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  • FIRST POST
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 12th Jun 19, 5:54 PM
    • 31Posts
    • 51Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    Starting to control my finances
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 19, 5:54 PM
    Starting to control my finances 12th Jun 19 at 5:54 PM
    Hi all,
    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. Was very enlightening creating my statement of affairs. Ive made many changes over the past 6 months to gain tighter control over my finances, but after reading this website these past few days and seeing what everyone else has contributed and how theyve changed their lives, Ive realised Ive only been scratching the surface at controlling my money.

    I guess you could describe my current situation at stable, not making or losing money and can pay all my loans and mortgage and break even.

    Ive added comments to each section to clarify as much as I can; I noticed the same questions coming up time and time again so have tried to answer them up front as much as possible.
    I have never done budgeting, so I realise the next step is to start. I have no clue as to how to budget correctly, so any suggestions and links to tools would be appreciated.

    Lastly, thank you for everyone whos posted or replied on SME. Its been such a relief to know that Im not in anywhere near as bad a shape as others, that theres light at the end of the tunnel and that gaining control of my finances at the age of 47 is long overdue. I will be teaching my kids all about money, budgets, spending and control so they dont fall into the traps we all have. As a parent its my duty to prevent them from making the same mistakes.

    So far Ive learned:
    1. Be honest about where I truly am and understand my spending habits.
    2. Know my enemies (debt and my own attitude), how much, how long, what interest etc.
    3. Know my goals (debt free, budgeting and emergency funds, save and invest money).
    4. Ask for help!

    Just reading this website has opened my eyes to so much I wasnt aware of, so again thank you all.

    Time to start my journey to being debt free!

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information
    Number of adults in household........... 1
    Number of children in household......... 0 2 visit two weekends a month
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details
    Monthly income after tax................ 1366.30 this is basic wage, able to get overtime easily, have not included overtime as it varies month to month. Id like to get my budget below my wage so I can use any overtime for excursions with kids and paying off debt quicker.
    Im also trying to get a better job, I have a skill set which can command twice the wage. Im constantly applying for these jobs, had a few interviews but its still slow in that industry, thankfully its picking up though. Regardless of that I want my finances in control.

    Partners monthly income after tax....... 0
    Benefits................................ 0
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 1366.30

    Monthly Expense Details
    Mortgage................................ 375.50
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 0
    Management charge 0
    Council tax............................. 70 84 split into 12 equal payments of 70, incl single person discount and water rates
    Electricity............................. 50 Gas and electric moved to cheaper supplier and awaiting smart meter as currently on pay as you go (newly bought house)
    Gas..................................... 50 as above
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 0 included in council tax
    Telephone (land line)................... 0 cost included in internet services
    Mobile phone............................ 17 both sim only, one for me 10, one between kids 7 as only way of communication
    TV Licence.............................. 0 Dont have one, never watch it as have internet (never watch BBC ever!)
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 5.99 Forgot to cancel Netflix after months free trial last month, will cancel.
    Internet Services....................... 30.98 includes line rental
    Groceries etc. ......................... 300 shop at ALDI, high dependency on sweets which Im trying to give up slowly, I have two kids with me at times so also feeds them. Cook all main meals from scratch.
    Clothing................................ 0 not bought any in years
    Petrol/diesel........................... 60 down from 80, walk more, drive less
    Road tax................................ 22.75
    Car Insurance........................... 16.75 renewed to far lower amount using MSE, looking to pay in lump sum from next year once budgeting sorted out.
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 150 Have taken bills for previous year and divided by 12, I dont save this money up, just pay it lump sum when it happens. Starting budget planning next.
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 0 I have an 800 dentist bill to complete but have the money set aside for this from my loan, so didnt include it as it zeros itself out.
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 22.84 includes contents
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 0 Dont have any yet
    Other insurance......................... 19.74 union fees
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 0 nothing set aside
    Haircuts................................ 0 cut own hair
    Entertainment........................... 0 dont drink or smoke. Only socialise walking with friends as its free.
    Holiday................................. 0 not been on one for 5 years, nothing planned either till I can pay cash for it
    Emergency fund.......................... 0 Budget planning next
    Total monthly expenses.................. 1191.55

    Assets
    Cash.................................... -600 account is normally in overdraft, was -900 last month but made 300 in overtime, this month will be the same in overtime
    House value (Gross)..................... 70000 bought last year
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 5500 owned outright, no outstanding payments, extremely fuel efficient van (55mpg)
    Other assets............................ 1000
    Total Assets............................ 75900

    Secured & HP Debts
    Description....................Debt...... Monthly... APR
    Mortgage...................... 60900.90 375.5.... 4.04% - 2 year fixed deal, started last year
    Total secured & HP debts...... 60900.9

    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt...... Monthly... APR
    Loan........................... 6633...... 110.2..... 7.9% - Dentist surgery and home improvements to new house. Any more will be budgeted for and paid in cash.
    Loan........................... 859.2..... 42.96..... 0% - house had no carpets, managed to carpet whole house for 1031 with interest free loan.
    Total unsecured debts... 7492.2.... 153.16

    Monthly Budget Summary
    Total monthly income.................... 1,366.3
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 1,191.55
    Available for debt repayments........... 174.75
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 153.16
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 21.59 feels accurate, buying lightbulbs and cleaning products can wipe me out of all leftover cash for month. Again, never budget for anything.

    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 75,900
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -60,900.9
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -7,492.2
    Net Assets.............................. 7,506.9

    Anymore questions Im more than happy to answer
Page 1
    • MovingForwards
    • By MovingForwards 12th Jun 19, 6:54 PM
    • 2,311 Posts
    • 2,736 Thanks
    MovingForwards
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 19, 6:54 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 19, 6:54 PM
    You can cut down your food bill.
    Sweets have them as a Friday treat or whatever day of the week is your last working day; be a lot healthier too!

    Clothing you must put something down, even if it's 1 a month.

    Dentist and medical - you must put something as you won't always have the money out aside.

    Emergency fund you really need to put something aside in case you have some house related expense.

    Holidays fund, again just put a 1 away for now, then once settled you can start planning to go away, even if it's a few days in a caravan somewhere.

    Presents you have kids so put a couple of quid away each payday.

    I would suggest opening up another current account or savings account with a different bank so all the things you are paying yearly or saving money for each month can go into that, it will force you to learn the money isn't available. You will also earn interest over the year.

    Pay cash in the supermarket, I found if I saw money leaving my hand/purse I stopped buying a load of unnecessary items from the supermarket.

    If you get paid monthly, draw out cash each week for shopping / fuel when it's gone that's it til you pay yourself the next week.

    Where do you get your petrol? Do they have a loyalty scheme? If so, sign up as you can earn a few extra quid easily filling up over the year! I've built up a fair bit with Morrison's due to filling my car

    I assumed you were in Scotland as your water is included in the council tax

    Good luck and well done for recognising you needed to make changes!

    It's all easier now.
    • Willing2Learn
    • By Willing2Learn 12th Jun 19, 7:03 PM
    • 4,383 Posts
    • 3,925 Thanks
    Willing2Learn
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 19, 7:03 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 19, 7:03 PM
    Yay - A nice new diary

    Firstly, welcome to the forum

    My thoughts on your SOA:

    With your job, you have stated that you can easily get overtime, yet you have not included in your SOA. If it were me, I would total the overtime I did during the last year and then divide by 12 to get an average monthly amount for your SOA.

    As it stands, I don't think you are being realistic with some of your spending. Nothing for entertainment, presents, clothing and emergency fund is not being realistic in the long-term. If you add in the average monthly overtime to your SOA income then you would be able to have something allocated to these important monthly budget categories.
    Last edited by Willing2Learn; 12-06-2019 at 7:06 PM.
    I work within the voluntary sector, supporting vulnerable people to rebuild their lives.

    I love my job

    • Mrsn
    • By Mrsn 12th Jun 19, 7:45 PM
    • 207 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    Mrsn
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 19, 7:45 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 19, 7:45 PM
    A warm welcome to you. Some excellent advice already given, my only point would be is your food bill it’s far too much even with your sweetie habit. As a family of 2 adults, 2 children and a small dog we budget 220 a month for food, toiletries and cleaning products. We have at least 1 meat free meal a week and utilise the freezer with batch cooking.
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 12th Jun 19, 8:56 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 19, 8:56 PM
    Response to comments
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 19, 8:56 PM
    Hi,


    Thanks for the quick responses, much appreciated.


    Willing2Learn - I wanted to make sure all my expenses could come out of my wage only, but I will amend to include my average overtime going forward. I think that's a very good idea as I start to budget.


    You are spot on that I'm unrealistic in my budgeting, I just never have. My next action is, with your guys help, is to learn how to budget correctly. I've always tended to move lump sums, never bit by bit and I'm seeing this is one of my many issues.


    Movingforwards - I really like your idea regarding a separate account to move my budgeted figures into. I have a separate current account already where I have my dentist money, I will set up a direct debit to this account so I don't see the money in my current account any more.


    When it comes to the sweets though, I have been battling this addiction since I was a teenager hence why I never started to drink or smoke. I'm thankfully still average build as I exercise a lot. I used my average bill over the past six month to get the 300, but last month it was only 190 as I've cut down a lot. When I stop eating sweets my appetite seems to disappear overall and I eat less of everything else too. So I'm getting somewhere already. Next month it will be up again as I will see my kids more again, but I will start moving 50/month over so I'm starting to save. When I save in other areas, I will increase the direct debit to account for it.


    Petrol - I shop at Morrisons, cheapest in my area, I don't have the loyalty card but will get one now thanks.


    Cash purchase - when it comes to spending cash instead of using a card I'm the opposite. I'm really good at making a shopping list and sticking to it and I reconcile my bank account each month to a spreadsheet. Taking out cash makes it harder for me to remember what I spent it on and categorize it. I also tend to think I have spare money to burn if I have change in my pocket, I never do that with a card. And I also tend to leave my card at home unless I'm going to buy food or fuel, that way I don't impulse buy because I have no means to do so.


    Mrsn - wow, 220 for all that, I'm impressed! I would say the snacking is my main issue and could account for half my bill. I've been good this past month so the bill dropped to 190, just shows how much of a problem with food I have!


    So my next questions are:


    1. I have an extra 300 in overtime coming in at the end of this month and possibly 1000 next month, what's best use of it? I like Movingforwards idea of moving it to a different account and leaving it there as part of my emergency funds etc. Or would it be better to pay off my car insurance and start direct debiting the money to the other account month by month to save on interest? What other suggestions do you guys have?


    2. What tools are there out there for keeping track of everything?
    • FootyFanDan
    • By FootyFanDan 12th Jun 19, 9:04 PM
    • 298 Posts
    • 760 Thanks
    FootyFanDan
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 19, 9:04 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 19, 9:04 PM
    Hey,

    Happy new diary. I just wanted to wish you luck on your journey.
    Debt At Start Of Diary (08/06) - 6129
    Current Balance - 4824.85 Paid In Total 1304.65.
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 13th Jun 19, 1:26 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 19, 1:26 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 19, 1:26 AM
    While I have plenty of time on nightshift, I decided to search the depths of MSE to find more things to motivate me. And I found "The Demotivator"!!!! So remember my sweet addiction above? Well it turns out that my addiction is costing me over 1000 per year!! that's over 80 per month. So what best to do with my chocolate addiction? I think I'll move 50 of it to overpaying my mortgage and some of the rest, but not all because I'll still treat myself every now and then, to one of my new budget funds. It should also help me cut down my body % fat too! Haha.....
    • MovingForwards
    • By MovingForwards 13th Jun 19, 6:18 AM
    • 2,311 Posts
    • 2,736 Thanks
    MovingForwards
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:18 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 19, 6:18 AM
    With the OT how about splitting it? Distribute it!
    A bit of fun money, some for savings towards your annual bills/ dental etc, a bit of an overpayment to your mortgage (if allowed) and the rest as emergency fund
    • Yellow_mango
    • By Yellow_mango 13th Jun 19, 7:11 AM
    • 368 Posts
    • 640 Thanks
    Yellow_mango
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 19, 7:11 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 19, 7:11 AM
    Just dropping in to say hi and good luck!
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 13th Jun 19, 7:29 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    With the OT how about splitting it? Distribute it!
    A bit of fun money, some for savings towards your annual bills/ dental etc, a bit of an overpayment to your mortgage (if allowed) and the rest as emergency fund
    Originally posted by MovingForwards
    Thanks for the responses. One thing Ive always wanted since buying my house last year was to clear my overdraft on both accounts. I know the fee of 6 per month isnt much, but achieving this mental goal after so many months would be really satisfying and give me a boost motivationally speaking. I know its probably not the most sensible way of using the money, but mentally I think it would be worth it. Im feeling really happy just thinking I could achieve that in the next two months. It would mean I still have 400 left over, and I think the emergency fund would be a good location for half of it and Ill take my kids away for a very long needed weekend away where we can chill, enjoy the outdoors and recharge my batteries. So thanks MF, splitting it this way would suit me just perfectly!
    • FootyFanDan
    • By FootyFanDan 13th Jun 19, 9:06 AM
    • 298 Posts
    • 760 Thanks
    FootyFanDan
    While I have plenty of time on nightshift, I decided to search the depths of MSE to find more things to motivate me. And I found "The Demotivator"!!!! So remember my sweet addiction above? Well it turns out that my addiction is costing me over 1000 per year!! that's over 80 per month. So what best to do with my chocolate addiction? I think I'll move 50 of it to overpaying my mortgage and some of the rest, but not all because I'll still treat myself every now and then, to one of my new budget funds. It should also help me cut down my body % fat too! Haha.....
    Originally posted by lightbulbtime

    Wow! This resonates with so much. I have a similar thing with picking up C*sta coffee on my way to work. I only worked out a month and the figure scared the life out of me. I dont even want to see the annual cost of it. I am going to buy a jar of coffee and use the facilities we have at work to fix this. On days i am not so bad but night shifts are so different If i was to work out what i spent at work in a month just on food and drink that figure would terrify me... dare I even total it up
    Debt At Start Of Diary (08/06) - 6129
    Current Balance - 4824.85 Paid In Total 1304.65.
    • Mrsn
    • By Mrsn 13th Jun 19, 9:28 AM
    • 207 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    Mrsn
    It’s taken a very long time to get to that point. My kids are 8 & 5 so no doubt it will increase in the future when their already bottomless pits grow larger. I try my hardest to bulk meals out with veggies etc and fortunately none of us have allergies etc as we would never be able to manage on that budget.
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 13th Jun 19, 3:12 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    Its taken a very long time to get to that point. My kids are 8 & 5 so no doubt it will increase in the future when their already bottomless pits grow larger. I try my hardest to bulk meals out with veggies etc and fortunately none of us have allergies etc as we would never be able to manage on that budget.
    Originally posted by Mrsn
    That's one point I've just clicked on, padding out meals with veggies. I used to use 1kg of chicken on two meals, or three if I had the kids here. But now I pad them out and get four meals with 1kg. Some days I'm having meat free meals altogether, something I'd never had done before.
    • DancingInTheRain
    • By DancingInTheRain 13th Jun 19, 4:10 PM
    • 231 Posts
    • 801 Thanks
    DancingInTheRain
    Dropping in to say hi & good luck. However you decide to start to tackle this remember it's a learning curve and it's fine to try thing (and change things if needed), it's a work in progress x
    01/06/19 Total Debt 13,636 11,400 16.40% PAID
    CC1 (0% to June 2020) 2,708/975 CC2 (0% to October 2020) 5,978/5,600 Family Loan 4,950/4,825
    • MovingForwards
    • By MovingForwards 13th Jun 19, 6:02 PM
    • 2,311 Posts
    • 2,736 Thanks
    MovingForwards
    I love seeing how you are taking on ideas and adapting them to suit you.

    Just a quickie to say lentils are cheap and also bulk food out. If you are a dab hand cooking you can make lentil lasagna, spag bol, curries, soups etc. One of my favourite cookbooks is a vegetarian student cookbook, it's cheap and quick 30 minute meals. Of course you can throw in meat to adapt it and have leftovers to freeze for another day.

    Morrisons do 5 loyalty points per pound spent. Every 5000 points gets you a 5 Morrison's voucher - work out how much free money you can make in a year just by filling up your van! I don't cash my supermarket loyalty points in until December, means I've free food during the Xmas and New year period

    If you use eBay/Argos sign up for a nectar card, link it up and get 1 nectar point for every pound spent. Often eBay and nectar do offers to bag bonus points. I also look through the nectar offers before buying things just in case the shop I am going to buy from is affiliated with them. Again, free money stored up for when needed

    I saw your other thread about having different accounts, think about your annual bills going into one savings account, then you can move the money out as needed.

    A savings account with restricted access ie 2 or 3 withdrawals a year before the interest drops, that could hold your emergency fund.

    Pay your OD off as 6 pm in your pocket soon builds up!
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 13th Jun 19, 6:36 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    Thanks MF, sometimes I think I'm being stubborn or making excuses, nice to know it's just called adapting haha. Morrisons loyalty card coming for sure, off tomorrow so will get it done.

    I've opened up another savings account, should be active on Monday. I'll move all my savings for the annual accounts into that one and savings for birthdays etc into the other. Also have an ISA so that can be used for my emergency fund.

    I can't thank you guys enough or express how excited I am to start saving and budgeting, feels so alien but also so exciting at the same time. Can't wait for this time next year to see all my budget graphs filled out.
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 13th Jun 19, 7:22 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    So finally finished my budget sheet taking into account how much overtime i can get on average. This past couple of months I've started doing 45ish hours a month overtime, which is not pushing it, not burning myself out and providing things at work remain static, which we know it can fluctuate, this is more than sustainable. Sometimes I'll push the boat out, like this month, and do 55 but that won't be very often. I have calculated that to pay all my bills, a generous amount for fuel and shopping along with a decent budget for all other expenses including an over payment of 24.5 to my mortgage (reducing length by 2.5 years and saving 5149 in interest according to the over payment calculator) I need to keep a steady 41 hours overtime each month.

    I've also noted that the position I was in when I took the mortgage on wasn't great, and as such my mortgage isn't the best one out there. When that's up for renewal next year I reckon I could drop my monthly payment from 375.5 down to around the 260 mark. But if I keep the payment at 400, as I'll be over paying by 24.5 each month from now on, it should reduce the length by around 10 years. But until that time comes, it's all conjecture. But very exciting and motivating to think it's even possible to pay my mortgage off in just 13 years!!

    But as MF said above, it needs to be adaptive as this is just the first attempt. I'll run this for a few months and revisit it around September time.

    NSD today woohoo!
    • MovingForwards
    • By MovingForwards 13th Jun 19, 7:38 PM
    • 2,311 Posts
    • 2,736 Thanks
    MovingForwards
    I forgot to ask whether you are paying into your works pension? As it's great you are thinking and sorting out the 'now' you need your 'future'

    With your OT split it between all your accounts and OD to get that cleared, after all if you can budget for your normal wage your OT is a bonus.

    Once your current mortgage term is coming to an end you can have a look to see what offers they have as you may not need to go through remortgaging with someone else.
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 13th Jun 19, 7:50 PM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    Yes, I'm paying into a works pension. Never really thought about the "future" in this way before, sad I've not before but glad I have now.

    OT shall be split between all the accounts in one go, and any extra above the budget will go into the emergency account.

    I'll be searching for a mortgage via all avenues, won't be going through an advisor though, that cost me a packet last time and I suffered because of it. Never again!
    • lightbulbtime
    • By lightbulbtime 19th Jun 19, 12:02 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    lightbulbtime
    So yesterday was another NSD, not because I didn't want or need to. Was because I was so depressed about my current position, sometimes i get that way. Coming off nightshift doesn't help, my sleeping pattern is all to hell, hence a 1am post. My spending budget isn't looking great as I only have 30 to last me 9 days and my hunger for chocolate is driving me nuts. Emotional eating 101.

    I know I will get through this, I always do somehow. Amazing what I can put myself through and still get out the other side smiling. But sometimes I just get low, think about my financial situation and the fact I lost the love of my life because of it too.

    Bad day, worse night, tomorrow when i wake I'm sure I'll feel better. Guess I wanted to point out that it's not all about the money, it's about how it affects you mentally and physically. And that in turn affects your work and social time. Sure I'm not the only one who goes through this. I'll start again tomorrow by going to the gym before work (free gym at work).

    Happy days lol
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