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!