Author Topic: Starting from the bottom.  (Read 6216 times)

I Want to Believe

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Starting from the bottom.
« on: July 06, 2018, 07:18:28 AM »
Hi all, I'm posting this case study, mostly to get the figures down somewhere sensible, and get some expert opinions on where I'm screwing it up.

I'm 41, in a relationship with my OH who is 46, and we have a 9 year old daughter. Living in rural south Devon.

Basic income:

My job, 45 hours a week on £10 an hour, which gives 450 a week, or £23400 a year

OH employed work, a few hours a week at the school our daughter goes to, £112 a month after tax(not sure what before tax is) £1344 yearly
OH self employed carer usually around £100 a week. £5200

Pre tax, the only thing I can find is a workplace pension that means 1.78% of my wages goes into a pension plan with slightly less from my employer. It started last march, and theres about £500 in there so far.


Theres also income from stable liverys, 4 horses at £50 a week. total £200 a week, £10400 a year. (We try to keep stables accounts separate from personal ones, but frequently move money back and forth to cover large bills)

No property or investments. I have a stakeholder pension with about £2000 in it, I havent paid anything into it for years, and it lost 2/3 in the credit crunch of 2008.
My OH has mentioned a similar pension or 2 but again no money going into them right now. Since we cant do anything with them til we retire we haven't really worked out the details.

Adjusted Gross income:
works out at £40344 (Finding this hard to believe, but we don't usually take the income from the livery into account as it sucks the same amount away)

Taxes:

Wages £23400, less tax and NI of £4,105.32, leaves £19,294.68

OH, since I don't know the before tax figure, her yearly take home is £6544

Since the stables doesn't make any profit or pay us, we dont pay any tax on it.

Expenses.

Rent £92.66 a week, £ 4818.32 yearly
Council tax £119 a month £1428
Water £68.06 a month £816.72
Electricity £30 a week (not an exact figure, but we recently had a smart meter fitted so we can see our usage and costs, currently between £10 and £15 a week, but will go up in winter estimating high) £1560
Mobile phones
Mine £37 a month still 10 months left on the contract, then going cheap sim only
Hers £20 a month 18 months left on contract
Mobile broadband £20 a month (no landline, ad looking into it to see if we can get it cheaper than this). £924 for all 3
Car tax £41.11 for both cars £493.32
car Insurance £85.53 for both cars £1026.36
Fuel £40 a week (estimated, she does a lot more miles than me, school run and caring for different people in villages all over the area) £2080
Car maintenance £200 a year for both cars (MOT and whatever work needs doing to pass, varies from year to year)
TV license £12.37 a month £148.44
Food £100 a week (struggling to get this down and we don't splurge on food) £5200
Clothing minimal, we buy clothes when we need to replace something OH is losing a lot of weight now shes got her health issues under control and still has plenty of smaller sizes she can use as the weight comes off. 2.5 st since may :) probably £100 a year mostly school uniform.



Total £18471.76

Stable expenses:
Hay 15 bales a week £4.50 a bale £3510 a year
Bedding 5 bales a week £9 a bale £2340
Feed 5 bales a week £10 a bale £2600
Farrier £50 every month £600
Insurance £5 a month £60
We have someone who helps out for £30 a week (hesitant to lose her as its handy having someone else ready if we go away) £1500
fuel for tractor and generator £30 a month (includes petrol for strimmer etc £360

Total £10970 yearly

Nonessentials
I do karate £30 a month £360 (facepunch due here i know, but its basically my only break from work and the horses)
OH slimming world £4.95 a week £257.4 (needs to get the weight off and is doing much better since the docs solved her sleeping issue in May.)

Total £617.40

Liabilities
Loan, £12512.12 started november 2017 paying 275.09 a month cant remember the exact interest, but over 20% (scheduling appointment to get better interest now credit scores are up) current balance £11831.48.

costs £3301.08 a year. 75 months remaining

CC £40 monthly I haven't seen any paperwork for this, balance should be £500 ish APR unknown. We agreed that it was for one thing to boost her credit score and then was put away, I have to assume thats whats been done. £480 per year

Assets

Effectively zero

2 cars
My 98 Ford Fiesta 1.25 inherited from her father when he passed on last year
Her 04 Alfa 147 2.0 bought outright for £450 last february (difficult to sell because of gearbox issues that would cost more to fix than its resale value, but don't render it unusable)

I'm sure technically our horses are assets, but since we can't get rid of them due to family issues they're effectively worthless.


There are other outgoings but it's difficult to nail them down to a particular thing as the bank statement only lists where it was spent, not what on. Must ban OH from ebay!

Calculations
in 40344
out 37945.56
leaving 2398.44
or 199.87 per month which we never seem to see because im sure there are other expenses that i haven't nailed down yet. Random coffees, treats for little one etc.

Short term goals, getting debt free to sort the future out.

Mid term goals getting the stables transferred into our name and building a cabin there to live in to reduce costs while we save for retirement.

Long term goals travelling the world having enough income to pay a minimal expense lifestyle and drive an RV across america seeing as much as possible.

We are planning to sit down in a week and get our finances sorted out. I've just cancelled Amazon prime and kindle unlimited so thats £16 a month less. I have several boxes of books in the shed that haven't been read for years, and a good library on kindle/google play books. Personally I want to get my shit sorted out, but it seems like I have little spare time once the daily mechanics of life are sorted out, and weekends seems to be taken up by stopping my OHs mother from losing her shit. We have 3 properties to take care of but seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time at MILs. All I seem to hear is how much needs to be done, but I'm constantly being taken away to deal with trivial nonsense.

I should also mention that our daughter was born with a major heart defect and needed open heart surgery at 6 days old. You wouldn't know it to see her running around now, but she will need another op in 2 - 4 years time. Luckily the first time round OH family was in a financial posistion to support us, but since FIL passed, they can barely meet living expenses. If I thought I could get them to agree I'd look into a case study for all 5 of us, with options to sell the large house that they live in and use the money to put up 2 or 3 cabins at the yard.

Our home maintenance is trivial, rented so the landlord fixes big things also small enough to keep clean with minimal effort, which suits me. MIL house, large and high council tax. They get help with living expenses due to being retired and one of them is disabled and has decent private pension from previous job. Somehow I seem to end up doing the mowing there, and any heavy lifting, being the only physically fit adult. Yard, 9 acres of field, barn with 9 stables in, no mains water or electricity, so water has to be pumped up from a well via generator. Also generator provides light during winters early evenings. Another short term plan is to sell the old tractor slowly rusting away to fund large generator installation. Also clear quite a lot of junk accumulated by FIL during his eventful career (apparently he liked making bombs as a hobby).

Anyway I've rambled on enough, I know I need to get the little expenses tightened up. Any advice for work/home/future planning balance?


Rewriting this for 2019 based on spending figures for 2018. This is what the transactions from our accounts have reported, and they should be pretty accurate.
I'm 42, in a relationship with my OH who is 47, and we have a 10 year old daughter. Living in rural south Devon.
Basic income:
My job, 45 hours a week on £10.50 an hour, which gives 472.50 a week, or £24570 a year
OH employed work, a few hours a week at the school our daughter goes to, £112 a month after tax(not sure what before tax is) £1344 yearly
OH self employed carer usually around £140 a week. £7280
She's just given up the carers allowance due to her uncle needing more care than she can provide. This means she can pick up more shifts and not have to worry about earning too much. She's also going to be stopping the school job sometime this year, which means more time for care work/horse work that actually pays.

Pre tax, workplace pension with NEST. Calculations based on Qualifying earnings, which means my earnings above the minimum for NI contributions. So I pay 4% of my weekly income less £116, my employer puts in another 2% and tax relief makes another 1%. In April the minimum employer contribution rises to 3%, and my boss is the proverbial ducks arse, so wont do any more than the minimum, and uses qualifying earnings to reduce the amount he has to pay.

Theres also income from stable liverys, 3 horses at £50 a week. total £150 a week, £7800 a year. (We try to keep stables accounts separate from personal ones, but frequently move money back and forth to cover large bills). Also occasional short term full liveries at £150 per week each, but only for a month or two at a time.

No property or investments. I have a stakeholder pension with about £6000 in it, and the previously mentioned NEST which has just over £1000 now.
My OH has mentioned a similar pension or 2 but again no money going into them right now. Since we cant do anything with them til we retire we haven't really worked out the details.

Adjusted Gross income:
works out at £40994 (Finding this hard to believe, but we don't usually take the income from the livery into account as it sucks the same amount away)

Taxes:

Wages £24570, less tax and NI of £4,400, leaves £20,170

OH, since I don't know the before tax figure, her yearly take home is £6544

Since the stables doesn't make any profit or pay us, we dont pay any tax on it.

Expenses. (figures total for last year, I can use these to set budgets for the coming year) Any ideas on how to get OH to stick to them?


Bills:
Phone/Internet   68.98   New landline put in, this is installation and 1st month £18.99 monthly
Rent                 4985.43   Set by Housing association but very good for the area
Electricity          645      better than I thought
Council Tax   1193.43   Lowest band
Water      684.42   Set by water board no way to reduce
TV License      149.58   standard charge
Mobile      1168.49   stupidly high, lost the mobile broadband now landline in, and my contract expires in a month so I can go sim only and save £30+ a month
Total         8895.33


Repayments
Loan         6301.08      
Credit Card      2000
Ambrose Wilson   2353.32
Total         10654.40   This is what we’ve cleared from debt in the last year

Horses:
Total         8009.08      According to transactions I've tracked for livery income we made more than this last year, but I have to base this years income on current liveries. I'm also breaking the costs down for this year, hay, bedding, vet etc.

Home:
Home DIY      71.28         
Home         119.43   
Furniture/Garden 82.42
Food         6110.67      
Appliances      7.50
Total         6391.30

Transport:
Running costs      261.80         
Transport      423.44
Parking         185.60
Fuel         3900.11    Some of this will be fuel for the yard generator too, I've started tracking it separately for this year
Total         4770.95


Enjoyment:
Holidays      52.00         
Hobbies      661.50   (£400 of this will be my karate)   
Gifts         251.84         
Entertainment      379.17         
Enjoyment      1661.63      
Dining/Going Out     1060.85      
Cash         630.00   probably withdrawn to pay horse bills but no way to tell      
Lunch/Snacks      257.35
Total         4954.34

Other:
Untagged      204.82         
Transfers      582.61      probably direct transfers to farrier/vet etc   
One offs      356.56
Business      1.00
Bank Charges      57.61
Contents Insurance   26.40
Prescriptions      104.00         
Car Insurance      878.35         
Pool Stuff      47.00         
Pet food      3.59         
Family         1376.12      
Medical         269.20         
Health other      327.10
Clothes         257.70
Appearance      137.14
Total         4629.20


Grand Total      48304.60

Current debts
Loan £8400   20.5% APR
Card £1000   39.5% APR (extortionate! Need a balance transfer card here and NOT FUCKING USE IT.) Half of this is for horses since early December, the rest is Christmas and excess on a car accident OH had at the beginning of January. We cleared £1800 at the start of December, which was at least twice what I thought it was. I now have online access to this and the stable accounts so I can see where the moneys going, even if I don’t have any influence on it.







Assets
Effectively zero
1 car
My Fiesta has just impressively failed its MOT (Over £700 repair before labour)
Her 04 Alfa 147 2.0 bought outright for £450 2 years ago (difficult to sell because of gearbox issues that would cost more to fix than its resale value, but don't render it unusable. Hooray for google, and fixing cars for a £20 part off ebay rather than the garage charging £600 to replace an entire gearbox)

I should also mention that our daughter was born with a major heart defect and needed open heart surgery at 6 days old. You wouldn't know it to see her running around now, but she will need another op in 2 - 4 years time. Luckily the first time round OH family was in a financial posistion to support us, but since FIL passed, they can barely meet living expenses. If I thought I could get them to agree I'd look into a case study for all 5 of us, with options to sell the large house that they live in and use the money to put up 2 or 3 cabins at the yard.

Our home maintenance is trivial, rented so the landlord fixes big things also small enough to keep clean with minimal effort, which suits me. MIL house, large and high council tax. They get help with living expenses due to being retired and one of them is disabled and has decent private pension from previous job. Somehow I seem to end up doing the mowing there, and any heavy lifting, being the only physically fit adult. Stable yard is a separate property, 9 acres of field, barn with 9 stables in, no mains water or electricity, so water has to be pumped up from a well via generator. Also generator provides light during winters early evenings. Another short term plan is to sell the old tractor slowly rusting away to fund large generator installation. Also clear quite a lot of junk accumulated by FIL during his eventful career (apparently he liked making bombs as a hobby).

« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 06:20:16 AM by I Want to Believe »

Moomintroll

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2018, 07:25:22 AM »
Welcome! Congrats on starting your journey.

Not sure the rules in the UK, but here in Ireland putting up housing on rural land is tightly controlled. Would you definitely get planning permission for multiple homes on the stable land? I know if you have certain businesses you can get planning for a house, and the horses might qualify, but not sure about more than one.

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2018, 07:33:50 AM »
Thanks Moomintroll, Planning is one of the issues we'd have to deal with. We may be able to get planning for one building using the business as a reason to need to be on site. It doesn't help being in an AONB. It might be easier to get barn conversion planning, convert the stables into a home and build a new barn for the horses.

Goldielocks

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2018, 09:09:06 AM »
Hi!  Interesting for me to look at the numbers.  I have gotten used to twisting my head around the various US dollar amounts versus what I see, but I think some of the basics would apply.

What I see are a few things:

1)  Phones seem high.  I live in the most expensive cell phone country in the world, and yours seems high.  Even the 20/mo one.  You pay for home broadband, so see if you can cut out your data usage on the go to almost nothing, and then if you can get your phone costs much lower.   (Just a guess from the last time I travelled to EU).

2)  Cars are costing a lot.  I assume you need a car for work, and she needs a car for baby/horses/work.
 Especially a second car is costing you, for which the costs to operate the car versus the job may be outside of reasonable.   Need to review if you can pass on car costs to her care job more, somehow.  Raise rates?  Have a "car mileage expense" that you start to charge?    I won't say quit this job, but her wage net of car is very low.. as in unreasonably low, most likely.   If you keep the second car, she needs to increase the care work to pay for it (the insurance / tax), and / or needs to pass on the costs to the clients.   Here, our outreach nurses get a car mileage expense as part of work.

3)  Anytime you are hesitant to get rid of something / someone / some cost it is a sign that maybe you should.  So stable helper should go.   Between two of you, you need to plan to take fewer away times or plan to hire out to cover the few days remaining.  Maybe this person would be willing to cover your days away at a much, much higher rate, but only for a few days a year.

4)  I don't know why you have horses that you think you can't get rid of...   they are costing you a lot.  Why can't you get rid of them and just keep any remaining income from the stable?  Are they a package deal with the stable or your rental accommodation?   Anyway, if you can't get rid of them, then you should talk to the person that is requiring you to keep them and have that person partially pay for their feed and vet bills. Really.  You don't have the money to support this hobby because...

5)  The loans.  Whoa.  yep, the loans are a huge drag on you and you need to cut them as fast as possible.  This means increasing employment or income for a while, cutting the stable person, and focusing on reducing the loans.  If you did not have these, you might be able to keep the horses or increase your pensions.  As it is, you are just treading water and not moving forward.

My two cents.   

Anyway, cutting the phone and grocery seem like good choices but won't have the impact that the other items above will.

Goldielocks

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2018, 09:14:11 AM »
Note -- my comment on the horses.. I am assuming that you have two horses, plus rent stable services to others, that generate the income that covers multiple horses...and the entire stable costs... 

When I say that the horses cost a lot, I am thinking only of your personal horses, and I know that the whole (or majority) of the stable expenses won't go away if your personal horses do.

How much do you think your own personal horses cost in variable costs (food, farrier, vet)?

Bicycle_B

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2018, 06:27:28 PM »
Hi, I Want To Believe.

In part, I am very very impressed by you two. You are providing emotional and practical care for multiple family members (a human good), living a life that objectively sounds like it could be rather nice (some family, some nature; connections, human and animal; the joy of a growing child), and doing it on a cost of roughly £26,000 for 3 people. Plus you're running two old vehicles on a low maintenance cost (though that may not last...)  I am one person and I spend about £14,000 (US$ 18,700). 

That said, you are in a slow but significant emergency financially. Your consumer debt and lack of savings mean that you are losing money as is. You also have no provision for your daughter's health need. I applaud that you came here, because the situation does need change.

I wish I had savings tricks that would solve this by themselves. By all means look for opportunities to spend less on gas, pay no more than needed for cell phone, etc. I certainly wish you luck in your housing proposal; that could make a difference. Most of all, the untracked expenses that cause you to save nothing instead of £2,000 per year should be tracked and probably eliminated. Even if the housing don't eventuate quickly, the smaller saving moves together might put you close to eliminating the the credit card debt by the time of your daughter's operation.

That's not enough, of course, to assure your financial future or even protect your daughter's health. For that reason, please forgive me if I venture beyond the call for savings and address the subject of opportunity cost.

The horses and stable seem like a big time suck. The time spent there, if replaced by a job that earns a paycheck, could shift you from breakeven or small losses into a mode of saving perhaps £10,000 per year. Combined with the other moves you are contemplating, this could put you on track toward a secure future, or at least a roughly debt free ability to support your daughter's health to adulthood.

In another thread, I think I read that half of the horses in the stable are family property that you are taking care of at below market rates, causing the stable to earn nothing. Someone has to ask the question to the relatives: Is your horse more important than our daughter's health? "We recently realized we will be unable to pay for daughter's upcoming operation. We either have to abandon the stable to get a job instead, or have the family horses paid for at market rates. Can we rely on you to pay market rates so she will have the funds she needs?"

You mention that you "are sure your horses are assets" but you "can't get rid of them for family reasons." Just FYI - technically, an asset is something that is reasonably expected to generate revenue. They don't sound like assets. If the family knew that keeping them was dangerous to daughter's health, would someone in the family be willing to buy them, or at least let them be sold to caring new owners?

Your family relations are your own, of course, and I am aware that English culture places more value on social obligations than crass America's does. Perhaps the feeling of being upper class in some way is wrapped up in owning horses, and you are last bastion of the family's dignity. But your future is at stake here. You and your daughter are part of the family too. Is dignity worth going broke, or missing a needed operation? Are the family members capable of paying their share, once they know the stakes?

Forgive me if I overstep.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 06:40:20 PM by Bicycle_B »

Imma

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2018, 03:50:10 AM »
From the details you give, and the location you're in, I'm picturing an Escape to the country - type property. That's great if you're a millionaire from London. I grew up rurally as well, I know the amount of work that goes in it. It's simply too much for one able bodied adult and especially if that person is already working a 45-hour week. This needs to stop, and you and your s/o really need to tell your relatives that. You can't keep doing this. Not physically or financially. You are already in a situation of hair on fire debt: you can barely make ends meet and there's not much fat left to cut. If you don't change things, at the next emergency you won't be able to pay your bills anymore.

To speak very bluntly: your property is your responsability. Your MIL's large property is her responsability. Yes, as a decent person you should help out your elderly parents, but that doesn't mean they have a right to keep receiving an unlimited amount of care without them trying to lessen your burden. I gladly help out my elderly grandmother and when the time comes I will care for my parents if it's necessary. At the same time, I would expect them to make changes in their life to reduce the amount of care they need. My grandmother has replaced some items in her home that required a lot of cleaning now she's not able to do it herself anymore. In the worst case scenario, I believe a person should choose to downsize rather than expect someone else to take care of their home (or pay for the labour, of course).

You should talk to the local council (or whoever is responsible for planning permission) about all the things you are allowed to do on your property or your family's property. Maybe there's a way to start to make money from it (for example, a holiday let or horse tourism) so you get some financial reward for all the work you put in. If not, you should draw a line somewhere. Yes, we'll take care of your medical needs, we'll drive you to hospital. No, I'm not going to mow your 9 acres. Ask a boy from the village who wants to earn some pocket money.

You should also find out about all the little pension pots you and your s/o have. In my country, there are special rules for small pension pots: you can have them paid out without a penalty. If that's an option in your case, my gut feeling is you should do that and put that money towards your loan. Your very large loan is dragging you down, even if you can get a lower interest %. This loan is a trap that prevents you from saving up for future emergencies, that are guaranteed to happen. When your out of hair on fire debt, you can start thinking about retirement again.

I also find it hard to believe your credit score would go up if you keep a balance on your credit card (probably with a very high interest as well, if you pay off 480 a year and the balance is around 500..... ). Lenders want to see you can pay off loans, not keeping a balance indefinitely. I don't think your credit score would suffer if you paid this off asap.

mrmoonymartian

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2018, 07:46:58 PM »
I know I need to get the little expenses tightened up.
Er... no. The correct response to 20% interest loans is:

“AAAAAUUUUUUGGGHHHH!!!! THERE IS A CLOUD OF KILLER BEES COVERING EVERY SQUARE INCH OF MY BODY AND STINGING ME CONSTANTLY!!!! I NEED TO STOP IT BEFORE I AM KILLED!!!”

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/

lhamo

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2018, 10:19:09 PM »
Why is your partner driving so many miles for a job that pays 100 pounds a week?  It would really help if she could get a proper job of some sort, preferably one that doesn't involve so much driving.

Can you raise the rates for horse boarding?  And agree that whoever owns those family horses needs to pay for their keep.

I'm sorry for your MIL that the sudden loss of her spouse has created financial hardships, but this whole situation sounds like a Dickens novel in the making.  You guys don't have the resources to maintain a country estate.  It probably needs to be sold and the proceeds invested in something that can support MIL and the disabled relative indefinitely.  If you didn't have the stable work wearing you down you could also add a side gig or start building skills that would help you move into better paying work.

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 04:01:00 AM »
Hi all, wow so many points of view.

I have to say I agree with all the points raised, but it's proving impossible to get them to see sense. The house is far too big for 2 pensioners one of whom is disabled. Both of them are too set in their ways to even consider an alternative. I can't get anyone to look past their emotions at the real cost of horse ownership.

Because of the carers allowance, OH income is limited, although she does get paid mileage for caring which is tax free. I'm in favour of giving up the carers allowance and increasing the paid employment, but she'd probably spend the same amount of time at the house anyway.

Difficult to sort out support for MIL and uncle as they're starting to grate on each other, MIL is resenting having to care for him, and giving us grief about it. We can't spare more time to care for either of them, and I wish we could spend less time there. They do however both dote on our little girl, and would kick off more trouble if we tried to reduce the time we spend there.

I feel like I'm caught between a large rock and a very hard place. If anything happens to me, we're all screwed. I'm trying to decide if we should merge personal and stables accounts to make it easier to keep track, or make sure they're kept separate. But when a bill needs to be paid we have to take the money from wherever it is, this frequently means from our own accounts to pay horse bills , or stable accounts for our own bills.

OH and I need to have a good talk about downsizing horses, 2 less and 2 more paying customers would make a massive difference.

I've also started keeping track of finances on a spreadsheet so I can use hard numbers, hopefully that will help keep emotions out of it.

I'll keep you all posted of how things go. Hopefully this hasn't come across as a rant about In-laws and horses.

flower_girl

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 04:46:21 AM »
Hi OP.  It seems to me that emotionally you're caught in a bit of a vortex - so many things going on which you can't really control - and I sense a certain (understandable) frustration in your post.

What say you just started siphoning off 10% or even 5% or less of your income but committed to it and put it in a savings account?  Commit to doing this regardless.  I am wondering whether this could act as a kind of brake or rudder for you.  Suddenly no matter what else is happening you are slowing building this savings account (you can decide what to do with it later, the important thing at this point is I think it might be how you gain a foothold to establish some control).

You could think of it as the emergency fund, then some savings - but suddenly you have the tiger by the tail, know what I mean? As it builds it might be a good idea to make paying off that loan as a priority - suddenly YOU are in control, turning the whole thing around and gaining some momentum in the direction you wish to go.

Best wishes.

former player

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 05:08:43 AM »
You've got a great deal if you are renting a family appropriate home in South Devon for only £92.66 a week.   Any other housing option for you would be more expensive, either in rent payments or in laying out capital that you don't have.  So please forget about moving: it can only be downhill from where you are at the moment.

On your personal expenses you need to understand exactly where you are on the loans, particularly the interest rates, and look around for better deals.  When you have time, you also need to look at what is in all those old pension funds, and either cash out to pay off your debts or consolidate them into a single fund invested in a low cost index fund.

It's a red flag to me that you are using personal money to keep the horse business going, as well as apparently working for nothing.  This is totally unsustainable.  I would say that you need to double the charges you are making on the livery horses over the next year, putting it up in increments of £10 every three months.  If you lose business that is all to the good: there aren't enough hours in the day for you to continue as you are.

The other big red flag is you co-dependent relationship with your inlaws.  That is an emotional issue not a financial one: you seem quite aware that you are working far too hard for far too little return because you are giving in to emotionally blackmailed, but the big issue is: how are you going to change that, and how soon?  Because what you are doing at the moment is not good for you, your OH or your daughter.

lhamo

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 09:02:00 AM »
Can you explain for us outside the UK what this "carer's allowance" is exactly?  Is it some kind of tax rebate your OH gets for caring for her family members?  And if so, why does it involve driving all over the countryside to care for different people if your MIL and uncle live in the same house?

You really need to make them understand that they cannot stay in that house if they don't have income to support it.  They will lose it eventually.  And if the buildings start to deteriorate because they can't/won't pay for the necessary upkeep, it will net them less than if they sell it now when in reasonable condition.  Can you draw up a budget for them showing how close to the edge they are?  And how they would go over the cliff if you and OH ever had to stop giving them free labor?  Which you might have to do, sooner rather than later, because you are putting your own family at risk by doing so much for them, financially and otherwise.

These are not going to be easy conversations to have, but you have to have them.  You are on a runaway train and you need to find a way to slow it down.  At least then maybe you can jump off safely before it crashes.

debbie does duncan

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 09:26:05 AM »
I am not going to touch your expenses as I am in Canada and have NO idea what the euro is at! I will chime in about the horses. Unless you personally find worth in them they are not an asset. Free up the $$ they are costing you and pad your pension savings. You also need to set boundaries with those that seem to take up all your time and not pay you. Thats right Nmil I am taking about your MIL.
https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/3davsm/tip_setting_boundaries/
https://old.reddit.com/r/JUSTNOMIL/
Good luck!

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 09:27:57 AM »
Carers allowance is a benefit from the government paid to people who care for a disabled relative in their(relatives) own home for at least 35 hours a week. It pays about £65 a week, but limits other income to £120 a week. I hate this!

This is separate from OH being self employed as a carer for other people at an hourly rate plus mileage, which makes up most of the £100 a week she makes from income, the rest made from a few hours at the school.

I hate thinking like this, but if we could move uncle into a home, we wouldn't need to claim it, and she could work more hours, plus selling the house could setup MIL in a little bungalow in the area with money left over to live on.

Going to try and talk OH into at least losing the yard help, and putting that into paying off the debt. An extra £120 a month should shorten the life of the loan by at least 2 years, and nearer 3 if the rough calculations I've just done are correct.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2018, 11:45:29 AM »
Carers allowance is a benefit from the government paid to people who care for a disabled relative in their(relatives) own home for at least 35 hours a week. It pays about £65 a week, but limits other income to £120 a week. I hate this!

This is separate from OH being self employed as a carer for other people at an hourly rate plus mileage, which makes up most of the £100 a week she makes from income, the rest made from a few hours at the school.

Ah, this does clarify for some of us who are not familiar with this system. Thanks!


I hate thinking like this, but if we could move uncle into a home, we wouldn't need to claim it, and she could work more hours, plus selling the house could setup MIL in a little bungalow in the area with money left over to live on.

That sounds practical. Good luck getting agreement!

The core family issue now begins to sound like one of an aging couple who are not being realistic about their state of affairs. My own dad went through this. His wife of that era and his children from previous marriage were sucked into the vortex. His particular case involved getting Alzheimer's disease. I became his guardian eventually, after some effort. My sister and I cooperated on the project, I was just the one whose name was most often on the paperwork. After various steps of learning what to do, facing emotional issues, and solving problems that cropped up, we did indeed have to put him in "a home" (what in our location is called an assisted living facility). He didn't like anything that was going on, but he would have died sooner and alone if we had not intervened.

One thing that helped me face the emotions, and do things that he complained about angrily at the time, was realizing that I was not the true source of his upset feelings. He was upset because he couldn't have the pleasant independent prosperous life he once knew. I wasn't the cause of that change, only the messenger. My actions and my sister's lessened the pain. In the moment, he was not able to see the whole picture, but we knew. In the end, the process of caring for him despite the difficulties drew us all closer together before he died.

zoe2dot

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2018, 12:47:20 PM »
Re: the stables

1.  Keep the horses separate. 
2.  Find a local equine enthusiast to run it.  Give them 50% of the profits to incentivize them.  You'll need to have a clear agreement, naturally, and good bookkeeping methods.  There are so many horse-crazy teenagers out there--find the right one, someone with an entrepreneurial spirit.  Go hands off except for time you want to ride. 
3.  Consider doing half-leases on the horses you keep.  Have a written agreement.  In case that is not a term common in the UK: https://horseandrider.com/health-and-advice/the-half-lease-contract

Re: the inlaws

Start verbalizing your goals to them so that they can begin to envision a time when you are driving across America in an RV.

"OH and I are taking steps now so that in a few years we can spend summers traveling.  I wanted to bring this up now so you have time to make arrangements for care while we are away."

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2018, 08:25:19 AM »
Quick question, if OH agrees to stop the yard help, should I throw the £30 a week at the loan, or into savings?

shadesofgreen

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 11:46:41 AM »
Quick question, if OH agrees to stop the yard help, should I throw the £30 a week at the loan, or into savings?

Why not split the difference? Say 20 to the loan and 10 to savings. It doesn't have to be a either or situation. Per month that would be a extra 80 to the loan and 40 into savings. If you get to a comfortable amount into savings than just put everything onto the loan to pay it off quicker. Once it is paid off use the snowball method to transfer payments to the next loan in line.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 12:25:39 PM »
I would do the loan.

Normally, I am a big believer in defining and maintaining a reasonable emergency fund. But you're already paying interest, and it seems likely that if you pay the loan and then you have an emergency, you'd charge it anyway. Paying immediately reduces interest paid, and also lets you focus on one clear win.

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2018, 08:50:17 AM »
Well this has been a turn up for the books.

Apparently OH was talking to MIL over the weekend, and while she's not prepared to budge on the 2 mini shetlands, she's accepting that our daughter isn't all that interested in horses, and looking into losing at least 2 of the ponies.

Also OH has been improving significantly healthwise lately. A couple of years ago in quick succession, she broke an arm, and injured her back falling off a horse, while recovering from that, she ended up nursing her father who was suffering from terminal cancer. She also had a preliminary diagnosis of either ME, chronic regional pain syndrome, or something else I can't remember offhand. Between pain, stress and depression, she ended up putting on weight, and ended up with a sleep disorder. Every night she'd struggle to sleep and kept waking up, but she was nodding off all day because she was tired. In March we saw a doctor who gave her a sats monitor to wear overnight, and return the next day. Fast forward a month, and a very concerned consultant chased her up for another appointment and diagnosed severe sleep apnoea. Apparently the average sufferer stops breathing 8-10 times an hour through the night which is enough to reduce sleep quality. OH was stopping on average 112 times an hour throughout the night.

She was given a CPAP machine to wear at night which uses gentle air pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep. That night she put it on, and slept solidly for over 8 hours, and hasn't looked back. She's got more energy and enthusiasm, and has lost just under 3 st in 3 months. Instead of spending weekends falling asleep on the sofa, we're getting so much done. She wants to start getting the stableyard running properly again, and we spent an afternoon going through our finances and managed to get some bills cut down or eliminated, and a rough calculation that if all the bills come out of the account my wages go into, we can buy food and living expenses from her wages, and my account will slowly build up as the income is greater than the outgoings (I really want to get a spreadsheet made to double check this).

Things are looking up at last.

Imma

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2018, 11:42:08 AM »
I'm so glad to hear you're doing much better! It must be such a relief for you all that your OH's health is improving so much.

And good to hear your in-laws are slowly coming around to reality and you're working on a plan to get out of this situation. Every little step you take now is a small step in the right direction, instead of a small step in the wrong direction. It might take a while, but this way you will arrive at your destination eventually.

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2018, 01:19:47 PM »
I've also tracked down my old pension and been pleasantly surprised to find it's currently worth over £6000. Since I stopped paying into it in 2009, and it was only worth £2000 then, it's doing better than I thought.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2018, 02:20:49 PM »
That's great news on every front!

I know it's not the first thing to handle in your problem solving process, but the pension growth is a nice grace note. It shows that once you reach the point of saving and investing, you can get good returns on your investment over time. This can really happen.  Good luck!!

former player

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2018, 03:01:34 AM »
Thanks for the splendid update - so many things seem to have turned a corner for you and are now heading in the right direction.


(That seems to happen for some people after they find MMM and the trend pretty much always seems to continue, at least for those who keep coming back here.)

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2018, 06:48:19 AM »
Hi All,

I haven't been very active on here for a while, but I have been browsing on and off.

We've had some good news, and I could use some feedback as to whether I'm doing the right thing.

I submitted a claim in october for PPI on a credit card I had from 2001, and recently received a letter upholding it and offering a bit over £7000.

My initial instinct was to pay off as much debt as I could, but I'm not sure which order to do it in. Current debts are £11,400 on a loan at 21.5%, around £600-700 on a credit card, not sure of interest rate, and a shopping account for around £1500.

Currently paying £275 a month on the loan, and another £50-£60 a month on each of the other two.

My conundrum is to pay off the 2 small accounts and throw whats left at the loan, or follow advice on paying higher interest loans first, and pay 2/3 off the loan.

My thinking is to pay the smaller accounts off, pay as much as possible off the loan, and then refinance the balance over 2-3 years at £300 a month plus whatever extra is left over monthly. The difference between currently paying £400 a month on debts and potentially paying £300 a month and having spare would make day to day life considerably easier.

I'm also having trouble resisting the urge to spend some of it, less than 10%, on something nice for myself/the family for christmas.


poniesandFIRE

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2018, 07:10:55 AM »
I'd pay off the two smaller loans and throw the rest at the last loan. Then put the money you were paying on the smaller loans at the larger last loan and try and have it gone ASAP.

What's the current situation with the stable/horses?

former player

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2018, 07:13:15 AM »
Hello and welcome back.  Congrats on the credit card refund.

Now, your debts.  In July this year your large loan was at £12512.12 and you were paying 275.09 a month.  In December you say that the loan is now  £11,400.  So in five months you have paid £1,112 in capital repayments and £350 in interest.   That means that a third of your payment each month is being wasted in paying interest.  Just over £90 a month.

The credit card you mentioned in July as having a debt of about £400, which has apparently now gone up to about £600 or £700.  The reference to the shopping account is new, with a debt of £1500.  You don't know what the interest rates are on either of those debts.

What this means, five months after posting here, is that you are still living beyond your means. You are more in debt now than you were five months ago, to the tune of at least £600.

Frankly, until you can start living within your means, there is no useful advice that you can be given.  Your desire to spend your windfall on "Christmas"  (which is eff all to do with the holiday itself and all about uncontrolled consumerism) indicates that you have not changed anything in the last five months.  Apparently you haven't even done anything about refinancing your big loan into a rate less usurious than 21%, and by the fact that your expenditures are going up in relation to your income rather than down tells me that you haven't done anything else to control your expenses either.

YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE.


There is no enough information here (eg as to the interest rates on the debts of £600/700 and £1500) for us to give sound advice on which debter to apply your windfall to. In any case, it's not going to matter as long as you continue to live beyond your means: you'll just be in more debt again this time next year.  Rinse and repeat.

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2018, 08:32:31 AM »
Hi, I cant say it was easy reading that, but you cant argue with the truth. One thing I will say, is that the £1500 hasn't just sprung up since July, it already existed at that time, and I wasn't aware of it when I wrote my original case study. I tried to refinance the loan, but I couldn't get a better rate with my current credit score. Clearing the 2 smaller amounts and reducing the large one should allow for better options.

Regards the horses, we're down 2 liveries, which will be why we're still in much the same situation. We've cut the weekly help at the yard, and this week we have another livery starting at £50 a week. This should bring the stables back into break even as she's paying for her own feed and bedding.
Unfortunately we haven't been able to shift any of our own horses. My OH is unwilling to let them go unless they are going to receive the same level of care we provide, although she is seeing someone today who may take one of them to be a companion pony.

You're right about the consumerism aspect, that's partly why I posted here to get a reality check on impulse spending.

poniesandFIRE

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2018, 09:17:01 AM »

Regards the horses, we're down 2 liveries, which will be why we're still in much the same situation. We've cut the weekly help at the yard, and this week we have another livery starting at £50 a week. This should bring the stables back into break even as she's paying for her own feed and bedding.
Unfortunately we haven't been able to shift any of our own horses. My OH is unwilling to let them go unless they are going to receive the same level of care we provide, although she is seeing someone today who may take one of them to be a companion pony.


Just because this is my world of expertise, although from the USA, so I'm aware some things vary...

How many horses do you guys own versus how many do you board? For those that you board, when did you last raise rates? For the amount of work it is to have a barn and care for other people's horses, you need to make SOMETHING from it. No one is getting rich boarding, but if your rate is just covering hay/grain/bedding/utilities, you NEED to up your rates. Your time is worth something. You need a profit to use to fix things like fences and buckets when they are inevitably broken. We struggled last year with the idea of raising our boarding rates, worried about losing clients, but knowing it needed to happen to stay in the black. We raised our rates about 9% and now have a full barn this winter.

If selling/rehoming is not an option, is it possible to half lease or lease out any of your horses? Can you find a teen looking for saddle time who would pay a small monthly fee or work weekends in exchange for a chance to ride? Even a short term free lease contract as a companion pony will alleviate their care costs for you for a while. Have something in writing, check references (vet and farrier) and get at least one off your dime ASAP. If they are too old or have other health issues, should humane euthanasia be an option on the horizon soon?

It sounds like you guys pride yourselves on their care and quality of life, but what is your plan currently if one were to colic or need serious vet attention? With your financial situation, you are not prepared for an emergency and anyone with a horse knows how often emergencies and injuries happen.

Do you have any open stalls? It might be a good time of year to spread the world that you have availability for short term board for owners going out of town for the holidays? I know that owners over here will often pay higher rates for a short term deal to have their horses cared for properly during a vacation or just the winter months when it's harder to do the care at home themselves.

Do you teach lessons or offer any other services besides basic care? Are you qualified to offer training or body clipping or full grooming services or something else to up the income from your current clients or entice new ones?

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2018, 09:51:06 AM »

Regards the horses, we're down 2 liveries, which will be why we're still in much the same situation. We've cut the weekly help at the yard, and this week we have another livery starting at £50 a week. This should bring the stables back into break even as she's paying for her own feed and bedding.
Unfortunately we haven't been able to shift any of our own horses. My OH is unwilling to let them go unless they are going to receive the same level of care we provide, although she is seeing someone today who may take one of them to be a companion pony.


Just because this is my world of expertise, although from the USA, so I'm aware some things vary...

How many horses do you guys own versus how many do you board? For those that you board, when did you last raise rates? For the amount of work it is to have a barn and care for other people's horses, you need to make SOMETHING from it. No one is getting rich boarding, but if your rate is just covering hay/grain/bedding/utilities, you NEED to up your rates. Your time is worth something. You need a profit to use to fix things like fences and buckets when they are inevitably broken. We struggled last year with the idea of raising our boarding rates, worried about losing clients, but knowing it needed to happen to stay in the black. We raised our rates about 9% and now have a full barn this winter.

If selling/rehoming is not an option, is it possible to half lease or lease out any of your horses? Can you find a teen looking for saddle time who would pay a small monthly fee or work weekends in exchange for a chance to ride? Even a short term free lease contract as a companion pony will alleviate their care costs for you for a while. Have something in writing, check references (vet and farrier) and get at least one off your dime ASAP. If they are too old or have other health issues, should humane euthanasia be an option on the horizon soon?

It sounds like you guys pride yourselves on their care and quality of life, but what is your plan currently if one were to colic or need serious vet attention? With your financial situation, you are not prepared for an emergency and anyone with a horse knows how often emergencies and injuries happen.

Do you have any open stalls? It might be a good time of year to spread the world that you have availability for short term board for owners going out of town for the holidays? I know that owners over here will often pay higher rates for a short term deal to have their horses cared for properly during a vacation or just the winter months when it's harder to do the care at home themselves.

Do you teach lessons or offer any other services besides basic care? Are you qualified to offer training or body clipping or full grooming services or something else to up the income from your current clients or entice new ones?

We have 6 of our own, 3 of which are shetlands that are family animals we can't do anything with. 2 are ponies for our daughter who are currently surplus and will hopefully being sold next year. The last is OHs stallion, hopefully after a successful years showing, we can finally look into breeding from him for sales, although I suspect the cost of raising a foal outweighs the return.

Unfortunately I get very little say on the yard, My OH does offer teaching, and is currently working on getting rehabilitation work from local vets for horses that need short term intensive work, possibly including references from insurance claims. I think she wants to downsize our horses as well to make space for paying customers, but the ones that would be sold need to get out showing next year in order to be actually saleable.

Anything that gets a serious illness/accident will have to be put down. Like you say we have no provision for emergency treatment, and I'll be happier to be a pony or 2 down. Sorry if that sounds callous.

OH is promoting the business on social media/local business network to attract customers. She is well known in the area for horsey stuff, but owing to family issues had to take time away to deal with parental breakups, illnesses and our daughters health issues. We haven't told her mum and uncle about this payout or they'd try to guilt us into using it for something else. (Thanks to whoever it was mentioned the JustnoMil subreddit. Eyeopening levels of crazy in there, but some good advice too)

I'm going to suggest putting up prices in January, but it's difficult to justify it when there's so much maintenance needs doing. It could be a very profitable yard, but we need to get the ratio of our horses to paying horses to a better rate.

Imma

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2018, 01:13:21 PM »
Congrats on the windfall! If I were you, I would put it towards the 21,5% interest loan - all of it, except for maybe 500 or 1000 for emergencies. Do check the interest rates on the other 2, smaller loans - I can't imagine they're even worse than the big loan (if they are, pay those off first).

There is something to be said about paying off the smaller debts first (a method called the debt snowball) because it's very motivating to see those debts disappear, but if the other loans are in the 5-15% interest range, using the debt snowball method, it would just cost you a lot of money in the long run that you absolutely need to dig yourself out of your current situation.


Goldielocks

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2018, 06:35:59 PM »
Some tried and true advice:  People who focus on one goal only, tend to achieve it.

This is true for business, personal life, school, etc.   some people just have their "debt" as the number one goal, some target just one debt at a time.

I think that you should pay off the smaller one(s), and focus on the larger debt intensely with your monthly cashflow.

--->  Same as before, I think that your family needs to contribute to the boarding costs of 3 shetland ponies, so that all you provide is the free labour <---

poniesandFIRE

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2018, 06:58:35 AM »

We have 6 of our own, 3 of which are shetlands that are family animals we can't do anything with. 2 are ponies for our daughter who are currently surplus and will hopefully being sold next year. The last is OHs stallion, hopefully after a successful years showing, we can finally look into breeding from him for sales, although I suspect the cost of raising a foal outweighs the return.

Unfortunately I get very little say on the yard, My OH does offer teaching, and is currently working on getting rehabilitation work from local vets for horses that need short term intensive work, possibly including references from insurance claims. I think she wants to downsize our horses as well to make space for paying customers, but the ones that would be sold need to get out showing next year in order to be actually saleable.

Anything that gets a serious illness/accident will have to be put down. Like you say we have no provision for emergency treatment, and I'll be happier to be a pony or 2 down. Sorry if that sounds callous.

OH is promoting the business on social media/local business network to attract customers. She is well known in the area for horsey stuff, but owing to family issues had to take time away to deal with parental breakups, illnesses and our daughters health issues. We haven't told her mum and uncle about this payout or they'd try to guilt us into using it for something else. (Thanks to whoever it was mentioned the JustnoMil subreddit. Eyeopening levels of crazy in there, but some good advice too)

I'm going to suggest putting up prices in January, but it's difficult to justify it when there's so much maintenance needs doing. It could be a very profitable yard, but we need to get the ratio of our horses to paying horses to a better rate.

It doesn't sound callous at all. If you've given them a good life and it is time, better to do it before they suffer, in my opinion. And honestly, better to do it when it isn't an expensive and stressful emergency vet call to get it done.

If the stallion is nice enough that people will want to breed to it, I would strongly suggest offering it to the public for a stud fee, but NOT breeding your own foals to sell. Rarely do breeders make anything from their own stock and it will just be more animals on your dime until they are old enough to train and sell. Selling weanlings and yearlings, even really well bred horses from popular lines is hard to be profitable, so it will be at least 4 years between breeding and when you would see any return. You might even be able to lease the stallion out to some other breeder for an annual fee and let them handle the promotion and marketing, collecting stud fees, breeding their own mares, etc. Might make you a little something on a lease fee AND free up a stall for another paying horse to come in.

Good luck and stay focused. Feel free to message me or get in touch if you want to bounce around boarding barn/training program ideas or your OH does...

Bicycle_B

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2018, 10:27:18 AM »
Hi, I cant say it was easy reading that, but you cant argue with the truth. One thing I will say, is that the £1500 hasn't just sprung up since July, it already existed at that time, and I wasn't aware of it when I wrote my original case study. I tried to refinance the loan, but I couldn't get a better rate with my current credit score. Clearing the 2 smaller amounts and reducing the large one should allow for better options.

Regards the horses, we're down 2 liveries, which will be why we're still in much the same situation. We've cut the weekly help at the yard, and this week we have another livery starting at £50 a week. This should bring the stables back into break even as she's paying for her own feed and bedding.
Unfortunately we haven't been able to shift any of our own horses. My OH is unwilling to let them go unless they are going to receive the same level of care we provide, although she is seeing someone today who may take one of them to be a companion pony.
Hi
You're right about the consumerism aspect, that's partly why I posted here to get a reality check on impulse spending.

Useful reply re the 1500. Good, you’re in slightly less debt than before.

Honestly, though, spending windfall on consumer stuff is unwise. Put the windfall toward the drbts. I’m agnostic on which one.

Still kind of feeling that you are still on knife edge of disaster and will remain so as long as the horses are valued above your own financial health. Good luck, though. Very glad you are still hanging in there, and updating.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 01:21:34 PM by Bicycle_B »

zoe2dot

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2018, 01:38:31 PM »
Would you consider posting a separate thread for your stable yard?  You can start treating it more as a business and less as a failed hobby. 

There are a fair amount of equestrians on this site and right now you've got this huge money suck lumped in with all your other debts

Luckily it doesn't sound like you have any stock in the yard to breed the stallion to since the last thing you need are more horses to feed and care for.

In July I suggested free/half leases.  You know that horse crazy teenagers will do anything to spend time with horses/ponies.  The Shetlands can do grooming classes at a minimum and your daughter's ponies have to be good for walk/trot riders after school/on weekends.  Let the leasers help you in ways you might not immediately think of: maybe they grocery shop off a list for you so there's no temptation to put in extras, or maybe they muck stalls...who knows.

You can raise rates BECAUSE of the needed maintenance.  When you give notice about the rate increases list a few noticeable things that can be done right off the bat: new water buckets, cross ties, and wheelbarrows.  The rate increase is permanent--keep doing a few small, visible improvements to justify it.

I want to write more but only if you're interested.  I'll keep an eye out for a stable yard case study.  :) 

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2019, 09:57:37 AM »
Would you consider posting a separate thread for your stable yard?  You can start treating it more as a business and less as a failed hobby. 

There are a fair amount of equestrians on this site and right now you've got this huge money suck lumped in with all your other debts

Luckily it doesn't sound like you have any stock in the yard to breed the stallion to since the last thing you need are more horses to feed and care for.

In July I suggested free/half leases.  You know that horse crazy teenagers will do anything to spend time with horses/ponies.  The Shetlands can do grooming classes at a minimum and your daughter's ponies have to be good for walk/trot riders after school/on weekends.  Let the leasers help you in ways you might not immediately think of: maybe they grocery shop off a list for you so there's no temptation to put in extras, or maybe they muck stalls...who knows.

You can raise rates BECAUSE of the needed maintenance.  When you give notice about the rate increases list a few noticeable things that can be done right off the bat: new water buckets, cross ties, and wheelbarrows.  The rate increase is permanent--keep doing a few small, visible improvements to justify it.

I want to write more but only if you're interested.  I'll keep an eye out for a stable yard case study.  :)

Hi, I'm reluctant to post a case study for the yard because I'll just end up frustrated that I can't implement any of the suggestions. I don't have any input in the way it's run. I like the suggestion of horse crazy teenagers, but OH and MIL both frequently bemoan the fact that around here there aren't that many. 20-30 years ago there was a steady supply of young girls who would happily spend the day mucking out and grooming just to spend time around horses, now there's a couple of girls who are interested, but they want to learn to ride in exchange for mucking out/grooming.

My other issue with the horses is the sheer time it consumes. I don't want to sound like I'm venting about OH, but I work from 8-5 during the week and then head to the yard for at least an hour. Weekends are split between housework, horses and the inlaws, and don't seem to leave much time.

We're going to put the rates up anyway, there's guttering that needs installing, and we want to continue the start we made in autumn with repainting a stable and the main doors to improve the looks of the place, continuing the momentum to repaint all the stables and get the electrics improved is something we both want to do as soon as weather permits.

I'm going to post my figures for the last year, but not sure whether to add it here, or edit the original post. Surprisingly the livery income exceeds the costs. There's also a facepunch due, the credit card was actually at £1800, mostly horse related. OH never mentioned that, but we cleared it, the shopping account is gone, and £3000 off the loan. Somehow Oh has put another £1000 on the card, half of which is horse related, and the rest is christmas and the excess for a car insurance claim (she backed into a wall).


six-car-habit

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2019, 11:29:56 AM »
 Nice job on paying down the loan, and paying off the shopping account ! and quickly also !

 I think the credit card needs to be cut up / shredded.  Or at least frozen in a block of  ice so there is a lapse in time between the perceived need for whatever horse related thing OH is going to buy, and the availability for OH to access the credit.  On the stable fixes, as a boarder { i don't have horses , so lets figure you were storing a car for me } -- I would be more interested in seeing a structuraly strong building, that is clean and dry -versus- freshly painted but rickety + wet.
   It seems that here paint is quite expensive, 5 gallons is easily $60 or more for outdoor paint, plus cost of brushes / rollers. etc...  what I'm angling at here is don't put youself in a situation where you are needing to spend another $200 in supplies unexpectedly, because you've only got half the structure painted...

 The car fix / insurance claim ??   Unless the car had a completely shattered rear window, or bent axle, due to OH backing into a wall [ this presumes a one car / one wall accident ] --  just live with the dents. Go to the wrecking yard and buy a $30 tailight and swap it yourself.  There's not much better reinforcement to pay attention to what a person is doing when driving, than looking at the dent or scratches they caused for the next few years.

six-car-habit

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2019, 01:34:18 PM »
 Question - are the stables , the business/ boarding stables,  located on MIL's large 9acre property w/ big house ?    I saw mention of running around between three properties every week.  Your home + MILs house + ?   Do you pay income taxes as well as the council tax ?

 It looks like adding up your annual expenses -* Excluding loan / credit payments / horse hobby / horse business* - That yourself and OH have planned spending of roughly 22K pounds this year for a pretty tight budget with not much wastefull spending .  If OH is bringing in roughly 10K between work at school + relatives elder care + neighborhood elder care - minus income taxes ===you are subsidizing her loans/ horse hobby. I make more $$ more than my wife, so it could be said she pulls less than 50% of the weight for our combined lifestyle / expenses. But thats ok, she brings phenomenal value to the relationship, emotionally, structurally, beyond any quantitative money income. So i'm not pressing for a 50/50 split for you and OH's income to expenses ratio.  Just for you to be aware , and maybe subtley and nicely to tell her, that there is an element of you subsidizing her horse hobbies/ horse business.  And because of that, you Need to have a say in how the business is run, especially as it sounds like you are spending 400+ hours a year working at the stables.

   On your daughters 2 ponies,  it sounds like maybe you have gotten over the hump of hard emotions with your daughter and OH, and they are now also willing to part with them. But on the thing you said about needing to show them this year to get better money$$  for them - I need to make an analogy with collector cars.  The collector car is extraneous , it is not needed - much like the ponies. Maybe your English horses are much like the horses one of our friends have for hobby [ they have 3 which only one is worth near 3500 lbs/ $5000 because it has had a lot of training , the others lesser value. ]
   So lets say i have a cheapish collector car, worth 2000 pounds / $3000 dollars as is.  I can sell it in the off season, without much primping and priming, no extra work or new parts for $3000.  OR I can start buying a few small things to make it slighly nicer, spend time waxing and polishing it , pay for another years license and insurance, put gas in it, load it up on a trailer to bring it to drag races , road course races and car shows, where i pay entry fees, so that the car has a bigger pool of potential buyers who will see it. MAybe i get lucky that summer season and find a buyer who gives me $ 4000 for it.

 It is the same for your ponies - food, medical care, transportation costs, entry fees, shiny hair products , horseshoes, training, etc.   -  MAybe i spent a lot more than the $1000 gained, because of my increased costs for the following years ownership, travel to and fro. Plus the Stress of needing or wanting to sell a thing -and get top dollar for it. Dealing with potential buyers who dont follow thru, etc. 
 Sometimes its better to take what you can get in price, even if its little or nothing, in order for the problem to be out of your yard/ stable/ garage quickly.

"    I think she wants to downsize our horses as well to make space for paying customers, but the ones that would be sold need to get out showing next year in order to be actually saleable. "

 
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 01:39:18 PM by six-car-habit »

I Want to Believe

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2019, 06:46:19 AM »
Car accident was the motability vehicle for uncle, so insurance had to be involved, although it's not our insurance policy.

There are 3 properties, our flat, the stableyard which is in the same village, and MILs house which is in the next village. Before anyone starts suggesting bicycles, check out the A379 between Dartmouth and Kingsbridge. Very few footpaths even in the villages, and narrow roads with lots of heavy traffic, very unsafe to walk or cycle on.

Looks like one of the ponies is going away soon, and the money from the full livery will help a lot. Also down to 1 car at the moment as the fiesta was condemned at its MOT.

The classic car analogy is very good one, and I'm aware of the sunk cost fallacy. I don't have any good solutions that OH or MIL will accept when it comes to horses that have been in the family longer than I have. They are very firm on horse welfare, "better in the ground than in a bad situation(neglect/abuse etc)". It seems we're in the middle ground between being able to afford horses with no problems and being unable to care for the horses. As long as we can afford to look after the horses noone will accept putting an animal down just because it would make our finances easier.

I've also updated my original post with figures from last years spending. I've started using MoneyDashboard.com to track expenses, and I've managed to get access to all the bank accounts so I can see where money is going.

Awaiting some serious facepunches for last years spending.

Imma

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2019, 08:02:44 AM »
I don't want to facepunch you, I'd like to say that you're trying very hard to make things work and still come back to this thread. It seems you are fighting an uphill battle since your in-laws and your wife aren't on board. It must be hard. At least you paid off some debt!! That's great news. Getting out of high interest consumer debt is a big thing, because it's a trap. Once you're debt free your life will be easier even if nothing much else changes. You can at least save a bit of money every month.

I agree with the analysis of six-car-habit that you're actually sponsoring your wife's hobby's and it's not fair on you. I grew up with ponies, horses and another farm animals so I know it's so simple to get a horse-person to sell their horses, but they can't expect someone else who's not into horses to sponsor the hobby for a significant proportion of their yearly income + expect them to basically have an unpaid second job doing horse-related labour. I don't want to sound really harsh, but you sound very stressed. You are the breadwinner of this family. What if something happened to you and you'd end up not being able to work for a significant amount of time? You simply can't take that risk just to keep a couple of horses around.

You live in a tourist area, is it possible for your wife to find a seasonal second job or side hustle? Could even be horse related.

former player

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2019, 09:06:43 AM »
Comments on expenses -

Water: you may be at the mercy of your landlord here, but it could be worth calculating whether a water meter would save you money - https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/my-water-meter/estimate-meter-savings/
Mobile: does your SO have a mobile and can you reduce the costs on it?  Does she use it in the most cost-effective way, and can she change a contract?
Food: a family of three could get monthly food expenditure down to about £300 rather than your current £500.  Plus you have another £1300 a year on going out and lunch/snacks which is too high - perhaps limit this to £50 a month?
Car insurance: ye gods.  Given your car values, is this 3rd party only?  Plus this should be under "transport".
Family:  what on earth is this? 

That said, you are not doing badly, except that you have three big problems: unspecified spending by your SO, the horses, and your MIL/UIL's house.

For your SO, have you seen the thread https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/  ? You might try to get your SO a debit card linked to a basic bank account that doesn't allow overdrafts.  As a family you can't afford credit, demonstrated by the interest rates you are being charged.

Horses.  Unfortunately the amount of work you are putting in subsidises the cost of this business, as do the unspecified transfers, and the existence of the business disguises the cost of your own personal horses.  I think you need to keep separate accounts for this business.  (Yes, I know about the cash transfers back and forth, but that is a separate matter from the accounts themselves.)  Having separate accounts is the only way for your SO to understand how unsustainable the current situation is, and how much her own personal horses are costing.  That's the first step to working out solutions.  I would also say: if I were looking for livery for a horse I would look at safety, at grazing, at food quality and at horsemanship before I would look at paint and fancy stuff.  You say your SO is well known in the horse world: that all says to me: feel free to put your livery rates up before painting.

MIL house.  I can see the difficulty, but you can't afford to carry on with unpaid work on this property.  One thought might be for you to look out for an evening/weekend job available locally which would both earn money and prevent you from doing so much unpaid work.  Then take that information to your SO and MIL and tell them you can't continue to work unpaid for them, given the debts you have to pay and how little you have saved, plus the need to replace the car.  Either they start to pay you or you take your labour elsewhere.  And if they can't afford to pay you MIL will have to sell the house and your SO will need to get rid of more than one of her 6 horses, before they drive you into an early grave.

You and your SO will be living on the State pension in old age (despite my last paragraph I hope you make it to this!).  Please check that you will both have enough contributions to get the full amount - https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension


ETA:  Reading back, I'm feeling I've been harsh.   You are obviously working very hard and putting a lot of thought and effort into managing the family finances.   But the hard truth is that a horse these days is a big luxury, and anyone who wants to keep a horse either needs to make it pay for itself or have the sort of lucrative career that makes a horse affordable.  Your SO has done neither of these things but still has 6 horses to keep.  On two working class incomes that's just not viable.  You need to find homes as soon as possible for the two riding ponies that your daughter is not interested in.  The three Shetlands might be loaned out to someone like the National Trust who needs scrubland kept clear for environmental improvement.  The unproven stallion needs to be winning classes at serious shows, and if it's not doing this it needs to be gelded and turned into a useful riding/driving/competition horse - there are currently more horses in the country than there are people with the money and inclination to look after them that is probably the fairest thing to do, rather than have it breed more horses that will have trouble finding homes.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 11:26:18 AM by former player »

zoe2dot

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2019, 10:08:40 AM »
@IWanttoBelieve It is very cool that you return to this case study with updates! 

There is strong sentiment here to keep working out the stables budget.  You might not be able to affect change immediately but knowledge is power, right?  You'll sleep better a night once you have a handle on that yard's finances.

For the rest, you have a few things on your to-do list.  You need to sell that tractor and the FIL misc items.  Tell your MIL you're keeping the $ as payment for past yardwork.  You need to get the details of your OH's pensions.  Start keeping track of your assets.

Quote
Awaiting some serious facepunches for last years spending.

£4954.34 for "enjoyment" while you don't have an emergency fund is something I would revisit.  Even if you feel like you can't save a pound right now you should do the math on how much you need for 3 months (or 4, or 5--whichever # of months you feel appropriate) and set that as a goal. 

Quote
Expenses. (figures total for last year, I can use these to set budgets for the coming year) Any ideas on how to get OH to stick to them?

Continued communication.  Baby steps.  Praise even the smallest change.

Don’t be passive aggressive. 

Don't say "YOU ARE SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO BE WORKING FOREVER." 
Say "I will sleep better at night if I understand the stable costs.  Part of that is setting up separate accounts.  No one is going to the glue factory." 

Don't say "Another £500 on the credit card for horse stuff?  Seriously?" 
Say "Let's break out what the £500 horse stuff was for so I can update the budget." 

Don't say "Why didn't you tell me we would need to replace the trailer hitch this year?"
Say "I'm listing out sinking funds for 2019 and 2020.  I'll need new boots by the end of the year, we've got the gutters, probably new tires in 2020, what else?"

Post budgets on fridge with monthly updates.  (There are a lot of fun things you can do with your daughter.  Like print out a page that has BUDGET EQUESTRIAN CENTRE on the top that has a horse outline for each of your budget lines (feed, vet, labor).  Pick a color for budgeting then at the end of each month spend 15 mins with her coloring in the horses and sneakily going over budgeting with her (e.g. chestnut/red if that budget came in over the target amount, black/bay if on budget, palomino/gold if it came in under budget).)

Quote
daughter in general
Aside from the general good wishes I'm sending your way on this topic, on a pragmatic front if you are expecting a major surgery in a few years there should be some thought given to whether you and OH will miss work during that time and the various costs (eating out, hotel near hospital, medicine). 

Keep the updates coming!

:)

zoe2dot

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2019, 03:11:44 PM »
A friend has a small hold in England so I asked what she's been up to.  Grant links below. 

Farm project subsidies/grants https://www.gov.uk/topic/farming-food-grants-payments/rural-grants-payments

Wildlife Offers: Countryside Stewardship
Offers to help farmers and land managers protect wildlife and preserve the environment: find out about funding and their benefits (closed to new applications).
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/wildlife-offers-countryside-stewardship

Countryside Stewardship

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-countryside-stewardship-facilitation-fund
The maximum funding for a facilitator is dependent on the number of holdings involved in the group and the work that the facilitator does. With 4 holdings a facilitator could receive up to £12,000 per annum, which comprises £500 per holding and up to £10,000 for costs of delivering the cooperation. With 10 holdings, the amount could rise to £15,000 up to a maximum of £50,000 per annum for a group of 80 holdings. All applications will be assessed for value for money through a competitive process.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/641188/cs-guide-to-facilitation-fund.pdf
Countryside Stewardship successful applications PDF https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/680375/csff-2017nationalround-applicants-details.pdf

Historic buildings restoration grant
(not sure you live in one of these areas…silly US education system)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/historic-buildings-restoration-grant-countryside-stewardship

Hedgerows and boundaries grant
Hedgerows and boundaries grant closed for applications on 30 April 2018.
The funding produces environmental and landscape benefits by improving hedgerows and boundaries on your land.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hedgerows-and-boundaries-grant-countryside-stewardship



six-car-habit

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2019, 02:31:32 AM »
 I just wanted to get back in and say to make sure to go to Karate this week !   Pretend a solid shot landed on the bags -and/or- your sparring partners is worth money off your debts.  "Whaap" - spinning kick 2lbs, "Thunk" backfist or ridge hand 2lbs, "Uggh" Sweep or throw worth 3 lbs , etc.

 Also Zoe2dot's suggestion for the fridge horse outlines is great, -- will be good time with your daughter, and at some point your kid will pick up on what she's learning and she will make a financial comment of some sort that OH will overhear ; and it will sink in differently than just hearing the finance/ budget stuff from you.

 
 
 

Laura33

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Re: Starting from the bottom.
« Reply #45 on: January 20, 2019, 08:31:22 AM »
Sorry, I am not understanding your numbers.  You say your income was around £41000, but your expenses were around £48000, including paying off around £10000 in debt.  If those numbers are accurate, you didn’t actually pay off £10000 debt - you paid off about £3000 and just moved the rest around from here to there.  I don’t want to belittle paying off what you did, but the numbers need to make sense.

I second the advice to get a paid part-time job so you can both make more money and stop subsidizing the family hobby with free labor that you cannot afford to waste right now.  Your interest rates are usurious.  Think about it:  right now, everything you buy is costing you an extra 39%, because if you didn’t buy whatever it was, you could have thrown your money at that debt.  So all of those little miscellaneous expenses or one-offs are costing you over 1/3 more than the list price.  When you have debt like that, you literally can not afford hobbies or entertainment or extras.  I understand you do not control the horse choice, but you can at least stop subsidizing it with your free labor when you need the income that labor could bring in from another job.