Thursday, 27 December 2007

2008 Goals (part 2)

Well I have received my last pay cheque for the year, which I can't bank until Friday so it will not clear until the end of next week. But I will not repeat myself on that topic.
My employer was really lovely and got me out of paying any tax on my Christmas bonus and then rounded my pay cheque up by £75.00 which was even better.
So my end of year figures look like this:

December 2007 (November)
Credit Card 1 £0.00 (£611.21)
Credit Card 2 £3861.41 (£3897.35)
Credit Card 3 £701.00 (£724.13)
Flexiloan £4545.37 (£4645.16)
Bank Loan £3454.47 (£3838.30)
Bank Overdraft £49.18 (£100.00)

Total Debt £12,611.43 (£13,816.15)

My finances haven't been looking this good for more than a year, in fact this time last year my debt balance was £15,692.84. This figure didn't include my tax bill which was due at the end of January and for which I had not saved for, so wasn't paid off until August. By which time my July payment was due and well you can see the deadly little cycle this creates. This time I am prepared and have monies set aside in a high interest saving account. So will be able to pay January's payment in full!

The two rules I break when it comes to paying off my debt are:

Saving . I am determined to clear my debt's and have money in the bank afterwards. After reading the Richest Man In Babylon, I am personally sure this is the right thing to do for myself. You can call it an emergence fund if you want but I see it as a long term saving plan.
Giving. This is something which is part of who I am - I give to two main charities and even when my debts were at the £20,000.00 mark, I knew that those monthly payments would not be stopped for anything. If any thing I would like to increase my giving to 10% of my earnings. But this will have to wait until I am debt free.

If I was to stop both my saving and giving I could clear my debts by the end of this year with out a problem but I have decided I would rather go over a few extra months and extend my DFD to early 2009.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Goals for 2008

I still have two pay cheques to collect before the end of the year but have worked out my end of year balance to be £12,573.43. This will depend on my keeping to my budget and not going a penny over. Famous last words...

Goals for 2008 are to clear both my loans in full and get my credit cards down to £3,000.00. Also to have saved £1,750.00 in ISA accounts.

Don't know how I will go as friends have booked a holiday in May and included me, so that will be time off work and off to Turkey, only need to supply spending monies. Also I have promised to go to Africa at the end of the year. For both of these I have been putting extra monies aside in my tax account and hope I have enough to cover the costs for flights and the cost for medical and spending. Malaria tablets will cost me about £50.00 and then there are vaccinations etc. Should have a good idea by May I guess. Watch this space.......

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

I Hate Cheques!

I really do hate cheques, and don't understand why they take three days to clear in this modern age of technology. I banked a cheque on Tuesday (which appeared on my account that night) but don't actually have any access to it until Friday. The cheque is my pay for the last two weeks and I need it to clear on Thursday, as I have two large direct debts going out then. What to do, what to do!

In the pass I would have just used my Flexiloan and transferred monies across till the cheque clear and then transferred the monies back but I didn't think about the extra interest costs I was raking up by doing this. This time I will use my high interest account funds, which means I lose one months interest because of the withdrawal. The lesser of two evils I feel.

I've spent the best part of the last two days trolling through other peoples blogs on personal finance and they all seem to be doing really well. Not many of us single girls at this though I feel and most are American so we don't have the same financial reference points. This is also the problem with most books on dealing with debt, I generally skip the chapters on insurance or retirement, etc. as they are not relevant to someone in the UK. None the less, the slogg is the same and probably just as tedious, and I am sure many of them, like me, want to scream "Enough already!".

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Ten days to go till Christmas!

Didn't do too bad this week for my spending - went over my budget by about thirteen pounds after my trip to London. This mostly relates to the purchase of two books, one being The Richest Man In Babylon which I have seen quoted in several books I have read, so decided to buy. Wow - wish I had read this book when I first started working or even when I first come over to England. I need to re-read this book every year to keep myself on track. Everyone should read this book!!
It has got be back checking out the 10-10-80 plan all over again. I mean can I afford not to?

Monday, 10 December 2007


Gosh it has been a while since my last post. I have just been reading my old blogs and laughed at the Northern Rock loan which I applied for, they said no and wow what a mess they are in today. Not that any of it relates to me or the fact they turned me down. They were probably turning everyone down.
Well my current debit totals £13,816.15 as of the beginning of the month, which I felt is good but the going is so slow. I want it finninshed already!!
I should have cleared my HSBC card by now (I transfered most of it's balance to my Halifax card to get the reduced interest rate) and even had a reminder emailed to me to have had done it. But my spending gets out of control on my day off. Thank goodness I only get one day off. So have decide to try the cash only spending idea last week and it all went quite well. I did take my debt card with me but only used it to get £10.00 on my phone. So £10.00 over my £50.00 spend limit wasn't too bad.
This week I am off to London to have an early lunch with a friend and hope to show the same restrant.
The 10-10-80 plan has been shelved to the time being, as I want to make sure I am putting enough aside to pay my tax payment upfront in January. Currently I have over £800.00 in that account and will have a thousand by next week. Wish I could use the money to clear my HSBC card but I can't.
I don't know if I will make my target DFD of October, looks like it is morely likely to be January 2009. But I will keep working on it and see if I can get back to that date.
One new thing I have started doing is reading up about finance and money etc. I took the book Rich Dad Poor Dad out of the libriary and it was a real eye opener to me. Since then have gotten quite a few books out about finance and the stock market in my thirst to know more about the money/finance, an area of education I am greatly lacking in.
From this I have been looking at opening a share ISA possible with the Halifax as they have a sharebuilder scheme that accepts as little as £20.00 a month. This would be a long term saving plan - more study is needed.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

October (what happened to September?)

Well it sure has been awhile and I have been switching jobs and have been all over the UK. I didn't blog in September as I didn't have any of my paperwork to workout where I was up to. Infact I thought I had lost monies or spent way more than I was aware of because I had to pay my (reduced) payment to the Inland Revenue from my Flexiloan account. I had to reduce the payment from £1000. to £740. as my jobs have been only 6 day a week. I only own the IR about £500. now and then that is all cleared until the end of next January. But I am now budgeting to have the monies set aside each week to pay for my income tax.

The missing monies were not lost but rather I was not counting the last week of September - so all is well. I can clear the IR bill in full at the end of next week and really get my teeth into my Credit Cards and Loan accounts.

I have applied for a Northern Rock loan at 7.9% to replace my Flexiloan(14.8%) and clear one of my Credit Cards (19.9%). It seems a good deal - I can make overpayments and pay it off early if I want without paying any penalties. Well I think it is a good deal, they can only say no and I don't think my credit worthness can be any worst at the present.

Currently my total debt is under £16,000 and by the end of the month it will be just over £14,000 so I think I am doing well. In fact I haven't spent any monies for about a week now as my overdraft is at it's limit. And I feel really good about it. My problem is I have been increasing my debt without really being aware I was doing it. But hopefully I have seen the folly of my way.

I am taking up the 10-10-80 philosophy and have rewritten my budget but will have to work out a new DFD. More about that in my next post.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

August Update...

(I have been having problems getting back on this site hence my delayed update)
Well, new job and new address and new monthly debit payment amount - and it is lower than June and July by about £300.00. Because of this I have had to contact the Inland Revenue and reduce the monthly payment of £1000.00 that I had arranged with them, to £740.00. This means that I don't clear my IR debt until October.
In the mean time I have applied for and receive a Barclaycard (my first) but they would only give me a credit limited of £850.00 and when I phone them and asked if I could do a balance transfer this dropped to only £775.00. As my HSBC Mastercard has shot the interest rate up to 19.9% I felt any reduction in the balance was a good thing. The Barclaycard is 0.00% for 14 months.
So to date my total debt now stands at £16768.78 aprox. This doesn't include all my payments for this month. Will have to do a final total at the end of the month.
Because of my new job I have be clocking up a debit balance on my current overdraft which is not good. It stands at about £150.00 at the present. I will really have to monitor this one.
I am looking at a DFD in late September/October, I haven't include my Tax for 07/08 which will start to become due in January 08.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

July and Taxes and the online service

At the end of May my debts totalled £18912.57 and at the end of June they totalled £17197.29. Down by £1715.28 which is great but I now see the interest I am paying out and it really hurts, as I have such a small monthly spending allowance. My interest is over £150.00 a month. It is no wonder the banks love to give credit. I pay most of my interest to the bank which has given me the two loans and a credit card.

I have had some other good news this month in that I have gotten back six months worth of charges from Creditexpert (an online credit info company). It's only just over £35.00 but that's better than a slap with a wet fish.

I decide to get online with my Taxes for 06/07 and do my tax return online, something I had done in the past. Got it set up again - the online help service desk staff are very good. But my computer is on dial-up and sooooooo sloooowww... and finally the page would change. It took about an hour to get the self employment tax return done - I didn't have very much to fill in, so had to keep waiting for pages to change. Well it is now done. But I think something has gone wrong somewhere. I had hope in doing my tax returns now, to have lowered what I currently own the taxman. But this doesn't seem to be the case at all.

The Tax Man (and I know that more women work for the inland revenue than men but my guy is THE taxman) had sent me letter outlining my arrears with the revenue, and the balance, after payments I had since made was £3612.45(this is the tax for the whole year). As my income for the year 06/07 not as high as the previous year my tax payment should have been less by about £600.00 but to my horror my arrears balance is now to be debited for £4550.85 at the end of the month and my current arrears is now £1779.00, so the final end of July balance will be £6329.85. Hells teeth! Last year my total tax bill was only £3680.00 and I had declared a larger income than 06/07 tax year. So there is a problem here which needs to be fixed. Or it will make my end of month balance for July look like I haven't started to clear my debt. The online service is all very well but what happens when it screws up??

I have yet to be paid for the last two weeks and only have one more week to go at my current job - hopefully I can get my next job quickly and get two more weeks in on this month. That will get me two weeks ahead on my budget and keep me in the black on my accounts.

I hope at the end of the month I feel I am getting somewhere like I did at the end of June.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Why I need to be out of DEBT...

Yesterday I was on my way to the Post Office in the local village to make a payment on my overdue Tax bill and my mobile started to ring. Being the the good citizen I am, I didn't answer it as I was driving. But a thought crossed my mind as to who the caller might be..... but hey that would be just my wild imagination. When I got back home I checked my phone and found that who ever called my phone was unknown but the number was a London number. Again the thought crossed my mind as to who had called and again I thought to myself don't be so silly..... it could be anyone. But no it really was a very serous sounding man from the Inland Revenue. (This is all very true and "no" I don't believe in second sight or what ever it is called).
The guy I spoke too must really hate his job - he had the worst phone manner I have heard in a very long time. But then he does work for the revenue. I advised him of my oh so resent payment and that I had had problems with bouncing cheques so had been delayed by a week or two to make said payment but he didn't feel that my payment idea was to his liking and required me to call back the following day (well it was almost 5pm by now) and give all my income and expenditure details so the IRD could decide a payment arrangement.
This I have dutifully done today and I got the same guy on the phone (I think I have his direct phone number) and after going though my SOA he has decided to accept my payment plan. (Big surprise there huh!!).
I did freak him when I said I paid no rent, mortgage, board etc - he was really not sure हाउ to deal with that and also the fact that I claimed no benefits.
Well am pleased that is over and do with - just need to get lots of regular work for the next year and a half.
But this is the reason I need to be out of debt - if I was debt free I could have paid this account off on time and not had to have had the call.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Just what you don't need to start with....

It is only a day since I started this blog and so far things are not looking great - it is one of those "it isn't me" moments. I have checks bouncing in and out of the bank account for my wages, it is not caused by a shortage of funds in the depositors account just their bank being seriously weird! Next week I have some big direct debits going out of my account and can't afford to have a lack of funds to pay them. I should have extra money in the account but as two weeks worth of wages have been screwed up and another wage payment is due on Monday - I am not feeling so good about it.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Start date...

It's June and summer is sometimes almost here!

And after ten years in debt - I have decide to take the bull by the horns and get my finances in order.

Yep, ten years in debt and I have a little pile of cash books to prove it. The problem is the debt have been hovering for years just below the ten thousand pound mark but has jumped recently to just below the twenty thousand pound mark. That was quite a shock I can tell you - and to think that I could get that much credit is madness.

So this is probably the tenth time I have have really tried to get my finances into order but hopefully the time that I do.

Of my debt about £3500.00 is Taxes which I need to get cleared up asap, the taxman is not a nice guy to owe monies too, so I am hoping to make payments of between £700-£1000.00 monthly payments until it is gone. And then use that money to start clearing my two credit cards and then hit my two loans.

I am self employed and so it can be a little iffy with just how much I will be earning each month but am hoping to clear at lest £1500.00 (remember that is before tax). I am working on the principal that once I have cleared my debts I can set monies aside to pay my Taxes as soon as they become due.

My credit cards are gone - yes I have cut them up a few weeks ago telling myself that there was really no reason for them to take up space in my purse if I was not planning to use them again. It is funny how attracted you can get to something that is bad for you - it is called habitual behaviour and I had to end the relationship with my credit cards. They have left me with £6000.00 in debt.

The other culprits are my loan's - yes not one but two, and the second is a Flexiloan. How much fun is that!!!! Together they make the other half of my total debt being £4000.00 and £6000.00 respectfully.

Unlike many I don't have a mortgage and all my debt is unsecured - well I don't have anything you could secure it too. I have been basically homeless for the last seven years and stay with friends when I am not working. When working my job provides me with accommodation and meals, so it is aways pointless to share a flat and anyway I have always be trying to clear me debts.

Sorry if this is getting a bit long in the tooth now and the spelling is probably terrible (sorry dyslexic) but this the background of me - and what I want to be is debt free by October 2008.....................................

watch this space and I will try and keep you up to date with getting into the BLACK............