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@.

    • Sassers
    • By Sassers 15th Jan 20, 4:23 PM
    • 1,264Posts
    • 8,153Thanks
    Can you help me with a big life change?
    • #1
    • 15th Jan 20, 4:23 PM
    Can you help me with a big life change? 15th Jan 20 at 4:23 PM
    Hi everyone.
    I don't normally start a thread here (I'm on the Payment a Day board) usually but I really need your help and advice. If you can see my signature, you'll be able to see that I have paid off quite a lot of debt, and in March I will be debt free.

    It’s taken me ten years to get here, and the struggle and ‘nose to the grindstone’ of it all has really affected my mental health, - especially as I know I’m coming to the end of payments and my such-a-tight grip on every penny is loosening. I know that while some of you might think it’s a great place to be in - and it is don't get me wrong - but I'm really struggling with my head and coming to terms with it all.

    At one point I had a FT job and two part time jobs alongside it – and I remember walking through five miles in snow up to my calves to get there. It meant I worked seven days a week for 18 months without any time off, god it was hard. I’ve have had bailiffs in, lived off a pound a day, haven’t bought new clothes, or had a ‘big’ holiday and loads of other things I’ve done to pay that bit extra off.

    Being debt free and working towards it has been goal #1 for ten years - and I'm not whining, just saying what I've done, so you know where I'm coming from.

    I know it’s easy to say start saving and maybe have a holiday and whoop it up a little, but I genuinely don’t know how to change my mindset in order to do that! It’s like making that jump from earth to the moon by hand without a rocket. Just do it or feel the fear just isn't working.

    My partner died suddenly five years ago - he went out in the morning and never came back - and I'm wondering if this has something to do something to do with it, as he was really enthusiastic and on board with the debt busting too (although the debt was all mine ). He rocked it actually and I adored him. He was the only man I know who ate a 'mandiatory/we're eating it' homemade squid in tomato sauce as a yellow whoopsie meal from Morrisons for 30p. It had the texture of a rubberball and he pretended to enjoy it unlike the our cat - and all because that 70p left over in the £1 went to the debt.

    I'm wondering you think I’m scared to be debt-free because in a way I’m saying good bye to debt and him too? It seems that the `Yippee I’m debt-free’ stories elsewhere here aren’t really anything I can relate to either, and yet I love reading ‘em!!

    Sorry to put this out there, but I am genuinely in need of a bit of advice. Especially as I know that all you MSER’s here are kind, helpful and might be able to help me!
    Squid in tomato sauce is optional.
    Sorry for a long post,
    Thanks you
    Sassers x
    Last edited by Sassers; 15-01-2020 at 4:33 PM.
    Current debt and mortgage: £25, 820.35 Debt/Mortgage at start: £92,598 (27/09/2010) Paid off so far: £66,777.65
Page 1
    • tealady
    • By tealady 15th Jan 20, 4:34 PM
    • 3,238 Posts
    • 4,359 Thanks
    • #2
    • 15th Jan 20, 4:34 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Jan 20, 4:34 PM
    It is scary being debt free after living so frugally.
    May I suggest you put some money aside every month.
    Put half into an emergency fund and the other half in a treats fund. That way you could enjoy yourself whilst still having a safety net.
    Even after being debt free for years I still worry about paying the bills yet I have enough in savings to pay a full years bill's in advance.
    Proud to be an MSE nerd
    Judge people by their achievements, not by their mistakes
    • Accountant_Kerry
    • By Accountant_Kerry 15th Jan 20, 4:56 PM
    • 442 Posts
    • 620 Thanks
    • #3
    • 15th Jan 20, 4:56 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Jan 20, 4:56 PM
    Didn't want to read and run, that is utterly awful about your partner he sounds amazing, the cat sounds like a standard cat :-)

    You dont have to change your life, perhaps this focus has helped with controlling yoru grief and you are a bit worried it might come flooding out now?
    Focus on a new goal perhaps if that will help you, monetry or otherwise xx
    • sugartree
    • By sugartree 15th Jan 20, 6:32 PM
    • 95 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    • #4
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:32 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:32 PM
    Wow! that is quite a story and achievement.

    Well done for such hard work and my sympathy on loosing your partner, I do hope you find happiness in your new financial freedom.

    I'm not a mental health professional but if you are still dealing with the lose of your partner maybe some counselling will help. If you felt like your focus was because you promised your partner and would feel you would let them down if you failed then I can understand your conflict over the situation. Maybe, you can still do something financially orientated to feel its not leaving the memory behind. Maybe donate regularity to a cause they were close too, create a local budgeting group or mentor those struggling with debt as well. Was there a dream holiday you planned when you became debt free which you can now enjoy? Buy a pet squid? or grow your own tomatoes for the sauce?

    They will always be with you no matter what changes in life and it sounds like they'd be very proud of you right now.

    So enjoy it and do the things you would have done together.

    Hope that helps.
    Oh I do want to live in Countryside.......with the kids, pets and LOTS of books.........
    £2020 in 2020 challenge #90 - £118.38/£2020
    2020 penny challenge

    • onwards&upwards
    • By onwards&upwards 15th Jan 20, 6:47 PM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 3,139 Thanks
    • #5
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:47 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Jan 20, 6:47 PM
    Have you ever posted on the debt free wannabe board? I bet there’s a fair few posters over there who will be able to relate.
    • pinkteapot
    • By pinkteapot 15th Jan 20, 7:13 PM
    • 6,795 Posts
    • 8,963 Thanks
    • #6
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:13 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:13 PM
    I joined MSE in 2004 (different username) because Iíd run up some debt after moving out of home. Thanks to these forums I was able to clear it over the next 2-3 years.

    Over ten years later, Iím now extremely luckily to be relatively comfortably off, but you know what? Not much has changed in terms of my money management. I still have pretty much the same monthly Excel file for our finances (was my - have since got married). I still account for everything. I know Iíd overspend if I didnít.

    I think the massive trauma of losing your partner will be playing a big part in how youíre feeling. Maybe part of you is scared of that debt-free moment because working towards it was a joint goal and future goals will be your own...

    In practical terms, you probably know exactly how much money youíre currently putting towards debt repayment each week or month. So, the first decision is how much of that money to put into savings and how much to add to your spends so you can live a bit less frugally. If you struggle with loosening the purse strings you could start off by putting most of it into savings and just having a little extra to spend, then gradually increase it.

    Getting debt-free is like losing weight. Once itís done, you canít go back to living the way you were before because youíll just end up back where you started. Itís a new phase of your life, somewhere in between the before and the during in terms of your spending (or eating). Itís an adjustment, and getting debt-free is a massive achievement, but the day to day difference afterwards maybe isnít quite as huge as youíve built it up to be. But life is definitely that bit easier.
    • gwynlas
    • By gwynlas 15th Jan 20, 7:25 PM
    • 323 Posts
    • 376 Thanks
    • #7
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:25 PM
    Can you help me with a big life change?
    • #7
    • 15th Jan 20, 7:25 PM
    Congratulations on becoming debt free. It will be a massive change but you can make it in small steps. Decide what you would like to do in the future and make small steps towards it.
    I don't know how much per month you ae paying off debt but you could save a larger amount for bigger goals such as a holiday or future proofing your home, A smaller amount for a monthly treat such as a pub meal out and a weekly treat such as a bunch of flowers or bar of chocolate.
    Yes you miss your partner and planning the future together but remenber them with love and know how proud of you they would be,
    • Sassers
    • By Sassers 15th Jan 20, 8:04 PM
    • 1,264 Posts
    • 8,153 Thanks
    • #8
    • 15th Jan 20, 8:04 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Jan 20, 8:04 PM
    I just want to say thank you so much for all your lovely advice. You are all so kind and I really really do appreciate it.
    There's nothing quite a virtual hug from mser's....even those dodgy emoticon ones. :-). I'm going to go away and have a bit more of a think about things you have suggested too.
    Who knows I might even be able to give the ole rubber squid a miss too in the future.
    Love to you all,
    Saska (This is the first time I've revealed my real name on MSE too. Your help means that much).
    Current debt and mortgage: £25, 820.35 Debt/Mortgage at start: £92,598 (27/09/2010) Paid off so far: £66,777.65
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 15th Jan 20, 10:20 PM
    • 14,353 Posts
    • 11,485 Thanks
    • #9
    • 15th Jan 20, 10:20 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Jan 20, 10:20 PM
    I think that perhaps you've grown used to the "norm" and the unknown is always scarier to us than the known. Understandably you may also be saddened that your partner won't be there to share it with you and be dreading it for the same reason.

    But I would like you to try and take a moment to realise what an amazing achievement this is and also how proud your partner would be that you managed to carry on after he was gone. A good way of honouring him for the positive influence & impact he had on your life.

    This part is going to sound potentially blunt/rude (isn't meant that way) but your partner is no longer here. Live life for the both of you. Because no doubt, he would want you to. This isn't an end, it's a beginning.
    Money doesn't solve creates it.
    • Illbedamned
    • By Illbedamned 15th Jan 20, 10:21 PM
    • 69 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    I finally paid off my debt last year (after 15 years of having it!) and i know what you mean about the transition, in some ways im still very frugal and in a way almost scared to spend money even though i have no debt and the money is now all mine.

    I'm sorry for your loss, your debt free journey was obviously something they were a part of and sadly didnt get to see the end of so i understand why its affecting you. I think your partner would be incredibly proud of you

    As for what now....well you can do anything. Is there anywhere you've ever wanted to travel to? Is there anything you wished you cpuld have bought before you were debt free? Or do you have future plans like saving for your own place (assuming you havent already). I suggest taking everything you learned from getting debt free, and use that to save up for something for yourself.
    • belfastgirl23
    • By belfastgirl23 16th Jan 20, 9:15 AM
    • 7,798 Posts
    • 15,713 Thanks
    Wow you have done amazingly well, especially sticking with the plan even after losing your partner. Take a minute to pat yourself on the back!

    This is a hard one as one person’s treat is another person’s nightmare. I’m lucky enough to be reasonably well off but I also struggle with it being ok to spend cash just on me. There are a couple of things that are longstanding agreements with DH (saving for a holiday is vital for example as is having a car).

    Beyond that I’ve prioritised paying into a pension and for health and fitness activities - I pay for my gym and classes before anything else since nothing else is of value if you don’t have health (though I still struggle with paying to go for a massage even though I know it does me the world of good).

    I’m also prepared to pay for books although I try to also use the library. And I really enjoy going to a coffee shop with a good book so that’s on the indulgence list too. I’m not so fussed about eating out and only really do that if DH is super keen, it really feels like a waste of money when what we cook at home is mostly as nice.

    All of which is to say, once you’ve paid for the basics, what feels important to you? What feels of enough value to be worth spending money on? If you love clothes then give yourself a budget for clothes and more crucially SPEND IT. If you love going to see a film or eating out set a budget for that. If donating to a charity will give you an inner glow then do that. If having a nest egg is most important then set yourself a target and prioritise that. If you’ve always wanted to travel the world then fund that. There will be millions of things i haven’t thought about by the way! Some of which will be quiet satisfaction things.

    The hardest bit is figuring out your priority. But listen to inside you. What feels like it lights you up? Don’t worry about what other people think - though it might be worth asking close friends and family what they think would add value to your life. Sometimes an old friend might remind you of something you’d forgotten about yourself (I bought an old friend some art materials lately, she hadn’t drawn since she had kids and she was delighted).

    Good luck and do come back and post, I’m feeling quite invested in how you get on, you deserve some fun and I’d love to see you find it

    • flanker6
    • By flanker6 16th Jan 20, 11:27 AM
    • 61 Posts
    • 70 Thanks
    I haven't been in your situation so don't know how applicable this advice is.

    But, I am also a spender and fritter money away - if given a chance.

    What works for me is that I do all my direct debits, including savings to fixed accounts, on the day I get paid.
    So I'm left with enough money to live comfortably but not enough to fritter away on the countless email sales offers I receive.

    Congrats on sorting out your debt and good luck!
    • Lucyp773
    • By Lucyp773 16th Jan 20, 11:53 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Hello! This is my first time ever posting! I lost my husband 2 years ago. It really is rubbish isn't it. I have just been reading a book called "second firsts" by Christina Rasmussen which may be worth a read to kind of kick start a new chapter in your life? It helped me to work out my thoughts on things.She also has a blog. It's a bit american but it basically gets you to try new things in order to get out of the rut that comes after you lose someone. It kind of helps carve out what you want in a new life.
    • SadieO
    • By SadieO 16th Jan 20, 12:50 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    So sorry for your bereavements, Sassers and Lucyp773. (And I love the squid story!)

    I am really similar to belfastgirl23 in that I really struggle to allow myself to spend money on "treats". I can't get a takeaway or eat out without thinking about how much food that money could have bought me in the supermarket! Luckily I don't have debt but we are hoping to buy a house and so are saving for a deposit, and every penny I spend (which is REALLY not much, I am a good MSEr!) I think about how I could/should have saved that. My husband is always telling me I should treat myself more and I know he is right. I would never spend crazy money (the MSE is too ingrained, I can't for instance, imaging buying something that wasn't on offer!) but the odd treat is okay. I like belfastgirl23's advice about allowing yourself to spend a certain amount on something that is meaningful to you, and I am going to try that myself.
    • in my wellies
    • By in my wellies 16th Jan 20, 1:15 PM
    • 947 Posts
    • 1,047 Thanks
    in my wellies
    I've never been in debt and friends would describe me as careful but I just see it as making the most of my money
    My mum has Alzheimer's but is still careful, she had to be and it has never left her. Yesterday we went to a carpet shop and the first thing she asked was the price, then we chose wallpaper and it was just the same - her eyes going to the cheapest.
    Just this morning she has had a statement from one of her investments and she is studying it. Saying what can an 87 year old spend money on?She is right, an 87 year old with Alzheimer's can't find a lot to spend her money on. Now she's asking me what I'll spend it on when she's gone. I half joked that a large portion will go on inheritance tax as only so much can be planned for.
    The point of my post really is to say once out of debt, try to enjoy spending a little and don't end up like my mum with so much money at the end of life
    • paddyz
    • By paddyz 16th Jan 20, 3:52 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 598 Thanks
    Totally get how you are feeling, the not spending and living so frugal has possibly been a safety net

    Small steps and open a special small savings account and name it after the squid dinner just for a sweet memory and use that money for something really nice, you so deserve it
    Mortgage start Oct 12 £104,500
    current Nov 19 £56,290
    term 9 years aiming on being mortgage free by 7
    Weight Up & down 14st 7lb
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 16th Jan 20, 7:43 PM
    • 9,183 Posts
    • 33,402 Thanks
    Sasses - well done on approaching the winning post after a very long struggle.

    Your state of mind doesn,t really surprise me in some ways. I suspect that after your partner died, you probably delayed grieving because you simply had to get on and survive solo somehow. I suspect this means that many of the emotions you might have processed then are now slowly coming to the surface but because of the time that has passed, they're appearing in a slightly different format.

    This is perhaps the first real opportunity you've had had to address them and it might help if you tried to do that. Cruise or bereavement counselling is never too late and might help you. Talking things though with somebody independent can often being new insights. Perhaps you're even feeling a little guilty that you've made it to this point and your partner isn,t here to share the success of it with you?

    When your debt is finally paid off I suggest you set up two savings accounts - one for your rainy day long term savings and a second one for your "treats" whatever they may be . You decide in what proportions the cash should be divided. Over time it may change and in the early days your hands may still, out of habit, be so tight on your purse steingsn that you only feel you can spare money for "little" treats.

    But this is all about learning to gradually change your behaviour and how you value yourself so review your two allocations regularly and change the allocated proportions as appropriate.

    My husband jokes that all the moths in my purse are dead because I open it so rarely. I am now in the age group where Inshould be spending some of it yet after a lifetime of saving I,ve adopted an atttitude where theres is little in the way of material things that I actually "need" as opposed to "want" and i see little pleasure in spending money on things Inneither want nor need.

    I think you will probably have your own assessing to do in this issue and that will take time. But however you move forward do make time to congratulate yourself on this worthwhile milestone in your life and treat yourself to something special, however small, to celebrate your achievement. It may not be a material object you buy. Treating yourself to learning a new skill like learning to drive , joining a choir, speaking a new language or a new hobby like dressmaking or creative writing are all investments in yourself that will help you value yourself going forward and they are all good ways of making your spare money work to enrich your life.

    Good luck, save and spend wisely and congratulations on reaching the end of a long journey. And never under estimate what knowledge you have learnt about your skills to survive along the way.
    Last edited by Primrose; 16-01-2020 at 7:55 PM.
    • notisis
    • By notisis 17th Jan 20, 9:57 PM
    • 299 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    Sassers well done! I'm sure your partner would want you to give yourself a pat on the back and have a little celebration once you are debt free (a holiday or a great family meal or both?). He would also want you to be kind to yourself. As others have suggested little treats here and there (a treat fund) and save the rest for peace of mind.
    • shabbychic12
    • By shabbychic12 17th Jan 20, 11:10 PM
    • 169 Posts
    • 1,611 Thanks
    Will be just over 5 years since l lost my DH. I was lucky that we had a lump sum, critical illness for the mortgage and l receive a portion of his pension all this when l was 50. My problem is that this money has to last me for along time. So people think lm well off but l have a watch every penny and make it work or so my mind tells me but in reality lm doing ok l just don’t see it. It’s hard spending when it’s instilled from an early age not too or circumstances lead you that way. I don’t know what the answer is but life is not a rehearsal and memories are made now x
    Was an 2019 early retirement wannabe now 2020
    Save £12K in 2019 no 94
    All this saving l'm turning into my Dad
    • JohnDorian
    • By JohnDorian 18th Jan 20, 10:29 AM
    • 46 Posts
    • 25 Thanks
    What you say isn’t out of the ordinary at all. People can display obsessive behaviour towards an aspect of their life as a coping mechanism. I myself did this from 2015 to 2017 with weight loss. I lost 7 stones and my whole life was precision thinking on what I will eat and when and how many calories etc. I was having a hard time at work and later realised my eating was a method of bringing control and order to my life. That was the aspect of my life I could control and that is how I coped. I off course came to the realisation that I was heading towards an eating disorder therefore had to reverse out my thoughts on food which was hard.

    Like I mentioned, this is not uncommon. The other day an article came up for me where it summarised some of the stuff members of the band One Direction had said about the pressure they were under and how the coped with the massive change they faced in their lives. One said he drank but only whisky and only small sips. It was how he controlled that part of his life. Another said he regulated what he ate so that he could feel he had power over his life.

    To me it sounds more like a mental health issue rather than an end of era money saving issue. I think it would be worth speaking to your GP about this and getting some support to transition out of your current behaviour pattern.
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

3,814Posts Today

6,833Users online

Martin's Twitter