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    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
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    armchairexpert
    The ups, downs, and occasional sideways bits of trying to be mortgage free
    • #1
    • 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
    The ups, downs, and occasional sideways bits of trying to be mortgage free 9th Feb 17 at 4:00 AM
    Hello! I used to loiter around here a few years ago and you were all terribly friendly. Then I was made redundant, started my own business, and it's all been a bit uppy and downy since then.

    We've been meandering along for the past three years, since taking on a new mortgage in 2014, paying things as they come up and failing to notice that we're not making a dent in the mortgage at all. It's set up as a line of credit, so the minimum payment on it is only interest - we'd expected to be paying down the principal as well just as a matter of course, but it hasn't quite worked out that way.

    I'm not going to do a SOA because I'm in Australia, and even the most dedicated MFW'er probably can't tell me if I'm paying the right amount for my electricity! But I have buckled down and done a very comprehensive YNAB budget, and it tells me that I should have about $700/month extra without cancelling the children's extra-curricular and the occasional treat. We shall see if this holds true.


    As an aside, I also have a second mortgage on a buy-to-let, but the tenant is my mother, who can't afford to pay us market rent much less cover the running costs, so that costs us about $5,000 a year or so. As a way of clawing back savings, I don't budget any of the tax reductions that brings us, I just treat it as a normal expense, and then anything we get back at the end of the tax year is like an annual bonus.

    What else? Two DDs, the youngest one started school this year which is a GAME CHANGER I tell you what, some lovely silly chickens who very generously make eggs for us, the beginnings of a fairly pathetic vegetable garden which I'm not convinced even pays its own running costs - and long suffering DH, of course, who keeps the lights on.

    Also I am not the most succinct person in the world.
    Last edited by armchairexpert; 09-02-2017 at 4:10 AM.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
Page 1
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 4:15 AM
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    armchairexpert
    • #2
    • 9th Feb 17, 4:15 AM
    • #2
    • 9th Feb 17, 4:15 AM
    Of course, I sat down and did a very responsible budget with instalment payments worked out for all the upcoming bills - and then five of them came in at once. Quarterly strata, quarterly council rates for the main property, annual school fees for both children (only $800, which is A Bargain, but still a lot of money to find at once), term fees for their ballet classes, and oh, DH says, did he mention he forgot to pay the last month's phone bill, so he's just paid off two months at once. I have a sneaking suspicion that the other set of council rates is about to come in as well.

    All of this means that it's increasingly unlikely I'll pay a red cent off the mortgage this month. My goal is to make it through to zero: if I can start fresh next month, instead of behind (my usual approach: oh, it's been a spendy month, we're further into the line of credit, oh well, next month'll be better!) then I should start seeing some progress.

    In the meantime I am terrorising DH to sort out his mobile phone contract (he goes over his data limit every month and pays through the nose for extra data) and find a life insurance policy that he's somehow paying $71/month on which seems like an awful lot.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 11:44 PM
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    armchairexpert
    • #3
    • 9th Feb 17, 11:44 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Feb 17, 11:44 PM
    After an entire night of running the air conditioner because it was 42 degrees here yesterday - not a typo - and 39 today, I am far too sticky and cross to do anything at all, frankly. So I guess that's a saving.

    I am contemplating the problem of how to rein DH in on the grocery budget.

    He does the weekly shop at the moment, and I think I'd hurt his feelings if I took it over, but he is the king of 'it was a BOGOF so I got 8' treats. He also spent $40 on rump steak last week, because he 'wasn't sure if 2 steaks would be enough' so he got 3, which turned out to weigh 1.6 kg, because I guess a family of 4, including two small children, needs to eat almost 2kg of RUMP STEAK just casually on a weeknight.

    Do you think if I write him out a shopping list that has things we need down one side and things we Definitely Do Not Need, Not Even If They're On Special, on the other, that would work? And remind him that just because something has a yellow label doesn't mean it's a bargain? I'm going to have to come up with a great reason why I should do the groceries, aren't I.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • ada-or-ardor
    • By ada-or-ardor 10th Feb 17, 7:09 AM
    • 125 Posts
    • 528 Thanks
    ada-or-ardor
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 17, 7:09 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 17, 7:09 AM
    I totally sympathise with you on the DH who leaves all the lights on - argh!

    It sounds perhaps like you two are on very different pages - probably because your only debt (I assume??) Is the mortgage and he thinks "everyone has a mortgage and takes forever to pay them off, so let's enjoy some steak!". Have you spoken to him properly about your thoughts and plan to chip away a bit more? If you haven't, and he has no idea, he will just scupper your plans at every turn - and I doubt a shopping list would keep him on track! He sounds generally quite relaxed towards money - the phone bill, the life insurance, the steaks - so I'm guessing it's just his attitude and you may have to accept that and but keep a check on the smaller things and make sure they don't affect your joint spends on mortgage etc. Has he any idea that you're not making a dent in the mortgage, and that your second property is an expense and not a source of income?

    I think a big chat is in order, just so he knows where you're at, and you him.

    PS - also not succinct! ;-) it's your diary, write as much as you like! And please send some sun to England!!

    Ada
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 10th Feb 17, 9:53 AM
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    armchairexpert
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 17, 9:53 AM
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 17, 9:53 AM
    God, you're welcome to as much as you want. It's just horrible here now. It sounds nice, briefly, but the house heats up and the plants wither and nobody's slept a full night all week.

    He does know about the other mortgage and the not-making-a-dent, all our finances are shared. But last year he was choosing not to know, and because everything runs through a card and the line of credit's pretty deep, it's pretty invisible. When I make a budget and tell him about it, he goes along with it, but we've both been a bit too laissez-faire. He does have a tendency to shop for shopping's sake, but it's not large extravagant gestures, it's like - once I went on a dairy-free diet for a month, and he bought an 8-piece coffee set "especially for your black coffee".

    Also I don't want to turn into the harridan going "you've exceeded your lunch budget this week, take a sandwich", so there's that.

    Anyway! Meal planning for the upcoming week is about to commence, and I have persuaded him to go to the cheaper fruit-and-veg market instead of the expensive one next to the supermarket, and "in return" I will do supermarket, ha, result.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 12th Feb 17, 12:05 PM
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    armchairexpert
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 17, 12:05 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 17, 12:05 PM
    Excellent and MSE weekend! Heatwave finally shifted east and we got out into the garden - it's been literally too hot to go outside this week. I kept my half of the groceries (supermarket + butcher) down to $100, I did let OH out of my sight and he spent another $100 at the greengrocer and somehow apparently his car just magically stopped at a garden centre for some more things, but it's all well within budget. I think things for the house count as guilt free for him, and it's hard to get cross at someone for buying potting mix! So I didn't.

    Today we took the DDs out for a cycling lesson, and DD1 finally, FINALLY got the hang of cycling without trainers! She's eight, so we've been trying to teach her for approximately a billion years. I suggested celebratory afternoon tea and DH made us go home where he made coffee and pancakes, good man.

    I'm converting an old cubby house into a second chicken coop - the Maternity Ward, DH calls it, because I'm going to try and raise littlies in it. I think I can do it entirely out of odds and sods we have lying about the place without it costing a cent, and then I'll try and find a few dollars for some chicks next month. I have a couple of friends who'll buy eggs from me if I have a surplus, so it'll pay for itself if not make me some cash.

    Oh and I made a big vat of lentil soup and a pan of rice pudding to start us off on the weeks lunches, so I'm feeling very smug.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Kittenkirst
    • By Kittenkirst 12th Feb 17, 1:31 PM
    • 1,638 Posts
    • 8,556 Thanks
    Kittenkirst
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 17, 1:31 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 17, 1:31 PM
    The maternity ward sounds like a great idea!

    Very envious of your rice pudding, such a lovely treat
    2017 MFW #20 - OP £2348.20/ £2150 106%. New target £2500 93.9%
    Last 3 months- Oct: £179.60 Nov: £160.33 Dec: £52.33

    Emergency fund £4K/ £6k
    Mortgage Oct '16 £170.995 LTV 90% end: Nov 2041
    2016 OPs £255.50/£150
    • Allotrope
    • By Allotrope 12th Feb 17, 8:49 PM
    • 155 Posts
    • 404 Thanks
    Allotrope
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 17, 8:49 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 17, 8:49 PM
    Sounds great.. am now following good luck on reigning in DH...!
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 12th Feb 17, 11:34 PM
    • 725 Posts
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    armchairexpert
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 17, 11:34 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 17, 11:34 PM
    Thanks so much, Kittenkirst and Allotrope - I haven't quite worked out how to see if someone has a diary of their own, would love to see what you're up to if you have one!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • newgirly
    • By newgirly 13th Feb 17, 7:48 AM
    • 5,898 Posts
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    newgirly
    Hi armchair expert, best of luck with the new diary
    MFW 21
    Target for 2017 £38,545 / £17,514.78 paid so far

    Mortgage £47,354 years 8 months left. Total owed £62,871.22 planning to clear in 18 months
    Weight loss target 37lb/22lb gone.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 13th Feb 17, 11:42 PM
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    armchairexpert
    Today the CC got paid off from the main account. This happens monthly: we run almost everything through the CC, then it is set to pay off from the mortgage account (which is a LOC). Fine. No dramas. YNAB is set up to reflect the real position either way, it doesn't matter whether the debt is sitting in Account A or Account B.

    What it means, though, is that the mortgage debt is now at its highest point in two years. It's often difficult to see this properly when I'm not running a budget and I'm realising how easy it's been to convince myself that actually we're doing much better than we are. Today's figure, although I could already see it in YNAB, was sobering to see on the actual bank statement.

    I feel like I should be over on DFW, in that I'm turning around bad habits that have crept up over time. I was lucky to buy my first house very young, before the housing boom, and that's cushioned every decision since. But I need to get a handle on this and make sure the numbers start going DOWN!

    (To be fair, this month saw us pay off the December bill, which included not only Christmas, but unexpected travel expenses for a funeral, already-committed-to holiday and also $1500 on costs associated with a new car. Once I sell the old car, for which I'll get a couple of grand hopefully, it'll look better. I'm just waiting for a couple of replacement bits to come in the post, because I need to fix a few things so it'll sell. It's woefully old, and - amongst other things, like it leaks - the gearstick has crumbled! So I need to replace that. But none of that negates the larger point, that I've been ignoring the lack of forward direction in the mortgage for at least a year).
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 14th Feb 17, 9:42 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Lovely Husband came home with a box of chocolates and a fancy bottle of pink cordial (I don't drink alcohol) for Valentine's Day. I didn't get hm anything, because I always think that we're not the kind of people who 'do' Valentine's Day. He gently pointed out that I always say this and in fact he always gets me something, but he didn't mind. Lovely man. And due to some discounting magic I don't really understand, the treats were almost free once he'd also bought milk and lunch meats.

    Happy Valentine's Day, whether you're the sort of person who does it or not!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 15th Feb 17, 1:23 AM
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    armchairexpert
    It's not the most MSE I've ever done, but I sent Lovely Husband a late Valentine's gift at his office today (15th).

    It was a little succulent in a vase, and the note said
    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Sorry this is late
    It was stuck in peer review

    Hopefully he will appreciate my scientist humour (he's the scientist, not me!). $35 but I don't care.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • iquit
    • By iquit 15th Feb 17, 4:42 AM
    • 1,818 Posts
    • 2,766 Thanks
    iquit
    I've just read and subscribed to your thread. Enjoying it immensely and looking forward to watching you chip away at the mortgage - good luck.
    2016MFW78 £24000/£12000 2017MFW98 £1904.98/£7000 BSC #261
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 15th Feb 17, 9:20 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Awww, lovely to have you on board!

    I've been thinking about the power of exact goals and numbers. I'm reluctant to post numbers because I'm in Australian dollars and the exchange rate doesn't really reflect the cost of living. My current grocery spend goal, for example, is $200/week, $800/month, and if you look at the exchange rate that's about 500 quid so you'll all think I'm madly extravagant! But actually that means carefully sticking to a list, no waste, cheap cuts of meat and everything from scratch. Before you guys Brexited yourselves and the pound fell off a cliff, the Xrate was more like 2.5 dollars to the pound, and I reckon that's a lot closer in a lot of ways!

    Anyway we've been spending $300/week or more so my goal is $200. Already exceeded that this week, though: we'll have got through 8-10L of milk by the end of this week alone, and that's $20-$25. On milk! Alone! Hypothetically, how much garden space does a cow really need, do we think, to be happy?

    Next month I'm going to start putting proper NSD goals in place as well - an NSD is an NSD no matter what currency you're in!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Allotrope
    • By Allotrope 16th Feb 17, 7:27 AM
    • 155 Posts
    • 404 Thanks
    Allotrope
    What did hubby think of the poem? I loved it
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 17th Feb 17, 1:05 AM
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    armchairexpert
    I think it went down well, I got a nice email back!

    Right then. Unnecessary spending on a packet of hot cross buns yesterday but that's the only one this week, so I'm quite pleased. I have a bad habit of deciding that because I'm buying food from a supermarket, it counts as "basic groceries" instead of "lunch out", if that makes sense - like "Oh, it's just as if I bought groceries on the weekend and am taking a packed lunch to work!". But in reality, I'm picking up a fancy pot of yoghurt, a green juice, a steak pie to warm up in the oven, some snacks, and it's $15 which is more than if I bought a nice sandwich and coffee at a cafe. Last year I was doing that maybe 3 times a week - and I wonder why I wasn't even breaking even some months!

    I am the person in the household that pops into the shops for top up milk and bread, so it's been tough to resist the delicious lunches this week! But I've stuck to making lunch from whatever's in the house (except the hot cross buns... ) all week and I'm counting that as a win.

    What else. I have to buy a kids' birthday present this week, and DD2 has form for pleading for the more expensive option because she's worried about bringing a bad gift, so I might turn up with just $15 in my wallet and no card. Ballet's started for the year and both DDs need new tights and shoes - why do children keep growing? Surely that's not a practical way to live!

    Onwards and upwards, unless you're my mortgage, in which case onwards and downwards!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 18th Feb 17, 5:46 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Afternoon! This weekend's looking like it'll be super MSE - unfortunately that's because poor little DD2 has caught a horrible tummy bug and we've had to cancel the weekend's plans and stay inside where she can nap on the couch in front of kids' TV. DD1 is merrily making the most of both the unlimited TV and the sudden appearance of (Own Brand) lemonade in her life.

    I've got a touch of it - not vomiting, but crampy and nauseated and low energy, which is why I'm here instead of out in my garden.

    I did get out to do the grocery run and spent an appalling amount: $280, when last week I kept it down to $200 and then top ups came to another $40 or so over the week. This week there'll still be milk-and-bread top ups, so I'm going to end up way over budget. I'm shooting for $250/week, ideally down to $200 sometimes. But we needed coffee beans ($20, discounted from $30), DH's expensive medicated shampoo $11, I tried buying a few things in bulk like a whole leg ham for lunches instead of pre sliced packets of meat...I don't know. At the end of the month I'll be able to see better how much we actually do spend on food. It's a lot.

    And now a moral dilemma!

    Tomorrow is Sunday and I'm supposed to be dancing with a group and I'm a bit conflicted. It's Morris dancing (don't laugh) so all the dances are specifically choreographed for a certain number of people: 4, 6 or 8 person dances, and we have 5 of us coming so we rehearsed the 4-person ones. BUT: If I don't show up, it leaves the extremely EXTREMELY pregnant 5th dancer doing all of my bits instead of doing an occasional easy one and lots of resting in between. If I do show up, I might still be contagious, and that doesn't seem like a great thing next to a heavily pregnant woman? If I don't show up and she doesn't dance, we don't perform. It's not a paid gig, just a fun one, but I still feel bad about it. What d'you think, peeps?
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 19th Feb 17, 9:50 PM
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    armchairexpert
    Here I am at Monday morning!

    Everyone had recovered enough by yesterday afternoon that we dragged the DDs out to a garden centre for a bit. Gorgeous place bursting with old fashioned plants, just my thing. We bought four new plants, total of $42, which wasn't exactly budgeted for in the right category (we always overspend in the things-for-the-house line!) but since we'd saved on all the socialising we couldn't do all weekend, I figured it was fine.

    My calculations were that we'd have spent $30 getting bits in on Saturday to entertain friends, plus $80 on a pub lunch for 4 on Sunday, and that's keeping it as cheap as I could, frankly. I keep feeling that you lot must be shocked at my numbers, but it's just an exchange rate thing I promise! $80 for four of us buys a couple of kids' meals, the cheaper end of the adult range and maybe a lemonade each.

    Today's a bit of a nightmare. Pupil free day that we got hardly any notice for, and I had it covered but a new client wants me to do some work for her this morning - short short short notice but I hate to say no to a new person in case they just look elsewhere. And I also have a strata title meeting for my Mum's unit, which is about deciding if the group is going to pay several thousand dollars to have work done. The fencing all needs re-doing, and some of the units (not ours) need underpinning, and I cannot even imagine how much all of this is going to cost so I have to be there!

    The end result - after much ringing around friends to see if any of them could have the DDs but of course they're all in the same boat - is that the girls have gone into work with their Dad for the morning, armed with colouring books and snacks, and I'm going to be haring up and down the freeway trying to get to everything and then to pick them up. He'll end up spending money on them this morning just to keep them occupied. It's lovely that for the first time, we don't have to pay private child care fees, but it's still expensive to be a working parent sometimes!

    Right, that's that complaint over. I'm very worried about the unit costs though. Last year we had a nightmare of a time at our own house, we had to re-do the fencing along one border and get two trees chopped down along the other two, and the whole thing cost about $5K. I was hoping this year would be cheaper!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 19th Feb 17, 9:57 PM
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    armchairexpert
    Oh, AND: DH sent off his letter cancelling his life insurance, and it's just come out of the account slightly higher than usual which I am hoping means that they've processed the calculation but charged us an exit fee or the balance or something. So that'll be cheaper next month but is over budget this morning.

    Also we're still paying for insurance for 2 cars because we haven't got around to selling off the old one. This is because the gear stick knob crumbled and it's undriveable without a new one. They only cost $10 or something but one finally arrived in the mail the other day and it turned out that we also needed a sleeve because ours is glued to the old crumbling knob - anyway it's all terribly boring but suffice it to say we had to order yet another part and it'll be another 2-3 weeks before we can start to advertise the car. Registration on it lasts another month, if that expires I'll have to pay for another three months to keep it on the road. I just want it gone!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
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