29th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

This month I sent £102.21 to my credit cards, which included a random £4 payment when I realised I was a whisker away from hitting 100% on a challenge goal on the YNAB website

I started my debt free journey in February when I ended up leaving my husband and moving city unexpectedly. I still keep an Excel spreadsheet in order to track progress and this is what my debt payoffs have looked like (graph below). On my Excel Spreadsheet I am 46% of my way to my overall debt payoff.

I think this is the graph I referenced?
Although it seems to have been deleted from the original thread
This is a net worth graph from 2019

I still have a little under £900 debt remaining, and my original plan was to pay £100 a month until September. Obviously I had that bittersweet news, my nan has left me money in her will. Technically its enough to pay it all off, but I’m going to split it 50/50, pay a large chunk of debt off, then spend the rest on learning to manage a canal boat. So I’ll be paying off my remaining debt in March or April.

Unexpectedly, my family managed to save up enough money together for the entire laptop for me. This obviously helps immediately in the New Year. I’d budgeted £50 per month for the laptop. At some point soon I need to begin putting money aside for the next computer after this (I won’t be using this when I’m 80, after all) but I think I can wait until March. Why March, I hear you ask? Well, I want to try do a last Brexit stockpile shop before the end of January. Also, I want to buy that fancy laptop bag/satchel from Amazon. It’s actually gone down in price I’ve noticed which is tempting but the Brexit shop takes priority as it’s time sensitive. So I set aside £50 in December, I’ll get £50 in January, that makes £100 for the Brexit shop, February I buy the bag, March I start saving for the next computer. I think £30 a month will be plenty. In 3 years I’ll have a little over £1000, in five years I’ll have £1800, at that point I’ll probably stop saving (if not sooner). I’m hoping next time to upgrade to a desktop computer again, but I literally need to buy everything, not just the tower unit. If I splash out on a good tower unit I will want to splash out on a good screen. Ok, desk, keyboard, mouse, less important. I can get a smartprice computer mouse and upgrade to a pretty one later on. You can get good speakers cheap enough – nice speakers would be nice, but they’re a lower priority. A good chair would be important though.


Two posts in one day! Why not, if I have more to say?

So I reckon I’ll finish the year/start the next year with roughly about £500 in my bank account. A year ago, I had -£868.09 on the 1st Jan ’19.

This is amazing to me.

On the flip side of that, I have about £45 in my groceries category, which is less than I’d like to last until the 19th. That’s just December for you I guess. As always, the money that is in my account has jobs. £55 is for a bus pass, £100 is for my Dad’s birthday present, £174.51 is for the divorce, £50 is for Pride, and so on, and so forth. Next year I will have more saved for Christmas and things will be less tight.

Side note: is it possible to make tables on this forum? Thinking about how to format my New Year post without making the world’s longest list…

Edit (because I remembered what I wanted to talk about):

When I pay off my debt and have more money to plug into my budget, obviously firstly I need to increase the amount I’m putting into my Emergency savings. Right now it’s just pitiful, I’m getting nowhere. But if I wanted to increase my quality of life, the two categories I’d put regular money into are Take Out and Online Shopping. Because. Even though I don’t put regular money into those categories, I still do those things. And every time i do, i have to whack-a-mole from other categories, leaving those categories short. Often groceries feels the brunt of this. If I could get money into those categories to start with, even just £15 would help. £15 wouldn’t cover an entire takeout, but it would do most of it (for one person).

I want to avoid spending money Monday and Tuesday if I can help it. It would really helpful if I could create my budget in the New Year without any pending transactions.

22nd December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

In response to a commenter gently encouraging me to use my inheritance to pay off my debts, and saying my nan would be proud I was being so sensible with it, rather than buying a ‘thing’, and saying that using windfalls to improve my overall financial position would have long term benefits

Thanks for stepping in. I’ve been talking to irl friends and what I think I’m going to do is spend half of it on paying off a chunk of debt. It wont pay off all of it but it’ll significantly reduce it, perhaps by as much as 2/3. Secondly, I’m going to spend a little over £400 on canal boat lessons so one day I can take the dog on holiday. Thirdly – I was planning on saving up over the course of the next [x] months for a particular bottle of very nice whiskey for being debt free. By moving up the timescale, I need to get the whiskey sooner. So I’m going to buy one material object, to open when I can celebrate being debt free.

In response to a comment saying that a divorce should be quite cheap if we are both in agreement and there are no children/property/big stashes of cash involved

Eh, we have no children, properly or cash… but he’s an !!!!!!. Last we talked (admittedly several months ago now) he was still threatening to take me to court over the dog unless I gave him £500. Also, even if he calms down on that front, I doubt he’s saving up money for the court fees so it’ll be up to me to pay them.

Worse case scenario, I use leftover money for a divorce party. My goal is to have £1000 by the two year separation mark but idk if I’ll hit that goal, I’ve been leeching money from the divorce fund over Christmas and my contributions will be dropping until I pay off my debt. (…which will be less time than I thought!)

~*~

Merry Christmas everyone! Have a good one!

20th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

In response to someone pointing out that I couldn’t put all of my money into the H2B ISA

Excellent point. Surprised I didn’t remember that, considering how many of the damn things I’ve opened at work the few months…

In response to someone pointing out that debt has a higher interest rate than savings, so I’m better off paying off the debt first, but once I’ve paid that off I can put the money towards savings

All my remaining debt is actually on 0% credit cards, so it wouldnt save me money in that regard, what it would do is immediately free up money in my budget that had been going to debt payoff. The only reason I’m undecided is for emotional/moral reasons. It feels like inheritance money should be used for something good and constructive and lasting, not to fix my mistakes. If I’d acquired the money through pure chance – premium bonds or scratch cards or lottery – then I’d feel better about using it for debt payoff.

Edit:
Plan B: compromise
50/50 split between paying off debt and canal boat lessons
Paying off a chunk of debt and reducing the amount of payments I need to make by 2/3 will improve my quality of life
Canal boat lessons is fun but also learning a skill that (fingers crossed) I use for years to come

16th & 19th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

16th December 2019

In response to a commenter saying their kids got more expensive as they got older

I can imagine! When they’re very young you can just get them a shiny, primary coloured car or something, but at a certain point they start wanting iPhones… (there might be an inbetween stage, I’m not sure)

Its occurred to me that I get paid on the 19th, but I was planning on doing an entirely new budget on the 1st. Do I budget twice this pay-month? Or do I start the January budget on the 19th? I’m not sure. Practically, I need to budget some of it on the 19th. For groceries and the like. I just dont know whether to do a whole complete budget that only lives for a week and a half…


19th December 2019

The day before payday this month I had over £300 in my account, and in December no less. Again, it all had jobs, so it wasn’t spare or leftover money, but compared to December 2018 I had -£1,100 on the day before payday, so definite improvement!

My last DD for the red card should go out before the New Year, paying that off entirely.

I’ve ordered the yarn for my temperature blanket, hopefully that’ll arrive by New Year.

I found out today that I’m going to get £1000 from my Nan’s will in the New Year. I think I’ll put it into my H2B ISA, but it’s a difficult choice. If it were money from premium bonds or lottery or similar then the best way to immediately improve my quality of life would to pay off all my debt immediately – but it doesn’t feel right to use inheritance money for that.

I’m struggling a bit with the old mental health, but it’s mostly manifesting as fatigue.

12th & 13th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

12th December 2019

Voting day!


13th December 2019

We’re not going to discuss the election. I am upset.

I’m having to Whac-a-mole between categories this month, looks like I didnt save enough for Christmas. It was basically impossible for me to look back at previous years, I just did not keep good enough records. I’ll save more next year.

Its disappointing that I’m having to W.A.M. from long term categories (mostly the Divorce fund) but it’s not too bad so far. And I get paid next week.

9th & 10th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

9th December 2019

So my satchel bag broke on the way into work this morning 😦

I do have a sports bag so I have something, its not a complete disaster. But I dont feel very stylish with it.

I’ve seen this bag on Amazon. It’ll be £55-ish… it’s pretty though. Handmade leather messenger bag, big enough for my new laptop. But where to get £55 from?

Coincidentally. I was planning on putting aside £55 for the divorce fund from my December paycheck. Decisions, decisions…

In response to a commenter saying they dont like to break down their Christmas categories too narrowly

Looks like we posted at more or less the same time! That’s a valid way of running things. In the breakdown I have above, “Family” covers about five people and one dog, “Friends” an undecided number of people, and “Christmas Social” could easily be renamed “Christmas Misc” for all the little bits that crop up this time of year…


10th December 2019

In regards to the bag, I think I’ll buy it in the New Year

I asked my family for laptop money for Christmas, but because I dont know how much I’m going to get, when drawing up practice budgets for 2020 I’ve been acting as if I won’t get any, to be safe and leave myself a margin of error

Maybe I can take £55 of that laptop money and turn it into bag money

I’ve already budgeted as if I’ll pay the laptop off myself anyway

In response to a commenter saying a shoe-menders might be able to fix my bag

Haha it’s a pretty cheap bag and already repaired once

He’s dead, Jim

Good idea for the future though, once I spend money on a decent bag

8th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

I’m playing with some numbers for my 2020 budget, still got a few weeks to go to tweak the plan if I need to.

So my average salary as it hits my bank account seems to be £1279.94
This all adds up to £1271.64 so far – I know YNAB’s philosophy is assign every dollar a job, but I’ll be able to put that £8 somewhere each month

So here’s my current plan for 2020, including how I’m going to break down the categories in the budget:

Weekly Spends
Groceries – £150 per month
Household – £25 per month (this is for things like laundry baskets or irons, one off purchases, not washing up liquid)
Social Spends – £80 per month
Clothes – £10 per month (this… could probably be higher. But maybe this is where that £8 goes? or maybe I only buy clothes every other month)
Human Groom – £15 per month
Takeout – I don’t assign a set amount to this category each month, I just move money here as needed
Online Shopping – I don’t assign a set amount to this category each month, I just move money here as needed
Birthday of the month – £25 per month
Stuff to budget for – £25 per month
Work Miscellaneous – £5 per month

Remaining Debts
Staff Credit Card – £100 per month (Pay off £900 in 2020) (Goal by September)

Immediate Obligations
Credit Card Fee – £3 per month
Bus Card – £55 per month
Rent – £395 per month
Amazon Prime – £7.99 per month
02 – £47.47 per month (When I pay off the phone part of the contract, I intend to pay only for the airtime for a few years and save up to buy my next phone outright. This is a ridiculous amount to pay but I can’t pay this much on the contract and save up for the next one at the same time)
HP Instant Ink – £1.99 per month
New Laptop – £50 per month (To my brother at first until I reach £500 and then keep saving for as long as I can. I’ve asked for some money towards this for Christmas so hopefully that can buy me a few months breathing space)

Dog
Dog Food and Treats – £10 per month
Dog Groom – £25 per month
Dog Vet Plan – £14 per month
Dog Insurance – £30.13 per month

Savings Pots
Subscription – £4.17 (£50 by Jan ’21)
YNAB – £9 (£90 by Nov ’19)
H2B ISA – £25 (I would like this to be higher, but when I pay off my debts I can bring this payment up)
Emergency Savings – £25 per month (I would like this to be higher, but when I pay off my debts I can bring this payment up)
Divorce – £45 (This is lower than I need it to be to reach £1000 by Feb ’21, but it’s better than nothing)
Christmas Gifts Family – £10 per month
Christmas Gifts Friends – £5 per month
Christmas Socials – £5 per month
Pride Savings – £10 per month
Dad Birthday Present – £25 per month (I want £150 by February, then £150 again by some point later in the year, but we haven’t been given a defined date yet)
Financial Advisor Diploma – £25 per month
Celebratory Nice Whiskey – £8.89 (There’s a particular bottle of whiskey I want to buy as a celebration for being Debt Free. It costs £80 though so I’ll take a few months to save up)

So that’s what I’m thinking of for 2020. I’m splitting my Christmas savings into three chunks next year so I can better see what I’m saving up for and have a better idea of what I can afford. I’ve seen some budgets where they have a whole master category called Christmas and then the sub-categories are by each person like:
Christmas
Dad – £X
Mum – £X
Little Timmy – £X
Grandma – £X
and so on. I’m not quite doing that, although I can see the appeal, I would just like a better idea of if I can afford friends gifts as well. This year I had more in my Christmas savings than last year but I told people I could only afford gifts for immediate family, even though that probably wasn’t true this year. I just didn’t know. I’m hoping this will help for next year.

I also have a Wishlist of things to starting savings for once I’m debt free. There’s a binder from a particular company (upwards of £75), updating my passport to my new name (£90), or even Canal Boar Lessons (£500), but I’ve got like a dozen things on there. My priority though should be increasing my Emergency Savings contribution. We’ll revisit that in September I guess.

A commenter was uncertain on the value of organising a Christmas budget like that, but liked how detailed the budget was

Thanks 🙂  I’m a little unsure about the Christmas categories as well, but there’s a first time for everything. Previously I just put aside what I thought I could afford and come December tried to divide that by the number of people. Then, I made up the gap between that and what I spent w credit cards or overdraft debt. This year I set aside a little bit more but not enough once you take into account Christmas socials, I’m going to need to dip into a savings pot before next payday. I’ve also confused myself a little by changing my mind on how many people I can split the gift money between. I’ve seen this type of budget work for other people so I thought I’d give it a try.

6th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

Balls. I just realised that I accidentally reported a genuine transaction as fraud.

Amazon. They charged for two separate orders in one go. They’ve been doing weird stuff like that lately They’ll take payment for one order in three separate chunks. Or, apparently, they’ll take payment for two different orders together.

I dont know what do now. Santander said that’ll they’ll investigate and take the money back if it was a genuine payment. Do I call them up and admit it was a mistake?

A commenter suggested building my own PC and mouting a screen to a wall

I know it’s possible but I’ve made the decision to buy a laptop this time around. Plus, in terms of mounting stuff, I rent, so there are limitations there. I think the computer after this one, in 3 to 5 years, will be a desktop.

4th December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

So I closed the everyday account I wasn’t using, my “Christmas savings” account and my “pride savings” accounts

I am still saving/spending for those goals, I’m just tracking the money through YNAB rather than have all the different accounts

I also put a closing block on my red credit card, which means I cant physically spend from it now, and it’ll close automatically after my next DD pays it off  🙂

The morning after I did all that, I noticed a fraud transaction on my remaining Santander current account card

I called up and got that blocked and reissued, but until it arrives I have some enforced no-spend days which gives time for my transactions to clear I guess

If I was desperate for something, I still have my Barclay’s card, and my account isn’t blocked at all (just the card) so I can transfer money to Barclays if I need to

Also, it turned out my friend ALSO double booked the Manchester visit so I feel less guilty and we rearranged for January, which is financially better for me

I’m going to be needing to dip into my Emergency fund the week after next. I’ve got to go to my Nan’s funeral. It wont be much, maybe £50 total for travel. It was kind of by surprise, but also a long time coming. She’s been in care homes on end of life packages for years, and this summer we were told to say goodbye, but she rallied. Until suddenly she didnt.

But onto happier stuff. I have a crochet dilemma. I’ve working on this Pride blanket for over a year but I’m still agonising over the temperature blanket: yea or nay thing

I really really want to do a temp blanket in 2020, which I think I told you already? You assign a colour to a temperature, then each day do a row in the temperature for that day. Do that for a year and you end up with an asymmetrical gradient that’s so pretty

But it would cause more significant delays to my Pride blanket

And the clock on the decision is ticking

I need to decide which blanket I’d enjoy more and I have about two weeks to commit to a decision, allowing for posting time of the wool

It’s the temp blanket, plus another baby blanket for another colleague, which is on a deadline, plus a full time job, plus the pride blanket… which I’ve been working on since November 2018 and I’m hesitant to delay again

But what would annoy me more? Another delay to an already long overdue project? Or my first temp blanket being in an odd year?

If I dont start the temp blanket in January, I won’t do it until 2021, which is an icky year

If I do start the temp blanket in January, I wont be able to do much of the Pride blanket until after the baby blanket is done.

In response to a commenter mentioning that a desktop PC would be better than a laptop for gaming

I absolutely get that and agree, but I’m renting a room in a house and dont have a desk anymore

I do miss the days of my old gaming PC though

But it’s hard to beat the portability of laptops! Curling up on the sofa w dog, watching tv as I iron….

1st December 2019

These posts were originally posted on the MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

I got the years interest on the savings account I was using as a Christmas savings today

£1.71

Yeah thats not worth the mental overhead

Social funds are running tight this pay-month with all the Christmas stuff going on, and I’ve managed to flipping double book my trip to Manchester to see a friend with the works Christmas, which is a massive problem I need to sort tomorrow

I’ve put a deposit down on the work Christmas do and I dont want to miss that
But the only other time I can go see him is this weekend, and I dont know if he’s busy now

GAH!!!