Tuesday 28 July 2015

Debt Management

Hey everyone :)

I wanted to start this by saying 'everyone will have probably seen this film' but then I remembered it is quite a chick flick and so some people may have not seen it ... (I'm looking at all you straight-manly men type guys).

It's called Confessions of a Shopoholic and I think it is one of my favourite films.

The film opens with a girl - Rebecca Bloomwood - telling us that she has 10 credit cards (all maxed out - she doesn't tell us this) and she loves to shop - if she had to choose between a man and shopping - she'd choose shopping - that's how crazy she is. She has all the designer clothes and looks amazing! She works at a garden magazine but wants to one day work at the successful Alette (a fashion magazine) - she eventually gets a job at Successful Saving - a money magazine that is owned by the same company that own Alette so the plan is to work for them and then move up to Alette after some time.

I think its quite comedic because it's ironic that a girl in lots of debt with debt collectors chasing her starts working for a saving magazine and giving advice to the readers about saving when she can't save as she's in thousands of dollars worth of debt.

The film also involves her pretending to speak Finish (because no one checks up on Finland), her friends wedding, thinking up crazy excuses for the debt collector, the girl-enemy that's trying to steal the hot guy, and obviously a romance ... plus there is lots more too but I didn't want to ruin it.

Once of my favourite quotes in the film is when Luke (the hot guy) asks her why she does it - her answer is simple:

Funnily enough I do think the quote is true - the world does feel better when you shop and you buy clothes and possessions and they make you happy. Then a month or so later you are bored again and buy something else and you feel happy again because that purchase has made you happy.

Anyway enough about this film ... I just thought it related well to what the subject of my post is about: 'Debt Management'. I have never been good with money - I am terrible! My mum always says she doesn't know where I got it from because her and my dad have always been good with money. They've never borrowed (apart from their mortgage) and have always paid for things outright and never had credit cards. I currently have 4 credit cards, a £1000 overdraft, i'm into the 2nd year of paying my car finance off ... the list goes on.

I think the first time I got myself into debt was when I was at university - I was a student - young, stupid and naive and thought I had everything under control - I didn't obviously and that's why I left university at the start of year 2 and never went back and I still owe my parents a £1000 of unpaid rent bills to the university student accommodation - which they paid so I owe them it.

Obviously time moved on ... and I got better with managing my money and then I got worse again ... if I'm honest some of the purchases were justifiable such as driving lessons or car insurance - neither are cheap. Then I decided to get professional teeth whitening because I wan't happy with my teeth ... £450 ... then I wanted an Xbox One ... £350 ... then I decided I wanted a PS4 - £350 ... before this (I forgot) I bought 2 new camera (nearly £1000) ... before I knew it ... 3 credit cards were maxed out and I was in debt ... it's so easy and credit card companies make it easier for you because they up your limit and give you 'good' interest rates so you'll spend more! It's very odd and confusing - this credit card world!

Anyway I came up (and Dave helped too) of ways to help me save:

Credit Cards
My mum and Dave's answer was the same: CUT THEM UP! - but I didn't want to do that ... so I settled with Dave taking them away from me (all four yes!) and locking them up in his room and regardless of my situation and my threats of breaking up - he is not allowed to give them to me.

Budget Buying
Stores (like Tesco, Sainsburys etc) have 3 types of products - you get the value range (like Tesco Value) , then you get the better value type, then the branded (like Heinz) and then similar the finest range (like Tesco Finest). Lots of saving websites recommend the second choice - not branded but not the value range. It will help you save and let's face it ... it doesn't need to be branded all the time! Tesco tomato sauce and Heinz tomato sauce doesn't taste any different!

Meal Planning
I'm still working on this - so I won't say much. But there are websites (like the netmums forums) that have meal planners and they plan a whole month worth of meals and they tell you what to buy and give you shopping lists - it really is a good place to check. The meals are very nutritional and cheap and easy and quick to make.

Drinking Water
Yes a very odd thing to say ... but hear me out ... water is free ... it comes from a tap - most employers by law have to provide drinking water. Water is apparently a natural appetite suppressant so drinking it throughout the day and between meals stops you from snacking or buying junk food. Think of the £1 to £2 you would use in the vending machine on coke and crisps that could be saved for a rainy day.

Large Spending
Probably a given - but no large spending - meaning no new games for the PS4, no new clothes, no nothing ... unless it's absolutely necessary ... your parent's Silver Wedding Anniversary present ... then yes that's okay ...

Work & OverTime
If your work offers overtime then step up and offer to do some ... it helps out in the long run and will help you pay of the debt a little bit faster.

Let me know if you have any other ideas I could do or whether these ideas helped you out!

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Disclaimer: Please be aware that I'm not a financial expert, nor claim to be - these are just things that have helped me save and I wanted to share them with you all.
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