Busy times

August 6th, 2015

Since May this year I haven’t known whether I am coming or going …. changes to my personal life outside of work have meant I am out most nights attending events; exchanging pleasantries with a wide range of people and acknowledging the excellent work that voluntary and community groups undertake and hosting my own charity fundraisers.

This has all had a detrimental affect on our eating habits as well as our bank account and ability to save!

August is a quieter month and luckily we are able to grab a few nights away in Cornwall with family.

My activity on the forum has not been as strong as it has in the past but I do check in most days and try to respond to those posts that I can offer some support to … I try not to simply acknowledge what has been said before as I would prefer to add some value to the original posters question. Its good to see the range of topics that are being discussed.

Going forward I think the forum will continue to develop and with the longstanding regular posters in foggy, lesley, plasticdaft, ryan, andy  etc continuing to provide great advice, and the recent return of kallis after a couple of years out, I am hoping it can continue to support and provide essential guidance to those most in need.

The forum remains an invaluable source of information for so many people!

Third thing happens….and thanks!

February 26th, 2015

When’s February over ?

Bank account checked daily … its been a routine ever since my iva days. On Tuesday checked in expecting to see us hovering around £100 left with payday next week …. but no!

Two transactions neither of us recognise for over £240 …. reported it in immediately and now waiting. In the mean time my bank card stopped and a new one ordered .. no way of withdrawing money as internet bank not highstreet and no way of shopping unless we use the emergency credit card stashed at the back of my purse – having got the balance back to zero reluctant to use it again but no choice this week ! Goes to show checking your account regularly is important.

Lots of positive news on the forum over the lsst few weeks -closure certificates coming through; final payments being made; mortgages being achieved by forum members who really felt their chances were non existant … still lots of queries around credit fix but beginning to feel light at the end of the tunnel on this too.Its been a long journey for some and having contact off forum with some members I know how difficult it has been and the additional pressure within the family unit its caused … but with the help and support of other forum members it is becoming easier.

The forum is a lifeline to so many – before, during and after their IVAs and the experts help is essential in this. They give their time freely to the forum; ok they may pick up new business along the way; but ultimately without the experts the forum would struggle – thanks experts from me, one of the moderators on the forum who try and provide support and guidance to all. To all moderators – Lesley, Foggy etc … keep it up … we make a difference to those who like us needed support in their journey to debt freedom.

Oh damn !

February 11th, 2015

You know when things go wrong they go wrong in threes normally ….. well I’m on number two so what’s the third …..

Number one – front end of my car received an unwelcome exchange with a flying tyre from a lorry on the motorway just before Christmas – resulting in £300 worth of damage !

Number two – thought I was on the mend and had got over my back condition; no pain relief injections for 18 months now (the longest I have gone in four years) …. but ouch ..the last few days has been agony and tablets are not touching the pain …. back to sleepless nights and hospital appointment booked. Additional pain relief on prescription so far totalled £50 plus

So keeping my fingers crossed that number 3 does not happen ….. been a difficult two months since Christmas … need to get back on track and on a even keel financially too ….

I have bulked cooked dinners and got the cooking on a budget book out … determined to rebuild our savings pot and know we can do it …. iva skills learnt back in place !

A re-focus is what it takes!

February 3rd, 2015

My last blog update explained a major change in our lives and a huge reduction in salary. My husband left his job of over 30 years to become self employed as a gardener / handyman.

From September he took on a part time paid job to provide us with some stable income albeit a little over minimum wage and well below the living wage.

In order to make this work I went back to iva basics and re-set our monthly expenditure, reviewed our direct debits and cleared all non essential outgoings. The skills I learnt during our iva some 7 years ago came back to me very quickly.

We put together a facebook page and promoted his new venture seeking self employed work to top up his income and received a number of small jobs through this. Through recommendations he was asked to pick up a few regular gardening jobs for both residents and businesses of our town and surrounding area.

We set up a seperate account for his private self employed work, with only the income from the part time paid job taken into account on our income and expenditure. This meant that our confirmed salary each month dropped by over £1300!

This drop in salary meant no holidays, no house maintenance beyond a coat of paint and no meals out or day trips ! A life that we had already experienced in our iva and knew we could manage with!

His self employed work grew slowly and the seperate bank account slowly built up into a four figure sum – it would have been very easy to have dipped into this pot and on more than one occasion I very nearly did!

At Christmas the iva restrictions kicked back in and I budgeted and planned for a frugal christmas. Presents were somewhat reduced in value and fewer of them – we stopped the extended family gifts and focused on the children only apart from parents. I set aside a budget of £250 for presents and food/drink and although tight came in with 35p to spare – nobody missed out and everyone enjoyed it!

I received some vouchers at Christmas which were unexpected and of high value from a friend for some recommendations – knowing that the house was suffering from our change in income and the desire to refit the kitchen I opted for B&Q vouchers ….set to one side for use when ready.

Prior to Christmas the business account looked healthy and reflecting on the fact over the last four months no drawings had been made into our account to top up our earnings we decided to withdraw some to go with the vouchers to enable the kitchen to be done ! Leaving behind a good balance for continued use in the business.

So foward by about two weeks , kitchen design done and ordered now waiting for it to be fitted by friends – alot of new skills been learnt in the stripping out of the old and we have managed to sell some of the old kitchen to help with the costs of the new! Bargains bought in kitchen tiles, paint, grout etc (did help that our local DIY store announced it was closing down) ….. a car boot sale to sell some of the unused items stored at the back of cupboards, and a number of fb selling sites used to bring in over £150 towards the new kitchen.

In three weeks time I will have my new kitchen – through careful budgeting and planning and through the continual use of the IVA skills learnt it has been paid for !

The iva taught us do much – never say you can’t do anything! Explore the options fully and put your mind to it – you have to work at it together and be willing to compromise but believe me it is worth it !

Big risk !

August 5th, 2014

Last Friday was a real turning point in our lives ….. after 34 years in the same profession hubby resigned from his job ! After a recent management change the demands on his homelife, the ridiculous requests for additional work and timings of emails that required responses immediately or within tight deadlines made it intolerable for him at work and his health was suffering and my sleep deprivation was getting worse.
So having known this was coming over the last few weeks his CV was circulated and a few interviews were had.
He has decided to take on a part time job that will bring in a set wage each month and then supplement it with additional self employed gardening / handyman jobs …already he has been offered numerous opportunities and although the hours add up to full time is somewhat less !!
This is what scares me …dropping almost 50% of his salary ….. on paper the budget says we can do it and still retain some payment into a pension for him, but reality I know will be very very different.
I have gone back through my blogs of when we were in our IVA and read what I did as “extra” then to help us get through this time …. car boot sales, ebay sales, craft making and craft stalls, decorating etc etc …. looks like I will be heading that way again !

If we had not had the IVA and lived past the IVA for the last four years without debt I would be facing bankruptcy ….. but actually although I am scared of loosing the money in the bank account each month …. I am not scared of facing the challenge …I know we can live off it, its a matter of me changing my spending habits and when I go shopping reverting back to a list and not slipping in this item or that item and using a supermarket that does not sell clothes will help !

Ten years ago hubby was unhappy at work and because of our financial situation then he had no choice …however I made a promise that by the age of 50 he would not be working there still …… well I stuck to my promise …. he turns 50 on Saturday this week and he no longer works there !!!!!

Old habits creeping in …

July 19th, 2014

Over the last few months the old habits have started to creep back into our way of living …. for the first month since our iva ended we have balances on our credit cards …. albeit less than £1000 …. i really don’t like it.
We have had to pay out for some repairs and the saver i have turned into has stashed away our pot of gold so to speak into a bond which only becomes available next year…. our everyday savings are almost at zero due to the repairs having to be done ….
So plan of action to eradicate the credit card balance….. back to my iva days ..car boot sales and ebay selling ! Big weekend of advertising on ebay after I try the local boot sale !
Won’t achieve the whole amount but it will raise a chunk ! Overtime next week for hubby and small bonus for me end of July in theory will clear it ….
Just makes me think how the heck I juggled £70k of debt payments … so grateful for the experience and lessobs learnt of our iva.

Yes – mortgage gained !

April 16th, 2014

April continues to be a positive month ….. mortgage has been offered by the Halifax at a normal interest rate and no reference to the IVA was needed. Mike from Zebra Money (forum contact via Ryan) successfully gained us a five year deal at 3.19% interest rate ……. in doing so we have been able to cut five years off the term of the mortgage so I will be 51 when I am mortgage free and hubby will be having a very nice 60th birthday present as he will be able to retire !

Otherwise…life gets better for me …. big event in May for myself and the family and historic one for the town I live in …can’t say on the forum, but those that are facebook friends will know what I am talking about …..

Wishing all those that are entering or finishing their IVA journeys the best of luck.

I will try to keep posting on the forum, but time is often against me these days and I do struggle to spend the same amount of time on it as I have done in the past.

Finally …… Hoooray !!!!

April 8th, 2014

April is appearing to be a good month for me …

Not only has the last default been removed from our credit records, I have been given the all clear from the hospital following an operation to remove a lump from my neck.

With the help of Ryan we can now source a new mortgage deal…. Reduce the years to 10 left (instead of 15) and start planning hubbies retirement in 10 years time … He will be 60! I will still be working for another 10 years after that but eh someone has to pay the bills Lol!

Very stressful times finally on the turn …. With more positives to look forward to in May …. Facebook friends know what it is …. Can’t post on the forum or blog as want to stay anom.

This forum continues to be a support tool …. Very many sleepless nights recently and I have spent hours reading many peoples updates, reflecting back on our journey.

Have to sign off my blog update today with a big thank you to Lesley who despite are own issues at home has been there to listen, offer comfort and words of wisdom over the last few weeks …. Thanks xx

Difficult times…

March 5th, 2014

March 5th and already things are going off piste ! Defaults cleared on one file appear on another! Creditors re-recording records …. I have sent out twelve letters to get these things rectified urgently! Frustrated beyond belief now !

Kitchen appliances deciding to spring a leak …. Repairs costing more than a replacement !

Hospital appt today and things did not go as planned …. Thanks to Lesley for her words of wisdom to try and calm me down! Long week ahead so apologies if my forum work is not quite at the level it normally is …. Onwards and upwards!

Frustration continues ..

March 2nd, 2014

The clearance of credit files goes on ….

Equifax have been good in taking off notice of corrections, however the two defaults remain despite confirmation from one creditor it would be removed!
BT say I owe £51 from a house move three years ago… i know I paid it ….they say prove it …I can’t as I destroyed all my bank statements last year when they got two years old ….so fighting at that one still!

Hubbies IVA still showing on Experian so need to send them a copy of completion certificate then he will be cleared !

Callcredit won’t respond to my emails, and haven’t provided me with the £2 credit reports we requested …

Was looking forward to a new mortgage deal and the thought of fewer years to go …. Trying not to get despondent …it will happen!

Everyone who thinks they are clear …check ALL of the credit agencies …they are certainly different in their reporting!