Debt freedom will change your life


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve long been a supporter of Christians against poverty. They work to help people and families clear debt. Unlike many debt management companies, they do what they do for free and if you follow the sensible advice they give, you will become debt free. They then continue to support families and individuals to remain debt free.

Those of you who’ve read my blog over many years will know that at one stage Dearly Beloved and I were £45K in personal debt. We changed our lives forever the day we decided to work our way out of debt and then work towards staying debt free. Other than our mortgage, we have no borrowings of any sort and have lived without any form of credits since 2011. Now, we live beneath our means and save everything can towards our retirement even though that’s a long way off in the future as we know we’ll have to live on a very reduced income one day and in a sort of way are practising for that now.

Here’s the latest press release from CAP and it’s good to read good news.


A new report shows nine in ten who ask for help with problem debt learn skills that keep them in the black for years afterwards.

Charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) carried out in-depth telephone interviews with 214 previous debt clients who had cleared their debts up to five years before. The results were astonishing: 93 per cent were still free of problem debt. “Once you’ve lived with constant calls from creditors, the stresses of rent unpaid and visits from bailiffs, you really do not want to go back there,” said CAP’s Chief Executive Matt Barlow.

“The fantastic thing we see from The Freedom Report, as we’ve called it, is our clients have the personal determination and have learned the skills to keep them out of debt crisis. They know how to draw up a household budget and stick to it, allowing them to live within their means.”

Low income is the main cause of debt among CAP’s clients and, despite average household income being just over £14,000, the results were very positive:

• Three quarters (74%) had not used credit since becoming debt free

• More than eight in ten (85%) still felt in control of their finances

• Eight in ten (82%) were still living to a budget

• Nearly half (46%) now had savings

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who campaigned for better regulation of the payday lending industry, and is CAP’s Patron, said: “It’s easy to imagine that someone living with poor finances will always be in that state, that poverty is too big a problem for us all to tackle.

“This report is exciting because it shows that if someone gets the right level of support, they can conquer their debt problems – not just to become debt free but also to stay in the black, without the need for expensive credit, successfully managing their household finances for years to come.

“It tells us that no matter how hopeless a situation can first look, significant change is possible.”

CAP, a charity favoured by TV’s Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, is set to help 20,000 people in this, its 20th anniversary year.

I have included several links throughout this post to CAP’s website, you can use the search box to look for support in your area, whether that’s with debt, addiction of any kind, finding a job or going on one of their money courses. You don’t have to be in debt to get support and help with money, you just might be struggling each month to ever save even the smallest amount of money or just wonder where your salary goes every month.

Debt is vicious and it doesn’t care who it hurts. It grinds families down and keeps people awake at night. I  believe that living without debt is truly liberating and lightened my soul. If you want debt freedom and really don’t know where to turn, please try the support available from Christians against poverty. You don’t have to be a Christian, you can have any faith or none at all, they will help you without judgement and you don’t have to continue to live with the blight of debt.

I have been privileged to share the journey to debt freedom with many of you and have been more than delighted to have received emails from you about your stories. I always reply and love it when you keep in touch.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Sharing good news

Hello Dear Reader,

I received this joyous email and asked if I could share it with you. Knowing people are working their way out of debt and towards saving literally has me doing a happy dance.

Here’s what this Dear Reader told me

Hi Jane , loved your blog on takeaway/ wine and entitlement to treats .

This week , despite being in debt,  I treated myself several times ! .
Firstly I treated myself to paying my annual car insurance  with money from the ” car savings  pot” without having to put in on a credit card for the first time in years .

I then spent a lovely chunk of money making the final payment on my final credit card … a couple of months earlier than planned ( I have had a credit card since I was 18), and also splashed  out on a mortgage overpayment meaning I have  just under a year left to pay till  mortgage free .
Next month I plan to treat myself to a shopping day when I buy the ( much reduced) Christmas shopping/ gifts for immediate family only… all from the “Christmas pot” without a plastic card in sight “.

Unfortunately my extravagant treats  have meant I will give our works Christmas meal a miss, buy no new outfit for the festive period and limit additional food costs to  the one day when all the family are with us for the day…paid for with some eBay sales  .
Strangely I don’t feel too deprived !

As promised, no names but isn’t that just such a wonderful email to get and I’m sure you’ll join with me in wishing this Dear Reader all the best for Christmas and a debt free future.

I love it!!!

Flippin’ fantastic news and all the very best to a different way of debt free living xxxxxx

Love Froogs xxxx

Change the way you spend……forever

where does your money go from frugal queen on Vimeo.

Hello Dear Reader,

Here’s another in the webinar series. They will be free to view forever! You can go back and recap at any time.

It’s too easy to ‘pop’ to the supermarket, or pick up a coffee or browse and buy online. I want you to start mindfully spending from now on. 

I will leave you to the webinar.

See you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Let me help you out of debt

Hello Dear Reader

I was approached a few months ago by a webinar company who thought I could help others get out of debt by hosting online tutorials.

I gave it some thought as I always promote ways of making extra money. The problem was, it would make money out of people who really couldn’t afford it. It didn’t sit comfortably with me.

I decided to run a series of tutorials to help people get out of debt.

This is just an introduction. Come back to my blog and I will let you know when the webinars will be loaded and the time that I will be available for live direct feedback via twitter. As always, I don’t say I have the answer or suggest that you do things my way, however, if you want advice or to know how I manage to stay debt free then I am more than happy to help.

I hope you enjoy the vlog as I give you a taster of what’s to come.

I really hate to think of families struggling in these difficult financial times and really hope I can give some reassurance and even guidance to anyone I can.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

It’s time to stop doing what ever is holding you back!

Hello Dear Reader,

Over the last five years of my life, I have done more to change my life for the better than I’ve ever done before. Previously, I thought I was doing OK but actually I was just shuffling along quietly. Now, I look at every way I can improve my life. If something isn’t working then I literally bin it! I’ve not the time, energy or desire to do anything any more that doesn’t enhance my life. I’m acutely aware at 48 years old that I’ve lived longer than I’m going to live. I’ve no time to procrastinate and now is the time to get things done.

I put off getting fit for years and year and now, it’s part of my everyday life and there’s no stopping me. It’s proven that successful people do more exercise, eat more healthily, read more, move more, focus on achieving goals, volunteer more often and watch less TV. No one is ever going to achieve much in life sat on a sofa!  If you’re looking for tough love then you’ve come to the right place!

This may or may not be popular but I abhor laziness. I find great happiness in ‘getting it done’. I like to start my day at five thirty every morning so I can leave for work with a clean and tidy house, the laundry put away, dinner made and the bed turned down. I like to wash and blow dry my hair every morning and leave the house looking my best in pressed clothes and with my makeup on. I get great pleasure in coming home and working on a quilt, recipe plans or writing projects. A good day is one that leaves me exhausted but feeling smug in the knowledge that I leave others standing.

I take the same philosophy into the gym. I’m there to sweat, work hard and there is nothing better than leaving aching. I no longer have my trainer (he went off to join the Met) but as he would say, you know you’re working hard when you’re blowing out of your arse! No one ever lost weight, improved their health, reduced their BMI or wore considerably smaller clothes by just chatting to the person next to them on a static bike whilst updating Facebook!

I was once someone who genuinely thought I couldn’t do anything to improve my life. I was once at absolute rock bottom. We both earned minimum wage, neither of us could save and money just seemed to run away from us. It took a total change of our lives to begin to live the life we actually wanted to live. We now have that and it just gets better. 

We now know that it’s our good habits that create our financial stability. We now know that our choices cause the results of comfortable living. Luck has nothing to do with it and we’ve worked our way to where we are. None of it happened by sitting on the sofa. It happened because we were prepared to get our hands dirty.

This is my challenge to you Dear Reader. Ask yourself, what is holding you back? Why are you not earning more so you save or pay off debts? Why do you clear your debts only to create more? Why are you waking up at the last minute and getting to work in a rush? Why do you have no time for your family? Why is your house disorganised or cluttered? Why do you watch so much TV? Why are you promising to exercise and then you never do? If the reason is you: can’t be bothered to do two jobs, can’t be organised enough, can’t be motivated enough……….then you and you alone are the reason that you are not making the changes that will move your life forward.

Over to you Dear Reader, leave a comment in the confessional and literally leave it there and walk away! Walk away from what ever is holding you back and move forward with your life. It’s time to stop doing what ever is holding you back.

As ever, I look forward to hearing from you.

See you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxx

If you haven’t yet, please vote for for: Blog of the year, Best thrifty blog and best food blog. If you have……………….thanks lovely reader xxxx Click on the link below xx

MAD Blog Awards

Some is plenty and enough is too much

Hello Dear Reader,

I had the very great pleasure of meeting Natalie Gavern, the Truro centre manager, from Christians Against Poverty. She came into Radio Cornwall to join the discussion with myself and Tracy Wilson about managing debt. I also had the honour of meeting a lovely young man called Craig who is currently working with CAP to repay debts. It was humbling to hear just how big a difference it made when someone supported him with paperwork, had time to listen and helped him cope with creditors as well as helping him set a budget and live within his means.

To hear this wonderful discussion and humbling example of the devastating effects of debts, then click HERE to listen to the radio programme. Move the cursor to the last hour and we’re on straight after the news.

For anyone who may be affected by issues raised in the radio programme today. Please call Christians Against Poverty on 0800 328 0006 from a land line. If  you only have a mobile, please call 03335 558800 – it will then give you the link to call the free phone number above and you will not be charged for the call. 

Craig, as an ordinary young man, had lost his job and was unable to pay debts. He openly said how hard it was to see everyone around with good clothes, a car, their own flat, holidays and nights out. It made me think of how much we think  people have. They seem to have so much and yet the likelihood it’s all being paid for with credit. That in turn made me ask the question; how much is enough?

I know I’m preaching to the choir here but I’m always aware that someone might be reading for the very first time. I’ll repeat what I said on the radio. It’s ok to make do with less. It’s ok to buy what you need from charity shops and car boot sales. It’s ok to collect pallets from the industrial estate to break up for firewood and kindling, it’s ok to upcycle, to use freecycle and to barter, haggle and get by with a lot less. It’s ok to make quilts from shirts bought on the £1 bargain rail from the local Woodside Animal Shelter shop. 

To anyone who has decided to make a real change in your life, feel free to never again have to have a catalogue delivered to your house. Feel free to cook everything at home and never order a takeaway again. Next week, find one day where you don’t carry money and don’t spend anything. In our thrifty world, we call that a ‘non-spend day’. Build them up so you can eat from the freezer and store cupboards and stretch your shopping so you only have to go once a fortnight. 

It’s also ok to have less than other people. I’m acutely aware that my car is aging fast, that my clothes are certainly neither fashionable or stylish. I’m fine that I don’t have a shoe, handbag or nail varnish collection. I’m ok with what I have and what I don’t have.

Listening to Craig today reminded me of the crippling insecurities that some people feel when they can’t keep up with the Jones family. It is hard. We lost friends along the way when we didn’t want to live our old life and gained new ones too. My message to Craig and anyone else who is young and feeling as if you must get swept along with the crowd is to believe in who you are and what you want to be. Take any job, any changes and any chances. Listen to reason and common sense and a lot less to trends and advertisements. If someone doesn’t like the fact that you are working in a bacon factory, meat processing plant or cleaning caravans then just remember you are working for you and not them! Build your self up from the ground and start again. If you fall over ten times then get back up eleven times. But most of all, remember this…………some is plenty!

Until tomorrow

Love Froogs

A swift kick in the butt?

Hello Dear Reader,

As an avid reader of Elaine’s Mortgage Free in Three;  her post today asked people to set a date when they would stop using credit. I too would ask anyone to do that as I wasn’t in the position to choose to get out of debt but forced to  as the bank refused my mortgage. I had to get rid of my debt and you may be in the position right now where you need to get rid of debt too.

If you want to get a mortgage. Banks and Building societies are really fussy. They will want a 25% – 45% deposit if you want a decent mortgage rate. The current 5% deals with government loans (stupidly sub-prime in my opinion – if you can’t afford the full deposit then you really can’t afford the full loan) don’t offer the low mortgage rates. Also, if you have any other debts, you are unlikely to get a mortgage! The before you save for a mortgage deposit, then you need to clear the debt you have first so you can secure the very best deal.

 If you want the freedom to move to a different rented property, as agencies will run credit checks, you will also want to get rid of debt. If you want to move on and get your first home, rented or otherwise, you will need to get rid of debt too or you will carry it for years to come.

Just like Elaine, I’m going to ask you to set a deadline. Elaine asked when it would be that you stopped using credit. I’m going to ask a similar question and ask by what date do you want to be debt free? Say, write it down, blog it, Facebook it but make a public declaration and stick to it. We set the date of being debt free by the London 2012 Olympics and actually managed to be debt free a year earlier. We made that happen as both of us took on extra work and sacrificed every penny beyond mere survival to do it. We are now frugal but we used to be deeply deeply frugal and didn’t let up for one second until all our debts were gone.

Give yourself a swift kick in the butt and make that promise right now! It’s going to be difficult but never as difficult as never starting at all!

I’m on Radio Cornwall tomorrow talking about managing and getting rid of debt. If you would like to share how you are managing your debt or how you got rid of yours then email and we’ll share your stories on air. If you would like some confidential advice (we’ll not mention any names or locations if you ask us not to) the the Truro Branch manager of Christians Against Poverty will be in the studio with us to answer any calls or give advice on debt management. You can also call on 01872 22 22 22 between 11 – 12.

You can make a pledge right here! When do you aim to be debt free by? Who is debt free and is able to say how long it took them to be so?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxx

Pledge to become debt free in 2014.

Hello Dear Reader,

First of all, thanks and apologies. Thanks to everyone who sent emails to Tracy about budgeting and money management. Apologies, we were not able to read them all out today but will do when I’m on the Tracy’s radio programme again on Sunday 12th January when we will be discussing personal debt and how to get out of debt. 

If you want to listen to Tracy and I, along with Jen, the local vet who gives advice on pet care then click HERE and move the cursor to the last hour. 

Below, I’ve added my radio script of some tips and ideas and contact details to help anyone get out of debt.

The UK is in the grip of a debt epidemic
  • People who can least afford it have the most debt
  • 8M households have no savings
  • Consumer debt has trebled since 1993
  • Outstanding debt on British credit cards – 55.6Billion
Facts from The Guardian Newspaper’s financial section

The poorest are paying a ‘poverty premium’ – mainstream banks won’t lend – payday lenders, doorstep loans and ‘rent to buy’ stores who sell at twice the price of mainstream stores and then charge very high rates of interest to customers who can’t get credit anywhere else.

The best thing any British family can do is get themselves out of debt!

1. Work out what you owe and who you owe it to – if you have no means of paying this back, for example if you lost your job since borrowing the money contact
Step Change – 0800 138 1111 – debt management advice
Christians Against Poverty – 0800 328 0006
These offer free debt advice and will help you get out of debt – beware of debt management companies who make money out of debt.

2. Set a budget

  • food
  • clothing for children – for adults – make do with what you have other than essentials
  • travel to work
  • car costs
  • B/day C/mas for children only
  • The rest goes into debt repayment -a  debt is a bill! Pay it monthly when you get paid! Always aim to pay more than the minimum – Pay off one debt at a time and then take that amount and add it to another debt – it’s referred to as ‘snowballing’.

3. Be disciplined – if you fall off the wagon – get right back on it! You will pay off debts but you must stick with your debt repayment plan.

4. Cash only/debit card only spending! No more store cards or credit cards – burn them, shred them but you can’t afford the debt you have – you certainly can’t afford any more!

5. Organise your bills
  • pay everything by DD on pay day
  • even insurance – more expensive but if this is the best way to discipline yourself then go ahead.
  • put money into a savings account, again by DD for car costs – or annual bills
6. Switch and save – energy suppliers, internet providers, phone providers

7. Get rid of everything you can live without – it’s not forever

  • Contact TV – give notice to satellite
  • Contact any subscriptions – give notice
  • Contact mobile phone – give notice – go PAYG
8.Sell everything you don’t need –
  • online auctions – old toys, clothes, CDS – any money, no matter how small can go towards debt repayment
  • two cars? go down to one
  • 1 car? can you live without it?
9. Change the way you eat
  • put a basic menu together for a week at a time
  • check the cupboards, freezer – use up what you have
  • shop with a list
  • don’t waste food – get portion sizes right – use up everything
10. Learn to control you impulsive shopping behaviour.
  • never shop when hungry
  • have no spend days, build them up into no spend weeks
  • keep a spending diary – look at what causes you to shop.
Over to you Dear Reader. Join the pledge and work towards debt freedom. What initial steps are you going to take to become debt free? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

How to cope with debt – when Debts hit the fan!

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m writing this because June might be the month when you can’t keep up appearances any more! This might be the month where you come clean with your creditors, your family and yourself about what you can afford to pay and what you can not afford to pay. If you have lost your job, if you have been made redundant and you are still job hunting then this is the post for you. 

You’ve got debts haven’t you. You have more going out than you can manage. You are eating less food, you can’t afford to get the MOT done on the car, your insurance policies can’t be renewed and you often miss a mortgage or rent payment. This is you? To start, I want you to be honest. I want you to admit that these debts have weighed you down, have made your miserable, have caused you to lose sleep, have resulted in you on medication and your family life is suffering. This is you? 

If you think your situation is genuinely temporary then you could contact your bank, credit card company/ies in writing and tell them about your situation. Banks, credit card companies and utility companies have helpline numbers where you can discuss your situation. You may find this really difficult and you may feel anxious about this but being honest is the first step to getting help.You may be able to follow advice I’ve given this week and take control of your debts yourself. However, you may be getting by on benefits/welfare and the phone keeps ringing, the letters keep coming and the next step is a county court injunction and the bailiffs will be pounding on your door. 

If I’m talking to the right person, then you haven’t got any money to give the courts, the bailiffs and you’ve already sold anything you have. You can’t do any more and God knows you’ve tried. I’m going to try and help anyone navigate their way through the legal minefield of Debt repayment when you haven’t go a hope in hell’s chance of paying them back! There are plenty of routes but any journey across a minefield is precarious . Here are your options.

Debt Management Plans – A Debt Management Plan is an agreement between you and your creditors to pay
all of your debts. You make regular payments to a licensed debt management company. The company then shares this money out between your creditors.

Get a Debt Management Plan

  1. Only set up a plan with a company licensed by the Office of Fair Trading. Find a licensed debt management company.
  2. The company works out your monthly payments. You’ll have to give details about your financial situation. For example, your assets, debts, income and creditors.
  3. The company contacts your creditors and asks them to agree to the plan (they don’t have to).


    Some companies will charge:
    • a set up fee
    • a handling fee each time you make a payment
    Make sure you understand the costs of your plan.


    Debt Management Plans can only be used to pay ‘unsecured’ debts – for example, debts that haven’t been guaranteed against your property.

    Your responsibilities

    Your plan can be cancelled if you don’t keep up your repayments.

    Citizens Advice, the National Debtline or StepChange Debt Charity can tell you if a Debt Management Plan is right for you.

    Administration orders

    If you have a county court or High Court judgment against you, which you can’t pay in full, an administration order is a way to deal with the debt.
    The debt must be less than £5,000.
    You make one payment a month to your local court. The court will divide this money between your creditors.
    Citizens Advice, the National Debtline or StepChange Debt Charity can tell you if an administration order is right for you.

    Get an administration order

    To apply, fill in an application for an administration order (N92), and return it to your local court.
    The court decides:
    • how much of your debt you have to repay – for example, all or just part of it
    • how much your monthly repayments will be
    • how long the arrangement lasts
    If you can’t pay all your debts the arrangement is known as a ‘composition order’.


    There’s a court fee each time you make a payment. This can’t be more than 10% of your debt.
    ExampleIf you owe £5,000 the total fee can’t be more than £500.


    You must:
    • owe less than £5,000, including any interest and charges
    • owe money to at least 2 creditors
    • prove you can afford your repayments – for example, give details of your income
    • have a county court or High Court judgment against you, which you can’t pay in full

    Your responsibilities

    You must keep up your repayments or the court can:
    • take money from your wages – known as an ‘attachment of earnings order’
    • cancel the arrangement.

    • Individual Voluntary Arrangements

      An Individual Voluntary Arrangement is an agreement with your creditors to pay all or part of your debts. You agree to make regular payments to an ‘insolvency practitioner’, who will divide this money between your creditors.
      Citizens Advice, the National Debtline or StepChange Debt Charity can tell you if an Individual Voluntary Arrangement is right for you.

      Get an IVA

      1. You can only get an Individual Voluntary Arrangement through an insolvency practitioner – find an insolvency practitioner.
      2. Your insolvency practitioner works out what you can afford to repay and how long the Individual Voluntary Arrangement lasts. You’ll have to give details about your financial situation. For example, your assets, debts, income and creditors.
      3. Your insolvency practitioner contacts your creditors. If those holding more than 75% of your debts agree to the Individual Voluntary Arrangement it will start. It will apply to all your creditors, including any who disagreed to it.


      There are usually 2 fees:
      • a set up fee
      • a handling fee each time you make a payment
      Make sure you understand the costs before asking an insolvency practitioner to act for you.

      Your responsibilities

      Your Individual Voluntary Arrangement can be cancelled if you don’t keep up your repayments.

      5. Debt Relief Orders

      Debt Relief Orders (DROs) are one way to deal with your debts if you owe less than £15,000, have little spare income and don’t own your home.
      If you get one:
      • your creditors can’t recover their money without the court’s permission
      • you’re usually freed (‘discharged’) from your debts after 12 months

      Get a Debt Relief Order

      You get a DRO from the Official Receiver (an officer of the bankruptcy court), but you must apply through an authorised debt adviser. They’ll help you fill in the paperwork.
      To find an authorised debt adviser contact Citizens Advice,the National Debtline or StepChange Debt Charity.


      The Official Receiver’s fee is £90. Your debt adviser can tell you how and when to pay it.


      You’re generally eligible if all the below apply – you:
      • owe less than £15,000
      • have less than £50 a month spare income
      • have less than £300 worth of assets
      • have lived or worked in England and Wales within the last 3 years
      • haven’t applied for a DRO within the last 6 years


      If you get a DRO you must follow rules called ‘restrictions’. You can’t:
      • borrow more than £500 without telling the lender about your DRO
      • act as the director of a company
      • create, manage or promote a company without the court’s permission
      • manage a business without telling those you do business with about your DRO

      When do the restrictions end?

      Check the Individual Insolvency Register to see when the restrictions end.
      The restrictions usually last 12 months. They can be extended if careless or dishonest behaviour caused your debt problem. For example, you lied to get credit.
      The Official Receiver will tell you if they should be extended. To extend them, you’ll be asked to agree to a Debt Relief Restrictions Undertaking. If you don’t agree, the court can issue a Debt Relief Restrictions Order.

      What you need to know

      DROs can be cancelled if:
      • your finances improve
      • you don’t co-operate with the Official Receiver – eg give them information they ask for
      Your DRO is added to the Individual Insolvency Register – it’s removed 3 months after the DRO ends.
      Your DRO will stay on your credit record for 6 years

      Get free help and advice for debt problems from:

Dear Reader, I hope you don’t mind but I’ve spent a few hours reading around the topic and I wanted to signpost where people can get help if they just can’t cope with debts any more. If you have lost your job and have been out of work for a while and you owe money, then face up to the reality that you can’t afford to pay it. It’s not nice and I can assure you that I am not being flippant and you are in my prayers. 

I will be on Radio Cornwall tomorrow and I hope you can email in your debt stories, your queries or requests for advice or any advice you can give to help people get out of debt. Send your emails to – titled – for Frugal Queen by 11am GMT tomorrow and we will get through as many as we can on the programme. If you have used any of the methods I have listed or any of the debt advice charities, then drop an email to Radio Cornwall and we can share that with others. Your story might be the support that someone in debt needs.

I know that so many of you are really struggling. Next week, I will focus on food budgets, shopping, planning, shopping lists and I need spies all over the world! Where do you live? Where is it affordable to shop where you live? I want to know about Op shops, Thriftstores and charity shops where you are. I want to know where the markets are, where the butchers are, where the supermarkets are. Who’s got the links to coupons? Who picked up a bargain and can share where before it’s all gone.

Until tomorrow, please email into with your debt stories and I will do my best to give advice to anyone who phones in 01872 22 22 22. You don’t have to give your name but I will do all I can to give advice.

I’ll put the listen again link up on the blog after the show.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxx

Debt in Britain

Hello Dear Reader,

If you think you’ve got it tough then you are probably right. Food, fuel and utilities have spiralled in cost whilst workers have had below inflation pay increases, or year on year pay freezes or even pay cuts (DB had his public sector salary cut as the council ‘restructured’). Those of us with diminished salaries are the lucky ones as we still have jobs. Currently 2.5 million Brits of working age have no jobs. Brits are turning to debts to pay the rent or mortgage, pay for food and pay for fuel to get to work. 

The days of good mortgage deals and cheap credit are over. Once upon a time, we could move our mortgages from one provider to the next for a better deal. Now, mortgages and low cost borrowing is scarce and if you have a mortgage deal at all, it’s probably the best one you’re going to get for a while. Brits are broke and spend £166 million a day on interest on personal debts. Some in the UK goes bankrupt every 5 minutes and every 17 minutes some one loses their home. Debt is not funny and it is eating some families whole! (Data from collected between Nov 2012 and Feb 2013)

So much debt is self inflicted madness and it certainly is not normal. Brits borrow more money than anyone else! We, as individuals, borrow more than our mainland European neighbours, more than Australians, more than Canadians and more than Americans. There is a massive nationwide cultural problem with debt and the recent figures are not new, they’ve been much the same as a percentage for the last ten years so we can’t suddenly blame the economic downturn. It’s part of the national psyche and culture. People borrow money straight from school and leave college with massive overdrafts from ‘partying’. People borrow money for cars and holidays and consider them essential. I’ve heard it. “I work hard and I deserve a holiday”. Although I don’t dispute how hard anyone works, I would question anyone running up debts for non-essentials. By all means, buy a Nissan Micra and look after it and keep it for ten years, but don’t finance a top of the range saloon because it will look good on the drive and impress your friends. Of course, take your self off for a camping holiday that you’ve saved for but don’t think it’s normal for you and your family to take a £5K holiday annually and pay it back on a credit card. As Brits, in comparison to the rest of the world……….our borrowing is not normal!

The result is a debt hangover that is going to hang around for a long time to come. Those debts people have are not going to go away unless those people who have them make fundamental changes. Most Brits do not have a set budget or plan for financial eventualities such as a new car, in fact, many of them wait for a financial hiccup to happen and deal with it when they get there. If anyone wants that financial hangover to go away then they have to take the pledge to never borrow again. If they want that hangover to never come back then they have to change their habits and save money each month for what they want. Even I have investigated car credit and then changed my mind and kept saving. Even I have looked at long haul winter holidays to escape the misery of winter fog and lack of light and reconciled myself to the fact that I will never be able to afford it. 

You’ll probably wonder where this post is going tonight and now you are chewing on food for thought, I’ll get to the heart of the matter. If you are currently wrapped up in two jumpers, with one light on and you’ve had bean stew for dinner then applaud yourself. I’ve been on a course today and passed and wanted fish and chips as a reward but talked myself out of it by the time I got home and we saved £10 because of that. If you are not going on holiday this year because you are saving up for one next year, then pat yourself on the back. If you are currently stripping your finances to the bone to pay back debts then cart wheel across the lawn as you have changed and you are making a difference. 

I’m sat typing this, on our second hand lap top, that we bought with cash from cash converters. It isn’t the latest or the fastest but it was paid for in full on the day we brought it home. I’m sat on our ‘new to us’ sofas and they are not the most fashionable colours or style but they are the best quality I could afford and I paid cash for them that I’d saved. They took me a year to save for them and it’s that mindset that makes them the most comfortable furniture I’ve ever had. I’m reclined on home made cushions, made from remnants of fabric that I bought in a jumble sale. I’m doing all this because I changed and didn’t want to be a British statistic any longer. 

I’m happily in the unfashionable, boring, unadventurous, dry my knickers in front of the fire, bean stew eating and home crafting for a hobby club! I like it there! I like going without to save for what I need! I like wearing another jumper and I like not being on the hamster wheel of debt.

Now Dear Reader, this is where I challenge you. If you are in debt I want you to pledge what you are going to do to change. What are you going to do differently? What are you going to stop doing? I’m on radio Cornwall on Sunday morning and I would love to read out your comments and if you don’t want to leave them here, then you can comment anonymously to (title the email – for Frugal Queen) Who is going to pledge to do something differently to help them on the road to debt freedom?

I really look forward to hearing from you. 

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who comments, writes to me and sends emails to Radio Cornwall. I really love hearing from you all.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxx