….it’s tough being in debt.  It’s tough each month a percentage of your salary goes to eliminating the debt-monkey.  It’s tough not being able to ‘spend’ this money on yourself, for your own luxuries, gifts, savings, whatever.

However, the toughest thing is admitting that you DO have an issue with money, and dealing with it.

It’s taken me over 20 years to get to this stage in my life – to admit that I have a problem, that I was falling more into debt, and that it was all my fault.  You know what though… I’m glad I’ve gone through all of this.  I maybe poor now, however I’ll be damned if I’m going to stay poor for the rest of my life – I’m determined for this end as a happy ever after story.  It’s my destiny, my choices, and my decisions, and nobody else is to blame but myself.

When I hit rock-bottom in March/April this year it really hit me like a tun of bricks.  The realisation that I was falling deeper and deeper into debt, with the thought of needing things around me constantly, and trying to please everyone but myself.  What really hit me was that it wasn’t the past few years of downward spiral which caused this, but decades of just over-spending for no apparent reason.

Budgeting is the real key here.  I’d never budgeted before in my life, and since my research on the internet reading other people’s debt issues and success stories, I realised that budgeting was one of the main sources for getting out of debt, as well as your mind-set, which has to change!

Please don’t think that my journey has been easy – as it hasn’t.  I’ve had to really dig deep and look at myself in the mirror, and be accountable for all of my past actions.  I’ve had to really want to ‘change’ my ways by any means necessary.  I’ve had to be disciplined and had to make sacrifices – painful sacrifices which some may feel isn’t all that, but to me it IS a big deal.

I’ve been fortunate to have a job which pays a decent salary, which has helped me to climb out of debt with determination and focus.  I’m even more fortunate to of had some money stashed away, whether it was shares or insurance refunds which I’ve fought for – and won.  I’m one of the fortunate ones, and I know that.  I know I’ve been given another chance, and I’m going for it.  I know that the journey would of been more difficult if I had responsibilities (children), so my journey would of been more tough – however what I do know is that I would STILL be as focused, albeit the journey would be taking longer.

Going home to an empty fridge, and only buying food which you need on a weekly basis is tough.  No more booze (alcohol), in the house.  No more luxury food items.  Just the basics which I know will serve me for each month before my next pay day is my sacrifice.

Limiting the amount of ‘event’s I go to has also been a sacrifice.  Not going out with friends and dates because I don’t want to spend any money.  On average, going out to a local pub (bar) where I work, you can easily spend £20-£30 a night on just a few drinks and food!  I cannot afford to do that – not on a regular basis anyhow, maybe once every 2 months just to feel ‘human’ and ‘normal’.

Not buying any clothes and make-doing with what I’ve already got.  That is tough choice, but necessary. Not buying gadgets which I L.O.V.E. so much – wow, it hurts so bad, yet I’ve got to keep away from things like this.  My passion, watching b&w silent movies and going to my favourite cult cinema called the Prince Charles, man I wonder whether they still remember me?  I remember them but I have not gone there since March!  I used to go at least twice a month.  My packed lunches at work is essential, and if I do not have home-made food, I will just have ‘porridge’ for my lunch (yes, I have sachets in my cupboard for days when I haven’t got any food – I’m determined not to spend nearly $10 a day on my lunch. Or if there’s any spare food going around at work, I’m happy to take.  You know what… in the words of TLC ‘I ain’t too proud to beg’).

I’m a hustler… I’m finding ways of making extra money by any means necessary, and I’m using that money to kill my debt, snowballing it whenever it hits my account.  Hundreds and hundreds of pounds (dollars) each month disappearing from my account from my salary and my hustling.  Whether it’s the minimum amount of £800 or more than £1,200, I’m doing it – I’m sacrificing it.  As soon as it goes in, that exact day it’s already flying out to kill the debt – KILL IT!  I’ve got to make this sacrifice.  I’ve got to be focused.  I’ve got to keep up with this gazelle intensity.  I know some may think this is mad, this is stupid, why the intensity, why the hurry, why????

I tell you why, because I’m sick to death of being sick to death of my debt.  I’m sick of having this chalice around my neck.  I’m sick knowing that the majority of stuff which I’ve bought in my life has been on credit and not paid in cash from day 1.  I’m sick that society wants us to stay in debt until the day we die.  I wasn’t bought up this way, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to die this way. I don’t want to owe Mastercard, Visa, nor any other institution.  I don’t want them having a piece of me every month.  They can PISS OFF!

I WANT TO PAY ME FIRST!  I want to give myself at least a third of my salary each month, to put away for a rainy day (and have the option of putting more if I want to).  I want to be in control of my life, and I want it NOW.

So, that’s my answer to anyone who may think that I’m weird or odd.  I know my fellow colleagues look at me in a certain way and think ‘she’s crazy’ however I really don’t care.  I maybe crazy, however I like it this way…

Don’t give up people.  Every decision you make when you get paid is going to be a step closer to you being debt-free one day.

Live like no one else.  So later you can live like no one else.

The kitchen loan is toast… boom!

Debt-Monkey is trying to strangle me, but I’ve just kicked him to the floor.  We’re having a serious barney right now and he’s showing his true colours – damn, he is a tough cookie!

Wish me luck, people.  This fight is getting vicious….

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here we go peeps…

Last month’s balance = £9,841.20
This month’s balance = £8,631.23

Breakdown:-
I’ve cleared off £1,209.97 this month – and I’ve been motoring, people – really motoring.

– £1,065.01 chucked at the kitchen loan @ 8% interest. £2,745.71 last month reduced to £1,680.70
– £144.96 minimum chucked at 0% CC.  £7,095.49 last month reduced to £6,950.53

I’ve cleared off £1,209.97 this month – and I’ve been motoring, people – really motoring.  I’ve been earning some ‘hustle’ money big-time.  I’m working hard to earn as much extra money as possible, doing extra ‘jobs’ to chuck at this debt.   I’ve concentrated on my YNAB budget, and also did a written budget from my main man Keith Rowlinson from http://www.eclecticsite.com.  And I’m not forgetting the new kid on the block, Dave Ramsey.
I’ve subscribed to his radio station, and everyday I’m listening to his podcast.  I’m also audio reading ‘Total Money Makeover’ and doing this gazelle intensity.
I can smell the changes coming guys – I’ve got some more money to chuck at this debt in the next 2 weeks, which have been a blessing, as well as a sacrifice.
You’ve got to do it.  To achieve anything in life you’ve got to : be disciplined, sacrifice & have a plan!
I have such a plan – and I’m going for my debt-freedom.
I have a confession to make, I did receive £163:00 refunded back to me from a policy a did a few years ago, and £142:00 of that went on hotel accommodation booking in January for a trip I’m going to.  I felt very guilty for a few weeks thinking ‘I should be chucking that at the debt or emergency fund’.  I’m over it now, however I still feel a little bit of guilt.  On a positive note, I haven’t neglected my emergency fund and I chucked £225.00 at it this month.  However, after listening to Keith and Dave Ramsey, I know that honestly I should be getting that filled up to £1,000 asap, so I’m gonna work on that when I get paid any day soon – honest 🙂
WE CAN ALL DO THIS, PEOPLE – COME ON.  Debt monkey you can kiss my….
(I want this debt gone so badly, it’s giving me headaches, and it’s all I think about everyday.  I’ve got to keep on going – I’ve got to keep this intensity.  I need to be free – however, it’s really exhausting and takes a lot out of you…)

…is in action, folks.  I’ve been too busy and too intense to be writing on this blog for a while, so apologise for that.  However, all I will say to ya’ll is ‘the debt-monkey’s days are numbered’.

He has received his eviction notice, and is furious!  So furious he’s now turned vicious on me.  However, I’m winning this battle people, I’m winning.  Look at his worried face below – hell, I nearly fell for his sad eyes jibe!

This revolution of mine is coming to a head – and fast!

Stats are up next…

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I feel guilty guys – very guilty.

Through my extra-curricular I received £163.12 extra into my account today : and spent £142.00 on an event which I really want to go to in January.  I love silent comedy movies: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, you name them, I know them.   In Bristol (UK), there’s a yearly Silent Movie Festival which I totally enjoy during the last weekend in January.  I go to watch amazing movies/clips, and hear superb documentaries about my heros.  I meet like-minded people who have the same interest as me.  And it’s a great weekend were I get totally immersed in my passion.

So why do I feel so guilty spending this money?  Because I should of put it either straight into my emergency fund or reduce my debt, that’s why.   I know that if I didn’t receive this ‘extra’ money, then I would not of spent this money until nearer to January – however the hotel deal I received was so good (50% off, in the city center, within 5 minutes walking distance to all the venues while when I went last time it was a very expensive B&B I went to, and it was 25 minutes walk downhill (uphill at night) to and from the venues).

I feel bad guys – bad for spending money.  I’ve been so good recently, that doing this is making me feel very guilty.

On a positive front, I’ve already chucked over £1k to my debt account this month.  I should also be receiving extra money the end of this month, so one of my debts (the kitchen) may well be gone come November 1, which will leave me with only my 0% credit card to pay.  I’m doing very good, really good in fact.  Yet, I’ve gone off the wagon, because my thinking of money has changed.

I’m obsessed with debt / getting out of debt / getting back into control.  I’m listening to YNAB podcasts and other frugal podcasts to keep my brain ‘moving’ in the right direction.

Damn, this is SO HARD!

Live like nobody else, so that you can LIVE like nobody else…

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…the tough gets going  – – – or so the ’80’s hit goes!

It’s been so tough lately.  Debt really does get me down, and even more so is the amount of money I’m wasting each month clearing this thing!  Man, it’s so important to have a budget it’s unreal!

With my YNAB budgeting and also my intense reading on the Keith Rowlinson’s Eclectic site, they are both really keeping me totally focused.  It’s so true, it’s not easy getting out of debt.  Only if you’re determined enough and have the discipline you’ll succeed with the knowledge you gain.

And then there’s articles which have just popped up on the UK site lovemoney.com today : the fact that a new law has silently been granted today in which if you have a CCJ (court county judgement) set against you, the creditors ‘can’ legally claw back unpaid credit card and short-term loans by having them secured on your home – so you could LOSE your home in the process as they are now aiming to get this linked to your mortgage!  Jesus, this is scary.

GET OUT OF DEBT GUYS.   COME ON – WE CAN DO THIS.  GET RID OF THE DEBT-MONKEY WHO IS, AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME, SHAKING HIS ANGRY LITTLE HEAD AS HE ISN’T HAPPY WITH WHAT I’M SAYING TO YA’LL

If you’re really determined to get rid of debt, and for good, then you’ve got to have a plan set in place.

Step 1:  http://eclecticsite.com/financial.html

Start to read the articles which are straight and to the point.  You may not like what is written in there, but it really does bring your debt home, and there’s no messing.  Acknowledge that you’re in debt / deal with it / change your lifestyle / clear your debts / build on your emergency fund / invest

Step 2:  http://ynab.me/chrissie     

In addition to the above, I use an electronic budgeting software, the best one without a doubt is the YNAB system.  I also write everything down on paper in my diary whenever I spend any money – and I keep a weekly total on it.

Both these two websites have totally changed my life and also my way of thinking and handling money.   As Keith Rowlinson has said on a number of occasions, getting out of debt is not easy, and it’s probably the most difficult thing you’ll ever do – however, it will end up being the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done once your debts are cleared for good.

Let’s go for it people – let’s keep focused, keep disciplined, keep determined and gain all the knowledge we’ll ever need by following the two website links above – I mean it.

We can do this – we can shake this monkey off our backs for good!

Peace ‘n’ Love…

What a month it’s been!  I’ve had to dig into my emergency fund due due to a leak in the bathroom, which ended up dripping down into my living room 😦  I’ve had an ill relative so I’ve been looking after him and also spending so that he is as comfortable at home as possible.  I cannot wait until the end of the month – wow!  So here’s my stats for September, and I’m proud to say that I’ve now passed the double-figures and I’m on single-figures with the amount that I owe – drumroll….

Last month’s balance = £10,745.70
This month’s balance = £9,841.20

Breakdown:-

– £857.34 chucked at the kitchen loan @ 8% interest. £3,577.07 last month reduced to £2,745.71
– £73.14 minimum chucked at 0% CC.  £7,168.63 last month reduced to £7,095.49

Man, this has been HARD this month, however I’m glad that I managed to chuck £930.48 for this month, considering my minimum payments come up to £189.00!
With a bit of luck I should be getting ‘extra’ money next month, for October, and so I’m going to be intense, intense, intense!
It’s so hard when your friends go out to dinner, and you have to look at your YNAB budgeting tool and think ‘no, I cannot afford it’.  It’s true – I cannot afford it.  However I’m working on improving that situation.  The more I transfer ANY extra cash into my debt, the better it will be, and the sooner I will be out of debt.  That’s the way I see it – and I’m glad I’m keeping focused, albeit it being very difficult these days.
We so need a revolution people – peace!

Yep, the inevitable happened – I had a financial emergency.  

It was all going well, the emergency fund was growing while my debt was decreasing – and them BAM!  I had a mini leak in my bathroom which trickled down into my living room ceiling.  It happened last week Wednesday.  This isn’t the first time I’ve had an issue with the bath, however it is the first time that I decided to sort it out once and for all – instead of doing ‘quick fixes’.

So, I’ve had to dip into the emergency fund.  Thank goodness I ‘had’ an emergency fund – albeit it being small – it did the job!  This happened less than a week after I got paid and transferred my ‘funds’ to debt-monkey so I’m still on schedule, people 🙂

Wow, what a difference a few months makes.  
In April, along with all of my debts together my minimum was £485.00.  
Today it stands at £185.00.  
However, the extra amount I pay, without fail, comes up to £800.00.  We’re talking an additional £610.00 per month on top of my official minimum amount.

As far as I’m concerned, this ‘is’ my minimum which will enable me to be debt-free in 13 months time.  If I’m lucky enough to chuck any more than the £800 then that’s an even bigger bonus as far as I’m concerned. At the moment there is no extra money coming.  I’m expecting at least £360.00 to come my way within the next few weeks, however I’m not counting on it – it’s not worth it as it’ll save me from the disappointment if I don’t get it.

Due to the ‘extra’ spending with the wedding I had to attend, plus the emergency leak I haven’t got any extra cash flow, so this month is going to be the tightest ever!  I’m living on peanuts – literally!  

Damn, it’s so tempting to just kick into that overdraft which I have, but the smart side of me is saying ‘no girlfriend – you’ll be debt-free this time next year so just keep on motoring’.  

That’s giving me my inspiration – it’s hard, however it wasn’t meant to be a bed of roses.  Getting out of debt is truly difficult, and I’m determined to win this battle by any means possible.

peace…

 

 

I managed to upload a photo of my debt-monkey – you know, the one whose been on my back for over 20 years?  He goes by the name of Fred, however, I’ve never wanted to get too personal with him – even though I have slipped down his slippery road during the years – so I just call him by his true name, ‘debt-monkey’ (which he hates, btw, and constantly tries to cling tight to my neck – especially now that I’m shaking him off, with intensity!)

So here he is:-
debt-monkey: meet my friends.  Friends: meet debt-monkey… your days are numbered…

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Cash – I’m falling back in L.O.V.E. with it!

In the beginning of August I started an experiment.  I decided to take out of my checking account cool, hard CASH to see if I could live on this, and this alone for my day-2-day spending.  I’m trying my own version of the ‘envelope’ system within my budget software.

I’ve always known that I’m bad with my debit card, let alone a credit card.  I would go to a supermarket, and decide to spend say £10.00 (around $15.00).  However, somehow I would end up spending more money than I should, and I would pay for it on my debit card without actually thinking ‘hey, stop spending too much money, girl, you can’t afford it’!  I would then wait a few days before it came out of my account (sometimes instantly, and sometimes up to 1 week, depending upon the retailer).  That can be ‘so frustrating’ to ‘wait’ for the money to leave your account.  So I decided to do what my parents do – USE CASH ONLY FOR EVERYDAY STUFF.

I’m loving it!  You instantly stop spending on anything and really ‘think’ about whether you can afford it or not.  When it’s gone, it’s gone…  I have £30.00 (around $50.00) left in cool, hard CASH for this week – far more than I actually need, and I’m really happy about that.

Another momentum thing I’m doing is writing everything, yes EVERYTHING money-wise in my diary on a daily basis.  Spending £25 at the supermarket?  Write it down.  Spent 59pence on a packet of chips today? Write it down.  It’s all written in black and white – I need to see where my ‘cash money’ is going.

I’m also collecting those little spare pennies (cents) and started to put them into a jar.  Once the jar is full, I’m going to count it all up, and put directly towards my debt!  It’ll probably take around 4 months or so to get filled, however I’m going for it…

‘every little helps’…