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Debt - really can't believe the mess we are in

(82 Posts)
Nerfmother Sat 04-May-13 11:29:19

It all seemed so lovely when we got together but the combinations of two failed marriages, debt from first marriage, me leaving work for ages due to sick child, and lack of common sense means that on an income of about 75k we are unable to even do spontaneous trips to the cinema. Not looking for sympathy , but is anyone else. In a similar boat?

MrsWolowitz Sun 05-May-13 06:47:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 07:21:24

I feel for you OP, relationship breakdown left me in a hell of a mess and my credit rating is crap. I am now on benefits ...although hoping that I will be back at work within a few weeks.
Everything has gone up, petrol, food, all is hideous.

Delayingtactic Sun 05-May-13 08:12:12

I got DH and I into heaps of debt, uncontrolled cc spending, overdraft and bank loan which defaulted - actual genuine error on their part but it had gone to debt collectors so there was nothing they could do. I felt sick with stress and worry and absolute guilt.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel - credit cards are almost all paid (two months until clear!) and our largest debt (my loan) has gone from £28000 to £7000. In a weird way it was actually more helpful for it to have gone to debt collectors, I don't pay interest and they have been surprisingly really flexible about increasing or decreasing payments as needed.

I have the most impressive spreadsheet - it tracks everything and automatically updates various things so I know to the penny how much we have free to spend on little things like food over the month. At least the absolute guilt has stopped.

Nerfmother Sun 05-May-13 08:17:45

Loads of really helpful advice and stories. Thank you. I am going to look at the links this afternoon, and work out what else is doable.

AntoinetteCosway Sun 05-May-13 08:21:38

Badvoc it sounds like you're doing really well cutting costs. Without meaning to sound harsh though, can I suggest something about the cable?

TV-worth anything from £100+ I'd guess?
TV licence-£120 a year approx
Cable-£50?? a month-ish?

It all really adds up. One of the best things we did when we were cost cutting was get rid of our TV altogether. We now don't have to pay for a TV license, we can still watch stuff (not live ) on the laptop on I player/4OD, and we're saving a fortune. We also don't have the TV on in the background every evening eating electricity and we're getting more quality time together as a family, which is a great side effect! It's really worth looking at.

fisherflyer Sun 05-May-13 08:27:30

I have heard good things about CAP too MrsWolowitz. I was in terrible debt a couple of years ago and I got help through CCCS (now named Stepchange) which I preferred as they did it all over the phone rather than a home visit.

I had over £60k in debt and was paying over half my income on just the minimum payments, hardly making inroads towards the debt at all. They helped me get it written off through bankruptcy, which is a massive relief to me - I feel so much better off as I didn't have to pay anything towards the debts after that so I was able to keep all my income. Have been discharged a year now and am able to afford those little treats again. My credit rating is shot for the next few years, but by the time I asked for help, I was getting turned down for consolidation loans anyway, so I actually don't think it's made it any worse than it was.

It makes no sense to try to pay off the debt yourself without seeking advice. You often end up paying more as the support agencies can help you get the interest frozen, or ask the credit companies to accept a lower settlement offer than the whole debt. Some people are reluctant to ask for help as it does affect your credit rating. But chances are, it's going to be pretty poor if you're in that much debt anyway.

uggmum Sun 05-May-13 08:29:40

I would recommend 'stepchange' debt charity. They are brilliant and their website has lots of self help.

Badvoc Sun 05-May-13 09:26:38

Antoinette..yes that's true. It does mount up doesn't it? Like the car too I guess...ins, fuel, mot etc.
I do find I use the cable a lot though, things like catch up, recording programmes I can't watch, and the kids use it too. I think I would have a revolution on my hands if we got rid of it smile
Plus our (old) laptop is on it's last legs, so would need to get a new one to benefit from iplayer etc.
For me it's about completely changing the way I think about and spend money.
I will check out the stepchange website, thanks.
Thing is, I am not bothered about going out, having nice clothes, going abroad etc but I do worry that soon it will affect the dc and what we can provide for them and whether they will be able to take advantage of school trips etc sad
So I have to do something.
Ideally by Xmas I want to not be using my (free) overdraft at all. And kept in budget for Xmas gifts. And have a savings plan in place for 2014.
Easy, right? smile

Badvoc Sun 05-May-13 09:27:52

I think I need to get me a spreadsheet! smile

Nerfmother Sun 05-May-13 10:00:46

Our spreadsheets are: outgoings and grand total so that each month I know how much is left for fuel. Then a spreadsheet updated each month with every debt balance and totals at te bottom.

eminemmerdale Sun 05-May-13 11:16:33

Just watching the news - apparently 43% of people are using cards or savings to do the food shopping sad In a way, that makes me feel better - so many people (squeezed middle) in the same situation.

Badvoc Sun 05-May-13 12:31:22

Yes I saw that too.
I wonder I'd the govt care tbh...

Nerfmother Sun 05-May-13 13:29:26

Yes, I'm not surprised. I pay gas and electric on one of the cards hmm

RantyMcRantpants Sun 05-May-13 16:19:15

This is the link to the Debtfree Wanabe board on MSE. They are a great bunch of folk and are really supportive and have lots of ideas for getting extra cash to pay down the debts.

Also bung your details in the Snowball Calculator and see how quickly youcan pay down your debts.

Nerfmother Sun 05-May-13 18:09:59

Thanks rants. Am off tomorrow so will try the snowball one first

Badvoc Sun 05-May-13 19:29:01

I went on the stepchange website (would recommend) and in some ways it was good news...we are not late on any payments and (apparently) have Osage money left over each month but its sobering to see all your debts in one place.
£8k is a lot sad
It also did mention selling the car,(our only asset) but dh won't hear of it and as we live in a village it will be handy for job hunting.
All I see for the rest of the year is money needing to be spent sad
Holiday (uk)
Family wedding (just dh and I going)
Then back to school and uniforms etc

NoMoreMarbles Sun 05-May-13 19:45:23

We have about 6-7k debt not inc mortgage and secured loan (with them it's about 88kshock) that we managed to fall behind on payments when DH was made redundant in 2010. We have bitten the bullet and entered into a debt management plan. It was the best move I have made (I made the decision as DH buried his head in the sand about it all) we now shop at Aldi and get clothes etc from eBay where possible. Any spare money I find lying around is saved in a pot and we meal plan and save extra portions left over in freezer boxessmile we now have a small amount of disposable income and can put some aside for little luxuries. With debt I have found pride to be an enemy as it stopped me from being practical and sorting out the finances earlier... It's horrible, the helplessness of debt...

Nishky Sun 05-May-13 19:53:46

I am at the other side of paying off debts after about 8 years- it is hard but you will all get there.

I actually enjoyed parts of regaining control - the first Christmas I paid for in cash/debit card rather than credit card gave me a massive thrill. Even though the presents were slightly smaller.

Good luck. It can be done.

leaderscorp Thu 09-May-13 05:50:28

Have you consulted an expert about debt already? I think you should see one.

Nerfmother Thu 09-May-13 22:11:38

Leaders, no, dh won't do a debt plan etc. tbh, by looking at the links on here , and facing reality, it's a case of head down, pay it off for the next four years, and hope we both keep our jobs. I spent too long til recently looking for a magic answer and juggling bits of cash around. Now I know exactly what we owe I have a plan...

Amilliondifferentpeople Fri 10-May-13 07:34:37

I've downloaded that total money makeover recommended earlier. Interesting....

AntoinetteCosway Fri 10-May-13 08:54:59

Hope it's useful amillion. Ignore the God stuff (unless that's up your street) and the advice is very sound. He's a bit controversial in that he recommends paying debts from smallest to largest rather than from highest to lowest interest, but his argument is that it gives you a psychological boost to pay off whole debts more quickly which is worth more than the money saved by doing it the other way.

Nerfmother Fri 10-May-13 09:48:59

That's what I'm doing antoinette - it's much nicer to reduce the number of debts and not just the overall total

Amilliondifferentpeople Fri 10-May-13 10:12:30

Yep the god but killed it a bit for me, and I also thought it was unusual to consider building savings whist you have debt.... But as you say, it taps into the psychology of debt.

AntoinetteCosway Fri 10-May-13 14:52:02

Yep, and you're only supposed to save a mini emergency fund (£1000 -or dollars, probably!) while doing the debt snowball, then go back to it and bump it up to a proper one once you're debt free.

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