Dave Ramsey UK-Baby Step 2

Hi and welcome back to my series on the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps.

You can find the other posts in the series here:

Part 1 (Baby Step 0)

Part 2 (Baby Step 1)

I’ll reiterate that you NEED to have written a budget before you start the Baby Steps, and you NEED to follow the Baby Steps in order. If you need help with how to write a budget, I have a post on that too, here.

Today we are moving onto Baby Step (BS) 2. This is probably the most exciting of the Baby Steps, paying off all of your debt except your mortgage.

So, you start BS2 by writing down all of your debts in order from smallest to largest. For some people, me included, this is the hardest part of the whole journey, seeing how much you actually owe. I found it very eye-opening, and made me want to run in the opposite direction.

But once we get through that part, and face it, you have the motivation to start paying it off. If you’d like to read about how to keep motivated during your Debt Free Journey, I have a post about that HERE.

To pay off the debt, you’ll be using The Debt Snowball Method. This is where you pay off your debts by balance, 1 by 1, starting with the smallest debt and finishing with the largest debt. You do not take interest rates into account unless you have 2 debts with the same balance, in which case you pay the higher interest rate one first.

Once you have your list of debts, you look at your budget and pay minimums on all of your debts except the smallest one. Attack the first balance on your list by paying as much as you can towards it every month while still making minimum payments on your other debts. When you’ve paid that first debt off, use the money that you were paying on your first debt, and put it towards your next debt and start attacking that one. You continue that pattern until you have paid off all of your debt and are Debt Free! That is BS2 finished!

But after writing your budget, what happens if you don’t have any money left over to put towards debt? Well, the issue is either that your income is too low, or your expenditure is too high. Or it may be both! You need to go through your budget and make adjustments and cut anything you can from it. If you have already done that, you need to make more changes.
In this case you either need to try working more hours (if you work outside the home already) or if you are a stay at home Mum, then you’ll need to find work outside the home that fits around your husbands working pattern. 
If you are a Single Mum like I am, you’ll need to work outside the home if you don’t already, or work more hours. I understand this isn’t always possible, but these are just guidelines.
 If you need childcare and are worried about the cost, please look at https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ to work out how much better off you will be in work. Despite many misconceptions, I have NEVER been worse off working than when I was on benefits. 

 

I’ll be back at the end of the week to talk about Baby Step 3

Claire.

 

My November Goals 2018- Monthly Linky

 

One thing that I really love about a new month is setting monthly goals. I feel this helps me to keep focused and on track, and motivates me during the month.

In fact, I also set yearly goals, and I’ll share those with you on New Years Eve. But for now, let’s concentrate on my November Goals.

 

 

  1. Start Matched Betting Seriously.

My Friend Charlotte over at Charlotte Musha has really inspired me to start thinking about Matched Betting seriously. I’ve heard many people describe how they’ve made hundreds of pounds from Matched Betting. Best of all, it’s totally tax-free! In this post, Charlotte describes how she made £230 in 5 hours! That sounds like a good money-maker! This ties in very nicely to Goal number 2.

 

  1. Try and earn £350 from Side Hustles.

This is a scary one, and quite a big goal. I do have some dog walking clients starting this month, so hopefully they will bring in the majority if that money. As well as Matched Betting, I’m going to start doing Surveys too.

 

  1. Start my Volunteer Job.

I really want to concentrate on getting some experience under my belt, for my dream job. I’ve applied for quite a few volunteer jobs recently, but there is specific one that I would really like to start this month. I must have my DBS check, plus wait for my references to come back, but my ‘taster day’ went really well. So, fingers crossed!

This is the most important goal for me this month, as I desperately need the experience. Plus, they will pay for my training if I stay with them for a minimum of 5 years. So, I get the experience and funding that I need to get my dream job in the long-term.

 

  1. Stay within my food budget.

This is something I struggle with EVERY month. I hate keeping an eye on how much I spend on food. I’m a real foodie, and have expensive taste, so my food budget easily goes out of the window by the 2nd week of every month!

 

  1. The No More Excuses November Challenge.

Every month in my Facebook Group we have a different challenge. This month I am running a ‘back to basics’ challenge, where we will be the most frugal we can, in all areas of our lives. No unnecessary spending, meal planning and sticking to it, using up the food we already have in our houses, pay as much off debt as possible, or save as much money as possible.

If you’d like to join, here is the Link. We do ask that everybody answers BOTH of the questions when requesting to join. It is a group that is based on the Dave Ramsey 7 Baby Steps, so please do some research on this if you want to join.

 

  1. Post all the Christmas Presents.

I need to post my families Christmas presents this year, as we won’t be able to meet up beforehand. I want to get this done by the 15th November. Last year I was late posting them, and they didn’t get delivered until New Year. That didn’t go down very well!

 

  1. Finally, my last goal is to put £300 to debt this month.

On the last day of November, I want to have enough money in the bank that I can put £300 to debt this month. If I do well with my side hustles, this shouldn’t be a problem. I have written my November budget, and have worked out that as long as I stick to my food budget, and earn money from side hustles, I should easily make this goal.

Those are my November Goals! I’ll be back at the end of the month to report on how I did, and whether I achieved these goals, or why I didn’t!

Do you have Monthly Goals? What are yours?

Until next time,

Claire.

 

I thought it would be fun to open up these Monthly Goals posts as a linky for bloggers and Instagrammers from all niches to be able to share their plans for the month and update as they go along so we can all be cheerleaders for one another.

 


Autumn Bucket List

 

 

As much as I love Summer, there is something magical and cosy about Autumn, and I just adore the change in season! Especially because Summer in England this year has been SO HOT, it’s refreshing to have some cooler weather. Crunchy Autumn Leaves, misty breath, crisp early mornings, there are so many things about Autumn that I love. No wonder it’s my favourite season!

 

When Sue from suefoster.info asked me to come up with an Autumn Bucket List, the only struggle was keeping it short enough!

So here are 5 things that I am doing this Autumn

 

  1. Hygge

I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube Videos and reading blog posts about Hygge. Essentially, this is the Danish word for ‘Cosiness and Comfort’. What better time to do this, than Autumn! For me, Hygge activities are things like reading a book while snuggled up on the sofa with the dogs, hot chocolate in hand. Or practicing meditation by candlelight, while its raining outside. Just the thought of doing these things makes me feel all snug and cosy.

  1. Save more money

I always feel it’s easier to save money in Autumn! I love warming stews, curries, 1 pot dinners, basically anything easy. Luckily enough, these are all relatively cheap to make.  Meal Planning is also easier because meals like stews can be made in huge vats, and then spread over 2 or 3 days if you like. There is nothing like mopping up the last bits of stew with a large chunk of crusty bread.

  1. Blog/Vlog more

I have a LOT of blog post ideas and am determined to break my habit of not posting because I worry my content isn’t good enough or provides enough of what people want to read. The same with my YouTube Channel (LINK). So, I want to redesign my blog and write more about things that I’m interested in. I want to make videos and blog about my dogs, my home, and of course, money!

  1. Get out more with the dogs

Living in Cornwall, I have a lot of beautiful places to go walking with the dogs. At this time of the year, many of the beaches open to dogs again, after being restricted during the holiday season. There are lovely National Trust houses that we can walk around the grounds (some allow dogs, some don’t. Always check first). And of course, we also have the South West Coast Path. I am aiming to take the dogs to at least 2 of these places in Autumn. Normally we walk around town, or walk at the local lake, but I really want to get us all exploring new areas.

  1. Be more social

With the shorter days approaching, its so easy to hibernate during the colder, darker months! I am guilty of doing this a lot and it can really affect my mood. This year I’m making a conscious effort to get out and meet friends more. Not only that, but to meet new people and join more social groups. I’ve recently joined a new Church, so I am going to be seeing what social groups they offer, plus our local council run a lot of walking groups (and who knows, I might even take my dogs and kill 2 birds with 1 stone!).

 

So those are just a few of the things on my Autumn bucket list. I’d love to hear yours, so let me know either here on the blog, or over on Instagram

You can also look at more Autumn Bucket Lists by checking out Sue’s Post Here

 

 

 

More Debt and Motivation

 

If you’re a member of my Facebook Group, you’ll already know that recently I have been finding my Financial Journey really difficult and am seriously lacking motivation.

I find that nobody ever talks about how being Debt Free is NOT the end of a financial journey but is the start of one. STAYING Debt Free is (in my experience) just as difficult as BECOMING Debt Free.

Unless I am the only person on the planet struggling with this (and I’m pretty sure I’m not!) then I hope this post will be helpful to someone else.

A few months ago, I decided to try and use a credit card sensibly, by buying all of my food using the card, and paying it all off in full. Well, fast forward a month and I now have £1k on the card and not enough money to pay it back in full. Plus, I had Direct Debits to pay and not enough money in the bank to cover them.

So, having learned my lesson, I am now trying to get back on track. These are the 4 things I am doing to help me:

  1. Cut up that Credit Card!

This was the first thing I did once I got my act together. I would love to be one of those people who can use a credit card responsibly, and maybe I will be one day, but at the moment I am not. So, to stop myself getting further back into debt, I cut it up.

  1. Get back to Budgeting.

While I was spending frivolously, I abandoned my budgeting altogether. I have gone back to writing out my fortnightly budget as I feel like this always helps me to see where my money is going, and how much I can spend/save/pay off debt.

  1. Meal Planning!

I normally ALWAYS meal plan, as you can see here: How I meal Plan. 

But with buying so much food and takeaways, I just totally fell off the wagon with meal planning. I KNOW this saves me money, as I have done it consistently for months while paying off my original debt, so I know I can do it again. It saves me time and effort as well as money.

  1. Sharing my mistakes.

It’s really important to me that I don’t keep this kind of thing a secret. For me, not admitting to it means that it’s not really happening, and I can keep getting away with it. I told the members of my Facebook Group that I was struggling and asked for support. I was worried about being a disappointment to them, as they were so supportive during my Debt Free Journey the first time round. But they were amazing, and I needn’t have worried.

 

Hopefully some of these strategies can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation. I know what I need to do, and I am doing it to the best of my ability. I am aiming to be Debt Free (again!) by the end of September.

 

 

 

 

How to become Debt Free while on a Low Income

As some of you may know, I became Debt Free in February 2018. During all of that time, I only earned just above National Minimum Wage as a single parent.
Many people told me that I was crazy for even attempting it, that I’d never manage it as a single parent.
All I can say is that I’m glad I never listened to them!

It may have taken me longer than some couples, but the end result was the same, Debt Freedom!

These are the steps I took to become Debt Free while on a Low Income.

1. You have to know your numbers.

This is by far the scariest part, and the reason that many people don’t even start their Debt Free Journeys. It can be really scary to see exactly what you owe to people written down. The reality of that number can be enough to pretend you didn’t see it, and run on the opposite direction, choosing never to look at your debts again.
I promise you, if you have the desire to face this, you won’t be seeing that number for long.

2. Know your Income and Expenditure.

Have you ever thought ‘I don’t know where my money disappears to every month’? This exercise will show you exactly where your money goes!

Next, go through the previous months bank statements. Write down all of your income for the month. This may include things like:

Wages/Salary
Tax Credits/Benefits
Child Maintenance
Rent from Lodgers/Older Children
Second jobs

Now assign different categories for everything you’ve spent. Examples could be

Bills
Direct Debits
Entertainment
Childcare

Now split all of your expenses into either ‘Necessary’ or ‘Not Necessary’.
So items like Utilities would go into the ‘Necessary’ section, and those cups of coffee you buy in town would go into the ‘Unnecessary’ section.

3. Start Cutting Things Out!

So, from your ‘Not Necessary’ list, you now know what you need to cut out, or cut down on.
Some ideas to help might be

-Invest in a good coffee flask and make all of your ‘on the go’ coffee from home
-Stop buying.streaming films, get Netflix instead
-Reduce/Stop your Sky or Cable subscriptions
-Sort through what clothes you already have, so you don’t buy anymore
-Have a skincare and Makeup audit. Don’t buy any until you’ve used up what you already have
-Think of free things you can do with your children instead of taking them on expensive days out
-Invite your friends over to your house in the evenings instead of going to a bar or pub. If everyone brings a bottle, it works out much cheaper

Whatever it is that you currently waste money on, you can find a way around it, you just need to get creative sometimes!

4. Write Your Budget.

This part is quite simple, and there are plenty of Budget Templates available on Google to help you with this step.
Essentially you write down all of your Income and Expenses, then see what you have leftover.
One of the best Budget Planners I have seen is this one from The Money Advice Service https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner and i have a blog post about it here http://themoneyfreak.co.uk/2018/06/24/how-to-write-a-budget/

5. Have an Emergency Fund!

Whatever is left after your necessary expenses are deducted from your income, gets saved towards a £1000 Emergency Fund (EF). At the beginning on this journey, you only need £1000 as an Emergency Fund, and the plan is to get that £1k as quickly as possible.

How can you make money as quickly as possible?

-Go through your clothes, your children’s clothes and sell what you no longer need or use
-Work extra hours
-Matched Betting
-Get a 2nd Job

To realise the importance of an Emergency Fund, imagine what would happen without it. What will happen when your washing machine breaks down, or your car fails the MOT? What happens if someone drives into the back of you and damages your car?
If you don’t have an Emergency Fund, you’ll end up getting further into debt to cover those types of emergencies, and get further into debt.

6. Sinking Funds.

Now that you have your £1000 Emergency Fund, and written your budget, you should know exactly how much money you have left at the end of every month. At this point, when you are feeling motivated to start paying off our debt, it’s really tempting to throw every penny at debt. But it’s really important to have Sinking Funds.

What are Sinking Funds? They are basically just a pot of money ( either a physical pot, or online) where you save for expected expenses. For example, you know Christmas is on the 25th December every year, it shouldn’t come as a shock!
So instead of panicking in October or November, plan ahead. Decide on how much you’ll spend on Christmas and divide it by how many months until Christmas arrives. So in January you’d divide by 12 and in June you’d divide by 6. Then bank that amount every month to pay for it.

The thing here is to set REALISTIC amounts for Christmas. Pre ‘Debt Free Planning’ you may have spent a huge amount every year on Christmas, but your budget will tell you what you can afford now!
This is the same for all big expenses. Plan ahead and you wont ‘Sink’.

Some examples of Sinking Funds are:

-Christmas/Birthdays
-Car Expenses (MOT, Tax, Insurance, repairs)
-School Expenses (Uniforms trips, bus pass)
-Pet expenses (annual vaccination boosters, emergency vet visits)

Again, depending on your personal circumstances, these may be different from mine and you may have less or more of them.

7. Paying off your debt: Snowball vs Avalanche.

Now, things get exciting! You get to put every single penny towards debt and get started with becoming Debt Free!

But which method should you choose? I don’t think there is any ‘should’ in that question, I believe its YOUR decision, not up to me to tell you.

There are 2 methods
The Debt Snowball and The Debt Avalanche.

Put simply, The Debt Snowball ignores interest rates on your debts and tackles each debt in order from lowest to highest balance. There is some good Psychology in using this method, as you gain traction quickly and get those ‘quick wins’.

The Debt Avalanche is the opposite. You list your debts in order from the highest interest rate to the lowest interest rate, and you pay them off in this order. This method has maths on its side!

Whichever method you decide to use, it’s entirely up to you. Don’t feel like you can’t change your mind either! If you start by using The Debt Snowball but find it doesn’t work for you, it’s perfectly fine to switch to using The Debt Avalanche. Whatever keep you motivated and keeps you on your Debt Free Journey is the best thing.
I personally used The Debt Snowball, as it meant that I paid off some of my smaller debts really quickly. This helped keep me motivated, but some of you may be more ‘maths people’ and prefer The Avalanche.

Here is a better explanation of both methods:

How To Get Out Of Debt On A Low Income

But after writing your budget, what happens if you don’t have any money leftover? Well, the issue is either that your income is too low, or your expenditure is too high. Or it may be both! 
In this case you either need to try working more hours (if you work outside the home already) or if you are a stay at home Mum, then you’ll need to find work outside the home that fits around your husbands working pattern. 
If you are a Single Mum like I am, you’ll need to work outside the home if you don’t already, or work more hours. I understand this isn’t always possible, but these are just guidelines.
 If you need childcare and are worried about the cost, please look at https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ to work out how much better off you will be in work. Despite many misconceptions, I have NEVER been worse off working than when I was on benefits.