Its been 6 years….

So, its been 6 years to the day since my first blog! So what does that mean? its over!! and we survived! I’m sorry, i wasn’t very good at blogging, i think in the end we just needed to get our heads down and get through it, try not to think about the IVA too much and just see it as another (huge!) bill that had to be paid.

I’m not going lie, its been really tough, and its got harder as it went on. The kids got older (and increased in numbers!) they ate more, wanted to do more things, their clothes and shoes got more expensive. Their needs changed, which meant my job had to change and now i’m not working at all. The house needs many repairs, the car is on its last legs. The list goes on. But the IVA still needed to be paid and some how we managed it, and we are still happily married (which i also think is a huge achievement when in an IVA!)

I have to admit, the effect its had on mine and my husband health is something i hadn’t considered when we started the IVA. Every spare penny has been spent on our children, and constantly trying to stay on budget has been so stressful (counting up the cost of the shopping as we went round Aldi was a constant, the kids thought it was a great game, obviously unaware of how much i was stressing in case we didn’t have enough money in the bank ) I’ve lost count of the number of times i have driven the car with no fuel and no money, praying it didn’t break down!

I’ve had a number of friends tell me they have been through hard times, and i don’t doubt them, and i’m sure there is many people living on a tighter budget than we have, but i think that its the length of time that is the challenge, 6 years is a long time to be skint!

But there has been positives too. Our children genuinely appreciate what they have. If they are given something, even something small like a chocolate bar, they are thankful. We where always honest with them, and would tell them straight, that we don’t have the money if they asked for something, and (most of the time!) they would understand. We have tried and tested pretty much every money saving trick going, and i think saving money is so ingrained in us now, i’m sure we will never end up in the same situation again. We certainly understand the difference between what we want and what we need, and the posh cars, fancy holidays etc no longer seem so attractive when i stop to consider the debt it would cause (not that we ever really had these anyway, but i certainly know a lot of people living way beyond their means and i’ll admit to feeling a little envious for a moment before i give myself a kick!) Hopefully our money saving skills will allow us to really make the most of the extra cash we have now.

So it can be done, 6 years is a long time, but in the scheme of things its not really. We tried to see it as a challenge, and of course its always good to try something new! So we’ve been there, done it, got the IVA t-shirt and we certainly wont be doing it again!!

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Struggling a little

Its been a while since my last post and we’ve had a few ups and downs, my wages have reduced at work by about £80 doesn’t sound a lot but it really is to us at the moment. informed my IP and we agreed to see how we got on before doing a review and i really don’t want to rock the boat so early on. I know we can manage on the money we have but what we are strugling with is the one off expenses. we had a wedding last weekend which involved a long drive an over night stay travel lodge+fuel+presents+outfits off ebay! = my gas bill!!! so i am now looking for things to sell on ebay in order to cover the gas bill!

I find these sorts of occasions really difficult as we really couldn’t afford to go (and i would have been quite happy staying at home!) but it was a family wedding and my parents and brothers, sisters and there children were all going so we really could say no. Another occasion similar to this we a collagues leaving do. I went along as i felt i had too but i felt so guilty spend £20 on a night out without my hubby and kids i didn’t even enjoy it and came home early! I think i will have to start work on an “IVA book of excuses!”

My wonderful husband has been refitting the bathroom this weekend, we bought a second hand suite a few months ago (cost us £52 and we got a free loo!) but we have had to buy a few bits pipes etc which has all added up. Lack of funds has meant very little jubilee celebrations. We don’t even have much fuel in the car to go anywhere so the children have been bored stuck in the house. All around me people are off on there holidays, spoiling there kids with toys and nice clothes, off on nice trips out or meals out (i know, i should stay off facebook!). I know we don’t really do badly but it does get me down when we have bills to pay and little funds. Fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow and i think we will have a nice walk or try and get to the beach.

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Its nearly pay day :)

Well we have made it through our first month, had to scrape the pennies together to put fuel in the car tomorrow but its pay day Thursday so not worried. I was so pleased that my blog was voted blog of the week for last week, it is so nice to know that people are finding it interesting!! And also lovely to recieve the voucher in the post, which i haven’t event spent yet. We are slowly doing up our bathroom so i think i will use it to buy something nice to decorate it.

Its been a long couple of weeks since my last blog as both of our boys to have been poorly, so i have had to juggle work with organising child care whilst trying not to take to much time off work. I also found out that my hours are to be reduced at work, not by much and was initially pleased as it will help when my son starts school in september however, i then realised it would cost us £80 per month! We ae hoping to make savings through our pension contributions however i will also be speaking to our IP to see what he says. I just don’t want to rock the boat so early on in the IVA.

I have also started completing some online surveys to try and raise some extra cash for Christmas. I quite enjoy completing them whilst watching the tv in the evening and the points are starting to build up which is nice to see! I’ve also opened a park catalogue account and plan to start saving for Christmas, at least that way i know our boys will get some nice presents. Although i have to admit i but them a lot of second had toys at car boots as i think i may as well whilst they are young and don’t know the difference. I do the same with their clothes and it saves me a fortune, i only buy really nice clothes in good condition and they always look good and are spoilt for choice as they have such a huge wardrobe, certainly better than mine! I love the fact i am so organised with money at the moment, i have a spread sheet which includes eveything we need to pay out and when, its a good feeling to finally be in control, just hope it lasts!!

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2 weeks in

Well it been 2 weeks since our first payment and i am pleasently suprised that we are managing quite well! All the bills have been paid and i have even managed to put some money in our savings account for the first time in years! I think we have just been so careful with what we have spent money on, we consider if it is really essential before we buy anything. Having said that, its my sons 4th Birthday in a couple of weeks, so i have been buying stuff for his party bags and a couple of presents. I love buying for our boys so always start Christmas/Birthday shopping very early which helps to spread the cost.

The only problem we have had is with our gas/elec. I move to first utility a couple of months ago only to find they want to take our direct debit just before pay day. I signed up for one of these web accounts were you only pay for what you use by sending monthly meter readings, bad move for us! almost £400 to pay over 2 months because of it being Jan/Feb and bills are high. Thankfully we have managed to pay most of it due to council tax break and they have aggreed to spread the remainder over the next few months.

We had some good news with my job which was a bit uncertain, but found out i’m ok for at least another year if not 2 and its a new project which will be much more fun than what i’m working on now so i am very happy.

I think next month will be fun, we have a birthday party to pay for and a trip to Thomas land! All good fun and i know we will manage.

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My 1st blog!

Ok, so finally found the HTML tab and can now actually start my blog!

Well its been a week of firsts for me, IVA approved Monday, first payment made and now my first blog! i haven’t a clue what i am doing hence its taken me an hour to get to this point!!

So why have i chosen to create a blog? Well we have been struggling with debt for years and the last 2 years have been awful. I haven’t talked to many people about it (other than my hubby of course!) mainly because i just didn’t want to. Money, well lack of it, had taken over our lives, the last thing i wanted to do was talk about it. So hopefully this blog will allow me to get a few things of my chest, share my thoughts and feelings and if my experiences can help others then thats fab too!

So we made out 1st payment yesterday, £450 wow thats is a huge amount of money for us. i work p/t and hubby works full time but not great pay and we have 2 young children. We pay mortgage and childcare each month as well so i know we are going to struggle. we were on dmp for 2 years prior to this so are use to living on a budget, but our payments were low due to me being on mat leave last year. I have already nearly had a breakdown today when i checked our bank and amazon had taken £50! Turns out my darling husband had signed up to amazon prime last month when he bought my Birthday presents ‘but i thought it was free’ he said ‘nothing is ever free in this life’ i replied, something i would have thought he would hae learned by now!! Panic over anyway, they are refunding our money thank goodness! Pay day for us would normally mean a meal out or a take away but not this month, we made a lovely curry and which i have to say was just as nice!

I feel like i am constantly balancing the books, i know the next 5/6 years are going to be hard, but it will be worth it in the end. Anyway i have a fantastic husband, 2 gorgeous healthy children and wonderful family and friends, what more could i ask for!!

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