Pawn shame

No not that type of pawn shame, get your minds out of the gutter now people!   This is my experience of something I never thought I would do.

It has been an extremely tough start to the year, financially.  I coped with Christmas as I budgeted, but January had 2 family birthdays so I knew it would be a struggle.  What I didn’t bank (ironic use of the word) on was a vet bill, a car repair and my fridge freezer breaking.

I have sold everything of value as you know, so what was left to do to raise funds?  It is 3 weeks till pay day, so I had one valuable item left but I didn’t want to sell it so I took the last path I could take, a pawn shop.  Not just any pawn shop, or back street “we buy your gold” vendor, this was a reputable high street one.

The item was high value and I knew I could get it back in May when I get my work bonus.  I did have plans for that money but needs must, so now it will be used mostly to buy back my item.  That’s my life though, whilst clearing debt sacrifices must be made time and time again.  Anyway, I digress…

I entered the shop, not sure what I expected really but it was small and unwelcoming.  The 2 other customers looked like they had been placed by some higher spirit, hell bent on changing my mind.  They were the local scum, dressed like garbage, poor grammar, and rough looking.  They pawned their items for meagre amounts of £30 ($42) and left.   My item was presented and examined and I was asked how much I wanted.

I wanted £800, this would cover the repairs totally.  It was just over 10% of the value of the item so a fair price, 35 minutes later after much investigation and checks by the assistant, an offer was then presented.   £700.

Sigh, really?   however, this was fine as I wasn’t being greedy at all.   I accepted and the ‘loan’ was set to 6 months repayment and I left with cash.  Did I feel relieved?  No…truthfully I felt cheap and very disappointed that my life had hit a new low.   Perhaps even lower than going insolvent, borrowing from my parents and so on.  Despite all my triumphs and the enormous amount of debt cleared, this felt horrible.

I suppose I can add this to life experience and again, I suppose, Pawn shops serve their purpose of emergency loans against valuable items.   I think I am irritated again that I simply cannot go more than 2 months without some sort of financial disaster, it makes my target that little bit further away.

I will still get there, I don’t think there can be many more shameful boxes to tick. Unless I take up Male Escorting!

Onwards and upwards, still hoping for that “one day it will all be a bad memory” moment.

neglected blog

I envy you bloggers, how do you find the time to do an update every single day?  I started off that way, but the demands of real life have taken over so much since the start of December that this blog has become neglected.

I felt like deleting it actually but I put so much into it that I decided against it, I intend to get back into it more though.  Thing is, what do you do?  Everyone needs an outlet, believe me I want one.  That is the beauty of a blog, a chance to tell the world what is happening without showing your face.

Where are we now?  well, work has been ultra busy and I have had the children more due to the ex continuing her ridiculous home life.   They have more questions, as expected, which I have answered and continued to make them feel safe.  But, with the long work hours and also being a single father there are just not enough hours to sit down and blog.

Been a tough start to 2015 financially too, couple of unexpected bills but you all know I am well used to that!  However, good news, I will be getting my work bonus at the end of March, this will make major inroads into the debt total.  I am desperate to clear it all this year, and desperate to just have my wages and the usual bills.  ‘Tis the dream.

No competition win for 5 weeks either, until yesterday.  Some expensive golf equipment, I hate golf but my brother is very good and loves the sport/hobby.  That is his birthday present sorted then, see how winning things saves you money?

Anyway, the blogging will pick up again.  You have my word!

time to get on the road

What a busy week, work wise.  Driven over 800 miles and stayed in another hotel, but saw some beautiful scenery.  If you ever visit the UK, I recommend the Pennines.  Beautiful mountain range between Sheffield and Manchester and a pleasurable 22 mile drive.  Apart from the sheer drop on the side of the road that is!

Importantly, it was time away from drama.   She has moved back in with him now and they are working through it, but this causes issues for the kids which I am monitoring obviously.  Instead of dealing with though, it was nice to be away.   Utterly cold up north, but miles from home and just myself.

January has started off so busy with work, everyone wants to plan 2015 which is why I am out and about.  This happens sometimes and I cannot complain.  It dusts off the cobwebs a bit and gives you some peace and quiet.  Sadly, it also caused an unwanted financial burden.  I managed to hit some debris on the way back, hit a tree branch which had blown onto the road from the gales last week.   Quickly obvious something had happened to the car as I had a small vibrate on the steering wheel.  Took it into a garage and I had damaged front tyres, joy.  £150 later….cheers then!

Probably the best time of year to get them done though as it is now winter and snow continues to threaten the UK!

I do need to make use of my working from home contract though and trust my team more, but sadly I take a lot of pride in my work and my team’s performance so I like to check on certain aspects.   However, it does leave me tired so I will make changes.

On a personal level, I continue to make minor admin changes here and there.  I have posted off my final will and testament now too.  This is not as morbid as you think, I have just removed the ex-wife completely from anything if I am removed from this earth!   Now, everything is left to the kids with my parents as guarantors.   This is a sensible move I think, and yet another financial move on my part.

I think all the lessons I have learnt have taught me to bargain, I often query renewal quotes and bills and most of the time they have been reduced forthwith.  This goes back to driving a lot and being away, it gives you time to evaluate situations.

One day there will be no more situations to evaluate, only situations to savour.

Utter Chaos

Well, I have been a little quiet haven’t I?  I will tell you why, it is the car crash that is my ex wife that sadly blew our lives apart again.

It all started last Sunday evening with a phone call at 9.30pm from her stating she had to bring the kids back to me as it had all ‘kicked off’.  Completely over the moon as I got the kids back for an extra evening!   They arrived back at 10pm, quiet and tearful so I realised something big had happened but didn’t push it.  Hugs and kisses, then put them to bed before retiring too.

11pm the home phone rang but I didn’t get there quick enough but no message was left on the answer phone so I went back to sleep, until midnight when my mobile rang.  It was her, in a police car, on the way round to mine.   Yes, to my house.   10 minutes later she was at the door clutching multiple black bags and flanked by two police officers.   Apparently this was the only place she could go and her name was on the mortgage so it was still her legal residence.

We move on, stay with the story guys.

In a 20 minute summary, it transpired that an argument had started around the children.  As this was escalating, his children were dropped home and mine came back too (as you know) so they could continue the discussion indoors.  This discussion turned into an all out fight which is where the police became involved, and she was subsequently thrown out by her partner, who also took her car keys.  He was then arrested apparently.

What a pleasant environment that must have been.  So, what to do?   She was now on my sofa and I had to get up at 6am for work, so I let it slide.

Over the course of this week I have watched the inevitable unfold, of her slagging him off and involving her friends to forgiving him and then (I am guessing here) moving back in.

This is the story, but the point isn’t to highlight what I have to deal with it is to highlight what I will have to deal with imminently.  It is even more obvious that I need to get her off the mortgage by raising the 10K needed.   I signed up to the credit expert site and nervously checked my credit rating.  Avid readers will know I was rated Poor previously, but now it is has moved to Fair.  Don’t scoff though guys, a rating of ‘Fair’ is a massive improvement for me and testament to how much debt I have cleared.

Anyway, that rating is great for me trying to remortgage in June.   I have to get her off this property so that when it happens again I can legally turn her away.  This may sound harsh but I cannot have her continually causing havoc in my life, and the kids.  This latest episode just prompts the need to do anything I can to get clear of her totally, all bar the kids of course.

What a nightmare eh?  Caused even more upset for the children as well….her life really needs to be removed from mine.  The cynics will ask how I was ever married to her……………..

I don’t even remember why.

Solicitor needed again

New Year, same rubbish.  A little while ago My ex started receiving letters from the HMRC (it makes a nice change for them not to be addressed to me!) about her benefits.  I know this as it is stamped on the top of the envelope, I didn’t open the mail.  I suspected this meant she was being investigated for fraudulent claims, as they were being made using my home address and of course she moved out 2 years ago.

I smirked at the time but with trepidation.  Any financial loss to her would mean she would turn to me, as has always been the case.  Our arrangement, since the divorce was finalised, has not involved me paying her anything, namely as she cohabits and I pay for everything for the children.  She pays for clothes etc but ones that stay at her address, so I don’t pay for them.  Now, my lovely ex, has decided now she will be hundreds of pounds worse off each month I should be paying her maintenance.

Luckily, I have been expecting this to surface at some point so I am well prepared to fight my battle.  Chiefly, the fact that she pays NOTHING towards the house that still bears her name, and nothing towards any bills for it or the children.  There are many other factors to include, but they would bore you.

Sadly, this means a solicitor.  More money to pay out, I am always paying out one way or another.  I am hoping to call her bluff before it gets as far as legal entities but knowing her she will push it.   I am reasonably confident she doesn’t have a leg to stand on but should the worse happen and I have to pay her money (for what I have no idea as I am the primary parent) it will actually finish me off.

As you all know, I have done very well with the debt and budgeting with any spare cash.  If this spare cash is then removed, and this is no exaggeration here, I will be left with absolutely nothing.

I am not going to stand for it though, I will fight and delay anything that I have to.  I am sick of her attracting money and swanning around taking from people, it simply has to stop at some point.   The problem with someone who always gets what she wants is she never expects to lose.  She may get a shock with this one.

My children are well looked after and want for nothing, they live in a nice home and have been shielded from her affair and walking out, and from my financial despair.  They are happy, healthy children and I have been on my own with them for 4 years being the solid base.  Sadly, she fails to recognise this, no shock there, it is ALWAYS about what she feels she is entitled to.  Let’s be honest, she works 2 days a week for her boyfriend.  She could easily get off her arse and get a proper job but then why would she?  She gets a free house, no bills or debt left and a 13K car to drive around in.

Nope, I am not rolling over on this one nor will I raise my voice and get angry about it.  I am going to remain perfectly calm and take care of everything in the background.  She really hates it when she is not in control.

It would be nice to start this year with a win for me and for her life to start to take a downward turn.

1 more day of 2014

One more day, a day where all the fireworks go off and people go into the streets to celebrate.  But, celebrate what?  Who knows what the new year will bring?  Are we celebrating the end of the previous year or the possibility of something great on the pending year?  For me, I have the children but I will be silently celebrating the end of a horrible year.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some nice achievements.  A lot of debt has been cleared (still loads left sadly), some personal goals realised too.  My divorce was finally complete after her deliberately ignoring letters for years.  In the most part, despite personal and emotional trauma, it has been more successful than not.

I do not normally celebrate new years eve, in my opinion I think it is a little pointless.  I think the night is largely reserved for the younger generation, hell I used to go out every year to the nightclubs with friends.  Seriously though, I intend to make big things happen in 2015 so possibly I will be bouncing around like a leprechaun next December 31st.

I think my biggest lesson learned from 2014 is to let people in.   I spent so many years desperately trying to get out of the debt, trying to manage my ex, and trying to be a father.   This year I started to tell people about the debt and they helped, I should have done this sooner.  The other key lesson, and 2nd biggest, was to stand up for myself.  I don’t mean school playground stand up for yourself, I mean say No to people instead of trying to please everyone all the time.   You really can’t do that, please everyone, no matter how much you try.  Thus I learnt to pick which people to respond to, and chose to completely shut my ex out of my world.

2014 has also been the year where the children share homes, this was the biggest emotional hit.  I found it devastating for them, and myself.  It was so hard, but at this stage it has become better.  This is great for them, but I still resent this practise on a weekly basis.  It does give me badly needed adult time though, so not a total disaster.

Enough of 2014, onto 2015.  I have placed a couple of posts up with some of my plans but I do have very definite ideas for this new year.   I will be starting the new year in a field metal detecting, I figure it is good luck to do that, we shall see!   The house is also changing, not majorly but gradually it becomes more my own.   Few other personal goals but the major one remains to clear the debt completely.

This quote is apt:

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”
-Adam Smith

Happy new year everyone, I hope 2015 brings you happiness.  To all my readers but a little extra luck to the people who are struggling with divorce/infidelity, those in debt, and those who are unhappy.  Try and move your life forwards a little, I have learnt nobody can do it for you.


Christmas is done again

Christmas is over for another year, thank God.   I used to really love Christmas, it was my favourite season, but since the family breakup I do not enjoy it at all.  However, it is for the kids and that is what makes it worth it.  Or……it was until this year.

Christmas day meant the visit of the ex and her father to spend the day, I could put up with this as it is, well, Christmas.   The day went ok, and I managed to get her to leave at 4pm so not so bad.  I was left thinking it may not have been as bad as I suspected it might be.  The kids seemed happy and it was all over with no bad feeling.

And then we had boxing day.  The kids went to the ex’s house, and I phoned them the next morning.  It was on this call that I discovered an alternative Christmas day had occurred with her father and sister at her new place.  A new pile of gifts for the children, some tagged from the ex and her partner.  Here are the issues I am massively cheesed off by this.

Firstly, this was very deliberately planned behind my back.  Her dad has always been very honest with me but this time not, it was sly and dishonest but I have got used to it with her family.  Nobody had the respect to tell me what was going on, and She had no respect at all to discuss getting gifts for MY children from her and her partner.  For me, this should have been discussed.  My children receiving gifts from another man (I use that word loosely) is something that should be agreed upon, my daughter doesn’t even like him.

I have said that in 2015 things need to change, so I am taking this as one final hit.   I sucked it up as usual only this time my ex is well aware of my anger because I didn’t show it.  I just went quite and held her stare, she actually looked quite scared.  She started with the usual sentence of “it isn’t what you think” but anyone else who has been through this will know that actually it IS exactly what I think.

Moving forwards, the positivity will not be affected by this.  I need and will be looking after number 1 and things like this will have to roll off me I guess.  I will go with everyone’s advice that her time will come, I do so hope it does.

Roll on New Year, I have plans for you.

December has prompted decisions

I was already thinking of how I can make 2015 better, but this month has forced my hand early.  It has been an exceptional month for me thus far.  5 competition wins, some more debt clearance and I have won Employee of the Year at work.  Some may well sneer at this but remember I have only been there since June and took a massive gamble and large pay cut to take the job.  I took this job as it offered a better future and more time at home.  To win this is massive for me, the high point of anybody’s career surely?

Anyway, I digress…

All these positive outcomes have pushed me to make a number of other decisions.  Firstly, social media.  I have a lot of my ex-wife’s family and friends on facebook.  Largely as I get on with them all and they have always been completely respectful to me.   I contacted a number of them and explained that it was time for us to go our own ways (I failed to mention I was a little tired of my life being tracked by my ex via her friends and family) and that I would be removing them as friends.  I received some fantastic replies back, her family were always lovely that it amazed me that my ex was such a nasty piece of work.   Removing that side of my life was step 1.

Step 2 was my hobby, metal detecting.  I have been very successful at this and set up a group three years ago, this group that has been brilliant to work with and we have made some really superb finds. Sadly, recently, a few of them have secured permissions off the back of existing farms, this is a no go and a lack of respect.  I have also found I am very successful on my own, so rather than share the spoils in the future I have handed the group over and resigned.  The reason for this lies somewhere else too, for years and years I have been known for doing things for others, it’s always “he is a great guy”, “you always do some much for people” etc.  However, I have come to realise that waiting for Karma to pay you back may take some time so I need to make my own success.  I have found this the hard way this year, if I look after number 1 and pursue ideas off my own back I seem to do very well.   So, for this, I am going it alone.

I am still going to be the same guy, happy to help but only for general things.  I am not going to go the extra mile to make people happy.  2015 is all about me looking at ways to be successful, but using my own devices.  I find it you keep yourself and your ideas to yourself, they are more likely to happen.

The final step is to remove my ex wife from all the remaining bills and records, this seems to be the hardest step.  Hard from the point of view that is notoriously difficult to remove someone from any joint administration, due to the large amount of forms and evidence needed.  I suspect that it would actually be easier to change my own identity!  Either way, 2015 will see her eradicated from all house records.

You hit a point in your life where you simply have to stop being Mr Dependable to everyone else and start looking at fixing your own world.   When I am where I need to be, and I have a very clear plan and goal, then I may be that man again.  Not many people have helped me through all of this nightmare which did me a favour I think.  I can look at what I have achieved and know I did it on my own.

2015 is going to be a very good year, something big is around the corner, I can feel it.

HMRC are a total disgrace

Unbelievable, despite me filing for Insolvency 6 weeks ago the HMRC continue to harass me.  Not only harassing me but now at an increased rate.  Again, floods of those brown envelopes demanding immediate payment of corporation tax, then 3 phone calls in 1 hour.  I am not supposed to talk to them but I didn’t recognise the number.

10 minute heated argument with another unbelievable rude woman at the HMRC.  Here are the summary points:

1) Our department is not aware of the Insolvency – absolute and utter crap, they have had all the notifications and didn’t bother turning up at the creditor meeting.

2) You pay £18,000 by 8pm tomorrow or we begin legal proceedings – Good, do that.  Your solicitor will check Companies House and see the company is insolvent, thus proving my point

3) You MUST provide us with court reference numbers – no I don’t actually, the HMRC already has all of that, hence the creditor report.  “That department has not informed us so we want the numbers right now” – NO, talk within yourselves.

4) We will send debt collectors – Try it, you are breaking the law.

5) Sir, you are avoiding paying us by lying – Pardon me?  you have had no less than 15 letters, 3 invites and 2 meetings on the Insolvency.  The HMRC have already signed the forms and returned them.  “That isn’t our department”

now me…”You are not permitted to contact me, you must only deal direct with my Insolvency firm”. – rejected by the woman, we can only deal with you now are you paying us or not? – NO P1SS OFF.

** hung up **

What an utterly disgraceful call, just like I have said multiple times before.  They are utter bullies, rude, insensitive and totally unable to communicate within their own company.  You are constantly spoken to like utter garbage and made to feel like the lowest of the low.  How dare they?

I hate them, I hate them with an utter passion.   Everyone I have ever spoken to is vile.

This wil totally kick off in court very soon because if they continue to violate this agreement I will be taking them to court for prolonged harassment.

What a day eh?

Debt update

Hi all

I thought it was good timing to bring you an update on my current debt situation.  We have spoken often about what has  happened but I have never produced my results.  For anyone else in severe debt who has been following this debt, my hope is that it will serve as an inspiration.

What you need to remember is that however much pressure you are under, from fear and creditors, it is important to still pay what you can.  I have managed to do this all year, even if it meant a week of eating beans on toast!  Anyway, I digress, here below is the progress report.

Debt/Loan         Start of 2014                  End of 2014

Car loan            £3800                             £1700

Personal Loan  £1000                             £150

Personal Loan  £1200                             £740

Tax Debt           £39,400                         £3850  (this is non company tax debt, as in not what was written off)

H/owner Loan   £1800                            £0

Total cleared this year: £39,780

I think you will agree that is a superb effort, and it has left me with hardly anything but I am confident that 2015 will see me debt free.  Obviously I had to give up and go insolvent for the company debt, which is a separate £24,000 but I cannot take credit for clearing that.

Added on the debt is £1700, which is the amount left to pay for the insolvency.  This is not a debt currently, more of a bill to pay within the next 2 months.

When I read my own figures, it pleases me.  It is a hell of a struggle, getting out of debt.  It involves tears, stress, discipline, admin, shame etc.   The point is, I will get there.   I hope you all will too.

How did I end up in this mess?