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  • FIRST POST
    • becks818
    • By becks818 14th Apr 19, 8:47 PM
    • 8Posts
    • 23Thanks
    becks818
    Trying to avert disaster
    • #1
    • 14th Apr 19, 8:47 PM
    Trying to avert disaster 14th Apr 19 at 8:47 PM
    Hi Everyone

    My username may make you think of a work famous footballer, however that is where the comparisons end i'm afraid! I am pretty sure that the actual Becks earns enough in a day to clear all of our debt, anyway..let me get on with it.

    We are in a HUGE amount of unsecured debt. HUGE. We have more unsecured debt that anyone I have ever know or met. I know people with mortgages less than our unsecured debt. Today we sat and worked out exactly just how HUGE..... 65K. Just typing that was hard.

    We are married with 8 year old twins. We are both going to be turning 40 within the next 12-18 months and we are at a point where we HAVE to do something about our debts. I will try not to bore you, however here is a brief summary at how we arrived at this horrendous figure...

    As young twenty somethings we led a fun packed life full of holidays, weekends away, shopping trips and endless nights out. We both worked hard and earnt good money but would regularly plug the gap with credit cards, plus a car loan ( or two). Despite our spendy ways, it was generally under control and I estimate that we owed around 30K between prior to having the kids. a Large amount of debt, but nowhere near where we have ended up now.

    We needed to undergo several rounds of IVF to have our twins. As we had no savings, a large part of this was funded by loans and credit cards. Of course I don't regret this, however it did add to our debt.

    Next came the house. We had actually purchased the house some years before in 2006 for a bargain price however it needed quite a bit of work that we had been putting. It hadn't been a priority. New bathroom, kitchen, rewiring, redecoration and some work to the roof was all funded via credit. We felt it had to be sorted before out two bundles of joy arrived.

    My wife didn't work for the first 3yeasr after having the twins. This was a big strain to our finances and despite our best intentions, we often resorted to credit cards to plug the gaps again. She returned to work part time but has recently gone back on a full time basis.

    Apart from the IVF, home improvements etc we have generally made really poor decisions with money and have allowed ourselves to fall deeper and deeper into debt.

    Anyway, what's done is done and not we want to start the process of sorting it out. We know it's going to be a journey and we are not looking for a quick fix. We have LOTS of things to be grateful and I will list them below in order or priority

    We have two beautiful, happy healthy children
    We have a nice home
    We have a relatively small mortgage of 60K (house worth 200Kish)
    We not have a combined take home income of just over 5K per month
    We are no in arrears, missing payments etc
    We are both 'on the same page' regarding our financial goals.

    I will do a full SOA asap, however for now here are our 'numbers'

    Take home pay - 5.1K
    Minimum debt repayments - 1250
    Mortgage - 509
    All household bills and insurances/phones etc - 690
    Diesel for both cars - 160
    Before/after school provision - 120
    Food - 300

    Total outgoings - 3029

    48K of the debt is spread across credit cards. 22K of this is currently on 0% or low rate, The rest is across 2 loans.

    We currently pay around 400 In interest each month. We are keen to reduce this but we are not eligible for any more promotional offers at present. I think that our high credit utilisation scupper this.

    I have a long conversation with Stepchange. The guy was lovely but explained that DMP or any other formal solution would not be an option for us as we can afford the contractual payments. Not sure if I am relieved or disappointed about this??

    Not really sure what I am looking for from this forum... I think it's probably moral support and a place to vent when needed. The only thing I ask is that any comments are constructive. I am fine with tough love, but my wife is struggling a bit with the emotional impact of our current situation. I am sure she will be fine when we get into a better routine with our finances.
Page 2
    • elsien
    • By elsien 15th Apr 19, 8:41 PM
    • 18,818 Posts
    • 47,731 Thanks
    elsien
    Don't forget that emergency fund - you do need something in there to avoid hitting credit with the next unexpected expense.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • JayRitchie
    • By JayRitchie 15th Apr 19, 9:27 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    JayRitchie
    Wow - that SOA looks very tight! People will tell you you can reduce the grocery spend, but your clothing/ haircuts and incidentals look low. Unrealistic?

    When will you need to replace cars? In a multi year plan that matters.

    As you know you need to hit the credit card balances hard and fast. This will improve your chances of getting reasonable rates when you need to transfer balances on the cards at lower rates, and you are spending a fortune in interest. If you push the spare 1,500 a month at the cards you clear the balances of 4,400 in 3 months and free up some minimum payment balance to clear off the 800 balance (as its small) and then the wifes barclaycard.

    Then another few months to clear the balance of 7,000 and your whole position will look different within a year.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 15th Apr 19, 10:02 PM
    • 5,743 Posts
    • 7,085 Thanks
    theoretica
    I guess you haven't been overpaying your debts by 1500 a month? I think you might benefit from looking back at all your bank and card statements for a couple of months to see how much has really been going on different categories, so you know how much you are trying to change your spending.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • becks818
    • By becks818 15th Apr 19, 10:09 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    becks818
    Wow - that SOA looks very tight! People will tell you you can reduce the grocery spend, but your clothing/ haircuts and incidentals look low. Unrealistic?

    When will you need to replace cars? In a multi year plan that matters.

    As you know you need to hit the credit card balances hard and fast. This will improve your chances of getting reasonable rates when you need to transfer balances on the cards at lower rates, and you are spending a fortune in interest. If you push the spare 1,500 a month at the cards you clear the balances of 4,400 in 3 months and free up some minimum payment balance to clear off the 800 balance (as its small) and then the wifes barclaycard.

    Then another few months to clear the balance of 7,000 and your whole position will look different within a year.
    Originally posted by JayRitchie
    Thank you. I think the difficulty is that we have never thought about how much we were spending until fairly recently so it's difficult to know what is a 'normal' amount.

    My wife's car is relatively new so we have a good few years left in that, however mine is older and this does worry me. I drive 1000 miles per month so I need something reliable. In the past I would have just took a loan out or financed one but I need to consider how I am going to fund this without resorting to credit.
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 15th Apr 19, 10:43 PM
    • 8,373 Posts
    • 19,188 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    You need something in emergency fund. That will be the reserve fund rather than credit cards in the future. I would get rid of the aqua first. I know it is not the most expensive but it would be an easy one to get rid of quickly. Then tackle the bad credit cards.

    A spending diary is a must for you too.
    Early retired in December 2017

    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
    • JayRitchie
    • By JayRitchie 15th Apr 19, 10:58 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    JayRitchie
    Thank you. I think the difficulty is that we have never thought about how much we were spending until fairly recently so it's difficult to know what is a 'normal' amount.

    My wife's car is relatively new so we have a good few years left in that, however mine is older and this does worry me. I drive 1000 miles per month so I need something reliable. In the past I would have just took a loan out or financed one but I need to consider how I am going to fund this without resorting to credit.
    Originally posted by becks818
    Perhaps read through some of the threads and budgets on the Mortgage free wannabe forum? I think you would find more people with similar incomes and family circumstances so can check how much they spend and and what.

    Anyway, I'd go for the 'dont spend money' approach and see what happens. Thinking about travelling to a wedding. Dont. You cant afford to. Night out in a restaurant? No. You need at least a year of spending nothing apart from the essentials.
    • BabyStepper
    • By BabyStepper 16th Apr 19, 4:23 AM
    • 315 Posts
    • 1,098 Thanks
    BabyStepper
    Hi becks

    Good to meet you and well done posting your soa. You've had some good advice already on here and I just want to add something about putting the debt on your mortgage.

    The reason this is not recommended is because it doesn't address the problem. The problem is that you don't yet know how to budget and live within your means, the debt is then the symptom. Shifting debt to your mortgage means you will still have the same lifestyle and likely accrue more debt, and we may find you back here in a few years with twice the mortgage and the same unsecured debt.

    I'm a big Dave Ramsey fan and his thoughts are that there is no wage in the world that can outrun mindless spending. If you make 5million a year and spend 6 then you are not wealthy, you just have a good wage but are accruing a load of debt. If you made 5 milion and spent 4 then you'll be wealthy in no time. In many ways it's not connected to your income although you obviously need enough to cover all your expenses and a bit more.

    You have everything you need to nail this. Your income is good and you're working things out. Keep posting and be patient with yourself as you figure out your budget. It's not easy but you will get there.

    Good luck.
    May '18 21,228.07/April '19 14,380

    32.2% paid

    Getting it done

    • andydownes123
    • By andydownes123 16th Apr 19, 7:21 AM
    • 550 Posts
    • 668 Thanks
    andydownes123
    Even if you pay 2k off of your debts per month to leave you with a bit of money left over, it will still take 3-4 years to pay off. Can you use some of home equity to pay at least half?
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 16th Apr 19, 7:33 AM
    • 8,373 Posts
    • 19,188 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Even if you pay 2k off of your debts per month to leave you with a bit of money left over, it will still take 3-4 years to pay off. Can you use some of home equity to pay at least half?
    Originally posted by andydownes123
    This is not generally recognised as a good way to deal with debt. Turning unsecured debt into secured leaves people vulnerable if they lose their job or are off sick for any length of time as they have larger mortgage payments. Putting your home at risk for credit card debt is not in my opinion sensible. It also does not address the reasons for getting heavily into debt. There needs to be a change in spending habits and just transferring the debt on to the mortgage won't do that.

    If the OP keeps more or less to the soa then he will have almost an extra 18000 a year to pay the debt off which would clear the interest charging debts in one year or less. The 0% debts and low interest could be dealt with at a more leisurely pace if so needed to give the OP some breathing space but he has a high enough income to deal with this easily if he and his wife focus and impose some spending restraint.

    OP I hesitate to say you have 1500 spare to throw at the debts as I don't think you would be in this pickle just because of overspending on clothes and entertainment. That soa needs to be kept updated but in the meantime I would try and put at least an extra 1000 towards the debt each month to get rid of the high interest cards. Emergency savings also need to be addressed. You can get cheaper insurance by using comparison sites. Do you not take holidays as there is nothing in your soa for that?
    Early retired in December 2017

    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
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 16th Apr 19, 8:01 AM
    • 5,743 Posts
    • 7,085 Thanks
    theoretica
    Even if you pay 2k off of your debts per month to leave you with a bit of money left over, it will still take 3-4 years to pay off. Can you use some of home equity to pay at least half?
    Originally posted by andydownes123

    As a numerical solution it is tempting - someone with 125k mortgage probably wouldn't be advised to pay half off of it with credit cards and unsecured loans. But, as said above, the real problem is not numerical and who the debt is with - it is spending money without a plan and without keeping track of it. Once the spending is demonstrably under control for a year or so then looking at the home equity might be worthwhile, but much of the highest interest debt should be gone by then so it might not be needed.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 16th Apr 19, 10:28 AM
    • 9,181 Posts
    • 48,188 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    OK - comments in red as always.

    So here goes....

    This is our first SOA and I am sure we will need to change/update it. Yes, that's the way it normally works!

    It was actually a useful exercise as it made us really look at our spending. I should add that the entertainment and clothes budget are estimations as we have never had any restraint in these areas.

    It also highlighted that we are able to do this with a little effort and determination.

    Household Information[/b]
    Number of adults in household........... 2
    Number of children in household......... 2
    Number of cars owned.................... 2

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 3840
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 1225
    Benefits................................ 0
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 5065


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 509
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 0
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 125 If this is currently paid over 10 months then switching to 12 can help with budgeting
    Electricity............................. 66
    Gas..................................... 90 Check comparison sites to make sure you are on the best deal - then work to cut useage. Both the gas & electric are high so there should be room for savings here.
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 34
    Telephone (land line)................... 20
    Mobile phone............................ 50 How many phones? re any out of contract so can switch to SIM only plans?
    TV Licence.............................. 12 Pretty sure that this should be 12.XX" - I know that seems picky but if someone is rounding down pennies on one thing, they are likely doing it elsewhere too - and that, done over 50 or 75 spends in a month can make a big difference.
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 27
    Internet Services....................... 15
    Groceries etc. ......................... 400 You can knock this by 100 a onth easily enough
    Clothing................................ 50
    Petrol/diesel........................... 200 Read Martin's guide on the main site to driving economically.
    Road tax................................ 5
    Car Insurance........................... 82
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 50 For two cars - does this cover everything realistically? Servicing, MOT, tyres, screenwash, wiper blades...
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 120
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 24
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 25
    Contents insurance...................... 12
    Life assurance ......................... 41
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 50
    Haircuts................................ 10
    Entertainment........................... 100
    Holiday................................. 0 Really - never even a weekend away, or a "Staycation" with days out from home? Are the kids approaching an age where holidays with school will start to be offered?
    Emergency fund.......................... 0 Take any savings you make elsewhere and throw them to this pot. You need this - an homeowers with cars aim for 100 in here to start you off.
    Total monthly expenses.................. 2117



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 0 OK - so where is the money you say yiou budget for car maintenance, presents etc going?
    House value (Gross)..................... 200000
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 8000
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 208000



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 60000....(509)......1.89
    Total secured & HP debts...... 60000.....-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    loan 1.........................13000.....275.......7.9
    loan 2.........................5000......90........3.3
    CC low rate....................12000.....200.......6.9
    Aqua...........................800.......0........ .16
    Very...........................1500......105...... .0
    wife barclaycard...............5400......195.......18.9
    CC ( another bad one)..........4400......120.......20.2
    CC card ( bad one).............7000......251.......19.9
    CC 0%..........................15000.....150.......0
    Total unsecured debts..........64100.....1386......-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 5,065
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 2,117
    Available for debt repayments........... 2,948
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 1,386
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 1,562 Smashing - now you know you have over EIGHTEEEN THOUSAND POUNDS A YEAR spare - you need to track it down.


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 208,000
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -60,000
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -64,100
    Net Assets.............................. 83,900
    Originally posted by becks818

    I've deliberately shouted that figure above at you - as that is the real life picture. If that 1500 odd a month is getting frittered away, you are, in the course of a year, spending mindlessly a quarter of the figure you currently have in debt. Or to put it another way, a brand new mid range car. Every single year. That should sharpen the focus a bit!

    You're in such a fantastic position here - and you have ALL the keys to improving your situation right there in your own hands, which is fantastic.

    First thing, register with the MSE credit club uif you're not already a member - then use that to try to establish whether there is any chance of any more 0% BT cards being available to you. If there are then shift the highest interest rate cards across and then close those accounts.

    When does the Very account stop being 0%? I'd actually be tempted to just get that one gone to be honest as while the account is open it's going to be very tempting to spend on it - on the basis of it being "buy now pay later" - you can get that shifted in a bit over a month if you're canny with your budget so one to think about. As soon as it shows clear - close the account if you do take that route.

    At this point - until you see how you go using traditional methods - I'm going to urge you to ignore anyone suggesting you add the debt to the mortgage. Aside from anything else it won't help you to learn from the process, and unless you want to be back on here in another few years with the same debt again, that's pretty key. In your situation - good income, dependants etc, that must be an absolute last resort as it is seriously risking the roof over your heads. That is not a route to take to save yourselves a few years hard work, to be honest.
    Last edited by EssexHebridean; 16-04-2019 at 3:02 PM. Reason: Edited to put the big about ignoring people saying "put it on the mortgage" or "sell the house" in bold!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • macman
    • By macman 16th Apr 19, 2:17 PM
    • 43,258 Posts
    • 18,431 Thanks
    macman
    Why not go the fast track route to clear your debts by using the equity in the house? Sell it, downsize and start afresh. You will still be able to afford a decent property with the remaining 75K of equity in the house. And your joint income will offer you a sizeable mortgage: you can buy a similar priced property with a mortgage of around 125K,
    Yes, you are doubling your debt, but at low mortgage rate costs, not credit card rates.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 16th Apr 19, 2:22 PM
    • 8,373 Posts
    • 19,188 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    Why not go the fast track route to clear your debts by using the equity in the house? Sell it, downsize and start afresh. You will still be able to afford a decent property with the remaining 75K of equity in the house. And your joint income will offer you a sizeable mortgage: you can buy a similar priced property with a mortgage of around 125K,
    Yes, you are doubling your debt, but at low mortgage rate costs, not credit card rates.
    Originally posted by macman
    No, no and again no please don't do this.

    The costs of selling unnecessarily is not needed here. Read the previous posts as to why selling up, going bankrupt or converting from unsecured to secured is a very bad idea. There is no fast track to clearing debts as often the debtor will continue overspending and be back again in a year or two with a much higher mortgage plus more credit card debts. As you don't know whereabouts in the country this OP lives you have no way of knowing whether a similar sized property can be bought for half the value or even if their current credit history will allow them to get another mortgage at a decent rate.
    Early retired in December 2017

    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
    • Kitten868
    • By Kitten868 16th Apr 19, 3:15 PM
    • 1,186 Posts
    • 2,985 Thanks
    Kitten868
    Another vote here for paying off the aqua card this pay day coming. Getting a creditor off your list is great and ringing up to cancel the card is very satisfying. This challenge is just as much about you staying mentally strong and keeping going and the wins help.

    Can you sell anything? That feels like a win too. I realise in your position you don't really need to but I found it helped me feel like I was achieving my goal.

    You can do this. Please don't consider remortgaging.
    Loan 1 4900/8000
    Loan 2 2900/5800
    Total 7800/13800 43% PAID

    And CC 1250/1900
    • JayRitchie
    • By JayRitchie 16th Apr 19, 7:19 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    JayRitchie
    Why not go the fast track route to clear your debts by using the equity in the house? Sell it, downsize and start afresh. You will still be able to afford a decent property with the remaining 75K of equity in the house. And your joint income will offer you a sizeable mortgage: you can buy a similar priced property with a mortgage of around 125K,
    Yes, you are doubling your debt, but at low mortgage rate costs, not credit card rates.
    Originally posted by macman
    I dont see how selling a 200k property to buy another for 200k is downsizing? Certainly not when you take the costs of moving into consideration.
    • macman
    • By macman 16th Apr 19, 11:19 PM
    • 43,258 Posts
    • 18,431 Thanks
    macman
    My suggestion to maybe downsize and increase the mortgage is obviously dependent on the OP reigning in their current unaccounted-for expenditure. Any way out of their current debt is clearly contingent on them doing that, so much so that I didn't think it necessary to reiterate that point.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 17th Apr 19, 9:41 AM
    • 9,181 Posts
    • 48,188 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    In the position they are in, both from the point of view of needing to learn from the process, AND with a currently low mortgage and having small children, this route is not appropriate for them though. Even if it was appropriate for them, if they downsize now to a two bed house on the assumption that the children can share a bedroom, it won't be many years before they need to get themselves in a position to "upsize" again, costing yet more fees/stamp duty/moving costs!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • fudgecat
    • By fudgecat 18th Apr 19, 1:35 PM
    • 234 Posts
    • 467 Thanks
    fudgecat
    Obviously the snowball method would dictate that the highest interest are paid off first. Psychologically, it may give you a boost to get rid of the easiest to clear (it is what we did in the past), so I think I would target the Aqua card as it can be very satisfying on the spread sheet to see one whole debt crossed out.
    Other advice (other than spending) would be to make a spreadsheet. In a few years, debt free you can start to see the wealth balances increasing, rather than the debt balances reducing!
    Debt October 2016 BIG FAT ZERO!
    Now mortgage free, sort of retired and putting money away for grandchildren.
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 18th Apr 19, 1:53 PM
    • 9,181 Posts
    • 48,188 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    That can be a good motivator actually - the thought of savings to come. mentally fast forward to the point where you have paid the debt off and then work out how much money you will potentially be able to stash away into savings - for your kids futures, for YOUR futures, for a dream holiday for the family, or for whatever else, come to that - inside a year.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): Stoozing.com SOA Calculator
    • beany_bot
    • By beany_bot 20th Apr 19, 9:33 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 147 Thanks
    beany_bot
    No no and absolutely no. That kind of knee jerk reaction has no place here - we've not even seen the OP's SOA yet! PLEASE do not encourage people to turn unsecured debt into secured - effectively or literally - without all the facts in place. It's also extremely cruel to "threaten" them with bankruptcy when they are already clearly terrified by their situation already - that sort of reply can be the difference between someone following through on a lightbulb moment and burying their head back in the sand again in sheer fear.
    Originally posted by EssexHebridean

    What are you talking about??? I'm not talking about turning unsecured debt into secured debt.
    I'm talking about paying off the debt!

    So often we see on here people in mountains of debt, yet with huge equity in their substantial houses.

    Sell the house, pay off the debt, buy a more reasonable house. Start living within your means.
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