Flabby finances? How I'm trying to get fighting fit for 2010

Money. Must be funny in a rich man's world.A year ago I wrote a guide to sorting finances out. I ignored it completely, because I'm a grade A dick with money. It's time that changed - most of us have this period of deadtime after Christmas which we spend stuffing our face with lard and booze, so instead I've tried putting mine to good use. This is a quick breeze through what I've been up to - feel free to throw in any extra advice in the comments, especially for the final part concerning reselling.

First off, I've gone through the last three month's worth of bank statements to see how much the family was spending. I really wish I hadn't because it was out by a long way. Balls.  But if I don't measure it, I can't manage it - I've now got a spreadsheet which I swear on my children's lives I will complete every week. We now have a new monthly budget that's reasonable but not excessive, although I may have to chop the wife's hands off in order to stick to it.

Now I can see that there's spare money sloshing about, I've got a plan to pay off the two credit cards and overdraft hanging round my neck. I reckon I can pay them off in order of highest APR in about 18 months, instead of making the minimum payments and not daring to opening the statements (today I've opened my first credit card statement in a year - again, I am a dick). I'll still have an outrageously large bank loan for another year after that, but I'm managing those payments for the moment.

I've also applied for a savings account - in a perfect world I wouldn't bother and instead plough all the money back into paying off debt faster. The reason I'm in debt is because I have no savings, so the family holiday and Christmas go on the cards - if I have savings that won't happen. It doesn't make perfect financial sense but it'll work for me - I need to physically separate the money in order to manage it, so that's what I'll do. It'll take a little longer but there's more chance of it working.

Next, it was Quidco time. The home insurance was due and my premium has crept up with MORE TH>N, so I've gone with Sainsbury's - their quote is about £40 more expensive but they're currently offering £100 cashback on home insurance. Everything else has been swapped over through Quidco over the past twelve months and I've earned an extra £400 in the past year - next year, instead of the money disappearing into the bottomless pit of the overdraft, it'll go straight into paying off cards.

Finally for today, I've got around to gathering up all my old mobiles from the past five or six years together to send off for cash. After hunting around a few sites, Love2Recycle came up tops for the models I had (also available with Quidco) - assuming the data cards full of pornography haven't caused permanent damage to the handsets, I should get over £230 for four of them. There are tonnes of sites about for recycling phones - just make sure you pick one that pays in cash rather than vouchers, because like the Quidco payments, this will be put into paying over the credit cards.

The last thing I want to do before New Year strikes is sell a lot of crapola - video games, DVDs and books. There's a garage full of stuff I don't want, and more after yesterday. What I don't know is where I'm going to get the best return for my time - I'm not so worried about the fees as I am with spending hours of my life poring over crap there's no market for; I've heard a lot of good user experiences about Amazon, but is it still worth sticking by eBay? Is there even a market for reselling anymore?


  • Gareth
    you could try www.musicmagpie.com, they give very little for each dvd etc though. Or even try cex, they pay good amounts for newer stuff but crap for older stuff (about 50p a dvd). If you have some obscure items cex and musicmagpie won't buy then ebay them. You could try amazon marketplace but you also have playtrade and the shopto version. Another method is a carboot sales, you get some fresh air and interact with real people....
  • Michael C.
    I'll buy them off you Paul, send me a list of what you have to sell and i'll give you a price for it Good on you for sorting out the finances, i've quit gambling and takeaways for the new year so that should take care of the wallet and the waistline
  • andy y.
    I wouldn't encourage anyone to go for a higher premium policy for big cashback prize.Insurers that offer £100+ cashback are notorious for trying to weasel out of payment. Oh and admit you are playing the corporate shill for Quidco,you whore.
  • Matt. S.
    playtrade maybe, they charge probably about as much commision as amazon do, but it's really quick to add stuff, so if you're just getting a couple of quid each for things, then it's lot like spending an hour writing a description on ebay ma
    Dear Paul. I am sending you something to solve all your problems as you are probably going to need it in the future, besides it will save you buying it so that will help a little. Its a 6ft length of finest hemp rope as recommended by H.M.P. service and endorsed by the late Albert Pierrepoint himself, no need to thank me as I am pleased to help. Regards. Ever helpful Warwick.
  • isaac h.
    it's money for old rope
  • Better M.
    I'm sure that brown envelope from DSG will help...
  • Andy
    In my experience you could get more money from your old phones by finding a buyer on ebay or the HUKD fs/ft area, could have tried that, what phones did you have? You could try selling the DVDS on the fs/ft area as well. Just a thought.
  • Codify
    Try a visit to MSE's Debt-Free Wannabe forum - they often have very useful tips there from people who are going through the same thing.
  • been t.
    Good luck Paul, I took out a bank loan a few years back to clear my credit cards. 60 months wasn't much fun (60 months sounds better than 5 years!) but I got there. Credit card now gets cleared every month and I've stopped buying crap, and even have a savings account Not easy saying no to trips to the pub and got dubbed a meany but had to be done. Most of my mates were in the same boat but all too easy to put your head in the sand and not open the credit card and bank statements At least I have kept my house, partner, and some of my friends and it was a great feeling to be solvent for the first time in my adult life
  • Paul S.
    Thanks for all the tips folks, much appreciated. Here's another one to throw into the pot... Phone insurance through your bank - I've got an advantage gold account with Natwest, so they'll cover my phone and my wife's through our joint account, instead of shelling out another £20 a month between us. Anybody tried it out?
  • Your D.
    When did Paul turn into Martin Lewis? Nice plug for Quidco on there too - is the commission for that going on the High APR card or into the savings account?
  • Donny O.
    Yes... very nice plug especially when they're owned by the same company :rolleyes:
  • Junkyard
    £10 a month for phone insurance? Really? Do you have a gold-plated iPhone 4G?
  • Steve
    Am I the only one who read that as "flabby fiancees" to start with?
  • Antoinette L.
    I like this article yo, as always, thank you for sharing. If your RSS 1.0 or 2.0? I need an excellent RSS feed with daily or even weekly updates for a forum of mine.

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