The race to zero pt.3

I’m a couple of days late with this entry; forgive me. Things have been, interesting.

When I decided to create this debt reducing thread, I had a few ideas as to how I’d proceed.

My original plan was to work more and generate income, in effect creating a surplus to my monthly income. That surplus would then go to reducing my outstanding debt.

But I hit a snag. The overtime that was offered was snapped up like bread in a duck pond by keen eyed colleagues. I missed out on some great opportunities in January.

(My daughter is sitting on my shoulder and reading everything I type out loud. It’s annoying, bless her)

I also had a bout of the flu, which lasted around 3 weeks. It incapacitated me, showing another flaw in my plan.

But I have more plans – income generation.

Jumping about

Let’s back up a bit. January wasn’t all bad. I did manage to secure some overtime, some extra work delivering training, and offered my availability to do some shadowing/monitoring for some other stuff on the periphery of my day job. That was promising and it will show its rewards at the end of this month.

It also all materialised around the same time that I was starting to worry that nothing would turn up.

January is a long month

Historically it felt that way anyway. The issue of Christmas spending and a payday that can leave you budgeting for 6 oncoming weeks can make you feel the pinch, but last year I planned properly and all was well. January was just another month.

I guess sleeping through a third of it helped.

On the downside, the credit cards have remained static, rather than showing signs of reduction.

This might take longer than I thought.

Changing shape

I had meant to look at shifting regular payments onto my card, then paying more of my salary into them per month.

I haven’t yet. I will.

It might work.

Income generation

This isn’t a new thing. In a much earlier post I spoke of how some of the greatest financial whizzes out there talk of wealth creation methodologies.

Three income streams is the key. The theory being, if you lose one stream you still have money coming in.

In these days of redundancies and corporate collapse, we need all the security we can get.

Passive income seems to be the ideal. But does real passive income exist?

I’ve been working on a couple of digital sidelines and I can tell you, they take work! I’ve no doubt that once they’re up and running the time taken to tend them will fall away but for now, it’s work work work work work.


So here’s the key; the realisation that opportunities to work more in my current role are susceptible to my health and the speed of my response to an email has led me to the realisation that I need to invest more in my sidelines. This will mean investing in myself by getting some training/mentoring.

Gurus here I come.


January 2017

Card 1= 97.9% utilisation

Card 2 = 99.4% utilisation


The race to zero pt.1

About this time of year I undertake a review of my personal finances. 

The reason I do this is two-fold;

  • I want to make sure that I’m in some sort of decent shape for Christmas and
  • I use this time to set financial goals for next year.

I go through everything, checking that I am on the best deals or using things in the best way; from energy bills to how I do the food shop, nothing goes unchecked.

This December, I’ve decided to take decisive action on my credit card debt and eradicate it over the next year.

My debt isn’t particularly high, but I’m in that daft cycle of paying just above the minimum each month, so effectively only paying the interest on a month by month basis.

This is great for them, not so great for me.

My target is to be down to 1/3 of the available balance on both of my cards by the 2018 review, with the real kicker being that I actually want to zero both cards by the summer, then use them as they should be used.


At the moment, I’m taking calculated risks with my credit cards. My balances¬†are quite high on both but I’m hedging this against my ability to earn more money next year.

I’m not a spend less person but I am a spend wisely person, and that makes all the difference.

I’m also an earn more person and that is the key to this working.

What I intend to do differently over the coming year, is to journal my thoughts, actions and balances (in percentages) in order to either help and inspire others, or to reflect on good and bad practice. I’ll do this once a month.

I have a 3 point strategy

As usual, discipline (and delayed gratification) is the key.

  • Pay off as much as possible month-by-month, by *snowballing;
  • Reduce utilisation, as an extension of solid budgeting;
  • Increase utilisation, through regular payments.

In order for this to be a success, I have to understand my credit cards. The following is what I already know:

  • Which has the highest interest rate;
  • Which is more punitive on spending;
  • Which has the most perks or greater incentive for correct use.

I’ve mentioned correct use a couple of times. With cards, the idea is to keep your balance low then pay it off monthly. Sometimes easier said than done.

My issue came in that transition from two incomes to one; things needed to be bought and paid for. Items that shouldn’t be purchased on a card (when your utilisation of credit is quite high) started to creep on there regularly, rather than once in a blue moon.

As a consequence, I know have a robust set of rules around the use of credit. I’ll place these in the December update.

November 2017

Card 1 = 99.95% utilisation.

Card 2 = 97.22% utilisation.

green shoots

Time to get to work.

*snowballing – weighting your outgoings to pay off the debt with the highest interest first.