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  • FIRST POST
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 18th Jul 14, 12:09 PM
    • 736Posts
    • 3,632Thanks
    cookie9
    30 small steps
    • #1
    • 18th Jul 14, 12:09 PM
    30 small steps 18th Jul 14 at 12:09 PM
    Hello. After making OP here and there and being on track life has thrown me a few curveballs. I am now married and have a little boy which has lead us to converting the loft. Savings have paid for half but the remainder has increased the mortgage by 30k hence the diary title. I want to make some small OPs whilst I build up my emergency savings.


    Small steps taken: Cost reduction
    1. Switching power off at plugs and switching lights off. Not sure if this has had a major effect but EON have reduced my monthly payment so must be helping.
    2. Switching to low energy light bulbs.
    3. Menu planning and sticking to it. DH fairly good natured about this although is missing meat.
    4. Not buying new clothes for myself. Alas was doing well but have been tempted by sales and bought new jacket for work.
    5. Free days out. Lots of walking and visiting parks.


    To do :
    1. Haggle with BT re broadband.


    Small steps taken. Making money.
    1. Make OP with money made from tutoring.
    2. Sell unwanted items from loft.


    To do:
    1. Write more reviews so can cash in points.


    Small steps taken: Mortgage
    1. Considering paying for new bank survey to reduce LTV and get a better deal.
    2. Have set up OP of £50 per month.
    MFW 91 op 2014 £410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 £4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 £4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 £812/4500
Page 10
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 23rd Jul 17, 5:12 PM
    • 736 Posts
    • 3,632 Thanks
    cookie9
    Well today has been a number crunching day. I had been working out how we need to save for school fees and also what our pensions will look like when we hit 60/67. We would like to be able to eat out and do some travelling when we retire so are looking at how best to improve our pensions.

    We have no child care to pay for in August so that saves us some money. I had a glitch in my no new clothes rule as realised I have no summer trousers so bought some which are smart enough for work but can be dressed down for holidays.

    After spending a lot on takeaways I realise that we need to freeze some nice healthy meals so they can be defrosted in an emergency rather than reaching for the phone for takeaway. Luckily DH is up for this and has promised to make a big batch of his super Bolognese.

    With the money set aside to OP the mortgage at the end of the fixed period we are now below 150k mark which is great news.
    MFW 91 op 2014 £410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 £4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 £4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 £812/4500
    • Viking_mfw
    • By Viking_mfw 23rd Jul 17, 5:35 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 264 Thanks
    Viking_mfw
    Love the title and the idea of small steps, cookie9.
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 26th Aug 17, 7:24 PM
    • 736 Posts
    • 3,632 Thanks
    cookie9
    Holidays and being MFW do not make for good partners. With the pound being so weak eating out was more expensive and even going to the local supermarket to buy food to cook was a bit more than home. Not helped by our " We are on holiday so let's treat ourselves" attitude. Although I am enjoying a glass of our very nice wine bought in duty free flying home as I type!

    Although food on holiday was expensive we did eat well and healthily so I want to try to keep this up. The tomatoes on the garden aren't quite ripe yet and the lettuce has gone so may replace that and get some spinach too. We have a few nice fruit bowls in the house so encouraging the family to snack on these when they are feeling peckish and also using them as desert too. Thinking ahead for returning to work/school and packed lunches and going to try to create fruit snacks in advance eg peaches, melon and nectarines cut up and put into snack containers in the fridge a couple of days in advance so less prep. Although DS can't take nuts to school I can so I plan to experiment with frozen peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Although not the most healthy of snacks it will give me some energy to last the day and will be a good emergency back up for the days when I am rushing to get out of the door in time.

    Despite the over spending on holiday I have ben fairly MFW at home as have done some DIY myself rather than get the experts in. Kitchen has been repainted and I have fixed the bathroom shelf. DH finally persuaded me to get a cleaner in for a deep clean of the kitchen. Wow. It was well worth the money as it looks brilliant now and freed up my time to get a lot of other things done. Sometimes it is a balance of spending money but gaining time.

    On the subject of time saving my capsule wardrobe worked so well on holiday I am going to try to adopt a similar scheme for my work clothes so save time thinking about what to wear. I am quite organising as I put out my clothes the night before but I am aware that my wardrobe is packed full of clothes so it is sometimes hard to see what is there. Less stress happier me is my new mantra.

    Hope everyone has a good bank holiday and some sunshine!
    MFW 91 op 2014 £410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 £4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 £4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 £812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 9th Sep 17, 5:42 PM
    • 736 Posts
    • 3,632 Thanks
    cookie9
    Time for negotiating. With my current gas/electricity coming to an end soon time to make sure I switch to the best deal I can. Hopefully with the new double glazing we will use less energy this year. Today it is quite wet and cooler so I have had to put the dryer on for a bit to make sure DS has clothes for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start checking prices and get ready to call suppliers.

    Tomorrow is also my menu planning day. I do feel I am in a bit of a rut with my cooking but when I am busy I just revert to the meals I know everyone likes and will eat. Tonight it is pork fillet stuffed with spinach with green beans and potatoes. Fruit for the adults and wee man can have jelly with his fruit. In an effort to be healthy fruit is our desert most evenings although we are having apple crumble tomorrow as it is Sunday.

    Mortgage OPs are still small steps but it is nice to see the figures dropping. This year's target should be met and the emergency fund has been built up too despite it being a bit of a lean year. It is good to think about how much time I have taken off the mortgage even with my small steps.
    MFW 91 op 2014 £410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 £4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 £4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 £812/4500
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 7th Oct 17, 12:55 PM
    • 736 Posts
    • 3,632 Thanks
    cookie9
    Well gas and electricity successfully switched. I just need to get my meter readings in. I also managed to negotiate some money off the house insurance although these savings do not off set the road tax I had to pay this month. Running a car is expensive but we do need it. At least DH only has a little amount to pay for his motorbike.

    Priorities have changed for the time being in the Cookie house and for now I am cutting back on OP and concentrating on emergency funds. I want to make sure we could cover the mortgage and school fees for 6 months rather than just 3. I am happy this is the right decision for now. I have made reasonable OPs to date and have money in my T*sco 3% account which I will use to OP the mortgage when the fixed period ends next year.

    On the spending less side of things I still need to watch our food bill. I plan to sit down and try to work out a meal plan for a month including batch cooking and freezer food. Wish me luck. I struggle with ideas for a week so this will be a real challenge. I did treat us to the Dine In for £10 offer and got the whole fresh chicken so it will feed 4 of us with left overs for soup or sandwich filler. Alas the tomato plant has given up the ghost but at least we did get some very tasty tomatoes for a while.

    I plan to get some Christmas shopping this week and already have ordered some stocking fillers. My credit card has stopped gift vouchers for spending on it but fortunately I managed to cash my points in for some gift cards so that will help with Christmas. Time to switch to using one of my other cards to get some cash back/vouchers. Will look at Martin's tips to see which card is best.

    Better get cracking on the meal planning!
    Last edited by cookie9; Yesterday at 4:58 PM.
    MFW 91 op 2014 £410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 £4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 £4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 £812/4500
    • daisy 1571
    • By daisy 1571 9th Oct 17, 12:59 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 1,657 Thanks
    daisy 1571
    Well done cookie, you are doing well, good luck with meal planning - I find writing it down for the week, noting any changes then doing same again for the next few weeks. By then you will have a month or 5 weeks worth of your normal meals and you can either repeat or mix up the meals ad infinitum. Leave the odd space for new recipes and incorporate these in if they are good,

    Daisy xx
    "Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion" Take hold of every moment by anon

    The difference between what you were yesterday and what you will be tomorrow is what you do today
    • cookie9
    • By cookie9 22nd Oct 17, 4:57 PM
    • 736 Posts
    • 3,632 Thanks
    cookie9
    Having a break with a cup of tea and my laptop as been busy all day. Up early and sorting out shopping before heading out on a playdate with wee man. He and his friend had great fun building a den in the woods. We are lucky the weather is still nice enough to play outdoors.

    Hoping to sort out the freezer and fridge this week and do some batch cooking for the freezer. I need to make sure we are all eating healthily. Going to try to avoid takeaways for a few weeks. I also need to move funds around to make sure I am getting the best rates especially as some of my regular savers are coming to an end.

    Thinking ahead to Christmas I have vouchers to use by November so I will get some stocking fillers with them. I also have various reward points so need to look to see if anything catches my eye. I think we have well stocked for cards and paper but need to check my cupboard. It gets so busy in the run up to Christmas if I am not organised I end up having to buy everything online.
    MFW 91 op 2014 £410/1000
    MFW 91 op 2015 £4051/4000
    MFW 91 op 2016 £4040/4000
    MFW 91 op 2017 £812/4500
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