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  • FIRST POST
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
    • 557Posts
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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
Page 3
    • Frudd
    • By Frudd 9th Mar 17, 10:03 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    Frudd
    Hi, really enjoing reading your diary. It is nice to see that other people have the same struggles! Your food shop does sound expensive to me but we are used to insanely low food prices here in the UK which skews our perception. We stopped buying sliced meat for two reasons, expense and additives. We often roast a tray of chicken legs when something else is in the oven and use the meat for sandwiches.
    How is the egg empire coming along ?
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 10th Mar 17, 12:38 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Divide everything I say by 3 and you'll be close enough: our average national wage is 3 times yours, so it all evens out. Love the chicken leg idea, thank you!

    The second coop is FINISHED thank you for asking! I am dithering about whether to buy baby chicks (super adorable, but require me to also buy a heat lamp. But SUPER ADORABLE) or older ones that already have their feathers and are hardier.

    Yesterday's NSD achieved. My hairdresser unexpectedly quit, so today will be an NSD for me as well. Not for DH, though, who's just paid a bunch of school costs and a mixer tap.

    I'm more excited about the tap than a normal person would consider reasonable: our 1940s bathroom just has a pedestal sink at the moment, and it's cluttered and ugly, so DH decided to make us a vanity. He had some old jarrah (hardwood, reddish, SUPER expensive these days but back when our house was built, it was cheap and readily available so this was old sleepers from a fence we pulled out), an amazing hand painted sink that my Mum bought from an artisan market a decade ago and sold on to us cheaply, and some salvaged vintage tiles to inset into the doors.

    So he's made this astounding piece of furniture for about $750 all up which I think we could conservatively sell for about $4K. It's way too nice for this house!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • Frudd
    • By Frudd 10th Mar 17, 4:46 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    Frudd
    Flog it and buy one from Ikea then!
    £0/£2017 extra income
    £1070 credit card
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 12th Mar 17, 11:14 PM
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    armchairexpert
    I was tempted when I saw it but I think I'm going to be indulgent and enjoy the fruits of DH's labour.

    And talking of DH - he sold a painting on the weekend! Oil painting is his hobby, and it's not a cheap hobby either but it's a lot better than gambling or car restoration or buying top-of-the-line bicycles like half his workmates. Anyway, this is only the second painting he's sold, and he bumped up the price on this one so after the commission's taken out he'll get almost $500. Along with his leftover birthday gift vouchers, that should make his hobby free for the rest of the year, I think. And of course he's terribly pleased with himself, which is nice to see.

    Spendy weekend, but all thoughtful stuff. Found a ceramic water dispenser thing at a secondhand shop for $25, so I can try my hand at brewing kombucha (which costs a fortune in the shops and is basically free to make: just tea and sugar), and I bought a heat lamp and supplies for incoming baby chicks, which the man in the shop said would be freshly hatched on Friday: stay tuned for Adorableness. <--best baby chick smilie I could find!

    (I did also let DD2 buy an enormous teddy bear she found in the secondhand shop for $4. But you should have seen her big puppy dog eyes! )
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 14th Mar 17, 2:36 AM
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    armchairexpert
    I'm in a right grump today.

    I hate selling cars. I finally listed my old banger, forgetting that it needed some work done by a mechanic (all little things, but they'll make a huge difference to the sale, like the spare tyre is currently sitting in the boot because it needs reattaching under the chassis), and it was a long weekend so I couldn't take it in. Finally at the mechanic's now, but someone's coming to see it at 5 (postponed from yesterday) and just praying that it'll work. And it's been under a cover for 3 months and smells damp and fusty.

    And I just spent 3 hours at the hairdresser to fix a bad dye job, and they fixed it, but now it looks drab and boring. I should know better, I really should, but every time I go into the hairdresser I convince myself it'll be like Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors, and then in a shock plot twist, it never is. I was stripping out dark colours to tone greys, so now it's a very sensible darkish-ashey-blondey-I-just-fell-asleep-typing-the-description colour. Booo.

    AND while I was at the hairdresser DH rings to tell me that he tried to make some purchases from an account that doesn't let you make purchases from it and got charged $250 in late fees and maybe another $125. It's the 14th of a long month and I've just wiped out every cent of spending, fun or savings money we had to cover it. Boooooooooo.

    Also I haven't run in ages because it's too hot and I'm too fat and tired to think about squeezing into exercise gear and hefting myself along the street. And in sum I'm going to go eat worms.

    Yours in grumpitude, AE.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 14th Mar 17, 12:24 PM
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    armchairexpert
    I sold the car!!!

    I was so stressed about it I can't even tell you. It's been under a plastic cover for three months and it smelt musty and just bleurgh. But the first person who came to see it liked it, and offered me what I was hoping for (he was definitely assuming I'd haggle upwards, in fact, but I'm happy if he is), and that's a nice $2800 to put in the bank. Given that we were down to coins for spending money until April, it's great timing. Think I might sock some in the savings, since I haven't managed to budget any savings for the past two months, and give us each a bit of pocket money!

    Tomorrow's looking frantic, with someone coming over to borrow an old gaming console from us and a business meeting, and somewhere in there I was going to try and make HM paneer...

    Things to do tomorrow
    1. Hang out laundry while the sunshine holds
    2. Bank car cash!
    3. Make paneer or, failing that, buy paneer
    4. Make bread
    When am I going to actually work, I wonder.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 20th Mar 17, 12:56 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Another weekend over and things plodding along nicely. I took the DDs to pick out some baby chicks on Friday, having finally finished all the brooders and things (they needed a small indoor brooder for the first few weeks before they go into the grow-out coop I constructed last month). I had in mind that we'd give them nice literary names, like Jane, Lizzie, Mary, Kitty, Lydia and Charlotte. But the DDs had their way, and we're the proud owners of:

    (DD1): Snowy, Moana and Poddledonk
    (DD2): Hey-Hey, Flap-Flap and Peck-Peck

    I can't really tell any of them apart anyway, but they seem very content cheeping away. The kitten is extremely frustrated at the situation: he can sit on top of the brooder and watch them, but no matter how hard he tries he can't...quite...reach... and thank goodness for that!

    All in all, the chicks + equipment cost me $90, which works out about the same as just buying some point-of-lay pullets, but this way I can re-use the equipment for new batches. And they're so cute!

    In between pay days and bills, so nothing financial to report.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • Frudd
    • By Frudd 20th Mar 17, 9:30 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    Frudd
    [QUOTE
    (DD1): Snowy, Moana and Poddledonk
    (DD2): Hey-Hey, Flap-Flap and Peck-Peck

    [/QUOTE]

    Good, solid names there
    £0/£2017 extra income
    £1070 credit card
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 22nd Mar 17, 3:44 AM
    • 557 Posts
    • 3,616 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    I picture them as fully grown hens, waddling around the back garden in all their dignity and still being called Peck-peck and Flap-flap!

    Went to Costco with my Mum yesterday, which is a palaver because by the time I pick her up (her disabilities mean she can't drive far) it's over an hour's round trip, and of course I have to lift and put away all of her groceries as well as mine.

    It was good, though. I went with the very honourable intention of just buying some frozen berries and my favourite hot sauce, and ended up spending $160 on...stuff. A 3kg packet of mince, approximately eleventy billion toilet rolls, that sort of thing. And then I splashed out on a coffee and a bottle of nail polish, because that's the kind of devil-may-care, spendthrift person I am.

    Am currently running Classic YNAB and nYNAB simultaneously to test out the latter. I think I've gone a bit numbers-mad.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 23rd Mar 17, 12:33 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Had dinner with an old friend last night - he picked up the bill and then I bought coffee and cake, which was nice of him and I'll have to owe him for next time.

    We talked about money, in fact - he let slip that his self-employed wife's business was slow at the moment and he was keeping them afloat (in the context of explaining why he didn't leave a job he hates), and that things were a bit tight. They're both in their early 60s, and there are holes in their house that need fixing, and as long as I've known him he's carried significant credit card debt and a hefty mortgage. He earns roughly double what I made in my best year ever, and yet.

    He'd say he's chosen to enjoy life, and it's true that he travels overseas and things when I don't. But also he has a house full of books and DVDs and CDs that he doesn't have the time to enjoy, and he's out 5 nights a week at pubs and restaurants, which is great but - he's in his early 60s, in a job he hates, unable to set up as self employed which is what he'd be best at, and I don't think a miracle is coming down the track to change any of that.

    I love him to bits, and I don't think my choices are morally better than his, but I am very grateful that I have always chosen a bit of frugality now in order to buy freedom of choice.

    When DH and I met, he worked in a high paid industry with some very dubious moral practices, and I was a junior in a high paid industry with some very long hour requirements and a lot of Keeping Up With The Jones behaviours. We both downshifted. We sometimes catch up with friends in those industries, and they earn, conservatively, 2-3 times what we do each. But I'm so glad we didn't lock ourselves into the high debt high spending cycle that would have stopped us getting out. We have dinner together every night, and we grow vegetables on the weekends, and I think by the time we're in our fifties we can consider going to part time work.

    All of that sounds very smug, and I don't really mean it like that. We've spent our lives not having fancy holidays or buying much stuff, and sometimes it's good to remind myself what the end goal is. Eyes on the prize.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • mfmaybe
    • By mfmaybe 23rd Mar 17, 11:20 AM
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    mfmaybe
    Hi armchairexpert, just enjoyed reading your diary and will follow along with your journey. I'm in a similar (less sunny) position of having my mum in my BTL property. My downside is the tax is changing in the UK so that the mortgage payments won't be tax deductible any more. Similarly we know it would be cheaper if she lived with us (not right now as we don't have a spare room, house is for sale); but like you I think our own space is preferable!

    Are you going to share adorable chick pics?
    Create credit card buffer fund £12.93/£1000 1.4%paid. Pay by Christmas 17

    Other debts paid since 1/1/14: £17,005
    • -taff
    • By -taff 23rd Mar 17, 8:41 PM
    • 7,260 Posts
    • 4,662 Thanks
    -taff
    My hair is ashy blonde [ because I'm nostly grey now, started going grey at 18 ] and I usually ask the hairdresser to throw in some semi permanent colours, one of my favoruites was orange and pink flashes, looked like tutti frutti, very uplifting to have silly hair
    well done on the car sale.

    I left an very well paying job for another not so well paying, with more responsibility, and just left that one for an office job with even less money. On the plus side, I have evenings and weekends back after 20 years of shift work, and I'm looking forward to summer evenings in the garden with some wine and maybe even a barbeque.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 23rd Mar 17, 11:26 PM
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    armchairexpert
    Hello! Lovely to meet you!

    Hi armchairexpert, just enjoyed reading your diary and will follow along with your journey. I'm in a similar (less sunny) position of having my mum in my BTL property. My downside is the tax is changing in the UK so that the mortgage payments won't be tax deductible any more. Similarly we know it would be cheaper if she lived with us (not right now as we don't have a spare room, house is for sale); but like you I think our own space is preferable!

    Are you going to share adorable chick pics?
    Originally posted by mfmaybe
    I don't know how to share pictures, but I will if someone talks me through it! The tax deduction thing is a bit wobbly here as well: Australia has some of the least affordable housing in the world, and it's largely because it's such an attractive investment proposition for the wealthy. Every think tank on affordability says get rid of the tax concessions, but the actual MPs are all multiple property owners, so... But it might go, come the revolution, and we'll have to move her in with us! I actually think that is the right move politically - young people are just locked out of the market, and it's not fair. I'd rather have to share my space with my Mum if it meant that affordability improved.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • NH789
    • By NH789 25th Mar 17, 7:32 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    NH789
    Hi, I have subscribed - loved reading your thread armchairexpert, made me smile. I'm also on a mission to become MF so will follow your journey and do some occasional cheerleading
    MFW - Start Sep 16 £112,000 End date Aug 2041 MF Target Aug 2032
    OPs to March 2017 £1,062
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 27th Mar 17, 12:38 AM
    • 557 Posts
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    armchairexpert
    Cheerleading is always much appreciated, thank you and welcome! Us long haulers have to stick together.

    Nice quiet-ish weekend here. Sunday we went out with friends, and it was so awful and hot - 34 degrees and humid, it is AUTUMN HELLO - that we bought a round of gelati for my poor wilting children and their poor wilting father. But we brought enough snacks and water that the damage was limited, which is pleasing.

    The new vanity is finally in, although we're still waiting on the tiles to be inset into the doors. The bathroom looks SO much better; it had only a pedestal sink before, meaning that everything else was stacked on the floor or on little table things around the place.

    The whole thing cost about $700, which is nothing considering what a quality piece of furniture it is (and DH installed himself, so no plumber fee) but I'll still be glad for next month when I don't have to keep moving money around because we need just one more S bend or whatever.

    The baby chickens are growing like weeds. They've all got grown up feathers on their wings now, although still baby fuzz on the rest of their bodies so they look a bit ridiculous. I set up an open air play pen for them yesterday so they could go outside and discover grass.

    Unfortunately the grownup girls and my kitten all got very interested in the whole affair and started trying to break into the play pen, meaning I was stuck there supervising because I couldn't leave the kitten alone near the chicks while I locked up the hens, and I couldn't lock up the kitten and leave them alone with the hens! It was like that old riddle with the farmer and the boat and the bag of oats.

    They had fun though. Lots of cheeping to one another for the rest of the evening: '...and then there was a wriggly thing on the grass and I tried to catch it!' 'did you see me try and fly?' 'I would have pecked that big furry animal if he'd tried to get us, I'm the biggest!'.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 30th Mar 17, 1:05 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Autumn's finally arrived, and because it realises it's late it's rushed in making a big fuss about It's Been Here For Weeks, In Fact, It Just Popped Out For A Meeting, and today is 20 degrees colder than it was a week ago. My poor baby chicks aren't getting an outside play today!

    Creaking towards the end of the month here. I am embroiled in stupid school politics which saw me ignore the budget yesterday and buy in comfort food: $25 on pork ribs and corn instead of my planned $3 dhal and rice meal! Ah well. Then I went for a nice long run/walk/stop and work out where on earth I am, how can I be lost three blocks from home, and I feel a lot better. Stupid school politics.

    I'll update totals tomorrow, when I get paid. My salary from my business runs a month behind, so this is what I earned in February, and it's the first month in half a year I earned under my minimum so I'll have to dip into my business savings to pay myself. It;s back up this month so not worried.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 31st Mar 17, 12:24 AM
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    armchairexpert
    End of March Numbers
    This is the first whole month I've been budgeting. We also had around $3600 in lump sums coming in, thanks to the car sale and a couple of other once-offs.

    However! From last month, where we owed $229K or thereabouts, we now owe $223, 326. Even allowing for the once-offs, that's almost $2K paid off on top. Some of that is because last month was a short month and so DH got paid just after the end of the month, and this month he's been paid most recently only yesterday but it's definitely progress. I'm quite chuffed!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 3rd Apr 17, 1:52 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Kicked off the new month with some serious spending: my last sports bra gave up the ghost the other day so I had to go and buy some more. Unfortunately, from an MSE point of view, I am a size that is very very limited in the shops, so I could only find one that was even remotely acceptably fitting and supportive, and it was $90. Then I realised there was a 40% sale, and I had an old $50 voucher, so I bought two and they came to $55 in total, which - as I said to DH ruefully afterwards - is what I would have spent, full price, if I were smaller.

    (It was pretty funny: DD2 is just learning to read at the moment, so I gave her the task of looking at bra labels and helping me find things in my size, and it only took her about five minutes to start saying "I wish you were a B or a D, Mummy, there's loads and loads in those sizes". Yes, child. This is the reality of my life.)

    Anyway then we spent a fortune ($125!) on two pairs of winter pyjamas for DH, but if it stops him running the bloody heater every night I'm counting that as a win.

    Then we took the girls out for bicycling practice. DH and DD1 lagged behind, because she's just mastering cycling without training wheels. DD2, who's still on her trainers and therefore faster, went ahead with me. Near the end of the path, we cycled past a party, and I realised as we went past that it was one of her classmates, and it looked like all of her friends were there. I was hoping DD2 hadn't seen, but the end of the path was just a little way on, so we had to stop and turn around, and by then her friends had spotted her. So they all came running up to the path to say hi, hi, have you come to the party, why don't you come and give A her present? And I had to say "well, we weren't invited actually" and they were all jumping up and down saying "I was invited! I was invited too! Me too! Me too! Why weren't you!" and bless them, they're only five year olds, they weren't being mean, but I was almost in tears for my poor DD2.

    I finally made excuses to get away, got back to the start of the path to find a very cross DH and DD1 who'd been waiting for us for 20 minutes (I didn't have my phone with me) and all in all, that was a bad day.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 5th Apr 17, 1:21 AM
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    armchairexpert
    It's all gone a bit wonky this week. Last week was hard, emotionally, and I didn't do the Sunday baking/advance cooking that I usually do, which means the week's lunches have been very scratch and fresh salad ingredients are sitting in the bottom of my fridge, moulding at me reproachfully. And then DD1 had a hard day and asked if we could have a cafe chat while DD2 was at tap class, so of course I said yes because we hardly do that any more. And a parent-teacher chat ran really late yesterday so we ended up stopping at the supermarket for rotisserie chicken and pita bread. And there's a few small social events coming up, none of them huge but all of them important (one's a work-related networking event, one is some old friends with whom I haven't caught up in months),

    And then someone forwarded me an article that predicted we had maybe a couple of decades left before climate change ravages the planet to the point where our current economy, geography and safety are decimated.

    So I guess I'm feeling like, is it worth worrying about these simple pleasures - the coffee with a friend, the new nail polish - to pay off a mortgage for a future that might never come.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    • mfmaybe
    • By mfmaybe 5th Apr 17, 8:28 AM
    • 970 Posts
    • 3,052 Thanks
    mfmaybe
    Those are big worries that merit more than a phone reply. But for now, I think it's about the balance. We must enjoy life otherwise what's the point. But at the same time I don't fancy gambling my worry free retirement on a scientific study or the vague concern about weird illnesses or a fear of flying; or whatever random act might cut life short.

    So buy the nail polish and the coffee. But maybe not a new Ferrari
    Create credit card buffer fund £12.93/£1000 1.4%paid. Pay by Christmas 17

    Other debts paid since 1/1/14: £17,005
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