Christmas is here and we are 1/3rd of the way there!

Well, 3 weeks til christmas and I am starting to get in the festive mood!, having just made our 20th payment I am starting to feel we are getting somewhere, 10 more payments and we are then on the downhill stretch and nearer to our dreams.

Well, hubby’s car repairs has cost much more than we were expecting, we thought it would be around £80 but it has cost £225, just what we needed right before christmas, but as usual, a quick email off to my IP for help and she responded immediately with a solution, so that panic has been replaced by relief, we could have just suffered in silence but i am so glad we contacted her, I would recommend anyone in an IVA if for whatever reason you find yourself struggling, don’t struggle in silence without contacting your IP first to see if they can help.

So we seem to be a bit more on track this month, I am being ultra careful with our budget this month, all christmas presents have been bought now, we aren’t buying for each other this year as we wanted to make sure the kids have what they wanted so we will go without, I am actually trying to convince myself that we are half way through already, in christmas terms anyway as christmas 2010 was just after we had started the IVA process so we were living to our IVA budget then anyway even though we weren’t officially in the IVA so essentially this one is now our third and we have 3 more to go.

Anyway, if I don’t get to post before, have a very merry christmas everyone xx

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November 2012

Well, I can’t believe it has been so long since I updated my blog, in the beginning of our IVA I had every intention of writing my thoughts and feelings down here every week, sometimes daily I guess, but as time has gone by and life takes on some kind of ‘normality’ again, if that can ever be in an IVA, I guess my blog has fallen by the wayside a little.

So to update where we are now, next week we will be making our 20th payment, that takes us 1/3rd of the way through, it astounds me when I see that written down if I’m honest, there have been a few months where time has simply dragged by but this year really has flown.

We have had a few tight months this year, nothing major has gone wrong as such, just my poor budgeting, overspending leaving us in the lurch, this month being a case in point.

I had my 40th birthday earlier in the month, we couldn’t afford to do anything special but hubby wanted to get me a special present so bought me a particular coat I wanted that will last me a lifetime, it was expensive, but an investment but means this month has been very very tight, now his car has to go in for repairs tonight, we have no idea what it’s going to cost and can’t afford to pay until I am paid next week, but it makes me feel guilty about this damned coat.

We have nothing to fall back on, no family to help us out (they don’t know about our IVA) or friends, my brother was harping on about me having a party for my 40th but I really didn’t want one, nor could I afford one, he does know about the IVA but I really don’t think he gets it about how little we have!

Things with my dad are no better, my gorgeous kids have not hear from him since March, my brother called me a couple of weeks ago to tell me my dad had got very drunk on his birthday and drove off in the car after a row with his partner, the row was because she doesn’t like him talking about his family or my mum anymore, my brother ended up having a huge row with him and told him a few home truths. I am at the end of my tether with it all, my dad has text my husband only a couple of days ago out of the blue asking what the kids want for christmas, well they’d actually like their grandad to be part of their lives more that any material thing, but I guess that’s too much to ask from him.

My moods are swinging up and down all the time, I do suffer from depression and have to fight to keep it at bay a lot of the time, but I think at this stage of our IVA where we are in the swing of things so to speak, but still have such a long way to go it all feels very stagnant.

We are coming up to christmas in a few weeks and thankfully have managed to get the kids most of what they want by saving from our allowances throughout the year, at least after this one we only have another 3 christmases in the IVA.

This month is the second this year where our contingency has depleted to less than £100 and I am making a resolution now that this doesn’t happen again, I worry that longer term I haven’t got the ‘shopping buzz’ out of my system, earlier this month Very reopened an old account of mine without my consent and for a second I was tempted to get a few things, I know deep down that if had access to credit at the moment, and it was fine to do it, then I would easily run up debt again, have I learned nothing? it makes me ashamed to admit that when I know I will not pay anywhere near back the amount we run up before the IVA, my husband thinks I am being hard on myself and that I wouldn’t allow myself to run up that kind of debt again, I hope not, I hope that another couple of years of this enforced budgeting will really get it out of my system.

Do I regret taking this step?, no I don’t think so, but life is very boring these days, and I can’t see how that will change beyond the IVA as the payments will then be swallowed up paying our mortgage.

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Almost at the 1st year end

I can’t believe a year has flown by already, when I think back to how we felt a year ago, constant letters and phone calls day after day, getting closer to the creditors meeting, the nerves and impatience and wondering what on earth we were going to do if the IVA wasn’t agreed, to how things are now, we have come so far.

So how has our first year been?, financially things are……ok, we are managing, I am so pleased we took our time over getting our proposal spot on, as what felt fairly comfortable in those first few months is now starting to feel a bit tighter, if we had restricted ourselves in the beginning, I am pretty sure we would have been in dire straits now.

Everything is going or gone up, which is the way of the world I know, but fuel prices are crippling us, between us we use 240 litres of diesel a month to get to work and back (living rurally does has it’s disadvantages) so with the rapid increase over the last year, we have a deficit of around £25 a month from what we allocated in our proposal.

Oil for our heating has gone up, we are using approx £20 a month more than last year, despite the mild winter.

Our electric has doubled from £40 a month to £79, water has gone up from £240 to £380 pa, all these extra costs at the moment we are having to fund out of our existing allowances, mainly our food budget, but as we have our review coming up in the next couple of weeks, I am hoping we can get this sorted for the coming year.

Fortunately I have a pay rise due which should balance these costs out and avoid looking for a reduction in our IVA payments, hubby’s wage is going down, he is public sector and is on a pay freeze and despite the personal tax allowance increasing, he also has to increase his pension payments now which means a net monthly loss of about £5 a month, not much I guess but when you’re in an IVA, every £1 counts.

I am also public sector and on a pay freeze, my tax allowance is also increasing but fortunately this year my pension contributions are not, I also have an increment rise so should be better off, yay!

All in all, we are doing ok, we have a few hundred in savings as a contingency that we have to dip into each month for extra bits and pieces and we just pray week to week that nothing ‘blows up’ like the car, washing machine etc, so far so good.

The last year has been an emotional rollercoaster, still not talking to my dad but I’m slowly coming to terms with losing him from my life, the IVA has been on the forefront of my mind, whereas I was once obsessing over spreadsheets detailing our debts and repayments, I now have converted these to the IVA and how much we’re paying back!

We have also finally talked to our 13 year old daughter about our situation and so hopefully she now understands a bit more about how things are as they are.

On the plus side, it’s been good to do christmas and birthdays using our own money rather than credit, I must admit in the early days, what scared me the most was how we would manage without credit, but we have so far and it’s a good feeling, I have days, weeks even when it all gets to me, I feel incredibly down and the end seems such a long way away, I regret many things and feel totally despondent about working hard each day, just to live and get through each month, but then I try to pull myself out of it and think more positively, we are a year in 20% of the way there, and this last year really has gone quickly when I think about it, life isn’t too bad, we ARE managing, we can still do things like the odd meal out, day trips etc, we just have to be careful what we spend and plan and be better organised (think picnics instead of fast food)

It’s easter in a couple of weeks and we’re looking forward to a few days on one of the sun holidays in snowdonia, so looking forward to that, not quite florida as it was a couple of yuears back, but time with family is precious, wherever we are, that’s what counts

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September is here and we are 5 payments down

So, I have my new car now and the first month where I have had the first payment taken out of my salary and I still had a net income of around £130 more than I was expecting which was a bonus, of course much of this has had to be paid over into the IVA but I have had a nice little surprise back, they have reviewed my current salary now and it means I have actually overpaid this month by £28.50 and I can deduct that from next months payment!!!! what a bonus!!!

We had a fantastic holiday and managed to bring a fair bit of money home with us with which we have done some decorating at home and also I have managed to start xmas shopping, I am never normally this organised so early but as my son had already written his list from his ‘bible of toys’ the argos catalogue, I spent some time having a look to see if any offers were on, his list in total came to around £330, but some of the stuff has money off at the moment which took the total down to £260, so, I have been and bought the bits with money off using the gift card I won for blog of the week to take another £25 off and spent a total of £165 so I’m a happy girl, that’s him more or less sorted for xmas now, just have our dear daughter to sort out, hubby got £30 worth of high st vouchers from work so I am going to use those at New Look for some clothes for her and then do the rest at the end of the month when I am paid again.

I have managed to save around £150 in saving stamps for Tesco and Asda so my xmas food and booze shopping is taken care of too, it’s amazing if you just buy a few £££ of stamps each week you do your shopping how it soon mounts up, I’m so glad I have been so organised so that we don’t have to worry about affording xmas this year and we may even have enough to get each other a small gift or too which will make a change from last year!!!

My dad still isn’t talking to me and my kids are still very hurt and upset, to say he only lives a mile away and we have just had the 6 weeks summer holidays, he has not made any effort to be in touch with them at all during that time, my little boy is only 8 and I am so upset for him as he doesn’t understand why his grandad is behaving this way.

My new car is great, a little cheaper to run that my last one so what turned out to be an extremely tight fuel budget we agreed in our IVA proposal meaning we didn’t allocate enough for what we actually use!) is now comfortable for us to manage within which is making life a little less stressful. I received my renewal for my car insurance for my old car yesterday which when I had been paying £28 a month over the last year has now gone up to £46 a month!! I don’t know where they get their prices from, not sure if being in the IVA has anything to do with it, I’m sure it hasn’t but I was astonished to be honest and I’m so glad I could take great pleasure in ringing them up to cancel the renewal as I don’t need it now I have my work car.

So I am starting to get geared up for xmas, having a good clear out at home sorting the kids clothes out that are too small, I was just going to bag the lot up to send to the charity shop but I may actually try to sell some of it on ebay as some of the stuff is very good quality and condition (like coats from Next etc) which may raise a few £££

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feeling low

I’m on an emotional rollercoaster at the moment.

A week ago or beautiful 12yr old daughter ran away from home, this has nothing at all to do with our IVA but then, my ramblings are just that, echoes of our life over the next few years and how we manage to get through this to a better life for our future.

I got the call from hubby an hour after I had gone to work, as normal on a Thursday she had gone to her grandads straight from school for tea, then she was due to go to drama club in the evening, instead she took a taxi to a town 7 miles away, sat in Sainsbury’s for an hour collecting her thoughts, the staff became suspicious and called the police.

After long discussions with her it turns out her grandad and his partner whom he has lived with since my mum died 3 years ago have been talking about me to my daughter, how disappointed they am in me, how I am uncaring, illmannered etc etc and told her to ‘keep this secret’ so she has been bottling it up for weeks on end and can’t cope with it anymore, with her grandad disrespecting her mum.

I am devastated and heartbroken and feeling cheated if I’m honest, my parents were together 50 years and within 5 months of her death my dad was looking for someone else, it was hard to deal with but I understood he didn’t want to be alone, after 2 initial failed relationships with women I never met, he got together with a friend of my mum’s who lived over the road from them, initially I was very happy for him, welcomed her into our family and looked forward to us being ‘happy’ again, but this woman who is widowed has never had a family of her own and very quickly it became clear that while she was prepared to accept us, she didn’t really want to become involved with us as a family and would not compromise on her busy social life to include us, even the party we threw for my dad’s 70th birthday he did not attend as they had something else on.

I have for some time had the feeling she did not really like me, my dad unfortunately is very much a sheep and does as he is told (he was the same with my mum), he has turned into a man I no longer know and I have had to let go over the last 18 months after fighting to be a part of his life he made it clear he had a ‘new family now’ and things have drifted. He only lives a mile away from me, but we have gone form seeing each other daily, to now once a fortnight if I’m lucky he can fit me in.

To hear now that the pair of them hate me so much is difficult to deal with if I’m honest, following getting our daughter back safe and sound, hubby spoke to him about her reasons, after initial denial, he has since said he will never trust my daughter again, she should have kept quiet and his partner has grasped the opportunity to launch into a tirade about what she thinks of me.

I need to add at this point that when my hubby called me at work to let me know what had happened, I immediately called my dad to find out if they knew anything or noticed anything when my daughter was with them, my dad was in bed and his partner would not let me speak to him, even though she knew my daughter had run away, she has since said she was ‘protecting’ my dad.

A week on, my relationship with my dad is over, he has used this as an opportunity to say I have been ‘nothing but trouble’ since I was 13 yrs old, I am finding this difficult to deal with, as a 38 year old woman now who did well at school, worked hard, went to university, became a nurse met and married my husband and had 2 wonderful children together, I fail to understand how I have disappointed him so greatly, my husband can do no wrong and is perfect in my father’s eyes, but to him and his partner I am now a complete failure. They have no idea about our IVA or that we have ever had debts thankfully.

My daughter now never wants to see her grandad again and I have to accept that his partner has ‘won’, I have lost my dad and it breaks my heart.

Now, we have to get on with our lives, pick up the pieces and love our family as best we can, my daughter is seeing a counsellor at school and is much more settled and happy, I will never stop her from seeing her grandfather but she has made her own choice on this.

It’s been another nightmare week really and I wonder how much more I can take emotionally, I feel I am standing on a precipice as the moment and what else will happen before I am pushed over the edge.

God we need a holiday

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expensive month

well I have to say it’s turning out to be an expensive month this month, we have had the MOT and service on the car (£180), car failed it’s MOT and needed another £40 worth of repairs, an advisory on something that I don’t quite understand that is another £50 that needs doing before the end of the month and 3 tyres are needed (another £180) on top of the car tax which we could only afford to do for 6 months (£90) it has in total cost us, or going to cost us £540 and it’s only a 4 yr old car. Where on earth the CCCS get £22 a month for car maintenance is beyond me. Little help was forthcoming from our IVA company (we could reduce our payments but would have to pay it back over 3 months) so we have just bitten the bullet and reduced our food budget this month immensely to cope, beans on toast again tonight kids!

At the end of the month we have the house insurance to renew and also car breakdown insurance, another £230 to find! I’m a bit sick of it really, all these costs are coming at the beginning of our IVA and it’s just a bit galling, but I guess we just have to get on with it.

Even so despite all this, we have been able to afford for hubby to take my little boy to see the new Transformers film a couple of days ago, he is only 8 but a huge Transformers fan, Orange Wednesdays are brill so the tickets only cost £7 for the 2 of them, plus they took a bag of popcorn from Home Bargains (£1) and a couple of small bottles of coke (39p each!) so all in all was a cheap treat! and son was mightily impressed!!

We have our holiday to look forward to in 4 weeks, we do have some savings put aside for this but I don’t want to erode those for car repairs so have cut back elsewhere for those, I am really looking forward to getting away, it’s been a very stressful year so far and now things are calming down a bit, it will be nice to get away, although I must admit, it’s been very difficult trying to save enough to go even though we had paid for the holiday before we looked at an IVA, and I will be glad when the holiday is over so we can relax a bit and not worry so much about what we are spending, we won’t be going abroad next year as we definitely won’t be able to afford it, but I am sure we will still have plenty of camping trips in the UK.

Daughter brought home a letter from school a couple of days ago about a trip to the olympics next year, it’s an overnight trip where food is not included and is to see womens basketball which is only a qualifying event anyway and not a medal event and they want £265!!!! I have told her poltely she aint going, even if we weren’t in the IVA I wouldn’t pay that for an overnight trip with food costs on top!, maybe if it was track and field events.

On another totally random point, the field opposite is currently being harvested of potatoes and there are loads lying on top of the soil discarded, I am sorely tempted given the state of affairs!!!

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Almost to our 3rd payment

Next week will be our third payment, I’m trying so hard not to see this as a prison sentence but finding it a bit hard at the moment. I’ve done myself a spreadsheet with all our payments mapped out so I can see the total decreasing every month, how sad is that?

I have overspent seriously this month so things are now very tight before I am paid in 5 days time, and I still have to put fuel in my car to get to work for the rest of this week.

On the plus side, I should be getting my new lease car through work next month, this was all budgetted for in the IVA and means I am going to have hassle free motoring during my IVA which will be a blessing, just have to hope my 11 yr old Fiesta continues to hold up for another month or so.

On a more personal level, we lost our beloved mum to breast cancer 3 years ago, it would have been her birthday on Friday this week and my dad phoned me last night to announce that he needs me to speak to my brother as a matter of urgency to arrange a mutually convenient date this summer to make the trip down to Cornwall to scatter her ashes as he can’t put it off any longer, I am stunned. This is the first time he has mentioned this for a year and both my brother and myself can’t find the time to plan this for this summer now. He can only go on a weekend and I work weekends as I am a nurse, we have our shifts planned until October now, can’t go just for the day as it’s an 800 mile round trip!

I’m worried about my dad, he is living with someone else (a neighbour across the road) who he moved in with a few months after my mums death, that was hard enough to deal with but he has more or less disowned the rest of his family as he has ‘a new family now’ his words, not mine and we don’t see much of him, he only lives a mile away from me but I don’t get to see him at all as his partner keeps him very busy with her life, family and friends, it hurts but there is nothing more I can do, I have fought to have a relationship but now have given up to protect myself. But I do still worry about him, he is my dad. He has no idea about our predicament. I know if he knew he would be very angry, but I also know he would sell his house and give me some of the money to pay off our debts and I couldn’t allow that to happen, there is no way I would ever be bound to him like that.

Anyway, almost to payday, and then we have the dreaded MOT and service of hubby’s car, I am PRAYING it will pass, it’s going to cost over £400 as it is (needs taxing aswell) and if it needs anything doing I don’t know how we will afford it

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Right, my blog take 3

Ok so here we go again, my third attempt at a blog that hopefully this time won’t get deleted!

We are a month into our IVA now so how did we get here? Well, I guess like many people over the years, we consumed more than we had income for and that’s the bottom line.

I met my hubby 17 years ago (blimey!) and within months we bought our first house together, got married had kids, saw the value of our house rocket and remortgage after remortgage to pay off bills have ended up at the point where we now have a massive mortgage, are in negative equity (just) and have unsecured debts of almost £60k, and what do we have to show for all these years of spending?, nothing, nada, zilch. It sickens me actually, but there we go.

After the last few years of paying minimum payments and being ultra savvy with our budget to make ends meet, it finally dawned on mid summer last year that we couldn’t carry on this way, I am in my mid thirties, hubby in his late forties and we would NEVER pay this debt off in our lifetimes if we carry on the way we are. We had changed our mortgage to interest only 3 years ago to try to hack away at the debt but it had made no difference.

So, last summer, I was in a highly stressful but well paid job but i was almost at breakdown, I hated my job and decided that I wanted to go back into nursing, this would mean a 50% wage cut for me and 3 months at uni with no income at all to get me back on the register.

So I took the plunge, we had saved a little to get us through those 3 months, but it soon became apparent that we just wouldn’t be able to manage.

By mid November, I realised I wanted an end to this, I had a job lined up for when I was back on the register in January, but even then, knowing what my wage was going to be, things were going to be incredibly tight.

I looked on the internet at DMP’s and IVA’s, a DMP would take us 20 years to pay off, that made me feel physically sick, bankruptcy was not an option as hubby would lose his job, so I looked into a IVA. I found this forum and it answered a lot of my questions, I knew about IVA’s previously as I had briefly looked into it years ago but at that time thought we would manage.

so in December 2010, I made a call and started the ball rolling and we were approved in May 2011. It took a few months due to the various changes in my jobs, tax situation etc which i wanted to get right first but we made it. We have made 2 payments now and things are going ok, our budget seems fine and after having a few years of budgeting ferociously, I haven’t found these early days too much of a shock to the system so far.

So how do I feel now?, after the initial elation of being accepted wore off, I guess the realisation of the next 5 years has hit me quite hard, my salary changes month to month and is always more than a basic salary that our IVA payments were worked out on as I get extra payments for working unsocial hours, this means extra into the IVA pot which is not an issue in itself, but I do feel there is a lot of intrusion into our finances that I find hard to deal with, on the positive side it does mean we can earn a little extra cash with helps with the budget.

we are fortunate that we don’t have expensive hobbies or interests, we never have had, we never ate out anyway, or had takeaways, or go to the pub or cinema much, we like to go walking and camping, I like my running, but we do like our holidays.

We have a holiday booked to Switzerland in August which was paid for last year, I am just desperately trying to save spending money for us now but it’s hard, I have also had to get a new passport for me this month £80, and the MOT and service plus a tyre is due on hubby’s car, we could do without the expense of the holiday to be honest but as it is paid for an we just need spends I don’t want the kids to be disappointed now, this will be the last ‘extravagant’ holiday (if you can call it that!) we will be having for the next five years.

So our goals, to get through the next 5 years with as few hiccups as possible, I don’t want to wish our lives away though but I do hope it goes quickly!, then we are going to take the kids to Florida, this time last year (a year ago tomorrow in fact!) we were on our way to florida and the kids had a fantastic time, I know how much they wouldlove to go back so we’re aiming to be able to take them a few months after our IVA completes.

Beyond that, who knows?, 5 years ago I never dreamed this was where I would be now, so an element of positive uncertainty for the future would be good!

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just testing if this blog is actually going to work!

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Hello world!

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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