So proud…

Just had to say what a belter of a young man I have. My youngest son is 15 and has a small part time job on a Saturday. He came home and asked to go to Asda…bit puzzled as he hates food shopping. He took off with his own small trolley and started getting selection boxes and what I call special Christmas biscuits, you know all the fancy ones! I got a bit annoyed and asked him to not be so silly and put things back. He then explained that he had been saving up his money and wanted to donate to the local food bank as he had heard that they wanted to try and get some special Christmas goodies in … I could have cried with pride there and then in the shop. He has been with us when we have donated tins and packet food before now into the trolley at the entrance to the shop but he felt like he could do so much more with his wages than to buy something he doesn’t need and to help others with something nice for the kids that go there with their parents. We have been so lucky that we have always been able to provide a good meal on the table for the family…its not always what we want to eat but its warm and filling. Its so hard there days for families that work to provide that still struggle.

On another happy note. I got an email from Wonga…yes I did once do a pay day loan then went into the IVA so it was included. This email stated that I was one of the few thousand that are having their debt written off and they were taking all their details off credit reports! Its a grand total of £600 so not a splash in the IVA ocean but its something. Just need to forward the details to the new company now and get that deleted. Is it too much to hope for the same email from RBS?!!!!!

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3 Years, 8 Months and 3 Days left!!!!!

Wow, I have just logged on and can’t believe its been 11 months since I have updated this blog!  I just wanted to update people on the annual review process as this was our first one and a bit worried as we didn’t know what to expect and also when child goes off to University.

I have just been into the forum and been greeted with the news on Melanie Giles PJG moving their clients to a new IP.  Not been contacted by either company as yet so will wait and see but to be totally honest this has got to be only the 2nd time I have been worried about my IVA since acceptance.  I must be honest that we went with Mel and her amazing team due to their sincere understanding and helpfulness and non judgemental approach to us as debtors! I can only hope that the new team will have the same standards and will make life as easy and smooth as Mel and her team have done.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mel and others for getting me (and my partner) this far along our IVA journey without you we certainly wouldn’t be here today and on our way to financial stability.


As mentioned above there have been 2 times that I have had a little IVA wobble, 1 has been mentioned the other happened at the same time as the annual review…

The annual review was a doddle. No need for worry in the end. I had been thinking that we would need bank statements, bills and to justify our spending.  I am now super organised with everything in my life so everything I needed was at hand…when I knew what was needed. The review was due early July but we heard nothing until August ( I don’t know if this was down to what has now been announced with the changes) I had everything ready to go as soon as I got our letters.  All our wage slips and P60s were sent, no changes to report in increases in bills the only changes were that we were receiving less Child Benefit as our eldest had turned 18 and also he was off to University…this was what was worrying me.  We had read a few horror stories that some IVA agreements won’t still count your child as a dependant at this stage as they are receiving student loans and grant and living away from home.

This worried me so much as the money our son receives doesn’t even cover his accommodation! We had to pay extra to cover that and also to cover his food, clothes, books etc.  One of our terms in the IVA is that when over 18 and earning they need to contribute to our household income.  He worked over the summer but at a voluntary job to gain experience for his Psychology degree so that wasn’t possible.  He does have a small part time job at Uni but what he earns covers his bus pass and some food.  What we had to make clear too was that he was only living away from home for 39 weeks of the year and the other weeks would be living at home, using our electric, gas, water and food, lots and lots of food!

I wrote down as much of this as I could…I tried to make it not turn into a begging letter!  We were down by about £60 on the loss of his Child Benefit.  Both our wages had risen very slightly.  We were preparing for a major shock to the system and once again dreaded the post coming through the door…oh how I had missed that feeling.

Well…Mels team certainly came through for us again…I had a rise of £7 and my partner £15.  WOW  we really couldn’t have been more surprised.  I did have a little tear as sad as that sounds but it meant we could just about afford to help our son out when it probably matters the most.  Thankfully by the time our next son goes we will be out of this IVA by about 1 month! So things will be so much easier.  I just hope this new team can offer us the same for the next review, fingers and toes already crossed.

So to sum up our review…we needed to send or email 12 wage slips each (we are both in IVAs) P60 and a copy of the letter from Child Benefit and details of over 18s employment.

About 2 months before our review we had a phone call to say that they were having problems tracing one of our creditors as they now advised they had passed the debt back to its original owners and were no longer dealing with it,  I thought all this should have been taken care of at the time of acceptance and before?  Nobody seemed to want to take ownership of a certain debt, to be honest it probably was the smallest one we had too.  We did get an email that did worry me saying something like this could jeopardise or IVA which I personally thought was a bit heavy as we have provided all creditor info when applying and had given all relevant paper work and reference numbers for EVERYTHING.   It turned out to be nothing and with the reference number I gave again everything was found and dealt with quickly.  Just a little blip.

My partners father was in hospital for 2weeks last month.  It always proves difficult when that happens when you have such a tight budget.  Parking was £3 per visit and petrol was an extra tank.  We also had to provide for his mum who was alone and who needs care, so extra food was bought.  We didn’t mind this one bit and to be honest hey aren’t the kind of people who would think about paying you back anyway but when we were asked to buy pjs, dressing gown, slippers and t shirts out of our own money £45 total we got a little peeved.  He’s been out a month now and not once penny has been received back for that little clothes shop.  My partner organised carers to come in to help his mum too as she has mobility issues and that was stopped as soon as his dad came out as he feels she diet need help…he was scared of paying for it after the 6wks free!  Its caused a bit of family friction between all the family to be honest as a lot has been found out about his dads lending of money to the local barmaid and his car going missing and suddenly appearing outside her house…that is for another time!

Apart from those changes there really is nothing else to report.  Life goes on and we have gotten used to all our previous adjustments.  The only difference now if that the house is so much quieter and we have biscuits in the cupboard for longer these days, well we do for 39weeks of the year anyway!  I am trying to start to prepare for Christmas early so its easier to budget.  Kids are older and need less.  We don’t need anything and all my homemade treats we down really well last year.  Pinterest has become a life saver!

Hope you are all well.


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A good week off work

Ive just had a lovely few days off work. I have been so busy every day and done so much productive stuff. Christmas shopping is now all finished and how refreshing for everything to be fully paid for before the day! Still smile when I think of that. Managed to grad a couple of bargains from the Amazon Black Friday…all week deals…I actually wanted these items so I just didnt get then because they were reduced. I cant wait for my youngest to have his present, we managed to get some tickets for a film and comic convention next year. He is so into all that stuff its scary how involved he gets and his dream is to save his paper round wages to attend the original convention in San Diego. I hope his wishes come true and that one day we could afford to help him. Until then Im sure he will love this.
My Mum treated me to lunch out a couple times this week which was lovely. She even funded me and my partner to a trip to the cinema and meal out last night. Due to being stuck in traffic for ages we were running very late so we actually ended up having a Harry Ramsdens fish and chips!!! Not my idea of a birthday treat but I would never grumble at a chippy tea! We had saved up a bit of our allowances to allow ourselves a treat so that money will now go towards a lovely treat at Christmas.

Within another month we will be at the 6month mark of our IVA but the way I like to look at it will be only 54months left…a countdown always looks better 🙂 I cant believe how often we dont think about it. I think a lot of that is because we have a great IP and I know they are there if we ever need them. That aside I do sometimes worry about our reviews. Have we done thing right, will we owe any money? Im careful to write down on a spreadsheet what I get paid every month. I get a small bonus paid monthly and I have to be careful of the 10% threshold rule. As yet I have not gone over it…maybe im not working hard enough!

We used to be a real takeaway family and since the IVA we have been so good and made our own substitutes which have always gone down well, Today its different I have a real craving for a KFC. I cant help it and its been niggling away at me all day so we might be weak tonight. Its cold, wet, dark and im tired. I havent done a shop yet so I can say that there really isnt anything in…freezer might be overflowing but it really isnt a fish finger night. Please dont judge me, I know KFC is bad but I really cant afford the Indian I really want they are sooooo expensive. On the subject of food, my slow cooker is getting so much more use lately. I think the winter months help. It is so cheap to make a meal out of it and helps when you come across some great recipes…have a look at this site I have cooked so many things from here and not had a bad one yet.!home/mainPage

Off to do some ironing now in preparation for going back to work on Monday, BOOOOO 🙁

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Family issues, no money and bargains…

Well let me start off by saying that I can’t believe it was August I last posted!!!  I cant believe how quickly that time has gone by.  I will warn you now that this post may be excessively long, a little all over the place, jumping from one thing to another with no real flow and it is a bit of therapy for me…a lot of it doesn’t relate to IVA  so skip now unless you want a little nosey into my life, lol!

Well sooooo much has happened these last few months.  As I said in posts before we seem to be settling into the IVA life ok now.  We still have to explain to the boys that we cant go to the cinema to watch the latest releases and that Christmas will be a much quieter affair this year…in fact every day I find myself explaining the lack of funds and im sure they think im joking.  I really want to watch the new film Gravity but we are waiting for pay day next week, its my birthday next week so its my treat…I cant wait.

We have just about been getting through the month fully fed, watered and warm that is enough as long as we have that we are ok.  It is a bit crap at this time of year walking past the shops al nicely decorated full of the over priced stuff you buy at this time of year for no other reason than you think you should.  I still get that urge to shop I dont honestly think that will go away for a long time.  But the satisfaction I get from walking past thinking that I wont be getting credit card and catalogue bills in the post in January that I cant pay is immense.  This time last year I was literally ‘bricking it’ to put it politely!  I was so worried about the mountain of debt I couldnt see a way out and so just spent more to forget it.  I feel sick now thinking back about it.  Oh how far we have come in 12 months is amazing, I feel so grown up now in control of my money.   We have managed to buy a few presents over the last few months using our allowances and saving a little on out shopping budget.  The boys need nothing, they have everything they want seriously and they have asked for so very little this year.  Our eldest wants to go on a lads holiday next year before he goes off to University so we are giving him so money to put towards that with the help of my amazing, wonderful Mum who would kill me if she knew I had and IVA!

Speaking of University…we had to pay £23 to submit his application last weekend.  If paying £9000 a year to study and the best part of £5ooo for accommodation isnt enough they sting you on the application fee!  Its amazing how many little expenses mount up.  Youngest wanted to start the Duke of Edinburgh programme and that was £30 to register and we have hear nothing since…that a phone call to school I need to make.

September was a lovely month.  Boys back to college and school and the house returned to normal to be in the same state as I left it in the morning to when I can home.  My freezer/fridge and cupboards seem to have stopped misplacing all the food that was purchased and there is still some left after 24hrs, my food bill has reduced again.  I found myself shopping more than once a week to keep up with demand.   End of the month can and went and I even had enough money to purchase a Russell Brand ticket for October…not to everyones taste but I like him.  My partner wouldn’t go with me so my cousin was roped in…this is where things start to go downhill.

My grandfather had been in a care home since April and has been gradually getting worse.  He had dementia and suffered a few minor strokes.  He got to a stage where he wasnt able to eat or drink himself and just slept most of the time, he was 91 but it wasnt like him so off to hospital we went with him.  They admitted him straight away and so started the scans, X-rays and drips.  Myself and my Mum were his carers and we still wanted to see him obviously.  Oh my, its only when you don’t have spare money do you realise how expensive hospitals are!  I was spending £5 per day in just car parking never mind the petrol to get there and back.  I was seriously struggling to get by, on 2 occasions I took the boys with me to the hospital so I could ‘borrow’ the car park money from them…how bad is that?! So many times the petrol light was on in the car and I was just topping up with £10 at a time hoping that pay day falls on a weekend so we get paid a couple of days early!

During all this visiting was the Russell Brand show.  My cousin came up from London, probably good timing with our Grandfather in hospital.  We had been so looking forward to it and our parents told us to go and enjoy ourselves but you just cant thinking about what may happen at any minute he was that ill.  It was a horrible night and to make matters worse we had arranged to go out for something to eat…at the time of booking I could afford it but all the carparking took its toll on my budget.  I managed to scour the internet and found a voucher for Cafe rouge for a 2nd main course for £2.50…bloody bargain and I knew that would go down well the my cousin who cant just eat anywhere normal common people who care skint eat, like a home made meal before going out.  That side of the family is quite well off…put it this way she hasnt had a job for 5months and has had 3 holidays so far to Miami, Spain and Morocco and manages to fund living on her own in a 2 bed flat in London area and have gym membership and an iphone 5s,  all funded by her doting father!!!!!!!!!!!!   I am not envious at all before anyone jumps to conclusions.  They are well off but with lots and lots and lots of problems that money cant fix at all and to be honest I would rather be skint than have to deal with anything they do.  None of it is health worries its all brought on by themselves.

As much as I love my cousin I find it hard to deal with her sometimes.  She is quite unstable and she is very clingy and possessive.  She has had 6 jobs in the last 2 years and has been sacked from them all and is seeing a married man and has been for the last 3years.  I cannot condone this and refuse to talk about him and all the false promises he makes her.  I seem to always be there to mop up the tears at all hours of the day.  Never for one minute would I discuss my financial problems with her as she just wouldnt understand and I wouldnt want to burden anyone else with this…thats what you are all here for!  Her brother is also dating a married woman and has had problems with police.  It all makes my life seem boring…thank god.

As I said before I will go off on tangents and its a lot of non IVA crap…SORRY.  Anyway back to it…

Now dont get me wrong my Grandfather means the world to me and my family but to see a man of his age be put through so many tests is harrowing to see how uncomfortable he was.  He wasnt eating he couldnt swallow even water and was on oxygen.  We had a meeting with doctors and between us we all agreed that at his age we didnt want him aftificially kept alive with no quality of life so we said we didnt want a feeding tube and asked for a DNR.  They attempted to put in a feeding tube after agreeing with us they wouldnt and it failed and caused him so much more distress, we only found this out 2 days after they tried it after we had gone home!  After 7 days the said he had developed pneumonia and we were called in at 6.30am by the doctors saying he had hours left to live.  Family was up from London and on that day what does my beloved cousin do?  Does she come and see her dying Grandfather?  NO…she went to a local hotel to meet him.  Unfecking believable! This was on the Tuesday and he lasted until the Sunday night when he passed away peacefully with me and my Mum with him.  At last at rest and no longer in pain.  RIP Grandpa.

We had a week off at the end of October so the funeral was arranged quickly and then came another worry…suits we had none and the boys and my partner were to be pall bearers.  We literally dont own suits that fit at all.  Luckily I had had child benefit money through so bargain hunter mode came out in me and boy do I think I did a good job.  Off to Tesco I went as they had a sale on.  My partner is a bit of a bodybuilder so getting a suit jacket to fit him was going to be a problem…no it wasn’t!  The first suit jacket we came across in the sale was a perfect fit and so were the trousers, we always need short legs we are a very small family.  It had been reduced to £35 for the suit, quite happy with that.  Get to the till and ever since I started to budget I always check the screen as things are scanned and to our shock what we saw was £7.50 for the jacket and £6 for the trousers!!!!!  Im still in shock.  Best bargain ever and it is a really nice suit for a supermarket.  At home the boys had been looking at Next suits and found some lovely ones that would be the equivalent of my weekly petrol and food allowance.  I went onto ASOS and straight into the clearance section.  Managed to pick up a full suit for £29 each for them and also got a code for free next day delivery.  Not as much as a bargain but they will wear them again for Prom for the youngest and eldest will wear it for his Uni interviews.  All within budget and all happy with what they have got.  If only things could be that easy all the time.

All went well with the funeral, we had a chippy lunch in his honour as that was his favourite food.  The rest of our week off was spent doing nothing and we loved it.  We watched all our programmes on sky planner as we were down to 22% I hate it being that low.  I started watching Christmas films too.

I have also started baking!  Im so into it its frightening.  I have started my Christmas cake and im doing one for my in laws as a present.  If id have know how much it can cost to do it DIY I dont think I would have done it.  It is very satisfying though.  I have been feeding it each week with brandy and am going to cover this week.  I have also been practising my mum and step dads presents…fudge and coconut ice.  They love this and to do it homemade will make they day.  I have some lovely boxes left from last year and loads of lovely ribbons.  I never throw away anything christmas related as it always comes in again.  It takes time and love to make things rather that just going buying it from a shop without thought so im really happy to do it.  Ive got some presents online too but all through Quidco first to make sure I maximise my cash back for the new year.

Its been a difficult week before pay day this time…we seem to have overspent somewhere I think on the Uni form and the D of E payment and the dog for FLEAS!!! So that cost me£25 in treatment, he was clear in 48hrs so well worth the money and got anotehr 2 treatments left.  We arent paid until Monday so wish us luck in a weekend with very little and 2 cars that need petrol!  I have enough in the freezer to make about 9 meals but its just making it interesting for a weekend.  Lets hope for snow so we are snowed in.  On a happy note I only have 2 more days in work then off for 6 days…yipeeeee.  All on my own too with just a dog for company so lots of walks.  I might even make myself a birthday cake this weekend.

Once again I do apologise for the state of this post…I hope that I may have helped a few of you have a good nights sleep.  Just one last thing before I sign off.  While I have been typing away my son has just informed me that he has already got 2 offers from his choice of 5 Unis!  He only sent his for off last Sunday and college had to have it first so the Unis got it on the 15th.  I cant believe he’s got offers in a couple of days.  So proud.  Thats made my night and i’m going to go to bed happy now.  Its late and I haven’t got the energy to read what i’ve read so please excuse any spelling and grammar mistakes.  Good night all and thanks for reading.  x

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Starting to relax.

Hi all,

Another week down and it has been soooo much better than last week! The windscreen is now fixed at a cost of £65 excess. It was my youngest sons 14th Birthday at the weekend and he had a good birthday considering this is his first one on a budget! He does a paper round that is quite lengthy and his bike broke last week…Mum to the rescue with her blog of the week winnings. It was meant to be saved for Christmas but we went halves, him putting some of his birthday money towards it. He got a couple of other bits from us that we had bought weekly with the leftover from the weekly shopping allowance. I am really beginning to like handing over my debit card in shops knowing that it will be accepted and not holding my breath while the credit card gets authorised…or not!
We had family visiting from down South and my parents treated us all to a lovely meal where we had balloons waiting for him, just what ever 14yr old boy wants!!! One of my amazing friends made him a wonderful birthday cake, she runs her own business and charges a lot so it was a lovely present for him and we were so grateful. I still have a lot left after feeding 12 people, it was huge.
I dont know if anyone else is like me but when I get an idea in my head it doesn’t stop bugging me until I do something about it? I had an idea at work last Friday to change the layout of the living room. Imagine my partners joy at coming home from work on a Friday to me up to my neck in furniture rearranging! What I thought was going to be a quick job turned into most of the night as the sky box went off and we couldn’t get a signal back…oooops. It was a success in the end though as the changes I made have totally transformed the living area and it feels new and fresh and best of all it was totally FREE as not a penny was spent.
It is now the countdown to pay day again. We aren’t as bad this month with worry as we know everything is paid and to be honest the only food we need will be milk, bread etc. We still have a lot of food in the freezer, the big shop on pay day at Iceland worked and has kept us going. Our eldest is off to Leeds festival next week and we offered to purchase his liquid refreshments for the few days he is away so I went off in search of bargains tonight again with money saved from the weekly shopping allowance. Its amazing how much money can be saved when you have something to save for and I can assure you that no one has gone hungry or complained about the food, 2 teen boys in the house need lots of food and would soon tell me if they were hungry.
We have a week off at the end of the month and need ideas of cheap days out so that is my online mission for this week.
A few of us had a cheeky go on the Euro lottery today at work, we only put £1 in each so got 5 tickets between 10 of us…fingers crossed I may be updating my blog from Florida next week.

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Arghhhhh! Grrrrr!

Well, this Monday was so different to the lovely one last week. First day back at work that was the start of it. Survived that. Home to post which I quite enjoy these days when I dont have to worry about nasty creditors letters. I opened my only envelope to find a bus lane violation notice fine!!!! £60 or £30 if I pay now. When did this happen…end of June! Lots of people telling me that they only have 2 weeks to contact you but I have now found out that isn’t the case, pity. What bus lane did I use, did I even use a bus lane? They even sent me picture evidence. It happened at 7.29am on a Saturday morning travelling to a Uni open day for my son. Not exactly rush hour and not really going to disrupt anybody but yes I was in the wrong. I remember it well, the bus lane in question was all of about 2 car lengths long and there was no other way in. Ok fine it has to be paid I can handle £30.

Then I got a text from my partner asking to get the insurance documents out for when he got home…worried was an understatement, I had written the car off in my mind ( would be a blessing if that happened!) Turns out that the windscreen had cracked after a stone flew up on the motorway, no accident thank god. We called the insurance company…well the good news is that it wont affect our no claims bonus BUT we had to pay excess of £65 and now need a new windscreen.
I cant believe it so thats £95 today gone out of ‘savings pot’.

Just needed to vent my unhappiness in this day.

Good evening to you all and best wishes for the rest of the week, heres hoping to a better few days!

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All in a week off…

Why is it that a week at works is soooo much longer than a week off?!! I’ve got the Sunday blues again in preperation for going back into work tomorrow. Luckily we have another week off at the end of August so only 3 more Mondays to work! We have timed holidays this year around pay day.

The week started wonderfully with being told i had won blogger of the week. I felt like I had won an Oscar I was that happy. I will use my voucher to put towards Christmas.  Thanks to everyone that has read this.  I have loved reading others and have been comforted reading about other peoples experiences during iva and bankruptcy.

Its been a practical kind of week. We bought all the back to school clothes…yes I know they have only just broken up but I wanted the expense out of the way now… shoes and stationery, still cant get over how much it all costs. My youngest at 14 has size 9 feet and goes through shoes quickly. Last year I invested in Clarks and bought the same again as they managed to last the whole school year. Its a big expense at £65 but if they last its money well spent. Asda was the place of choice for cheap stationery. He’s going into his last 2 years now so no more exercise book we have to buy folders for every subject and at £1 each I can’t moan. Eldest is doing A levels and one of them is English Lit so that is costly buying books as they do go through a few.  He came back from Portugal last weekend and had some money left that he changed back.  I did promise him he could get the new shoes he wanted if he had some left(see previous post).  He was about £10 short but did all his washing and washed the cars so I covered it and he was one happy teen again…it doesn’t last long so I treasure it while I can!

We managed to decorate our en-suite using leftover paint and tiles from doing the main bathroom. All looks lovely now and didn’t cost us anything else.  I am looking at decorating the lounge on our next week off so will be searching the garage for paint might even have a rummage in my parents garage too.

We took a trip to Alton Towers using free tickets from a bad experience last time. We took a packed lunch so the day only cost us petrol and parking. Not bad for a great day out. We got soaked, we probably chose the worst day of the week to go but we didn’t mind going on the water rides as we were already wet. We were exhausted when we got home.

Thursday was a lazy day! I got us singed up to BT Sport at no cost as we have BT Broadband so YEAH we can watch some football this year! (we had to give up our season tickets with the iva)
I got an email for an offer for NOW TV for £15 for 6months, £2.50 month not bad. Its cheaper than sky movies and you can watch when you want.

Friday was my partners 40th Birthday. We had an adult day out just us two, that never happens and it was great. We went to Blenheim Palace. Bit of a drive for a day out but it was worth it. It was £22 each to get in BUT the tickets can be exchanged for free annual passes so my parents offered to pay for the day for us if they can have the passes! (you can do this online and provide photos then rather than at the kiosk on the same day) No problem as we wouldn’t go back anyway. We actually treated ourselves to a bought lunch while we where there, it was lovely. Another day with minimal cost.

We have been good to update our I&E spreadsheet every few days.  Its great being able to keep a track of money in and out. To be honest we have spent a lot on petrol this week but when we worked it out it was only about £20 more that the cost of travelling to work everyday and I have saved on park and ride cost of £2.50 day so it works out not too bad.

We did have a large food shop when we got paid.  I went to Iceland and stocked up the freezer in the hope that I can just buy fresh every week.  Hoping it might save a bit.  I have even thought about going back to online shopping to cut out all the temptations but none of the cheaper supermarkets round here offer that service.  I started watching Extreme Couponing and I so wish we could do that here.  I remember the days when they used to provide coupons instore next to the products I wish those days could come back. As a child I used to collect these when being dragged round Asda…people I mention this too have no recollection but I really cant be imagining it! They get away with using soooo many coupons and the store even doubles the value of them.  They spend hours doing it but I would relish the challenge. I have even found a Facebook page for Extreme Couponing UK.  I have already told all my friends and family to save all the coupons they find…every little helps.

Ive still got a Euro Lottery ticket in my purse, I haven’t checked it yet as I love looking at it and having a little dream…how sad!

Hope you have all had a great weekend and have a good week!

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Day before pay day…

…and we have £24.90 left in the bank account, £15 each in cash and petrol in the cars! Im actually very pleased with that. Can’t remember the last time we had any credit in the bank. We have a few unexpected bills too this month. I have transfered all my allowances to a savings account so when we need clothes or haircuts etc the money is there for us. We did decide too that any left over at the end of the month, today is our end of month as pay day tomorrow, will be used for Christmas. I am going to buy something each month. The first thing being a cinema voucher for our youngest. He loves the cinema and it does get a tad expensive so we know he will appreciate this. I’ve never had to worry about Christmas before and looking back overspent wayyyyy too much so really looking forward to the challenge this year.
I started to go onto the website Pinterest and its great for making notes of things as I do have a tendency to forget things! Its full of great ideas for homemade gifts too, much more personal for our parents and they are the kind of people that will appreciate that.
Its my partners 40th Birthday next week. Its going to be a quiet birthday, the boys are buying him presents from their own wages but hes told me that he doesnt want me to spend any of our money at all on anything for him. I feel really mean as it is his 40th so I’m looking for inspiration. He isnt a cake person so I have found a great idea for a beer cake for him

Fun and practical!

3 more days at work then a week off, cant wait.


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Think Elton got it wrong, NO seems to be the hardest word.

What a horrible day.

Before we went down the IVA route my eldest, 17,  had a holiday arranged with his friends family to Portugal.  It cost just over £300 but lovely grandparents covered the cost for him.  Since then it really has been at the back of our minds.  Well, he is due to fly out on Tuesday morning and are we prepared? NO.

We used to have travel insurance with our bank account but they were one of our creditors and you don’t get that offer with basic accounts now.  I have sourced the best deal I could but getting the cover he needed and that was £11.75.  It is a small amount but something that we had forgot to budget for.  We have had to help him out with some spending money as I can’t bear to see him go short…luckily we sold some things on Ebay so had a little put aside and I matched what he had saved from his job.   You really do get a crap exchange rate to the Euro.  We then find out today that they are flying Easy Jet and money for hold luggage was not included in the price so he is only allowed cabin bag.  Since beginning of July they have reduced their allowed sizes and do we have a bag that fits do we hell.  A few months ago it wouldn’t have been an issue and I would have just gone to the shop and bought a new one but now that really isn’t an option.  We have had to borrow one from our neighbour.   He wanted some new clothes to go away with so he got some cheap things from Primarni…this place is fast becoming a great friend of mine!  He does need some new shoes but his budget just couldn’t stretch to them but neither can ours.  He had his heart set on the new must haves that all his friends have and what would be perfect for his holiday.  With a price tag of £65 there was no way I could justify that so it was a NO.  Don’t get me wrong, my kids aren’t spoilt but we have always had the means, by means I mean CREDIT, to get them whether it be from a catalogue or by just popping to the Trafford Centre to do a bit of retail therapy for stuff we don’t need, with money we didn’t have.  He hadn’t been used to this before and was a bit taken aback.  I had bought all his essentials like suncream/aftersun etc but now with him only taking cabin baggage I have had to go out to buy the small bottles to dispense them into as they all are above the magical 100mls threshold where liquids are deemed unsafe to fly…it really does wind me up sorry!  When you are watching the pennies it’s amazing how much you begrudge paying for anything non essential.

One moody teen in the house then soon turned into 2.  My youngest then chose to empty his school bag as its not needed for the next 6weeks.  He pulled out a letter for a school trip to Berlin with a price tag of £976!  Didn’t even have to think about it, sorry but NO!  We then got the sob stories “but he had schools trips so does that make him the favourite?”  “Nan might pay for me if she knows im not your favourite!”  and the best one “I’m not going to let you have my child benefit anymore I will use that to pay for my holiday”.  He is 13 but has the tantrums of a 7 year old.

On hearing all this I just broke down and everything came out at once.  I told them that we had to take out a big loan to pay off the credit cards that we had used to buy them all their lovely clothes and holidays over that last few years and that things we going to get tight.  They had already noticed that we had started shopping at Lidl and not Tesco and were a bit put out until they realised they loved Lidls own brand Milky Ways!  I then told them that our beloved football season tickets were not being renewed.  Too be honest that went down ok as they both then said its ok we understand we can watch on Sky instead.  Then I had to inform them that Sky Sports was not being renewed!  No tears, no tantrums all was quiet, then eldest said “Shit…are we poor now?”  All 4 of us then burst out laughing, it was just what we needed.  We managed to clear the air and let them know what was going on which was great.  Eldest is going to University next year and that is going to be a major struggle but we will get by if we are honest with them it is the first step.

These are the times I hate not having money but glad in one sense that we decided to go down this route so we could get out of this mess.  My heart aches every time I have to say no to my boys.  I’m hoping that after 5 years we will be in a position to help them out if they ever need it.  Im trying to get them involved in the monthly spreadsheets so they can understand the value of money and how much it actually costs to feed and clothe a family.  I have said that if he has any spends left from his holiday he can put the money towards his shoes, he probably wont want to buy them if he has to pay it all himself it will be interesting to see.

Sorry for the long winded rant but I have not told any family members or friends about this 5 year journey we are on.  This is my only outlet.

This week it is my mission to try and start to get a couple of luxuries- well luxury for us- back into the household without breaking our budget…watch this space

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That hurt more than I thought!

Good morning, happy weekend to everyone.

Well, its been 2 weeks since our IVAs were accepted and we have received our chairmans report which was scary to look at with all the figures laid down. But it was accepted so we pay what we need to and get on with our lives…
4years 11months 2weeks and 1 day until we are debt free!
Best advice ever I read was to think of it as a loan and thats how we wrote it down in our spread sheet for our budgeting.
Up bright and early this beautiful Saturday morning, dog walked breakfast sat out in the garden then I decide to have a look at the Insolvency Register!!! WHY WHY WHY.
I happily put my partners name in first and a few came all but one were bankruptcy and there was his name and address…I had to take a deep breath as even though I knew it was going to be there it was a shock and seeing the address was a little worse. I then decided to check out my name. I was literally shaking doing this and there I was just little old me all on my own no others and thats when it hit me how serious this matter was. Dont get me wrong I knew all to well that this was a serious solution we were taking on but nothing can prepare you for seeing your name and address listed there for all to see. I started crying, actually as I write this im still a little shaky and upset. I know one thing for sure is that I wont look again until im sure we have been taken off, I cant wait for the day it says no matches for your search. I wont let it ruin this beautiful weekend, I wanted to write this to get it out of my head and move on.

On a happier note only 5 more days in work and only 5 days to pay day then off for a week Nothing really planned as yet but trying to plan some nice days out for us and the boys that wont cost the earth. I have managed to get 4 FREE Alton Towers tickets after I sent a complaint about our last visit there. It was a shock but excellent result so all we need for that day out is petrol and a packed lunch. It goes to show that if you give feedback when asked some companies really do listen.
Its felt like a long time since last pay day and I have tried to not do a food shop this week. I raided the freezer and wrote down all the food we had in there and came up with a plan for 9 meals! Not bad when the boys and partner open the freezer and claim there is nothing in there. My shopping this week cost £22 that was on fresh basics and some beer for the weekend…it would be rude not to in this glorious sunshine.
I heard this on the radio last night for the first time in ages and I love the lyrics so I had to share…

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering
experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you
succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe
you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body,
use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people
think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you
should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and
lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund,
maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one
might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will
look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

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