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  • FIRST POST
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 21st Jan 19, 2:21 PM
    • 49Posts
    • 169Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Learning to live within my means
    • #1
    • 21st Jan 19, 2:21 PM
    Learning to live within my means 21st Jan 19 at 2:21 PM
    So Iím a long term lurker who used to read the site regularly but dropped off in recent years ...which was incidentally also when my debt spiralled out of control. Funny that!

    I had LBM and started seriously looking at this last month, when I had £23,167 in total debt over 4 credit cards, built up in only 6 years (which is terrifying). Over January thatís reduced down to 22,551, partly due to overpaying and partly from some online shopping returns. Due to a recent pay rise I have money to put toward repayments now instead of just paying the minimum.

    I feel ridiculous being in so much debt as I have a decent job and no real reason for the spending other than trying to shop my way out of anxiety and upset over a breakup, and feeling like I need to keep up with the sharply dressed & frequently holidaying city people I work with. So I really need to change that and stop spending. Iíve done quite well the past couple of months by not putting Christmas on cards, and in not buying stuff I would have done and putting the spend to overpay cards instead, but still not perfect (see above online shopping returns!), I think the real challenge is to be consistent and long term with it which is where Iím hoping the diary will come in.

    On debts, Iím spending 666 per month (honest coincidence it ended up at that figure!) of which about 2/3 goes to interest:
    Card 1: £8917, 25.2% interest - paying £326/m
    Card 2: £5796, 20.9% interest - paying £152/m (minimum)
    Card 3: £4499. £3725 of this is on a long term 6.9% rate, the rest is on 17.7%. Paying £90/m, £20 over the minimum.
    Card 4: £3339. Balance is £76 purchases at 22.2%, £1121.08 4.94% rate to mid 2020, £2142 0% which expires in April and will revert to 22.2%. Currently paying £100/m, £60 over minimum - though minimum will jump up after April.
    Total 22551
Page 3
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 17th Mar 19, 9:04 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Still on track budget-wise. Have a last-minute engagement party a couple of days before payday which has necessitated some shuffling about, but should make it on budget if Iím sensible and donít get dragged into buying rounds.

    Iíve started thinking about enthusiastically and then stopped myself from buying:
    • Holiday (email alerts have a lot to answer for! Special offer on place Iíd love to go to)
    • Dresses in the sale (have realised mindlessly browsing online stores when Iím really tired has a lot to answer for)
    • Orthopaedic shoes (will possibly need these at some point in the future, and found a site making ones that actually look like something Iíd normally buy. Donít need them yet though!)
    • Plants (I think itís safe to say plants will always be on this list, and I already have enough)

    Though I have bought a new pair of gym leggings, some underwear, a watch strap after mine broke, and a jacket on the bay which is a bigger size of one I have and love but which doesnít fit any more. Still feels like too many purchases - will be getting to 4 months in a row of not adding to debt and having it decrease, which is a win, but thereís still a way to go to get a handle on spending.

    Iíve been looking at buildings and contents insurance - Iíve been ok at switching and getting other bills down over the years but have always left that one as I always felt totally out of my depth when getting a quote on the buildings side. Anyway, did some quotes last night and I can cut my current bill in half at least. Will use the savings for a pot to pay next yearís in full - embarrassingly, I didnít realise you pay more to pay monthly.

    Iíve also been doing some surveys which I was hoping would pay for my kindle books habit, though I think itís now more likely to go toward new hoover bags.

    Happy Sunday everyone!
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 2nd Apr 19, 7:00 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Well, I have now gone 3 pay periods without adding to debt - a first since I started racking it up!

    Total hasnít gone down as much as Iíd have liked in that time, but home repairs have started and all spare cash is going to that. Will update totals once the credit card DD comes off, but will pay down about £500 this month.

    Not having so much trouble with spending near misses at the moment - though possibly only because all my dreaming of spending money I donít have is going on fantasy holiday planning. Iím such a planner that I donít impulse book holidays, I like to do loads of research first...hopefully that means more opportunities to stop and talk sense into myself whenever I start to daydream. I have a trip to family planned this year but otherwise there is NO budget for holiday. Once home stops being quite so chaotic and the repairs are sorted Iíll hopefully stop feeling such an urge to get away anyway (fingers crossed!)
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 5th Apr 19, 1:16 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Current total is £21653, and will be £21453 in a couple of weeks...which I think is about 7% paid off? If I think too hard about percentages I get confused. I keep on looking at houses with decent gardens which in theory if I didnít have debt I could currently afford on a 4 day a week salary. Letís hope that is still the case in a few years.

    Iím other news, the uselessness of credit scores has been drummed into me - in just a month mine has gone from a high Ďfairí to Ďexcellentí almost at the very top of the range, despite having pretty much the same level of debt and debt to income ratio Presumably itís because most of my card debt has gone to a loan and Iíve closed accounts, but I know any half decent underwriter would see me as at huge risk of running up loads more debt right now so Iím not kidding myself it means anything.

    Other than that, still living by YNAB, still on track budget-wise, have sold 20+ things on eBay with only a few hanging round now having been relisted a few times. Over Easter Iím planning to dig out summer clothes and see what I can list from there. Looking forward to a nice restful weekend with lots and lots of kitty cuddles!
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 14th Apr 19, 10:08 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Not much to report this week... plodding along quite nicely with things. Feel a bit like Bridget Jones in the second book with her hole in the wall, the flat repairs are taking so long, but thatís the cost of doing it in a moneysaving way and it will be worth it when done.

    Iíve spent quite a bit at the vet this week but it was covered by the vet pot and Iíll get some back from insurance. Will hopefully be getting a pay rise soon, donít know how much yet but Iíve been playing around with some options. Itís so tempting to put it all to debt and see the total go down faster but looking at my budget I think it actually needs to go to pots to fund irregular bills, one off expenses etc, so I can properly break the debt cycle.

    Iím quietly pleased with how my mindset is changing, I know itís early days and could still all go wrong but Iíve stopped shopping and stopped spending lazy days scrolling through online shopping sites. Iím hopeful I can really internalise that I have enough.
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 16th Apr 19, 8:10 AM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Well, pride comes before a fall, and thinking Iíve got my mindset all sorted comes the day before I decide I need ALL THE DRESSES.

    Have resisted so far. Apart from anything, if I could only lose the half stone thatís crept on over the past year Iíd fit into a lot of the clothes I already have
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • Igamogam
    • By Igamogam 16th Apr 19, 12:00 PM
    • 5,799 Posts
    • 47,849 Thanks
    Igamogam
    Well, pride comes before a fall, and thinking Iíve got my mindset all sorted comes the day before I decide I need ALL THE DRESSES.

    Have resisted so far. Apart from anything, if I could only lose the half stone thatís crept on over the past year Iíd fit into a lot of the clothes I already have
    Originally posted by astrocytic kitten
    My challenge for myself this year is to not buy any clothes - underwear an exceptions I have plenty to wear now and plenty to wear as I lose weight............I have had to cave and buy myself a new swimming costume as I have lost so much weight it now hangs on me and is becoming indecent when doing a HIIT class in the pool! Going to sort through clothes soon and get rid of bigger stuff.........that is a scary thought!
    Be the change you want to see -with apologies to Gandhi
    In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn
    'On the internet no one knows you are a cat'
    • in need of direction
    • By in need of direction 16th Apr 19, 12:19 PM
    • 5,699 Posts
    • 34,861 Thanks
    in need of direction
    i also concluded that i need new underwear. when driving slowly over speed bumps causes a wince due to lack of support, underwear needs a refresh
    Mortgage at 01.01.14 £119,481.83 today £69,283.91 target £65,000 by 05/04/19 Offset fund today £566.16 target £5,500 by 05/04/19
    Emergency fund £5,500/5.5k & £200/200 cash.
    Weight 24/02/19 14st 7lb now 13st 1lb
    determined to stop defining myself by my mistakes.
    Progress not perfection.
    • clippy_girl
    • By clippy_girl 16th Apr 19, 5:54 PM
    • 2,279 Posts
    • 8,917 Thanks
    clippy_girl
    Hello! Have enjoyed your diary well done on resisting the purchases, especially the holiday! Holidays are def my biggest downfall
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 16th Apr 19, 6:13 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Thanks both! Igamogam, my advice is to let yourself keep a handful of things you really truly love but get rid of the rest. In need of direction... youíre definitely in need of new underwear in that case!

    I wish I could commit to not buying any new clothes for a time, Iím doing much better than I used to but anxieties about new situations always come out as anxieties about what Iím wearing and I canít bear the thought of not being able to buy something new if Ďneededí. According to YNAB Iíve spent an average of £36 per month on clothes this year, which is dramatically cutting back compared to before LBM - I have no idea what I was spending but it must have been at least £100. And a fair bit of that was underwear (last year I started throwing out everything with holes in as I came across it, resulted in a hugely depleted underwear drawer!).
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 16th Apr 19, 6:30 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Thanks Clippy, I think I’ve resisted 5 holidays in the past couple of months! I seem to be cycling between thinking I need new clothes, thinking I need a holiday, or spending time trying to figure where the sweet spot is between having a garden and not having a 4 hour round trip commute each day. At least there’s no chance I can impulse buy a new house...
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 20th Apr 19, 6:04 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Another quiet week here. The part of my brain which does the irresponsible spending is still trying to convince the rest of me that I NEED new dresses (I think itís the warmer weather), but Iíve reached a so-far successful impasse with it by telling myself I need to dig out my summer clothes first and see what I have and what fits, plus sell what I can. Iím feeling so drained at the moment I think it will take me a couple of weeks to get round to that, hopefully by then the impulse will have passed.

    Iíve been spending a lot of time looking after my plants today, and a lot of time cuddling cats / daydreaming about having a garden / reading. Really need some more rest, early night tonight I think.

    Payday next week - barring disasters will come in under budget, and for the first month in probably the last decade I havenít bought ANY clothes at all!
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
    • astrocytic kitten
    • By astrocytic kitten 24th Apr 19, 5:39 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 169 Thanks
    astrocytic kitten
    Finding things tough today. Doctor told me I need to find a less stressful job or my health will continue to get worse. But I’m locked into my current salary to pay the debt, I’ve been keeping an eye out and I’d be looking at a 10-15k per year drop as a best case scenario and likely more.

    Which wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the debt I’ve built up by being stupid. As it is, I’m stuck. I need the salary to pay the debt, but I also need to spend on physios etc to keep me well enough to continue earning the salary.

    My 5 year plan has been to pay off debt, learn to drive, save up an emergency fund, move out of the city to somewhere further out on the train line with a small garden, and go part time at work. I’m wondering if I can manage all that though.
    Total debt: £21,475 (Apr 2019) / £23,167 (Dec 2018)
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