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