Life after IVA

Hi – it’s 3 months now since I retired through ill health and made our full and final offer payment to end our IVA.  It’s hard to believe that a year ago we owed over £80,000 and now are debt free.

So – how are we doing?  Great.  We are still frugal, in fact a little more so than when we were in the IVA – if that’s possible.  We have £100 less disposable income than we had in the IVA due to my pension, but we are managing.  All the lessons we have learnt are still in  place.  I keep posting on the forum as it keeps me focused.   We are very lucky that I managed to save a few thousand from my lump sum.  That to me is for retirement (in 13 years!) but I know it’s there if something goes wrong in the house.  But it’s my aim not to touch it and every month I withdraw £200 and put it in our gun safe for a contingency fund.  It’s out of the way and I have to ask hubby for the keys if I need any so it’s a great deterent to buying new shoes!!

I hope this post shows there is life after the IVA.  Some would say I am lucky to have had the lump sum, however I’d rather have my health back.  To anyone considering an IVA, I would say, do your homework to make sure it’s the right thing for you – if after speaking to 2 or 3 professionals you decide an IVA is right for you, make sure you check and double check your income and expenditure that you prepare.  There’s no point in signing up to a plan that ‘looks ok’.  I went back over 6 months bank statements to make sure I hadn’t left anything off the expenditure column.  I also signed up to a few survey websites and have managed to get quite a bit of money back from them.  I use 1 site to have money for paypal – and then I go to ebay where I buy all my shoes, handbags etc – I love a bargain! And I get Tesco giftcards with another site – have had £60 from them alone in less than a year.  I used to pop the cards in the cupboard for when we had a tough month – then I could just go shopping with one of the giftcards.  Now I save them for Xmas.

Good luck to all starting out!

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Countdown tickers

If you would like a snazzy ticker counting down your IVA, go to:

and follow the instructions below.  Hope it’s easy to understand.  I did put this on once before but it disappeared for some reason.  Just makes things more fun to have a special coundown ticker and you can change it as often as you like during the 5 / 6 years.

1.    Select other events under Ticker types.

2.    Select your background

3.    Select your slider

4.    Input the date your IVA is ending (ie 59 months after your 1st payment).  Please note this has to be in USA format (month/day/year)

5.    Click on Create ticker

6. Copy the text in the box headed BBCode or UBBCode

7. Log onto your IVA forum account.

8. Paste the text in the signature box on your profile.

9. Click on preview to check it’s downloaded correctly

10. Update profile.

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When is an essential not an essential?

I read a comment recently on the forum that we shouldn’t be allowed allowances for pets on an IVA.  Another about smoking and about sky.  I don’t think we have the right to say what someone deems to be an essential.  We don’t have children – but I don’t tell people they shouldn’t have allowances for theirs!  I think we are all too quick to judge in this society.  We have £23 per month towards pets, this doesn’t cover the insurance for my parrot (who we have had for 8 years and is my baby).  So we fund his food and the 4 pygmy goats food out of our other allowances.

We both smoke.  But we hardly ever go out socially, go out for meals and neither of us drink – ever.  Being disabled I value my sky TV.  We only have the basic package but have a seperate box in the bedroom (as I tend to spend more time in there when I am ill).  Luckily I managed to get the extra box down to £3 per month for a year.

Dental and opticians allowances do not cover our charges each year so another thing to come out of other budgets.  Neither of us get a chance to do overtime so have little spare over the year to save.

Not going for any sympathy here – just trying to make the point that we shouldn’t dismiss someones comments about vet bills or not being able to afford sky when we don’t know their circumstances.

Let’s be more tolerant.  After all – we are the ones that are tackling our debt and adjusting after maybe years of funding our lives with debt – very often not for expensive things but just because we were in the awful position of having to use one form of credit to pay another.

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Still feels good

Two weeks on from the creditors meeting and the sense of relief is still with me.  We made our 1st payment on 30th June, only 59 to go!!  How much have I changed since the process started? Well I now go to bed and sleep all night – in the past I have lain awake for hours going through figures in my head and working out which bills to pay 1st.  When  I wake up there’s no sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and I think my poor postman may be made redundant as we have only had 2 letters in the last week.

I have a piece of advice when working out which day of the month to make repayments.  I opted for the 1st of each month to tie in with my wages.  Looking at the balance in our account last night I realised that was a bit of a mistake as a lot of our direct debits come out around the same time.  Hubby doesn’t get paid to the 15th.  Deposited my £50 from a car boot sale into the account today as a contingency.  I have moved 2 of our direct debits to after the 15th now so we will be ok.  Just work out when your income is coming in and when other payments go out before opting for your payment date.

The other thing I have worked out is I wasted a lot of money buying a newspaper and a coffee from the garage on my way to work.  I don’t need a paper – I can see everything for free on-line.  And paying £1.55 for a coffee each day is madness! So that’s been stopped.  A result in Tescos this weekend when I was overcharged by £3.50 on items that were on special offer.  You get double the difference back.  So I walked out with £7.00 in my pocket.  The key to this (the assistant told me) is not to mention it at the till, pay the bill then head to customer services.  So make a note of any offers you pick up as you shop!

I must also thank Jan (kallis) for her tip with on-line surveys.  I do about 6 per week – could do more but haven’t had the time up til now and so I am now saving up the rewards for Xmas vouchers.  Thanks Jan!!

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1st day after IVA approved.

Yesterday was a very good day! Had a lie in as meeting wasn’t until 10.45.  Did some housework to take my mind off things and then had an email from IP’s office saying that Grant Thornton had asked for the IVA to be extended to 72 months and for an extra £40 pcm to be taken from the smoking allowance (we put £60 each down).  Thought it was harsh but as our dividend was 13p I agreed just to get sorted really.  When other half came home I had to pin him down to do the recorded call.  He doesn’t do phones, finances or listening!!! So was a tad worried.  Theresa rang and said there was a conversation going on between GT and one of the directors at McCambridge Duffy regarding the 72 month IVA period and she would ring later – the result was GT have retracted the request for a 72 month IVA.  Excellent!  Had suspicions this came about after a call I had with Michael Peoples, so I emailed him and he explained that due to my ill-health it didn’t seem fair to make me do 72 months and so took his concerns to the director.  What a star he has been all the way through the process. He is so busy yet he has always answered my calls and emails.

So today – how do I feel?  Exhausted! Didn’t think the process was affecting me much until I woke up this morning without the nagging feeling in my stomach and the worry of what the postman will bring.  I’m not afraid to admit that last year I did actually work out if hubby could manage financially without me.  That looks stupid written down, but I had never told him how much we owed and following my ill health deterioration I didn’t know how long I could go on for.

The forum have been a constant help to me.  I haven’t told family or friends so I could type away on here and know there were people who care and who understand.  I intend to  now help as many people as possible on the forum.  It is amazing how many people are struggling.  Take last week for example, I went to see my counsellor (paid for by work for my depression) and today have had an email from her asking the forum web address and the name of the company I went through to help a couple of her clients.

Anyone considering either an IVA, Bankruptcy or a DMP should start seeking advice asap.  I waited far too long before addressing our problems and my only regret is I that I didn’t start it last year.

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Life’s too short

Well – a stressful fortnight over with.  My friends Dad died suddenly just 7 weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.  Very sad and made me realise that life can be too short to worry about my debts.

Paperwork has arrived from McCambridge Duffy and is, as I expected, looks very viable for us.  Hopefully it will be accepted by the creditors.  I presume by mid-june we’ll have the meeting and then we’ll know. It has been calculated at a low dividend (13p) which worried me a bit but it’s all there in black and white and if we can’t pay any more back then that’s it.  Hubby does sometimes get overtime so we’ll be able to pay a bit more hopefully.

Amazing how stress – free my life has become since I acknowledged the problem. I no longer dread seeing the postman (although he probably dreads all the default notices he has to deliver!).

A very nice letter arrived from a lady @ Mint saying how sorry she was to hear about my health and that she had put action on hold for a month in the hope that by then my IP had contacted them.  She also apologised about the fact that I would continue to receive default notices periodically but to ignore them.  It’s the only reply I have received to my letters and I really appreciated the personal reply.  Shows there are some nice people working in collection departments.

Health is up and down at the moment.  After standing around at the funeral last week my foot has swollen up and it’s a bit reluctant to get better.  Trouble is unless I go in a wheelchair there’s not much I can do about the foot problem.  Just keep taking the pills I suppose.  Have re-joined Slimming World to see if I can lose some weight as I have put on a stone since my operation last July.  6 months lying down and hobbling around on crutches can’t have helped but I know if I can shift that stone I will probably relieve some of the pain.  Bit worried as slimming can be expensive but will try and do it.  As I make all our meals in bulk for the freezer I have a little store of meals I can use so with cutting out chocolate, cake and the dreaded nesquik I have been drinking to strengthen my bones I may be able to drop a few pounds!

Hope you are all having a good bank holiday weekend.


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The enemy are a bit too quiet!

Well just waiting now for our proposal to come through.  Sent all the signed paperwork back yesterday with about a thousand signatures (well probably 10!) and hopefully by early next week we can have a read about the allowances and the figure we are proposing.  I am a little uneasy about the lack of letters and calls that are coming through from creditors.  They are either regrouping for the next attack or they have read my letter about my health and are giving me a break …. yeah you’re right they are re-grouping!! Hopefully by mid june we will know one way or another anout the IVA and the creditors will have to retreat.

On the work front I have sent off my appeal against the decision not to allow ill-health retirement.  Got a letter from my consultant and had to pay my GP £50 for the report but worth every penny. Breathed a sigh of relief that I am paying that before the IVA starts!  Have to wait now for those that are worthy to look at my reasons and the new medical evidence and then they’ll let me know.  I am convinced it will be a no but there’s always stage 2 appeal (have to travel to London for that – only 6 hours on the train!).  Occ Health are still not letting me work more than 3 hours per day at present – well that’s nice of them as I now have to have 4 hours per day at 1/2 pay! Thanks!!

Getting into the budgeting now in preparation for the future.  Amazing how often you decide you don’t really want something when you have to hand over cash for it. Talking about chocolate and magazines here not council tax or heating oil!! Decided that every £2 coin I get given in change will go into my money jar.  Before this decision I hardly got any, now every bugger wants to give them to me.  I feel like slipping them a note saying no £2 coins please!!! Still it will be nice for treats when my niece and nephew come to stay for a fortnight in the summer.

Rambling thoughts over now – time for my medication and sleep!!!

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Paperwork has left the building!

Since my last post I have finally managed to send our paperwork off to Michael Peoples. When I walked out of the Post Off ice I felt a great sense of relief – I can do no more.  If it’s not viable then we can tweak some amounts to an acceptable level of repayment.  Gone off BR slightly only from listening to our friend who works for the OR in another part of the country.  Seems like they are trying to make it the less attractive option.  Still if that’s the answer then I shall.  Had a few letters through the post and didn’t even look at them.  Just filed them (in the bonfire).  Still hate plugging in the phone, but all it seems to be now is recorded messages asking me to press 3 for more information, so I delete those!!

I have sent letters to my creditors – probably a waste of time but at least it eases my consience a bit.  Well not all my creditors, I’m not telling HSBC a thing.  They rang me at work yesterday, recognised the caller ID on my work phone so just said I’m afraid she is on long term sick.  The guy apologised for bothering me.  LOL.

Went to hospital today and popped into the shops on my way there.  Didn’t spend anything! Saw loads of things I liked but thought I could buy it or keep the cash as contingency.  I’m sure I saw a halo over my head in my reflection as I walked out of Primark!!!

Nothing to do now but wait for a proposal so going to enjoy a few days of sick leave while I get used to the stronger medication my GP has prescribed.


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“May” this month bring good news!

Just an update.  I started to get all the paperwork together to send to the company we have selected to help us with our IVA.  Ran out of time and printer ink! so had to put it to one side for a week as Dad had to have a revision knee replacement after the NHS mucked up the original! Didn’t want to take everything up to Mum’s as she doesn’t know about any of this and would worry herself silly so today I am back with new ink cartridges and excitement as I know this is on the way to be sorted one way or another.

I practised when at Mums and spent cash only!  It feels really good!  Have arrived home to loads of letters starting: we do not appear to have received your payment but have just piled them up and deleted the home phone messages (never got round to changing the number and as it’s never plugged in, don’t think I’ll bother as it costs £25.00 to do so (new frugal me!!).

Stress is high at the moment as having problems at work as although they have turned down my ill health retirement, the OHS doctors have decided I cannot increase my part time medical hours at all.  So still on half pay and it stinks! One says one thing and another disagrees.  I think it’s to try to get people to either leave or so they can take disciplinary action but so far I have dug my heels in.  Going through this and the IVA process is very testing.

I am hoping my IP suggests bankruptcy for me.  Hubby can do an IVA and I can just hand over my money and pay less on an IPA.  It would mean I could drop my contracted hours and would maybe make my health condition manageable.

What good news then… well our 2 lambs are putting on loads of weight and eating more grass so costing me no money now they are off the bottles.  My veg plants are growing nicely and there may be quite a few spare to sell at a car boot sale and in 5 weeks time I’ll have 2 pet pygmy goats – Xmas pressie from a family member.  I’ve always wanted them and they eat all the weeds that I can’t clear now with my health problems.  We had the shed and fencing already so all they have cost us is the hire of a digger for a weekend to clear the ground for the shed base and a little bit per month in goat food and hay.  Thought long and hard as to whether I should have them with our money problems but we don’t go out and neither of us drink so may as well have things I want that will keep me happy.

Back to work on Tuesday – for the next email from boss man which will probably annoy and wind me up.  Who said life was easy????????!!



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Hello world!

After weeks of reading other peoples blogs I thought I’d better start one myself.  Where did it all go wrong?  From 1999 – 2007 I was working around the country earning a good wage plus expenses each week.  This made our life fun – travelled abroad, following motor bike racing round Europe and basically having a good time.  The only blight to this life was 2 car accidents in 1997 and 2001.  Neither was my fault I hasten to add but they have left me with a chronic back condition.  Around 1998 I started to suffer from depression due to the pain and I think my spending problems started then.  I would get highs when I would just spend and then big lows.

In 2003 we decided to move to the West Country.  Had a lovely place but couldn’t keep up with the mortgage.  Never missed a payment but credit cards were growing in size.  In 2006 disaster struck when we were told we were not going to be doing any more travelling in my job.  Overnight lost about £700 pcm.  Still, was being thrown credit left right and centre so what the hell – I’ll probably win the lottery before I need to worry about it!

We sold our house in 2006 as decided it was too expensive and went into rented.  Good thing about this is when something goes wrong I just ring the letting agent and it gets fixed.

In 2009 my health began to deteriorate.  I could no longer sit for long periods of time and began to struggle at work.  Because my posture isn’t good and I had mis-shapen feet which meant I didn’t walk properly, in July 2010 I had an operation  on 1 foot.  By September it was obvious this surgery had failed.  It was repeated in December 2010 but has failed again.  The surgeon says he could kick himself as he didn’t notice the awkward way I walk – if he had he wouldn’t have done any surgery.  Believe me I could kick him harder if I had a chance.  To top it all it has left me with a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – not nice.  Luckily I get 6 months full sick pay but this has now run out.

I applied for illl health retirement and I am just going to appeal in the next month or so.  The ironic thing is, they won’t award me this but when I speak to occ health they say I am not well enough to increase my current part time medical ground hours of 3 per day.  So at present I am stuffed financially!!

I took the bull by the horns a couple of months ago and contacted a couple of IP’s about IVA or bankruptcy.  Plucked up the courage to tell my other half as he has nothing to do with the finances (other than spending on his cards!).  He agreed we should both do one (he doesn’t want to go bankrupt as his payroll would know and things are not kept secret in his place of work).  So I am now gathering all our statements in preparation to send off at the end of next week.

I know we are partially to blame for this mess, however I do wish that we hadn’t had credit thrown in our faces.  When I asked my bank in January for a 2 week extension of our overdraft to pay for some heating oil they refused.  This is the bank that chucked it all at us in the early 2000’s!  So this is the event that made me think – right, you’ve had my business and interest payments since 1983 I’m walking away!

New account opened, payments stopped and just waiting for the start to our new debt free life!  Since starting to consider IVA’s I have started watching what I spend, checking offers (as they are not always as good as they first appear!!) and comparing supermarkets.  Amazing what you can save when you are off sick on the internet all day!!

Will keep posting through the process and will of course let you know what happens with my work saga!

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