posts
    • 1,325 Thanks
    GlendaSugarbean
    Another option: I've started using Monzo for my personal and grocery spending. You can set goals and spending pots on the app and it automatically assigns your payments and lets you know how you are doing. I'm keeping my main current a/c for bills as that has an agreed overdraft (not used at the mo) and is linked with my savings accounts and mortgage.
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 30th Aug 18, 2:04 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    So payday at last. After what looked almost like a promising month in terms of progress, it swiftly went down hill. Probably the most worrying part of it all is I don't know exactly where. Yes there was an unplanned garage and vet visit (and a ridiculous amount spent on specialist dog food) but they shouldn't have really been catostrophic. The truth is we're no further forward this month to last.

    I think one issue has been last month was almost 5 weeks long, meaning an extra week of food shopping, fuel and direct debit payments. I've never really taken this into account, but obviously in not doing so I'm creating a financial headache for the final week of the month.

    This morning I've been and done an Aldi and home bargains shop which will hopefully mean the main food shop is slightly less painful in coming weeks. Yes it's cost me a couple of hours, but when you consider how much it's saved us it's a no-brainer.

    Aims for this month:

    1. Write EVERY spend down not matter how small. This will help me to see exactly where our money is going and hopefully to budget more effectively.
    2. Meal plan in an effort to reduce food bills (and waste).
    3. £250 in savings by month end.
    4. Do a carboot sale.
    5. eBay eBay eBay
    6. Reduce debt. Not putting a figure on this, will just be happy with reducing it until Christmas is out the way (and I've put away £1k - aim by year end).

    Feel more positive about it all already just by waffling on! It's helped focus the mind - let's get this nailed!!!
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 31st Aug 18, 6:25 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Yesterday's positive steps......

    1. Logged back into MSE
    2. Negotiated better deal on breakdown cover
    3. Cancelled dog insurance
    Total saving approx £300 per year

    Extra day off with the little one today. Unfortunately he's a bit under the weather so we won't be doing anything to exciting. Quick trip into town for nappies and then home for a quiet afternoon.

    Really need to get ebaying and clearing stuff out. Need to raise £300 for OH cars service and MOT. All extra pennies will go towards the list of bills between now and the end of the year. It'd be great to pay them off with extra income rather than juggling - we'll see how it goes x
    • pidge04
    • By pidge04 31st Aug 18, 6:36 AM
    • 478 Posts
    • 1,294 Thanks
    pidge04
    Yesterday I did spreadsheets for the next 6 months so I could see my predicted incomings and outgoings for each month. Would that be helpful for you in terms of budgeting for the 5 week months?
    CC1 £2400/£422 CC2 £3000/£2269 CC3 £600/£233 LOAN £13,000/£5235
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 31st Aug 18, 2:11 PM
    • 7,189 Posts
    • 15,626 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    I think Pidge has a good idea in that doing an annual spreadsheet recording highs and lows would be useful in terms of annual bills and to pinpoint the longer months in terms of paydates etc. We do that for car mot and service/insurance dates and you might find it useful to put down animal costs like vaccinations etc. From the sound of it though you need to save more as well as bring the debt down. Tricky to get the balance right to start with but your pet costs and having 2 cars will impact considerably on your budget.

    Knocking impulse buying on the head will also help. Taking the time to think about if you really need something before buying and researching the cheapest way of buying it has really stopped me first of all cluttering up our house and has saved a fortune as often after thinking about it for a day or so I have decided I already have something which does the same job.
    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
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 4th Sep 18, 5:38 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Thanks pidge and enthusiasticsaver. The spreadsheet is something I definately need to do. At the minute I have a monthly one to track ins and outs but I'm keep getting caught out by longer months etc.

    Hopefully, this weekend I have my OH onboard to do a car boot sale!!! The fact that he actually suggested it is a massive achievement in itself! So hopefully we can declutter a few bits and make some £££ at the same time. This week will mainly be spent getting ready for it. Checked the weather forecast and all looks good

    Sold a bundle of DS outgrown clothes on fb yesterday and an eBay item, so £16 in total. Would like to raise at least £200 this month towards the MOT & service, so £16 / £200 so far...

    The spending diary is proving to be an eye opener - for example a post pay day trip into town for nappies, petfood and household stuff (homebargains) for the month ended up costing £55 nothing extravagant but its stuff that doesn't really fit the current budget if that makes sense. I guess in theory the it should come out of the food shop budget. Looking forward to going back through it all at the end of the month and using it to set a realistic budgeting system for us.

    My countdown to Christmas has officially started too I love Christmas but it does stress me out Having a toddler that's fully aware of it now is also going to make it interesting as all pressies will need to be bought and wrapped without him knowing. Definitely need to be more organised this year. Need to make a list of pressies left to buy and my task for this week is to get a list of Christmassy activities and cheap trips so that I can start putting money aside now to cover them. The majority of shopping is already done, just immediate family left to sort.

    Have a great day x
    • GlendaSugarbean
    • By GlendaSugarbean 4th Sep 18, 8:54 AM
    • 203 Posts
    • 1,325 Thanks
    GlendaSugarbean
    August was an expensive month for us too. I love autumn as it always feels like a fresh start. Once you have a month or two of tracked expenses you'll have a much better idea of what your budget will look like. Remember to be realistic about savings, especially with Xmas looming
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 6th Sep 18, 3:50 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    I'm exactly the same with regards to Autumn. Love this time of year! Love the feeling of closing the curtains, shutting the world out and getting cosy in your own four walls.

    Had a couple more eBay and fb sales, so currently sitting at £40.32 / £200. I've listed aload more stuff to so hopefully some more will sell.

    The spending diary is going well in the sense that I'm writing everything down. Already I'm beginning to identify my key weaknesses. Drinks and snacks on the go is a big one. Since payday (1 week ago today!) I've spent nearly £18 on drinks and snacks either at work or on the go. This doesn't include meals I am going to start taking my water bottle everywhere! Thats an absolutely ridiculous amount. Aim for next week is to drive this down to less than £5.

    I
    • seahorsey
    • By seahorsey 6th Sep 18, 3:58 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    seahorsey
    Yay - another eBay sale! £49.32 / £200. A quarter of the way through the month and a quarter of the way to target
    • DebtFreeDreams
    • By DebtFreeDreams 7th Sep 18, 3:53 PM
    • 56 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    DebtFreeDreams
    Hi Seahorsey, I've been buying myself and the kids nice drinks and snacks in bulk and then I take them with me. I always take my water bottle out to avoid buying bottled water but sometimes water just isn't good enough. Just throwing a suggestion out there for you. Could be an option to avoid spending money on drinks and snacks.
    3/9/18 Total Debt: £10,381.41
    7/9/21 Debt Free Goal
    • Willing2Learn
    • By Willing2Learn 7th Sep 18, 4:10 PM
    • 1,599 Posts
    • 1,212 Thanks
    Willing2Learn
    The spending diary is going well in the sense that I'm writing everything down. Already I'm beginning to identify my key weaknesses. Drinks and snacks on the go is a big one. Since payday (1 week ago today!) I've spent nearly £18 on drinks and snacks either at work or on the go. This doesn't include meals I am going to start taking my water bottle everywhere! Thats an absolutely ridiculous amount. Aim for next week is to drive this down to less than £5.
    Originally posted by seahorsey
    I'm another one who is guilty of overspending on snacks and lattes. A spending diary sure helps to identify those weaknesses. Well done on setting a new weekly target!
    I work within the voluntary sector, supporting vulnerable people to rebuild their lives.

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