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!