Is is really nearly over????

July 26th, 2010

Hi all

I’ve just been looking back over my old posts….I can’t believe my last one was 15 months ago!!

I’ve got 2 more payments to make. Yep,  I read that correctly…….August and September…..then………done!!

I can’t believe it. 2 more! Still struggling away on this 6 year old laptop, a crappy 2nd hand telly, pay as you go mobile brick….you know, the usual IVA stuff!

My wonderful mother has booked me a holiday in January, and I’m going to pay for it in full once this is all finished.

My word, a REAL holiday! On a plane!

I still wish I had found this forum before I started my IVA, but I have learnt so much about the process, I actually feel like I can post with confidence. Thank you as always to the people who give up their free time to post and give advice; it means so much.

It still amazes me that so many people still find themselves in this mess. I thought it was just me who was a silly little girl who couldn’t manage her money, but this place shows it happens to all sorts of people, in sorts of situations.

I suppose I have been in the IVA cocoon, and felt safe. I guess it’s easy to forget the horror, shame, guilt and anger that I felt 5 years ago.

For me, an IVA was definitely the best thng I could have done. It has saved me from myself I think.

As always, thanks for reading.

My next post will be after I’ve made my last payment………I know it’ll be a very happy one.

Good luch wherever you are in your journey, I’m proof that no matter how bad it might seem, things always come to an end.

Much love

Clare x x

17 Months to Go!!

May 19th, 2009

I have realised that I only have 17 months left on my IVA………a position I NEVER thought I would be in. I can’t believe how fast time is going.

17 months ago, I can remember exactly what I was doing, and it honestly feels like yesterday. I am really looking forward to my 4th review: the last one EVER!!! When I’m in single figures, I’m going to celebrate BIG TIME!

I have so many questions now, and I wish I could approach my IP about some of them, but they only write to me once a year, and then it’s for the review. I’ve asked most of them on the forum, and to be honest I’d rather get anonymous advice from people with no vested interest!

I’ll be 28 when I finish, and as a scared 23 year old, that sounded ancient. Turning 27 last week brought it home to me that I still have a lot of time to do the things that I want to do, but being the impatient person I am, I want it NOW!! I’m wishing away the months until I’m debt free.  I just wish I had started the IVA 8 months earlier, when I first started thinking about the nightmare that I was living in, but those who have read my earlier posts will know that I couldn’t get my head round facing up to it.

But what now? I’m starting to allow myself to think about the future; what I’ll do with the extra money, wanting desperately to have my own house, how difficult it’s going to be to get a mortgage……All of those things I’ve refused to worry about over the past 43 months.  I try to be optimistic, that a friendly broker will find me a deal that doesn’t screw me over too much. But then I know I will need to put away a big chunk of money every month to save for that stupidly massive deposit I’ll need! Who knows, maybe that lottery win will come my way 🙂

 Nothing changes with me I guess, I work hard and try to cut back on as many things as possible all the time…..and make my excuses why yet again I am staying in while my same aged friends are out partying every weekend, but the special ones know, and are very generous. I have a big list of people that will be paid back in kind when I have some money to myself.

I will think about big responsibilities when I come to them, I just can’t wait to go impulse shopping, buy a car, go on holiday, buy coffee’s for my team from the canteen at work, go out for a slap up dinner, buy my Mum a HUGE bouquet to say ‘Thank You’.

 Those are the important things I suppose in the grand scheme of things!

Yet again, a massive ‘Thank You’ to everyone who posts on the forums and writes a blog…….I wish beyond everything I had found it when I was starting out, the advice and support is priceless, so big up yourselves for your honesty and words of encourgement.

More updates when I think of them…..I’d hate to bore you with the ramblings of my disorganised brain too often 🙂

Much love


What has it taught me?

December 8th, 2008

Hi all, hope you’re having a good evening.

I have been at home today, and I’ve spent a fair while on the forum’s reading about other people’s experiences and the responses from other people and it got me thinking about the last 3 years that I have spent in my IVA, and the valuable lessons that it has taught me.

So many people think of an IVA as a negative thing, and see it as a solution for desperate people who get themselves into a money nightmare. While at the time, I did feel desperate and had no idea what was going to become of me, I am now at the stage where I have learned some very hard  lessons, which for the most part have made my life a happier place.

So, what have I learned?

  • A night in with a cheapo bottle of plonk can be just as much fun as a 3 course meal and drinks out in town!
  • The Sun’s £9.50 holidays are a total godsend! I have been on one a year, and I can honestly say that they were better fun than the expensive weeks abroad that I used to pay for with Mr Mastercard.
  • My homemade sandwiches taste a million times better than that rubbish they serve in the canteen at work
  • Oxfam have some gorgeous designer gear if you are willing to look
  • I can sew! I never knew that I could make such a good job of buying cheap tops and trousers off the market, and customising them myself…….Not only a bargain, but true originals 🙂
  • It is possible to get a fridge full of food for £25 a week…… God Love the reduced section!
  • I am creative with leftovers! Nothing goes to waste in my house.
  • Spending time with family and friends is priceless……..I feel very lucky to have them around me, and they do treat me from time to time. I am just looking forward to 22 months time when I can return the favour.
  • Having the latest TV, laptop etc etc doesn’t make you happy. Mine are all from 2nd hand shops, as is all my furniture and I couldn’t care less. 
  • Living to a strict budget helps me no end! I have always been slapdash with money, and this experience has truly taught me to understand the value of it. 

This is all I could think of for now, but the Clare of 5 years ago wouldn’t be seen dead in Lidl, or even consider going to Butlins on holiday. I feel that I am a better, more rounded and less materialistic person now, and for that I guess I have to be thankful.

Having a blog is making me think a lot about the past, and to look at the choices I made. I suppose that I am lucky that I will only be 28 when the IVA is completed, and I have a long long time to prove to myself that I am responsible enough to manage my money.  My only worry is that having £355 a month extra will go to my head and I will blow it, but I hope that by that time I will be adult enough not to take money for granted ever again.

 Thanks again for reading my blog, and may we all continue to support eachother.

Take care


Well…….here goes nothing!

December 7th, 2008

Hi everyone!

Ok so, who am I? My name is Clare and I’m 26……..And I’m 38 months into my IVA. 

This first post has taken me ages to write, it’s been difficult in parts, because I have had to revisit lots of very unhappy memories, but it also has been one of the most powerful and carthartic things I have ever done. It has made me realise all of the factors that have contributed to my situation, and the fact that I ignored the problems for so long and the problems that this in itself caused. I can’t believe how much I have written! I thought it would be straightforward to write, but once I started, I just couldn’t stop. There was so much emotion that came out, and I have a real lump in my throat as I re-read it.

I hope that some of you will be kind enough to take the time to read my blog.

 My money troubles started when I was 18 and I left university after only 3 months.  My boyfriend at the time convinced me to come home so that we could be together, and like a fool I listened to him.  We moved in together, against the advice of all my family and friends and the problems started soon after this. We were both working full time, but our combined income was a paltry £20,000.  I started working for a bank, and this in itself was one of the worst things that could have happened.  I was able to access my account, and my lending file so I could see how much they would lend me! To a naive 19 year old, this was like a red rag to a bull, and the thought of being able to have some cash to myself was just too much to resist.  It was a small loan at first, and a credit card……but as I am sure that most of us know now, this is just the beginning.

Within no time, because our salaries were so small, a big chunk was taken by the repayments and left us with nothing to spend on living. If I was buying all the latest computers, tv’s, posh furniture etc etc I would say that I blame myself……..but it was racked up on food, bills and generally living.  I have now worked out that we were overspending by about £5000 per year, so £600 per month.  It didn’t seem like much at the time, but neither of us were able to get better paid jobs, and to be honest, while we were managing the monthly payments, we weren’t that concerned.

We took consolidation after consolidation, but because the payments got higher and higher, we were spending more and more on credit cards.  When we got to the limit on one, we would just get another.  I say we, but the majority of the cards and loans were in my name, because his income meant that no one would really consider him for a loan. 

By the time I was 21, I was comfort eating to a diabolical degree, and I was massively overweight.  I was so depressed about myself, I just carried on eating to make myself feel better.  Then I discovered that if you smoke marijuana, you forget your problems.  I was soon completely dependent on this, and couldn’t sleep without it.  In time, this obviously had an adverse effect on my personality, and my ability to do my job.  I was depressed, and carried on smoking to help me forget the fact that there was no way I was going to be able to pay for the bills when they came that month.

 Still the bank lent me money, and pushed me to consolidate again. Of course, when I signed the loan again, I felt relieved that my credit cards were at £0 again. But being in a situation where your take home pay is £850, and £350 goes to one loan, we were soon forced to rack up the cards again.

The crunch came in 2004, when we realised that we didn’t even have enough money to pay our rent anymore. This was devastating to me, as I am a very proud person, and didn’t want to admit that I had failed. So, we ended up moving in with his parents, which was a soul destroying experience in itself. I managed to get myself a new job, which thankfully paid £5000 a year more. But unfortunately, it was a mere drop in the ocean compared to our our outgoings. I was still in denial about the problems, and had absolutely no idea just how much I owed. 

Our income was around £1800 per month, and our outgoings were in excess of £2000. We were living on about £30 each per week, and this included travel to work and incidental spending. Obviously, this was not enough, and we had to carry on spending on our cards. It felt never ending.

I was still smoking, but had managed to get my overeating under control. I was still extremely depressed, and looked awful. My skin was bad, and the circles under my eyes were massive. I was withdrawn and quiet; the complete opposite of my natural personality. 

Then one evening in September 2005, I went out for dinner with my mum. We had a very difficult and painful talk about my situation, and I told her everything. She was shocked and upset by the nightmare that I had created for myself, and had no idea how I was possibly going to get out of it. I asked her to lend me the money to clear my debts, but she said to me in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t in any position to help me, and I needed to make drastic changes to my life.

I went home and cried for hours, not being able to talk to my partner, and I came to a decision. The next day, I packed a few of my things and waited for him to come home. I sat down with him and told him our relationship was over. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I knew that if I was going to sort my life out, I needed to start anew, and that meant in every sense of the word. If I had stayed with him, I know that I wouldn’t ever get out of debt, or be able to stop smoking. So that night, I went back to my mum’s house. It was a very sad time, but she was amazing to me, and let me have lots of time to myself to start to think about what I was going to do.

After a few days, I knew that I had to address my money issues head on, as they weren’t going to go away. The first thing to do was to work out exactly how much I owed. I was apalled to work out that it was in excess of £32,000. I cried and cried and couldn’t believe that I had allowed it to get to that stage. The bank that I previously worked for had lent me £21,000 on a salary of £11,900. To this day I am shocked and amazed that they could be so irresponsible as to lend me that much money, when it should have been patently obvious that I would not be able to afford to repay this.

I researched my options, and considered bankruptcy.  I really didn’t want to go down that route, because I felt like there was a massive stigma attached to it. I rang up an inslovency company and the relief I felt was immense. They were very matter of fact, and told me straight what the pros and cons of an IVA were. I decided that this was my best option and put forward my proposal. On my salary, we proposed a monthly payment of £250. On the day of the creditors meeting, they rejected the payment, and asked for £355 per month. This scared me as even though I was living at home, my salary still wasn’t large and I felt that this would make me struggle to cope. I accepted this, and just thought to my self that I would just have to tighten my belt further.

I asked my former partner to make a contribution to my monthly payments, seeing as even though it’s in my name, he was just as responsible for the debt. I never heard from him again, and I heard on the grapevine that he went Bankrupt shortly after we split up.

My IVA was agreed in October 2005.  When I got all my paperwork through, the relief was unbelievable. I felt for the first time in 5 years that there was a light at the end of the long long tunnel, no matter how dim.

This was the start of my new beginning.

So what now? Now, we’re nearly in 2009, and I can honestly say I have never looked back. After 2 years of living with my mum, she helped me with a deposit for a flat and money for some furniture. I now live on my own in a really nice flat, and have done for 18 months. I know exactly where every penny of my money goes, and I have learned some valuable lessons about budgeting, and I am the best bargain hunter known to man!

I have been promoted at work, and have a bit more money coming in. Obviously, with the cost of living as it is, I don’t really see the benefit of it, but I know that in 22 months time, I will be able to have a proper life!

I have lost 4 stone, and I am happy in myself and my confidence and outgoing personality has returned!

The biggest thing that this whole process has shown me, is that credit is something to be treated with respect, and that it should only be used when absolutely neccessary! I will never have a credit card again, and I have a sad sense of hatred towards the whole attitude of pushing money towards people who can ill afford it. The whole culture of ‘buy now pay forever’ will never catch me out again!

It has taught me that I can cope with anything, and once this has gone from my record, I will be a person in my own right again, not just a statistic on the Insolvency Register. I still worry that I won’t be able to get a decent mortgage in the future, but I am taking one IVA payment at a time. I know that I can put away £355 a month now, so a couple of years saving that kind of money will get me a decent deposit!

I am so glad that this site is here to offer support and advice to those of us who find ourselves in this awful situation, but if this blog entry inspires or gives hope to just one person who feels that they are alone in this, then I will feel that I have done what I set out to do.

Thanks so much for reading, I hope it gives a bit of insight into my story, and I’d love your opinions and comments,

Take care all