Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy News Years Everyone!

I am back from Africa and even before the end of the year I am in a new job and am working in London now. Hooray!!! Just can't go to the sales in Richmond or Putney etc and I will be find. The job is better paid than my last, but with my tax bill due on the 31st of January I will need it for the start of 2009.
My African trip was amazing but I haven't been able to get my pictures online at the moment, as my new job has no Internet connection and I am blogging in the local library. I think I will be visiting the library a lot over the next few weeks and as it is free why not! Once I can work out how to get my pictures online via the library I will be able to really blog about my trip.
My trip and some spending I have done since coming back to the UK (I had an week before I started my new job which is not helpful when you should be saving and not spending). I played fairy godmother to my god kids and took them to the movies and to Pizza Hutt after for a late lunch. The rest was spent on taking some friends out for supper etc. the general catching up I do when I get a few days to myself.
My end of year target to get my debt below £6K is blown away, sadly - I have to phone my credit card companies this afternoon to get my final end of year balances and will try and update all that on Friday.
Have lots of plans and ideas for the New Year but will have to sit down and really budget them and see if they will be worth while. Just finished the book "How I Lived On Just A Pound A Day" by Kath Kelly - she was inspired by am American woman who didn't spend money on anything except necessaries for a year. Am now reading a book called In The Red which is very entertaining.
Well that's all for this year folks - will have a big update for 2008 in January 2009.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I'm So Excited!

This month has just zipped by and it's already the last day - where did all the time go?

Today is my last day to chill out before things go crazy!

Tomorrow, oh tomorrow I have a million and one things to do - finish my job and clear out my room, bank my last pay check from my second job, say all my goodbyes to the fine folk I have gotten to know in the village of Chiddingfold and get back to London to pack for Africa.

On Thursday I did a little more shopping for Africa, I got a Frisbee for Francis, some more bright coloured bracelet, more stickers, a finger string game, a whole lot of 'happy men' (little yellow stretchy men) and some more pencil!

On Tuesday I plan to get the football gear in the morning and finish packing my bags ready for my flight in early evening. I have to be at the airport about 3 hours before the flight which is always a drag.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Time For A Cool Change

What's been happening? Where do I start? My second job, the one which has been funding my debt clearing, has been on hold for the last three weeks and doesn't looking like restarting any time soon. Which means my Africa trip is going to have to be mostly funded via my tax payment account - something I am not very happy about but as the trip is now less than a fortnight away what else can I do. At least I am not using my credit card, that would mean breaking my number one rule of not increasing my debt.
My luggage problem (yes there was one!) has been solved. I started to get worried about getting charged for excess baggage as some of the gift's I am buying for the charity projects in Kenya and Uganda are a little on the heavy side. And I was told that my flight ticket limited my luggage to only 20 kg's (not nearly enough). However I have since found out that this limit is for the flight between Kenya and Uganda, which means I can take up to 46 kg to Kenya (2 bags at 23 kg each only). As I will be leaving about half the gifts in Kenya I should be able to get the rest to Uganda on the 20 kg limit (well here's hoping anyway).
Because of the problems with my second job I have made the decision to end both my jobs as of the 1st of December and get new work once I am back from Africa. Not great times for looking for new work but I have an agency who does that for me. So I am hopefully that come the middle of December I should have the next twelve weeks of work sorted and from that I can work out a new budget.
As I don't really do Christmas I am hoping to get back on track and really get working on my debt, as I want it all gone by at least July 2009!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Time Is Running Out

Finally I have started getting my shopping list sorted out for my African trip which is getting closer and closer - time is running out to get it all done. The list isn't complete as I keep getting a brain wave and adding a few more items.

I have been amazed by the price differences for products online, I have been looking at prices for a children's world map. The top end price was £18 and my purchase price £4.99. This was for the same map - unbelievable! Maybe I have not been shopping for so long I have forgotten all this sort of price difference.

Some of the items I am going to try and blag to keep costs down, I want some posters, hair clips and other hair accessories, colouring books and crayons, pencil's etc, maybe even some lollipops too.

My budget of £200 for gifts is not going to cover what I have planned to purchase but I have been given an extra £100 through work which will cover the extra needed. My next problem is that of weight, as my limit is 23kg but can go up to 32kg but this will incur a £50 excess baggage charge. I am taking two giant Twister games which weight 4kg each and so I am now having to think about what everything is going to weight.

Another thing which did surprise me was just getting myself to use my designated credit card (i.e. the card I have paid in full) to buy the gifts. Even knowing that I have started to load the card, didn't change my apprehension at using it. Truth be known - it was more than a month ago that I started thinking about what I wanted to buy from the list of gifts the Charity had given me as an example. But I just couldn't bring myself to do any more than that - just think about it. Spending money has become a bit of a trial.

This trip is a real dream come true. Years ago while at intermediate school my class used to sponsor a child in Kenya and I was always involved in the 40 hour famine that was held each year on behalf of Tear Fund. So the idea of finally going to Africa is so awesome! OK, I have been to South Africa before but that just doesn't seem the same thing. I know it is going to be life changing and that is a good thing. I know it is also the first of many visits which for some one who loves to travel is great news. But the whole trip comes down to just two days - the 5th Dec in Kenya and the 10th Dec in Uganda - that's when I get to met my sponsor children. Everything else is fill in.

Friday, 31 October 2008

October Update

October Goals
  • End the month under £8k Done

  • Start Freedom Account for rate payments Done

  • As of the 01/10/09 have only 8 spend days (that is 23 no spend days) 9 spend days

  • Sort Credit Card No. 3 as the 0 % interest rate is ending in October Done

Not a bad month got under the £8k mark which was a great goal to have achieved and only went one day over my 8 spending day limit for the month. Also started my Freedom account, which I now need to start a graft or chart of something for.

I have transferred the remaining balance of credit card No. 3 to credit card No. 1 as they offered me a 0% interest transfer, so I am now down to two cards. But as you can see credit card No. 1 has increased my interest rate to 15.9% for the rest of the balance and so this is my snowball target now. Only problem is that in November all the funds I would have allocated to my snowball are going to fund my African trip and cover all my standing orders/direct debits for December. So I am not going to be able to make any major payments to my debt until the end of December or even as late as February next year. I have my Inland Revenue bill due in January and I have a short fall due then for my 07/08 Tax year.

November goals are really just about Africa - I have yet to pay for my malaria medication which is around £70-£80 and am budgeting around £200 on gifts. I am buying two lots of soccer bib's and some balls for the two children's projects and thought I would try and find a giant twister game for the girls at each project. Will have to look on e-bay etc. to see what is available and how much it will cost. Then there are the individual gifts for my sponsor kids and their families. I can see the budget being blown just with this one. Some things I will buy here in England and the rest will be purchased in either Kenya or Uganda.

November Goal

  • Keep to budget as much as possible.
  • Keep personal spending to as little as possible.
  • Complete bookings for accommodation within budget limits.
  • Finish costing of Project gifts and order them.

Will it be possible?

Here's hoping but I will be wasting a little money on Monday night as I have plans to go and see the new 007! (will take my own snacks to the show!!)

Monday, 20 October 2008


Oh I just love my alerts and I seem to be having them more often which means my budget is working and I am being very good. All going well I hope to have one more alert before the end of the year.
In the last 8 years I have ended the month at under 8k only 12 times and only once since 2006, so I am closer to getting into new territory. The lowest my debt has been since 2001 is £6662.28 (US$11,570.68 and NZ$18,884.26), so I am really looking forward to getting below that figure.
It has taken a while to refine my budget and get use to spending very little money. But compared to where I was in July last year I can see how the snowball effect does seem to speed up. You just have to hang in there and be consistent - it does really seem to work!
You can do it! You too will be debt free!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Reducing the Minimum

Having been warned by about some sneaky new tricks from the Halifax people but then forgetting about it until I happened to check the account online - I at once noticed that the upcoming minimum payment was less than half of what I had just paid the month earlier. What they have done is reduce the minimum payment percentage by half, to only 1%. This means you will never really clear your card if you only make minimum payments. It really is madness!
In the passed I have always had direct debits set up so as to always pay my credit cards, etc. on time but have decided to cancel all the direct debits and replace them with standing orders. That way I control just how much money I pay on each bill.
Barclaycard do allow you to set a payment amount above your minimum payment but they are the only credit card I have found to do that.
This is the Mary Hunt snowballing method, you make the same minimum payment on your lowest debt's and then throw the rest of you money at the highest debt. But unlike the general snowballing method you don't reduce the minimum payments each month, you keep them at the same amount. Maybe not every one's cup of tea but it works for me.
As I am down to only three debt payments a month and shortly that will be reduced to only two - it really makes sense.
On to other matters I did break my no spend rule and made a purchase on Thursday - something I had forgotten to buy on Tuesday. But I had a really great meet up with an old friend whom I hadn't seem in more twenty years on Tuesday and so forgot lots of things I had meant to do that day. But I only used the money in my purse - however I now don't have the £5 I like to always keep in my purse. Break one goal and another goal goes down - can't win sometimes.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Blog Action Day 2008

Last week I received a letter with a very strange photo attached. The photo showed seven cows lying in a field, to the right in the distance another cow is grazing. Nothing odd you would think in that. However the seven cow were not resting, it was very clear from the photo - they were dead.
The dark brown cow with very large horns to the far left of the picture, I had seen before in another photo. In that other photo the cow was very much alive and next to it stood a very proud little Uganda girl with a big smile. From the letter I gather that all the cows were struck by lighting and that this had really effected the local people or as the letter said;
"this thing made all people to lose strength in Jesus Christ our Saviour".
I can only image what that really means for my sponsor child's family, only one of the cows was theirs but it was the only cow they owned.
For myself I was really bummed as it was purchases with gift money that I had sent them. If you read my blog you know I am "dealing with debt" but still sponsor several children in Africa and I try and budget to send over a cash gift each year. So why should something like this happen? It just doesn't seem fair!
Unfortunately this situation happens often to all of us in lots of different ways i.e. your car breaks down or your washing machine packs up etc. So we don't have dead cows but we usually have the washing machine included in some kind of insurance policy and we can afford to pay the garage to repair our car. But what can you do with a dead cow?
Of cause I wrote back and said that you can always get another cow - will need to check my budget to see how I can fit it in but is that really all it takes?
In December I am flying to Africa to met the children that I sponsor and am looking forward to the trip. It will give me better incite to their lives and needs. I have wondered if the money I have been spending for the trip wouldn't have been better spent as a cash gift? But I had promised the children I would visit by the end of 2008 and I don't believe in breaking promises, especially to a child.
I will take the photo back to Africa and find out what happened next but it goes to show that the best of intentions can fail for what seems no good reason. Does this mean we should give up! No fear! By the way, the letter (I quoted earlier) continued;
"But they then remembered that everything with God is possible"
I have a file full of the most wonderful, uplifting letters from my sponsor kids and each one has made me look at my life in a different way. They have so little and yet can in the face of tragedy still make me feel very humble.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

No Spending Days In The Crunch

I have read lots of blogs by pf blogger's who are big on "no spending days" and decided I needed to do this too. I sort of do it any way because of my job situation but I tend to waste money here and there on snacks. Not good for my budget and not good for my weight. So I need to nip it in the bud.
So far this month I have had three spend days which is totally on schedule - so very good so far.
Good, because it means I am on target for my budget which is important in the next two months, as I am getting my finances sorted for my trip to Africa in December. Good also because with all the madness in the global economies at the moment it is important for all of us to get out debt levels down.
I must confess that for me, the credit crunch hasn't yet impacted on my life at all and I would (rightly or wrongly) assume that this is the case for a lot of people like myself, who don't have a mortgage and don't own a car. I do own a few shares but more for the fun of it and it is interesting to see how the market works. Lately I have been watching my shares bounding all over the place.
Any other investments I have (which are very few) are in government guaranteed bonds, so as along as the government has any money left after their £500b bail out, I should be fine.

Hope all of you are getting to your goals too!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

September Update

September has been a great month for me!

I have achieved some of my goals and will work towards completed them all in October.

Short Term Goals
  • End September under £9k (Done)
  • Start Freedom Account for rate payments (Will get onto this in October)
  • Clear all loans by 31/10/08 (Done on the 30/09/08)
  • Clear Credit Card No. 3 by end of year (Well under way!)
  • End year under £7k (Well under way also - could even do better!)

I have now payed £11,587.70 (that's US$20,596.21 or NZ$30,821.20) off my debts. That is pretty amazing! I just can't wait till all my debts are gone and when I get paid I get to keep it!

Standing in line at the bank today I was looking at all the posters for the different products the bank had to offer. And I had to laugh at the credit card poster. It read "Buy now, pay later". Well I am "paying and paying and still paying - later". I have really learnt the lesson of selling my future. There was a song way back in the 80's that I loved and the lyrics of one verse went like this:

Well, I see something and I want it

Bam! Right now! No questions asked

Don't worry how much it costs me now or later

I want it and I want it fast

I'll go to any length

Sacrifice all that I already have

And all that I might get

Just to get something more that I don't need

And Lord, please don't ask me what for

Loved the song but didn't listen to the lyrics. But no more and with the exception of my trip to Turkey in May/June, I have kept to my budget and am very please with the results. Living below your means is no so bad. In the times we are now in, well we all need to live frugally.
So what's the plans for October - okay, I will not be able to clear as much debt as I have in September, as I need to replace the money borrowed from my tax account to clear my Flexiloan account.
Goals for October
  • End the month under £8k
  • Start Freedom Account for rate payments
  • As of the 01/10/09 have only 8 spend days (that is 23 no spend days)
  • Sort Credit Card No. 3 as the 0 % interest rate is ending in October

Well that's the basic plan for October - we shall have to see how well I can do.

How well are you doing?

Thursday, 25 September 2008

After the loans are gone

Unlike credit card payments, loan payments are much larger and can really be a strain on your budget. I have been paying both my loans at about the same time, so it has been a challenge to get the full payment in my account on time each month for the direct debit payments. Often I have had to use my saving to cover any short fall, replacing it the next time I was paid.
By paying off my loans I will be able to pay all my minimum credit card payments with one weeks pay. No more worrying if I have enough money to cover all the payments. Now I will be able to make weekly payments on my credit cards which will save me more money in interest.
The news might be bad on the telly but my debt balance is the best it has been in two years. Financially speaking things haven't looked this good for me in years.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Another grand has been wipe off my debt total and I am pretty damn happy about it. For the whole of last year my debts totalled over ten thousand and at it's worst it was at twenty thousand, it is pretty scary when you debt equals your annual income.
So I am thrilled for each and every thousand I can reduce my debt by. And I am hoping to clear all my loans by the end of this month instead of next month. I will use some of the monies I have set aside for my tax to do this. The few pennies I lose in not keeping it in my high interest account will be more than paid back in what I will save in interest that I will not have to pay on my loan.
Either way my loan is going down and I am now in positive net worth also for the first time ever.
September is turning out to be a very good month - not famous last words I hope!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Questions Answered By The Finance Guru Alvin Hall

(Taken from The Sunday Times 21/09/08 - by Ali Hussain)

Are you a saver or a spender?

A combination of both. I'm pretty diligent about saving. However, if I really want something I will get it - although I'll spend a long time deciding.
I like to set aside around 20% of everything I have into savings. I also put away money towards a pension and earmark another portion for Christmas.

How has the credit crunch affected you?

I'm definitely more cautious. The first thing I did when the credit crunch started was to work out exactly what all my monthly expenses were and how much money I needed every month to cover that.

What is your financial priority?

To reduce my spending more and to save more.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt about money?

Always, always, always save.

Saturday, 20 September 2008


On Monday the final payment on my fifth consolidation loan will be credited to my account and will clear it and I will also receive a credit payment of a percentage on my interest payments.

This for me will be quite an achievement - a final payment on a consolidation loan!

Until 1999 I had taken out the odd hire-purchase and more often than not would paid it off before the required time. But in October of 1999 I took out the first, of what would be five consecutive consolidation loans, with those really nice people at the Midlands Bank (now known as HSBC). The loan was for £3,500.00 and was to consolidate some credit card debt I had built up - how simple it all started off as, now just shy of a decade later I will be making my final payment on my final consolidation loan.
My history looks like this:

1999 Oct. £3,500 @ 14.9% £4,304.52 (£119.57 x36)
2001 Oct. £7,000 @ 11.9% £8,285.62 (£230.16 x36)
2003 Nov. £4,750 @ 14.9% £5,292.57 (£294.04 x18)
2005 Apr. £7,000 @ 11.9% £8,067.50 (£268.92 x30)
2006 Oct. £8,600 @ 6.9% £9,211.85 (£383.83 x24)

I feel sick when I look at the amounts of money I have wasted. Here is the down payment on a house or a nice new car plus a holiday. The "what if" possibilities are endless but you get the drift.

All the loans were financed by those wonderful people at the HSBC Bank, who must really love me and yet they don't even send me a Christmas card! As you can imagine they are always ready to offer me more credit in the form of another loan, as I have never missed a loan payment (ever). Even the Halifax had a loan offer of £5,000 on my file last time I was visiting a branch making a payment on a card. That's a guaranteed loan offer and just a few weeks ago too. If this is a Credit Crunch why is there still so much credit being offered? But I digress.

Unless you are strong and really bloody minded about clearing your debts, don't take out a consolidation loan. If you have already done so - then you really should cut up your credit cards and get rid of any overdrafts you have. Then set up a direct debt payment for your consolidation loan, only buy with cash, learn the craft of frugal living and save, save, save. You will thank yourself in the long run!!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

A plan turns a dream into a goal - Mary Hunt

I have been re-reading Mary Hunts book Debt-Proof Living. One of my failing I feel, is my goal planning and Mary has a very good chapter on that subject. Keeping focus on short term goals is a real help for people like myself. Having a DFD is all well and good but the distance between here and there can be the stumbling block to ever reaching the goal. "It is going to take forever", "can I really do it" and all the "what if...." questions fill you mind and it can be really disheartening.

Okay Mary doesn't really write much about short term goals but her chapter on goals go me thinking anyway. Currently my only short term goals are to clear my loans by the end of October and to end the year with a total debt balance below £7655 (which is the lowest my debt has been since 2006). The first goal is well underway and should be completed before the 31st of October and I still feel the second goal as almost a done deal too. So I really could do with a few more short term goals.

My zero interest rate is ending on one of my cards and another card's low interest rate is also ending, so I will need to see what is on offer to deal with those. The first I could add to my No. 2 card as the interest rate is a life time rate and it will be about half the normal interest rate that will be now changed. There is a balance transfer charge of 3% which will be an extra £30 - so will have to think about that one.

So with lots to do to keep my interest rates as low as possible, I also want to set a goal to end the month of September under £9k.

  • End September under £9k
  • Start a Freedom account for rates payments
  • Clear all loans by the 31/10/08
  • Clear Credit Card No. 3 by the end of the year
  • End the year under £7k (new goal for this one)

Attacking debt with little bites!! After about 14 months blogging about getting out of debt I really can see the the balance creeping downwards and that is the way I want it to continue. Have you set some short term goals yet too??

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


I can't believe it I am under ten grand, that's pounds not dollars and so I am well chuffed. There is even one more pay day for this month so my final figure will be even better. Still this is really a major break through for me and I am very pleased!
So as you can see it is HAKA time!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Paying For Medicine

I had some vaccinations last week in preparation of my trip to Africa, I turned up at the doctors surgery at the appointed time but before I saw the nurse I was given a bill for £50.00. I was amazed as I have never had to pay for medicine in my life, not when I was growing up in New Zealand where they have/had? free health care based on the British NHS system and now living in the UK where I am under the NHS it's self.
However it doesn't include things like Yellow Fever vaccinations or Cholera medication, the latter I think will put me back about £38.00. I also have to pay for the Malaria Tablets which I did know about before hand and am expecting it to cost me about £70.00 or so.
I wrote out the cheque with a heavy heart and thought to myself "there goes my spending money of this week and next".
Tuesday will be soon enough for the Cholera medication (not a vaccination thank goodness).
So my medication bill for Africa is something like £158.00 which takes away from the good deal I had on the flight costs. Haven't paid for the accommodation yet either.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

On Monday I was contacted about some local week day work, for three days a week and it is walking distant from where I am living. I have been in to have a chat about it all and stated quite clearly that it will only be for three months, which doesn't seem to be a problem but don't think they want to pay me what I am asking.
My accommodation comes with my current job and I have been told that I can continue with my bed and board here but the details haven't been clarified. So am I now to be charged for bed and board? If yes, how much? And really is it worth staying on if that is the case?
It is all getting a little messy - I don't want to get less than what I have been paid up to now, as my current budget is dependent on that amount. I could be earning more than what I am getting now but that would be a brand new job and in a brand new location.
Should I just cut and run? Just get a job that pays more and clear my debt a.s.a.p?

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Back to London in September

Well, my signing up with the employment agencies all seems to have been a total waste of time. I haven't heard from any of them, nor have I seen any jobs online that would be any good for me. I am now working 14 days straight so will not be available for any interviews. Still I had to try and I did get my CV updated.
So will be back up to London in September and looking for a 12 week job before my trip to Africa in December. All going well my budget should not be effected and I should be on target for ending the year below £7,655.00.
However anything could happen between now and then, and "something is afoot" which could blow all my current plans out of the water but that is for another time.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Lucky Number 8

If your Chinese then today has been your day - it really couldn't get any better, only the 8th August 800 could really top it and who was around then? OK, if your going to go into the whole history of the Christian calendar, I already know but you understand what I am getting at.
I am not a big fan of China and if I have the option I usually don't buy China made products - that is not really an option these days is it.
Don't watch a whole lot of sport so the Beijing Olympics is not a whole lot of interest to me, although I did watch some of the opening night, just to see if I could spot my countries flag. To have seen the team as well was to much to ask I know. And yes - I did get a good glimpse of the red, white and mostly blue!! Yep! and I did feel a little bit of national pride too.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Looking To Stay Around?

I am going to spend most of the next two weeks trying to find a part time job in the area where I am currently working and living. As of September I will only be needed three days a week and have been offered food and board for the rest of the week if I stay on. The in's and out's of it all haven't been sorted as yet, so I don't know what this means as far as how much I will be getting paid and if some of my pay will become board. Finding a job that is happy for me to have Mondays off is not going to be easy either.
The big problem really is that my friends mostly live in London, an hour away from my current job which is in Surrey. I would like to say on at the job as I would mean I wouldn't have to move house (yer I am sooo lazy!), also the kind of work I do makes me want to stay around for the good of others.
However I have decided that if, after a really good effort I am not able to cover the wage I am currently getting, I will have to say sorry and go back up to London. So I have only two weeks to find something and then two weeks that I will not be available to even go to any interviews. Lets see what will happen!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Rant Alert!

I get the odd bit of junk mail like most people, usually it's banks trying to help me cut my home or my car insurance - of which I don't own either. But I got a new one this week from a loans company or should I rephrase that to "loan shark company"?

Can you believe the interest rate on offer here?!

I was ranting to a good friend of mine about this letter and asked him "who in their right mind would sign up for such a deal?". He told me his girlfriend used to quite often but he of cause has put a stop to it. This is a company who will knock on your door once a week to collect a weekly repayment (there is your major costing already). They will knock a lot more often if your not home when they call, I bet! But there are folk who will look at such a deal and think it is just what they need. To me - it is daylight robbery!

A couple of weeks back I was looking at consolidating my credit cards and one company offered me a loan for £5,000.00 at 42% interest. I told them I wouldn't touch it with a barge poll and was amazed that the lady seemed to think that I was mad not to take it. I told her that I could get twice the loan amount for way less than half the interest she was offering, which was very true.

In the letter pictured above it says and I quote:

...we've spent the last 125 years helping people when they need it so you know we really are here for you.

They have been ripping off the poor for the last 125 years they mean! The one good thing it would seem is that the most your can borrow is £500.00 but that is still just under 1k to pay back.

The whole credit debt issue really goes back to our very instant society and the belief that "your worth it". No, sometimes we are "not worth it" and other times "it's" not worth it either. Instant gratification doesn't satisfy nor does it teach us worth.

Friday, 1 August 2008

August Update

Bank Loan £ 767.66 (two payments remaining) £5,373.62

Flexiloan £ 1,000.00 (clear by October 2008) £4,038.16

Credit Card #1 £ 4,216.26 £2,975.51

Credit Card #2 £ 3,694.44 £2,782.80

Credit Card #3 £1,044.00 (need to clear/transfer by October as 0% ends)

Tax 07/08 £ 516.95 (this will be cleared by the end of the month) £1,959.13

Total £ 11,239.31 £17,129.22

(£ 9,952.76) Estimated balance for the end of the month.

If I am good this month I will get my total debt balance below the 10k mark for the first time in two years. The only shadow on the horizon is the fact that I have no work after August.

(Figures from 2007)

Monday, 28 July 2008

31st July is almost here!

It's tax time again and I don't have the full amount to pay my tax off in one foul swoop. My plan to set aside so much per month to pay for my taxes as they become due has not worked as well as I'd planned. (You know the problem?)

At the start of the year my balance was £12,607.01 and if you look at my current balance, it would seem I am in the little hamster wheel. Running flat out and not getting anywhere.

I am not the only one who is in this place - I know, this is the slog, the tedious part of clearing debt.

I have made a list of my monthly debt balances for the last 7 1/2 years and have been using it to help me get a handle on where I am financially and where I have come from. It's a pretty scary list, as it shows how long I have been trying to clear my debt and instead, I have been slowly increasing it year on year.

Last year my lowest balance was £12,611.43 - having added my current tax bill to my debit balance for July I am still under this amount. July isn't over yet so my debt balance will go down further before the 31st of July. My tax bill will be paid in full by the end of August and the end of my current job also.

My lowest balance for 2006 was £7,644.42 and I would like my balance for the end of this year to be at the same level as that. That is my goal for the end of this year, I would like to have a debit balance below this figure.

That is now the plan - time will tell huh!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Days Are Numbered

Well, I knew it was coming, didn't know when but I now have an official end of employment day which is the 1st of September 2008. I was expecting it to be a lot earlier, like the end of the month and so am thrilled to get an extra month. Like I said back in April, changing jobs totally stuffs up my debt repayment plans (for the time being anyway).

I am still needed but only for three days a week, at half my regular wage which will not work unless I can get work for the rest of the week to make up the difference. But I would also need to get other accommodation, which would again reduce the amount I can currently pay onto my debts anyway. So it looks like I will have to get a new job elsewhere.

My goal to clear my loans by October is so close and I so want to reach it - it will mean my debts would under the 9K mark and back to the national average. Unless that has now gone up!
Currently I am still working on getting my debt under the 10K mark - if I can get a new job quickly in September I could still get there!

Still I have a month to sort it all out - thank goodness for that!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

What's In Your Wallet?

Inspired by Debtkid who was himself inspired by a post on the Lending Club blog on cleaning out your wallet, I thought why not have a go myself.
Wallet Before Clean Out
Yep my wallet has been around the world and then some, so is looking very tired but I still like it. I brought it at Next a couple of years ago at a sale for only £5.

Empty wallet with all it's continence

The wallet continence was:
  • two books of 1st class stamps
  • a collection of foreign stamps brought on my travels (for when I go back)
  • NZD$25.05
  • GBP£2.05 (this is it till next Tuesday)
  • two restaurant business cards from Italy and Turkey
  • two keys (for my friends flat)
  • NHS donor card (everyone should have one of these)*
  • Boots advantage card (my favorite points card)
  • Nectar card (not really using this one at present)
  • Tesco Club card (not using this one either as there is no local store to my work/home)
  • Orange Top up card (not using as I have now taken up a contract with Orange)
  • Costa card (have about .90p still on the card)
  • HSBC debit card (which is also my cheque guarantee card)
  • Surrey Council library card (borrow don't buy books)
  • receipts and cash machine slips

The Orange top up card, two restaurant business and the receipts etc. have all got to go as they are just taking up space. But everything else can stay, no credit cards as you can see and no overdraft on my debit card either, so no available credit to waste.

*Do you have a donor card? Have you thought of becoming a donor but have just been putting it off? Why don't you sort it out now online and contact or contact an organ donor register where you live. Help someone else to live after your death - you can't take it with you.

July Review

I get paid weekly - so every week when my pay goes into my account I get busy transferring monies around my various bank accounts. It's the fun part of my finances as I get to see my debt go down and my credit go slowly up, even if only by little amounts.

At the end of this month I will be back to where I was at the start of May (or should I re word that to "before my trip to Turkey"). In April my final balance for the month was £10,979.40 and I am hoping to get my balance this month down to £10,980.00.

Next month the goal is to get my final balance below £10,000.00, which will be the first time since 2006 it has been that low. Back in March I was fretting about not being able to get below £12k now I just want to get under the £10k mark. Time will tell don't you think!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

The Debt is still with me!

My tan is fading and it now seems like forever since my summer holiday trip to Turkey (and there abouts) last May.

But my debt from the trip is still with me and my debt total is back where it was at the beginning of April.

Still it was a great trip!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

You can't spend what you don't have!

Since getting rid of my debit cards overdraft I have really had to think about what I am spending money on and if I can get it cheaper somewhere else. The habit of frivolously spending £5 here and £10 there has to go and so is the shouting my friends a coffee or a meal. I am having to go dutch now when I go out with my friends. It's kind of sad to have to do that but I need my weekly spending allowance to stretch as much as possible.
Last weekend I was in the local town (local to where I work that is) and I stepped into WH Smith with the idea of getting a paperback or two, as they were having a sale. Before I had really even looked to see what they had I remembered that my debit card was very low, so had to dash to the hole-in-wall to check my balance. Not enough funds to get a book or anything else, so had to go home empty handed. Not such a nice feeling!!
So much of my wage is going on what I have already brought i.e. my debt, I don't know why I even bother to go to the shops at all.
At least now when I use my debit card I know that I am not creating any more debt for myself and that is a good feeling. It's the restriction of living on a tight budget that is so hard to deal with but I do know that it is all for my own good and I need to learn good habits about spending.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Credit Cards - Chopped Or Iced?

Had to make a call regarding one of my credit cards today as two strange transactions had appeared on my pending statement. They were only for smallish amounts of £8 and £15 but as I haven't used the card since I got back from Turkey and I have never been to Luton, I decide to find out.
I have never had to do this before and am now waiting for some forms to come in the post to apply for a refund on the transactions. As an extra precaution I have also stopped the account and will be sent a new card in the post which I shall cut up on it's arrival. Can't they just let us have the option of having a new card sent or not, as we choose. I guess they'd rather we had the card and fall into temptation. I was bad I know, as the only reason I had the card was because the old one had expired so they sent me a new one and I didn't get rid of it when it arrived. I favour the "chop it up" approach but some like the "freeze it in a block of ice" approach.
What do you do? What's your approach to the little piece of plastic?

Monday, 23 June 2008

To Consolidate Or Not To Consolidate

Maybe it's the time of year or may be it is something in the water but I have been tempted to consolidate my debts and have only "one easy monthly payment". It does sound good doesn't! You have a set monthly payment which makes your budgeting easy and month by month your balance goes down as you clear your debt.
Ahhh - sounds wonderful but there is a little problem, for me at least there is, maybe there is for you too and that is I have been a bit of a serial consolidator. I have consolidated my debt in October 2001, September 2003, March 2005 and September 2006. Can you see a patten emerging here?
You would think I would have learned by now but wave a low interest rate in my face and I'm filling out the forms like there is no tomorrow. And that is just what happened last week and you are probably thinking "well, if the rate is lower than what your currently paying that is a good thing". You'd think but when I entered all my information to the online forms, my reply was to say that I did qualify for a loan and should call the number on the screen to get more information.
The wording should have told me it all but no! I called the number and found that the great rate had increased by 4.2%, not so great a loan now but did I say no? Well after some umming and arring on the phone I agreed to the loan at the increased interest rate. I knew that I had a seven day grace period should I decide to cancel it - good thing too.
I spend a day going over the number and it just wasn't worth taking up the loan and so I have cancelled it.
Really a no brainer as I would once again break my third rule of "not increasing my debt" as the interest is all added up front. Also I would have been tired into a two year payment plan and be paying more interest in the long run. I, of cause rejected the PPI offered and wasn't impressed by the method that was used to try and get me to sign up i.e. If you lost your job how would you pay for the loan? (Get another job??)
In September I pay off the consolidation loan I took out in 2006 and I know that like my debit card overdraft, re consolidating my debts just gets me into more debt.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Rule Number Three

Okay here are the new figures for my end of month for May and they aren't good reading:

Flexiloan £1,844.00 up from £492.25 at the beginning for May
Bank Loan £1,535.32 down from £1919.15 at the start of month
Mastercard #1 £4,359.00 up from £3,300.00 at the start of month
Mastercard #2 £3,792.00 down from £3,842.03 at start of month
Creditcard #3 £1,094.00 down from £1,139.88 at start of month
Current Account in Credit (with one pending change of £12.00)

So the outcome is that I am now back to my January balance at £12,625.00 and I have increased my debit by £1,645.00. By doing this I also break my rule number 3 of "not increasing my debt".

It is all a matter of getting back on track and get the balance down again, with the knowledge that it is going to take an extra two months to clear my loans, so in turn my DFD will have to be adjusted accordingly. But am I really sorry about all this? Not really, as I had a great holiday and so did all my friends and I can account for most of the monies spent.

Was I right or wrong?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Wow One Year On!

I can't believe it has been almost a year since I started my pf blogging. Time really flies!
It was last June when, while reading the DWD board on the Motley Fools site, that I discovered pf blogging. My debt had just hit £20k, which was quite sickening and I was trying to get my finances sorted (for about the 10th time).
Well a year on and how well have I done?
This is a very scary question as I have just returned from a two week holiday in Turkey, a holiday in which I not only went over budget but blew it out of the water! I really don't even want to look at the figures for the time being but it was a great holiday!
Icmeler rocks!
The worst part of blowing my budget is the holiday was free (eg. flights, transfers, accommodation). Oh well got to get back to the grind, back to reality. I have got to get below the £10k mark! That is my next goal.
(I will do the figures - eventually)

Saturday, 10 May 2008

May Update but what happened to April?

April was a crazy month, mostly because of major changers in my job and for a few weeks there I didn't really know what was going to happen or even how much longer I was going to have the job. Since then things at work have stabilised, which is great news for my budget and even better for my savings as I am off on holiday in a weeks time and feel I still have some breathing space financially. The holiday is two weeks in Turkey with friends and has been paid for by them (yes I am very spoilt!), all I need is spending money.
I have put aside what I need to make all my monthly payments for May and have enough to cover the start of June also. But will not be able to make a snowball payment this month on my chosen account.
1. I have cleared my overdraft with my flexiloan account and plan to keep the debit card but cancel my overdraft facility. Then the plan is to build up a credit balance on the current account which is attached to the card as a sort of emergency account. I have my tax account as a sort of parachute for emergency also, so should be well covered between the two.
This plan sounds great on paper but as I don't have any extra income and am not able to get a second job or anything like that, I will have to achieve all this within current budget. Without my overdraft I will not be able to spend money I don't have so, I will have to keep within my budget and as I will be back from my holiday, I will hopefully be able to curb my spending habit.
2. Clearing my bank loans by September is still on track, in March I think I said August and it maybe that I can do it by then too.
3. Once the loans are cleared then it is just the credit cards to clear and juggle also, as the interest free period on my Barclay card runs out in October. I should be able to clear the rest within ten months if I am really, really good.
I am planning a very short trip to Africa in November/December which I have yet to really work out cost for. I want to keep cost to a minimum so am not planning to go on safari or anything like that. This is really just a taster trip and I am hoping (G-D willing) to make some more trips there in the future.

1. Clear overdraft (as at 01/05/08) £ 285.58 Done
2. Clear loans (as at 01/05/080 £2696.98 To do by 30/09/08
3. Update Budget to clear credit cards (as at 01/05/08) £8282.42 To do by 30/09/08

Monday, 5 May 2008

Overdraft: Another Victim Of The Credit Crunch?

I received a letter from HSBC the other day regarding the overdraft facility on my current account. It would seem that HSBC are now "reviewing" existing overdrafts on their accounts and are now changing a £25 arrangement fee. Now although it doesn't say it in the letter, these fees look to be an annual change as the bank is giving me a start date for my "new overdraft facility" and they have quoted a 13 month time period before "the facility we are now offering will expire" (I'd say another £25 plus arrangement fee could be slotted in here).
This current account (one of two I hold with HSBC) is attached to my debit card (anagram for "bad credit") and is a problem area in my budgeting. So I guess the overdraft is going to have to go and possible the debit card as well.
Will have to look into Barclaycards three in one card and see if that is a better opinion for me.
What do you think?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

New Mobile: Deal Or No Deal?

Okay I had a weak moment last weekend and am now the owner of a brand new mobile phone and a brand new 18 month phone contract with Orange.
I know, I know, I should have just said "No" but I didn't and well I still haven't gotten the thing up and running yet anyway. So I have either been majorly ripped off and brought a fake dude and need to phone my bank or they just don't answer activation calls on the weekend?
Tomorrow will tell me soon enough I guess.
The "too good to miss deal" was for a £5.00 a month phone contract with 850 free phone minutes and 400 free texts a month. The only hang up was you had to pay £40.00 a month and every third month you have to send in your last three statements to get a refund of £105.00 from Orange. And this had to been done within 14 days of the date on third, sixth, ninth (etc.) statement .
The new phone that comes with the package is Oranges Tokyo mobile phone with all the lights and whistles for such a small phone.
Now I am not bother about the phone really as I don't have a close relationship with my other two mobile phones, which are both pay-as-you-go and my budget for my mobiles is only about £10 a month. So the thought of cutting the cost by half per month seemed really good at the time. I could get the statements back in time for the refund cheque (which I could then x-fire but that's another story).
Well the contract I have in writing is for £4.99 a month and I get 850 minutes but only 300 texts per month. Now the chances of me sending 300 texts in a year are pretty much nil, so to do so in a month is a joke but I am cross that I was told 400 and now it is only 300.
The rest of the contract is the same as I have describe, so tell me.... deal or no deal?

Monday, 21 April 2008

Nothing Ever Stays The Same...

My current job could be ending at anytime and although this doesn't overly concern me, as I can usually get work very quickly. Changing jobs does tend to mess up my budget planning and as I have a holiday planned for next month, I can only hope that my current job can last a few more weeks.
Today I can update my two loans, which will bring my debt down to under £11,000 but only just, which means that I still have another 11 months before I can clear my debts in full. So March next year is my DFD.

Monday, 7 April 2008

April is here and so is Spring...

It's Spring time and yesterday morning I was trapsing through the snow, something we don't get that much of here in London.
Yesterday was also the start of the new tax year and I get to find out how much I owe the government - itn't it a joy. They do nothing for me and this year I get the extra governmental gift, as Mr Brown, in his last budget decided, in his great wisdom, to make my tax calculations easier and got rid of the 10% tax band. So I am having to cough up an extra £229.90 - ta very much mate!!!!

I will be voting at the next elections, I have made sure that I am on the roles this time and I will not be wanting to see Mr Brown and co. back in office I can tell you.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Finally my total debt is below twelve thousand, it hasn't been this low since about June 2006! So I do feel I am getting somewhere again and I still have two more pay days this month, plus I get time and a half for today and Monday. So the final balance for the month is yet to come which makes me very happy. Happy dance when I get under ten thousand!!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Mid Month Update

Looking at my month by month debt figures since last June shows a steady downward tread, which is wonderful but I seem to have gotten stuck at the twelve thousand mark and don't seem to have have move from it since December. This is not so good and is getting me down a little. I really need to up the anti, as I have to start getting some extra monies put aside for my holiday in May which will be a full three weeks off work. I will need to cover all my direct debit payments and other monthly expenses for that time.
I really had planned to have my debts down to under ten thousand by now but the best laid plans and all that! Next weekend is Easter so I will get extra monies for working through, that will be a great help as I am taking a weekend off in the beginning of April to do this seminar I have spent so much money on. Would love to get some one to come with me for the three days but all my friends are either working or have kids. They can't afford or are unable to take the time off and so, they can't come and aren't really that interested in buying property. House prices in the South East of the UK are sky high - who can afford a mortgage and a family?
One thing that is looking good is that by August all my bank loans will be paid in full. Okay, so I transferred most of one loan onto a credit card but that was to reduce interest charges. Still, either way I am please to know that I have not re consolidated my loans with my credit cards as I have done in the past.
At the end of the month I will be under twelve thousand which will be an achievement of sorts.
The March challenge I have taken up (see my February post) has been quite good, not perfect mind, as I did spend 0.95p on a smoothie drink last Sunday. That has been my only slip so far and at times it has been an effort not to just stop in at Costa for a latte, or at the village bakery which always smells so divine when I walk past. I am sure I have saved myself some money but could only guess how much. It's not showing up on the scales yet which is a drag.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

A Credit Crunch Surprise

Although toady's Daily Telegraph is full of the upcoming budget I am sure that the end to the 'Credit Crisis' would have been mentioned?
Why do I ask this?
I have just noticed that my credit card balance limit has been increased by £1000.00, something which has happened since I transferred a large balance onto the card last week. I haven't received anything in the post to advise me that is was going to happen, which is the banks usual practice. And as we are in a 'Credit Crisis' and loans, mortgages etc, are getting harder to come by why are they increasing my credit card limit?
I contacted Experian last week and did checked my latest credit score - WOW it is up 185 points and that doesn't yet take into account the fact I am back on the electro roll. Mind you the report didn't list all my open debit accounts so I don't know if they are even taken into account. It's £5.95 a pop to view your credit score - which is daylight robbery as far as I am concerned. So I will wait a month or two and see then if there is any further changes.
But at the moment it seems my credit is very good - crisis or not.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Interested In Interest

Credit cards with zero balances are dangerous things as it is so easy to just make that one purchase on the card and well - if your in for a penny, suddenly it becomes a few thousand pounds. Well that has been the case in the past for me but no more.

No, I am now more interested in the interest. And my empty credit card card had an interest rate of 3.9% for balance transferes which I think is very good. It is better that the current rate of interest I have on my second credit card and that particular card has send me credit cheques.

Yep I am into a major shuffle with my debt balances as I want to get rid of my Flexiloan account balance. It has a current variable interest rate of 16.8% - ouch! I can't see that going anywhere but up in the near future. So if I could half it would that be a good thing?

Now I know every one goes on about zero precent credit cards and they are great, just the ticket and all that but the chances of moi getting one is zip.

Transfering a credit card balance or a store card (if you mad enough to have one of those) balance is very easy but loans are a different story but credit cheques are the answer if I want to get rid of my Flexiloan.

The credit cheques have a 3% handling fee and a 8.94% interest rate for the life of the balance better than the 16.8% I am currently paying! Tomorrow I shell use a cheque to clear the majority of my Flexiloan which will then become my number one taget for snowballing.

So what do you think? Is this a bad move or what?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Rome City Break

Rome was a blast and my god-daughters and I had a great time visiting the sites and enjoying people watching from street cafeterias, eating ice-creams by fountains and generally being tourist.
But I have to confess I did go over budget and my current account overdraft is now maxed out.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

March Challange

Give Me Back My Five Bucks has challanged us to not spend any money on lunch/snacks/coffee/tea during work days from now until March 31st. I get all my meals for free at work but I do like to buy in snacks, so I will have to stop that and will only purchase any food stuffs during my time off and I can't bring any of it to work. The only exception that I have to make is gum.
This challange will help me to reduce my weight if nothing else as I could do with losing about a stone.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Slow To Save Money

I have been at my current job in Surrey since September and have been tooing and froing to London by train, wincing as it was costing me almost half my spending money for the pleasure. In January the train companies blessed us all with their annual fare increase and I also discovered that the parking changes at my local station car park increased to bring it inline with the charges at other stations in the area. An increase of 230% if I use the car park for the day and a fare increase of about 5%.
When I read books or articles on reducing debt I would generally skip the bits relating to reducing your gas bill or your electicity bill because they just don't relate to me. And as for reducing my mortgage bill, well one day I do plan to get excited about that. But I was missing the whole point about reducing costs and I wasn't looking passed the examples, to what I could be and should be reducing costs in.
So now I am the proud owner of a Network Railcard which costs only £20.00 per year but will pay for it's self by the end of the month and will save me £££ for the rest of the year. I am a little slow and when I think of the money I could have saved - well I could spit tacs.
Still a little lesson learned, don't ignore something because it doesn't appear to relate to your situation. Ask yourself what is this information trying to help be do ultimately? And then apply that fact to your problem.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

No More Cheques

Tesco's, Booths, Sainsbury's and many other companies are no longer accepting cheques, which is bad if you are an elderly person and rely on others to do you shopping. What will you do now - give them your debt card and pin number? Yes, this is now what some people have to do if they are unable to use cheques, they have no alternative. How safe is this system? Well that depends on the honesty of the person to whom they hand their debit card and pin number.
The cheque system is slow and pron to fraud, really it has had it's day and is now obsolete we live in the twenty first century. Online banking systems are improving in the UK but they have a little way to go to catch up with other counties like New Zealand. Okay banking in NZ is no longer free which is something I am still getting over but I can buy online and pay via my online bank account and the transaction doesn't take three days, it's instant.
It was wonderful last year to buy flowers for my Mums online and not have to use a credit card and as my bank account was in NZdollars I didn't get charged any currency fee ,etc.
No more cheques for my wagers either now as my employer has set up direct payment and I recieved my first payment direct to my bank. Yeeepiiiii!! No more waiting for cheques to clear, no more worring that I will not have enough in my account to cover my direct debits because my wage for the last week has only just arrive in the post and now I have to bank it and wait for the standard three working days clearance.
Talking of this three day clearance how come it takes HSBC three days to recieve a payment to my credit card from my HSBC bank account?

Monday, 11 February 2008


Budget is my word of the month, it is the one thing I really need to work on this month. Okay, I am almost half way though the month but my budget has been top most on my agenda. For years I have tried to pay off my debts but without a real budget. Oh don't get me wrong - I would list all my debt payments and make sure that the payments were being made, I would try and pay extra on my credit cards sometimes to clear them. However I hadn't heard of snowballing or snowflaking and seem unable to come to some kind of ballpoint figure for spending money. I have note books going back almost ten years listing all my debt payments month by month, amounts paid and what my income was at that time. But never but a figure on my personal spending. This I feel was the reason for my failure to really get a handle on my debts and clear them years ago.
In January I decided on a weekly personal spending figure of £50.00, I have to confess that since then I have only once kept under the £50.00 amount. But I am working on it and know that it is do able. My personal spending is for all entertainment, travel, clothes, eating out, gifts and the alike. A very small amount for all the above I know but it is only till I get out of debt. It is okay to hurt if it makes you stronger and £200.00 a month is more than some people have to spend - so I am not complaining.
So my Budget is very simple:
10% Paying myself
22% Tax (Paying the Man)
5% (Giving)
51% Debt
Expenses 2%
10% Spending
The concept of paying myself 10% is from the books Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Richest Man In Babylon. I need to feel that some of my income is mine and that it is not going down some dark plug hole. For too long my income has been like sand slipping through my fingers and carried away by the wind. I have nothing to show for years of income.
Sure I am putting too much aside for my income tax but it is better to have too much than to little. And if you have read some of my posts you will know that I have been using this account as an emergency fund but as always I have been refunding the tax account in full.
I would like to increase the amount I am able to give but don't really think I am able to at this time. Even half a percent would be really pushing it, as I haven't been able to really keep to my spending allowance yet.
Yep, I am paying over half my income each week/month to clear my debts. Need I say any more!
You don't believe me? It is true, my job enables me to live without having very many expenses which is great but I am planning a change of career for next year.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

January Update

Well, things have gone good and bad for January, good in that I have managed to pay off £777.13 of my debt bringing the balance down to £11,834.09. This is made slightly better as I have been able to pay a futher £79.08 off my only active credit card but wasn't able to credit the card until February.
So it all looks like this:
Credit Card 1 £0.04(cr)
Credit Card 2 £3832.00
Credit Card 3 £759.08
Flexiloan £4245.37
Bank Loan £3070.64
Current Account £0.00
Total Balance £11834.09
The bad news is that I should have paid off about £850.00 in total but have spent £773.00 on course which I will not be able to really take advantage of until next year when I am free of my debts. I feel it is money well spent and when I see how much money some people have paid towards their education, I think it is nothing. In the past I have wasted money on correspondence courses I have never completed and have finally learnt that lesson well. For me, a class environemt is the only way I can get motivated to get on and finish any course. With all the best of intentions I can not do it alone, I need to compete with others.
The course I have signed up for is only for three days and is quite intense - because of my dyslexica note taking will be a problem but I will not let that worry me too much. I know I will be getting lots of written and reconded information also and am hoping this will help.
Okay so you have added the course charge to my total debt balance for the month and you get the same figure as I do;
Total debt £12,607.09
Yes, my grand deduction for January is now only £4.13 - whip-di-do!!
Therefore the £79.08 and a futher £76.63 I have paid towards my credit cards so far this month do make me feel a little better. Also, the fact that my tax bill for Januray is paid in full and my little jaunt to Rome latter this month is also accounted for and will not add to my total debt amount makes me feel I am getting somewhere. I am learning how to look after my finances but
I still need to keep my weekly spending down to my limit of £50.00.
Something else I am looking at is refinancing my Flexiloan into a normal loan. The Post Office look to have the best deal for what I need but I am waiting for a reply to my request for a 0.0% credit card from them. I should have waited, just applied for a loan and not worried about the credit card deal at all. I had a call last week from HFC Bank trying to get me to take out more credit - like I really need it! We are in a credit crisis and the newspapers are all saying how the banks are now cracking down on bad debt and turning down more loan applications than they are accepting and I get a bank ringing me up to offer me credit? How weird is that? I have never been offered credit over the phone before.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

January Update On the Way

I have yet to get my January balance for my Barclaycard, which I made a purchase on in Euro's so don't know the the pounds figure. Once I have that I should be able to update both my NCN and NetworthIQ chats.
It's not going to be as good as I had planned as I have over spent on my personal allowance and really need to get a grip on my spending. What I really need to do is find out how much things cost and not just guess the costs. Something else I have done last month was to sign up for a three day conference on investing - yer! I am clearing debt but spending money on education courses. But I want to do something different and this is something I am interested in, time for me to get out of a rut. Once I have cleared my debt I plan to do something totally diffent with my life. So I have a year to get educated.
Inland Revenue's January payment is paid, it's gone, done, finished, completed...... yahhh!
Another thing I am very happy about is that fact that my savings are looking good for the first time in a very long time. I have taken my savings concepts from the book The Richest Man In Babylon and so will not be using any of it as an emergency fund.
Well tomorrow is another day and I have quite a to-do list.
But more about that later!

Friday, 18 January 2008

Rome Trip for Feb

I have been costing up my trip to Rome to see how I am going to budget for it. Yep - doing everything backwards I know. I have really only put aside £100 for my trip so far but the break-down currently goes like this:

Flights £ 76.20 (includes baggage chargers)
Accommodation £149.87 (Paid £70.00 on credit card)
Insurance £12.29 (for one adult and two kids)

Total £238.36 (Paid so far £146.20)

So my current account overdraft has been taking a hammering and I am breaking one of my rules of not getting into more debt. I should be able to clear the overdraft and pay for the rest of the trip with my tax saving.
I am all set to pop into the post office on the 28th and present a cheque for the full 1st half of my IRD payment. So after that I should have about £400 available to pay for the trip and for spending money.
Yes I know I should be using this money to clear my debts. But as I haven't had a holiday since last May and I have been promising my god-daughters a trip to Italy for the last 2 years, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone - so to speak. And well a trip to Rome for 3 for four days at under £500 is good isn't it??

Friday, 11 January 2008

I Love Reward Cards

On Wednesday I went over my weekly budget, I did something I hadn't done for almost a year - yes ....... I went and had my hair cut. It was all because of a comment I read on a PF Blog or was it the Motley Fools Dealing with Debt board. It seems we female PF blogger's have the same hair do. OK it's not quite an Essex face lift, but we just brush it back and tie it with a band. Well that was me, I was conforming to some unknown standard type and I didn't even know it. How could this have happened. So it was time for some action, probably some really delayed teen aged angst and it has ended with a totally new hair do and £27.50 over budget for this week, the third week of this new year.
OK you may say what does this have to do with Reward Cards? My totally new hair do will now require a few extras that my "dwd do" didn't need ie. a ceramic hair straightener and some hair gel. I was in Boots yesterday and saw the above named items on sale (you just have to love the January sales) and I also remembered that I had almost £20.00 on my Boots advantage card. It didn't take a lot of thinking - £5.00 for a straightener and I get it for free cos I have faithfully been shopping at the same store. I love reward cards! And yes, I still have just over a tenor left on the card.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Welcome 2008

Well the New Year is here and I am back to my old ways - but hopefully better prepared than before. I have promised my god-daughters a trip to Europe and I have finally booked it for February, which is low season. If I am really good between now and then, I should be able to cover it all in cash. But that means no dinning out or any shopping for the next seven weeks. The flights including taxes are £20.00 and I am looking to get accommodation for no more than £160 for three nights. Just hope weather is nice for us - I don't mide gray and cold just don't want rain.

January also means tax payment and I have to pay for the first half of the 07/08 tax year. This year I am ready - and will be able to write a cheque for the full amount, which is wonderful!
Last year I had the tax man breathing down my neck some, for the money.
Then, it's all clear until the end of July.

I have an account were I have been paying in each week monies set aside for my taxes and have been putting aside more than I really need. (I still haven't received any billing from the IR as to how much is going to be due at the end of the month) But whatever the outcome I know I have more than enough if I go by last years chargers. Will probably use some of the money in the tax account to help fund the trip in February.

Oh I didn't say - I am taking the girls to Rome!!