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)