1. Man-Flu is more painful than childbirth. This is an irrefutable scientific fact*

*(Based on a survey of over 100,000 men.)

Last 10 days have been truly awful. – I’m never going to complain about being ill again after the last couple of weeks.

Got hit really bad with Flu, – Could barely manage to sleep, and a body temperature of 39.6 at its peak.

Anyways, almost back to the land of the living. I finally got the credit card statements i’ve been waiting for from natwest a few days back, and i’ve just finished typing them all up into the spreadsheet ready for the accountants.

I’ve processed over 10,000 individual bank transactions over the last few weeks. – I’m never going to let my accounts get into this kind of mess ever again. – Things will be done monthly from now on, and handed across to the new accountants, who are being really helpful.

My work is now complete for the IVA preparations. – The accountants will provide our IP with our accounts & tax returns up to date and, and now it’s just a matter of the meeting with Mel, and signing the proposal.

I just hope it all goes through, – I feel really run down with everything at the moment. Mentally and Physically drained. It’s been a stressful few months, although it’s entirely possible that the back end of this flu is distorting my perception a little. – to be fair, – We are warm, and we’ve got food in the fridge. – That’s more than what we had when we started the process!

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I need to have a fixed income. Mine is broken !

No updates recently, just been busy with spreadsheets for the accountants, trying to gather our last three years accounts data. – So not much changed.

Have stumbled across a brilliant free phone app though called expense manager. This’ll stop my accounts ever getting in this much of a mess again. – It tracks expenses from your phone, handy categorisation, backup to google drive or drop box, and can export data to csv for excel. – Here’s the really cool bit though, – It has an option to take a photo of your receipt with each transaction, and stores the image within the app data.

Never worry about loosing receipts ever again ! They are all stored digitally :)

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A Fine Is A Tax For Doing Something Wrong. A Tax Is A Fine For Doing Something Right!

Meeting with the new accountants today. The Accounts have to be produced by a company who are Registered Auditors, so I found a company called Walker Thompson who are local to me.

With Jan 31st almost upon us, the deadline is almost here for self assessment tax returns. – Not only do I have that deadline to avoid a fine, – but I need all my accounts processing from 2010 to put in for the IVA proposal before the 30day wait time is up with the creditors.

Walker Thompson have been fantastic. A Huge weight lifted after the meeting. – They are confident that they can hit all the deadlines! and the lady who came to meet me was really nice.

In the meantime, Wife and I have gone through 3 years of bank statements, processing all of our transactions with excel, ready for the accountants to take over and compile into proper business trading accounts.

Just the business credit card left to do now, and it’s over to them. – The final piece of the jigsaw before we can pass this last piece over to Melanie’s team !

Things are looking back on track !

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I like to sleep with the bedside lamp on. Some people think it looks funny, but I personally think it makes a lovely hat!

At the moment, I seem to be spending all night trying to get to sleep, and all day trying to stay awake!

The funny thing, is that Nothing seems to cure insomnia like the realisation, it’s time to get out of bed to start work!

I’m sure that i’m not the only one racking up a serious amount of sleep debt being stuck awake with the stress of the whole debt situation.

What do people do to take there mind off the IVA process while everything is being arranged? Being restricted on income really does limit what options are available. Lying in bed at night looking at the ceiling, has only lead me to find alternative things to occupy my time at 4am which has so far included completing GTA3 Vice city & Finding all the hidden packages. Probably not the best use of time, – but at least its a distraction.

At some point, I’m going to have to repay all this sleep debt. Maybe 5 mins extra per night over the course of the next 60 sleeps, and write the rest off?

One thing to look forward to though, In about a months time, hopefully this whole situation will be sorted. Just wish I had picked up the phone and started the process sooner !

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In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right … something is wrong!

I guess it was only a matter of time. Everything had been going so well with the preparations. Was just the small matter of picking up my previous self employed trading accounts from the accountant which would complete the jigsaw and put things in place for my IVA Proposal to be put together.

He’s kindly been gathering them together over recent weeks, as i’ve been honest with my accountant from the start about the whole IVA thing, and he was ok with getting the info required for us. everything was fine.

After several weeks of not seeing anything, although being assured they are nearly ready for me to collect, I popped into his office today to get them, and he’s dropped the bombshell that i cannot have anything past 2010 accounts. – I also got a huge bill for accountancy fee’s up to current day.

Given I’ve been honest with him from the start, it would have been nice to have the same in return. – If he wasn’t prepared to let me have the accounts, he should have said earlier. It’s left me in a right situation now.

All other accountants are too busy to even look into my books for me. – On the run up to Jan 31st, it’s the worst possible time of year to ask any accountant to turn around 2 years of books for my business in a short time frame. A couple of the ones I asked just laughed at my request !

This IVA proposal cannot go ahead without trading figures.

Several hours of panic, and pacing up and down the house later, a call to good friend of mine that used to work for HMRC has come good. – He’s offered to help put together the information that I need from my invoices and bank statements, along with one of his colleagues that also worked for HMRC, but who is now an accountant.

I may have to consider swapping back to the polyphasic sleep pattern I used to use when work was busy. – The extra 4 hours i’ll gain each day could be useful for inputting all this accounts data

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Tax can be Taxing!

Court summons in the post this weekend from Council Tax.
I contacted them towards the end of last week to arrange repaying them the £350 quid thats owed for the current year up to the end of April.

The Call hold time was 30 mins, so after my initial call, the guy agreed to call me back to confirm. I didn’t get a return call, and since i havn’t had a spare 30 min to sit through the call que.

In the meantime, they’ve sent me a court summons, and added £80 onto the arrears bill. Totally unneccesary.

I’ve called again today with the same payment plan, but good news this time, – They said everything is fine splitting it over three months and they’ve kindly refunded the £80 court summons charge. Happy days :)

Wonga have been chasing me for a payday loan I took out, I’ve tried calling them a few times, but their telephone systme gets answered by a robot, and I can’t hear a word it’s saying, – It’s too quiet, I think it’s prompting to hit a key on the keypad, but no idea whats what. I know there’s nothing wrong with my hearing, so i’ve given up trying to understand it. My IP is writing to all my creditors today, so i’m sure they’ll get all the info they need in the post over the next few days.

Called the accountant today chasing up my accounts that Mel’s team are waiting for. – Hopefully I can pick them up later.

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The sum of the cabbage is directly proportional to the square root of the carrot divided by the mayo. That’s Cole’s Law!

This calorie intake thing isn’t going too well at the moment, – The app on my phone is showing me a four digit number in bold red with a big minus sign before the numbers, which is starting to look more and more like my bank balance.

I’m gonna try really hard this week to keep on top of it.

All the paperwork has come through from Mel’s team now, so, i’ve got something to get my teeth stuck into tonight, just gathering any final required information.

What is a Calorie anyway? What does it look like? and why do they keep putting them in our foods?

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They’re charging me money for not having enough money in my account. – I can’t even afford to be broke !

It’ amazing how much money you get charged for not having any money.

the monthly payment to my credit card got returned because the money wasn’t in my account. Here’s what I get charged for:

* Charge to my personal account for the payment being returned
* Charge to my credit card for missing a payment
* Charge to my credit card for then going over the agreed limit

It’s mad how by not being able to afford the 20 quid, I now probably owe about another 70 on top in charges, plus the original 20 quid !

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Just saw a doctor eating an apple. My whole life is a lie

On the subject of food, – Fast food, take aways, pizza delivery etc, that’s all out of the window now we’re on a budget, so i’ve been trying to find other foods to eat, that I can put together at home and I thought it would be a good opportunity to begin eating healthier as well & perhaps loose a little weight, so i’ve been going round many ideas, websites, apps etc, trying to find a good solution that works for me. – I’ve come across an app called “My fitness Pal”. unlike similar apps, this one actually recognizes uk food. – Dead easy, – just tap in what your eating, or even easier, scan the bar code of your food item(s) before you eat them. It automatically loads up what vitamins, calories etc have been consumed throughout your day from the items entered / scanned, and from that it can keep a running total to match alongside any healthy eating / weight loss plan, keeping you updated as you go.

It’s a free app, – Available on Android, I-Phone, and even Blackberry. – Well worth a look at, i’ve found it really useful so far.

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Background & Intro

So before blogging any further, – here’s a “previously” just to show what’s lead up to where i am now!
I’m self employed, have been for 10 years. I’ve always been on top of any debts up until recently. While my debts have gradually been increasing, a change in circumstances for us last year caused a fall into a rapid debt spiral. Banks unwilling to help, – Our offer of paying interest for a short time on certain payments was not allowed, as our banks policy was to only accept an interest only payment, once the payment had been missed and charges had been applied. At which point, they would then be happy to take the interest payment, plus the charges. Sounds mad eh?
Anyways, with about 35k debt, and no equity in our two properties after the house market crash, things were just going from bad to worse. We had already borrowed from friends and family, so our options of getting any more money was limited. Picking our 5 month old daughter out of her cot one morning and feeling how cold her hands were because we didn’t have any money for gas was truly heartbreaking. I remember at one point reading on wikipedia that you can legally sell a kidney in Iran for profit. Sounds desperate I know, but as a parent, you would do anything to make sure your baby is warm and has a roof over her head.
I made another phone call to the bank that day, and they suggested speaking to a debt management company. – I had never heard of DMP’s or IVA’s before, but I read a bit about them on the companies website.
Looking back, the first company I spoke to wasn’t great. – They asked me a lot of questions, but it all felt too scripted, like they just needed to tick boxes on a computer screen, I didn’t feel they were interested in understanding my actual situation, and the standard question / response wasn’t giving a true reflection of my situation either. It was very rushed and unfriendly. The IVA option was not up for discussion unfortunately, and I feel I was given a solution that wasn’t right for me. This left me doing some research on the company I was speaking with, and while they had a lot of good reviews from people first starting out with them, most reviews from people having completed their time with them was very negative.
From there I shopped around and stumbled across this site called iva.co.uk – Light at the end of the tunnel !
The forum had a wealth of information in archived posts. My first inquiry was answered by Indra at Vincent Bond on a Saturday within 15 minutes of requesting a call via the site. Indra was great, and she was happy to answer any questions I had. Tracey helped me organise my paperwork that was required, and she has been great too. – I’ve now today been passed to Melanie Giles as my IP, which i’m really pleased about. Even though I’ve not spoken to her directly yet, I feel like I already know her, as I’ve read so many of her forum posts.
So that’s the story to date, – My initial phone call to Vincent Bond was Mid December. And now i’m with the IP just a few weeks later with almost all the paperwork in place.
Apologies for the really long blog, but figured it’d be best to get the whole intro out of the way, so that if anybody is reading, they know where i’m starting from !
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