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    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 25th Jun 13, 7:36 PM
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    easylife73
    Easylife73’s looong journey to…well…hopefully an easy life!
    • #1
    • 25th Jun 13, 7:36 PM
    Easylife73’s looong journey to…well…hopefully an easy life! 25th Jun 13 at 7:36 PM
    Have been lurking for some time, and getting inspiration from other people’s diaries, especially those of Tilly, Megela and Fortune Smiles (who has inspired me to make some muffins with the rhubarb growing in our garden tonight!)

    So, some background information…DH and I have both had a tombola birthday this year (40) and I for one found it hard to accept that I am no longer in the first flush of youth! We have two kids together, DS1 who is 13 next month and DS2 who is 10. DH also has a son from a previous relationship who is 16. Other members of the household are our lovely dog and parrot (did have a rabbit as well but he did a runner couple of weeks ago…)

    We have two mortgages, due to end in August/September 2036. The amount owed on the first mortgage is currently £87,980.72 and the second is £27,062.24 making a total owing as £115,042.96. The second mortgage was taken out a few years ago to extend the upstairs of our house to make three bedrooms and a bathroom instead of just two bedrooms. We currently have a little over 23 years left on these two mortgages.

    I have started making a few tiny overpayments, originally to test how to do it and whether it works, but boy is it addictive!! I love spreadsheets anyway, so have had great fun playing with my overpayment spreadsheet!

    However….we may well be taking out a third mortgage in the next year, which will obviously undo all of my good work! We desperately need to sort our kitchen out, as it is literally falling apart, and the conservatory leaks whenever it rains. In fact, when we had rain the other day we actually had a layer of water over half of the floor, so sorting the conservatory out is also becoming urgent. What we would really like to do is knock through between the kitchen and conservatory and turn the conservatory part into a proper room so that we can use it all year round, but the quotes for this have all come in at around the £30k mark. So that would increase our mortgage debt to the truly horrifying amount of about £145,000.

    DH is supportive in principle, but really just wants me to stop talking about it all the time! He also likes to spend money on doing stuff now, so has a tendency to undermine my efforts. That said, rather than buy each other more “stuff” for our big birthdays we decided that life begins at 40 and wrote a list of things we wanted to do or try, and places we wanted to go, and the intention is to start working our way through some of these things (within reason!) So some money will be diverted into this. I also can’t bear to not have a holiday or do Christmas well!

    So that’s where we are at the moment…hopefully writing it all down here will (a) help to keep me motivated as it’s going to be a long, hard slog, and (b) stop me telling DH the minute detail when he’d rather I just shut up!
    Last edited by easylife73; 22-12-2014 at 9:29 AM.
Page 4
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 18th Jun 17, 10:14 AM
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    easylife73
    Have just been reading through some other diaries, and it's made me realise how much has changed in the last two years, and also how much will be changing in the near future...

    Positives
    • I'm working full time so more money coming in from my earnings
    • DH is now top of scale in his job after a period of pay freezes
    • We are no longer paying maintenance each week for DH's son, as he is now 20

    Negatives
    • DS1 will be starting driving lessons in a month or so which cancels out the money saved by not paying maintenance. It will also mean increased insurance costs to have him on my car insurance.
    • Which leads on to my car...previously we only had the one car, which meant a lot of driving each other around in order to make sure everyone had transport when they needed it. Last year we bought a small second car (no RFL, low insurance and a few years of transferrable warranty left on it), partly to make things easier but also so that DS1 could practice when he starts learning to drive, as the main car is an automatic. Unfortunately we didn't quite have the money at the time, so we borrowed from the very generous bank of mum & dad and are paying that back at £400 per month for the rest of this year.
    • Which leads on again to the main car...still fine (touch wood) but is now out of it's warranty period so if something goes wrong we'll need to find repair money.
    • As soon as DS1 has learnt to drive we'll probably be looking at him going to university (next year) so there will be costs there...no idea how much as he is not the type to go out much so hard to guesstimate how much he'll need. He should qualify for a maintenance loan to some degree, so we'll see. I've put a figure in the budget for £1,200 per term initially, but with provision for a further £450 or so if necessary.
    • Our lovely dog, who has previously had all his costs paid for by the charity he is a stud dog for, is being retired in August, so we will need to pick up the costs from then (or give him back, but I don't think DS2 would ever forgive me for that!) So we'll need to pay for food, vets bills, insurance, kenneling etc...I've estimated about £100 a month but as we've never had to pay it before I've really no idea.
    • Overtime appears to have dried up for DH.
    • Kind of a positive as well as a negative, but as we're not getting any younger we've set up income protection policies, so another £100 or so going out each month. Should the worst happen and we become ill it will be worth it's weight in gold, and the peace of mind factor is important, to me at least.

    Wish List
    As always, there's an ever growing list of things to spend money on!
    • Need to redecorate our bedroom, a downstairs room and the stairs and landing...the stair carpet that I mentioned two years ago that needed replacing still needs replacing!
    • Would really like to buy a caravan...would like to be able to make the most of the few weekends DH does get off (he works an odd shift pattern) and would also like to be able to take the dog away with us, as we won't have free kenneling after this year's main holiday. We usually camp in France, but it wouldn't be realistic to take the dog abroad with the tent.
    • In my dream world I'd like to be able to take the kids on a big holiday before they fly the nest...I think we'd really enjoy a cruise round the Med with Royal Caribbean - their ships look amazing!

    There's more, but it's so un MSE I can't put it down in writing

    No idea how I'll be paying for all this...
    Last edited by easylife73; 18-06-2017 at 10:26 AM.
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 22nd Jun 17, 7:37 AM
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    easylife73
    Have tried to get organised a bit this week...I've downgraded our bank account as we were paying £25 a month which gave us travel insurance, breakdown cover and home emergency cover. I've included the home emergency cover in our house & contents, bought breakdown cover for about £40 (minus 20% cashback) and travel insurance for £29, so a saving. The new downgraded bank account doesn't have any fees and also gives us 6 free cinema tickets, which is the equivalent of giving us £70!

    DH has also cancelled a small policy that no longer meets our needs, and I have tried to take over the grocery shopping as this is an area we spend a ridiculous amount of money in. Used up a few random bits from the freezer for dinner last night and put an order in for Asda using a £6 off a £60 shop voucher.

    I also applied for a Halifax Clarity card for when we go to France in August, as we will get £20 off the first bill apparently.

    No actual OPs as I think I need to concentrate on reining in the spending/budget first...plus our new mortgage isn't set up yet so I don't want to confuse matters!
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 22nd Jun 17, 8:05 AM
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    shangaijimmy
    I'm new to your diary and only read the last page! I'll definitely be catching up this evening though! Our top amount was similar to yours at £136k and a finish date of 2036, so a similar journey.

    Good decision on bank account and when you put it all like that it makes total sense and i love your positive, negatives and wish list technique which i may well be pinching for my half year review at the weekend!!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2023... 32//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction £34,271.00
    Aug 2009: £163,051 // Current: £101,729.00 // Avg Daily Interest £4.57
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 56.74% of £41,000
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 22nd Jun 17, 11:19 PM
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    easylife73
    Thanks shangaijimmy...I need to get back on the wagon, but have scared myself tonight by looking at my 10 year+ budget planner It is not a pretty picture so definitely have to try to make savings where I can.

    Have done an Ocado order tonight as we had a voucher for £20 off an £80 spend...tried to only buy things that were cheaper at Ocado, which was quite hard, but have bought a lot of things like shampoo and toothpaste which can be stored longer term but which will definitely get used eventually.

    Checked our last two Asda orders online to see if we were due anything back on the price match, and managed to get about £5 back there. Also put an order in on Amazon for 1200 teabags with an add-on item of some laminate floor cleaner for £1 which would otherwise have been £5 or so - rock and roll

    And finally got the news that the new mortgage will hopefully be completing next week, so I'll be able to set up a new mortgage spreadsheet then
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 26th Jun 17, 7:16 PM
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    easylife73
    Went to a university open day at the weekend with DS1, our first. It all seems a bit scarily real now, although I suppose it's still a year away. He just seems so young, and I'm worried how he'll cope both practically and emotionally as he has a diagnosis of autism.

    Ocado order was late being delivered and didn't arrive until 11.15pm for a delivery slot of 9.30-10.30. Had a courtesy call from them today and mentioned it, although it wasn't a problem, and they sent me a voucher for £7 off our next order, so will probably order again. We still have a lot of vouchers for Asda & Sainsburys so I might bulk buy some meat for the freezer. I've also ordered some plastic containers for freezing the extra dinner portions...I usually take leftovers for my lunch but as the kids prefer to eat different dinners to us (we're on slimming world) it makes sense to cook a 4 person portion and freeze half for another meal.

    Hopefully the new mortgage will be finalised tomorrow so I can play with a new spreadsheet...it is payday on Wednesday so will need to remember to move some money around. I've listed one item on ebay and I really ought to be sorting through my wardrobe and packing for a weekend away - mini cruise to Guernsey - but instead I'm sat reading through more diaries.
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 29th Jun 17, 7:58 PM
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    easylife73
    So apparently we have completed on our new re-mortgage (on Tuesday) and have had a completion statement through today from the legal company, but have heard nothing from First Direct. I've checked the online statements for Nationwide who we have been with up until now, and two of the accounts are showing negative balances and the other a positive balance, the net effect between the three being about £57 (in our favour, I think). So presumably most of our mortgage is now with First Direct, but I have no idea how to look at it!
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 3rd Jul 17, 9:06 PM
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    easylife73
    Spoke to First Direct today, our mortgage is now with them and the monthly payment is £5.10 less than anticipated, and doesn't start until August. It looks as though Nationwide haven't actually closed our old accounts though, and the mortgage payment went out as usual to them today, so we appear to be in credit with them by £700 or so. The benefit if this is that once they pay it back July will in effect be a mortgage "free" month. Obviously what I should do is immediately OP it, but.....

    .....I think I'll hold off. We've already overspent against budget this year by decorating the downstairs room into a den for the boys, and we had a very spendy weekend. We went on a mini cruise to Guernsey which had already been paid for earlier in the year, but as is my way we didn't watch the pennies on holiday. We had a fab time though, although I feel like I'm still on the ship as the room is spinning and the ground feels like it's moving

    DH managed to log onto the internet on the ship to check the weather report, thinking it would cost 67p, but unfortunately forgot to log off again...total cost £19.50

    In a more positive light, have sold an item on ebay for £10, but haven't calculated postage (it's a light clothing item) so not sure yet how much profit there will be.
    • greent
    • By greent 11th Jul 17, 9:14 PM
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    greent
    [*]DS1 will be starting driving lessons in a month or so which cancels out the money saved by not paying maintenance. It will also mean increased insurance costs to have him on my car insurance.[*]As soon as DS1 has learnt to drive we'll probably be looking at him going to university (next year) so there will be costs there...no idea how much as he is not the type to go out much so hard to guesstimate how much he'll need. He should qualify for a maintenance loan to some degree, so we'll see. I've put a figure in the budget for £1,200 per term initially, but with provision for a further £450 or so if necessary.
    Originally posted by easylife73
    Just chipping in with what we're doing here as DS1 is also 17 (and DD is 19 and just completed y1 of uni)

    I didn't put DD on my car insurance until she'd actually passed - and that still cost me well over £1000 for 10 months of cover (and I think the difference this year between putting her on/ leaving her off was around £600 - and that was with agreeing to a black box in my car for 3 months!) I'm umming and ahhing what to do with DS1. My insurance isn't due until May. He's only having his first lesson next week (I was tardy about organising it - and then struggled to find anyone with spaces) so I definitely shan't bother for quite a while to put him on.

    Uni - DD's first year living away cost around £8700 all in (excluding occasional food parcels) but rent in Cardiff is cheap (halls were £4444 for the year - one's we have looked at in Bristol with DS1 were over £8k for a very similar set up!) She went out a lot - and got a boyfriend which (she admits) cost more due to all the socialising and meals out. Am expecting 2nd year to be similar in costs (rent/ bills are more, but hopefully less eating and drinking out!) Quite a lot of unis we've looked at with both of them gave 'typical' figures needed to live at that uni (from memory, Newcastle's bumf on it was really good)

    oops - must dash - late to pick DS1 fromcadets!
    x
    I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul
    Repaid mtge early (orig 11/25) Bal 01/09 £124616 01/10 £104927 01/11 £89873 01/12 £76317 01/13 £52546 01/14 £35356 01/15 £12133 07/15 £NIL
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    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 12th Jul 17, 7:30 AM
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    easylife73
    Thanks for that info greent, although I'm not sure I like the numbers in it His driving lessons won't start until the end of August when we come back from our holiday so I could probably old off on the insurance for a while, although it seems to be cheaper to insure him as a learner than as a real driver...not sure I like the idea of a black box, I think it's my driving that would push the premiums up, not his

    In terms of uni, the one we've looked at so far (which is our nearest and preferred choice) has hall costs which start at about £3,000 for the cheapest, and I don't think he'll be likely to be going out and socialising much...he has a diagnosis of autism and would rather just stay in his room, although I have asked him to at least try to find a few people to mix with. I don't think they'll be the sort to be out clubbing every night even if he does though. Was you figure of £8,700 a total figure or what you topped your DD up with on top of a maintenance loan? If it the total, I can probably relax a bit, as I think he's entitled to a maintenance loan of about £3,500 and my topline top up figure on my spreadsheet is about £5,000 so would be about right
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 12th Jul 17, 7:41 AM
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    easylife73
    In other news, Nationwide have finally managed to return our mortgage balance...it's only taken a week since I rang them to ask for it and two weeks since completion I've transferred it to what I'm now calling the caravan fund

    I'm still rocking after the mini cruise we took but trying not to google it too much as there are some scary stories out there...I suppose I should be glad as if we liked it we were looking at doing a big family cruise in a couple of years...not sure that will be on the cards now so that should be quite a saving
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 12th Jul 17, 7:58 AM
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    shangaijimmy
    Caravan fund... I like the sound of that. On the other hand i dont so much like the university costs talk! We potentially have 9 consecutive years of it!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2023... 32//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction £34,271.00
    Aug 2009: £163,051 // Current: £101,729.00 // Avg Daily Interest £4.57
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 56.74% of £41,000
    • easylife73
    • By easylife73 12th Jul 17, 9:01 AM
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    easylife73
    Yes, us too...DS1 will probably be doing either 3 or 4 years, and DS2 has decided he'd like to be a vet which is another 5/6 years...if DS1 does a 4 year course we've got one year where they'll both be at uni at the same time...no idea how we're going to manage that! So I've basically written off the next decade (hence the 10 year fix on the mortgage)
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 12th Jul 17, 10:07 AM
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    shangaijimmy
    I hadn't even considered courses longer than 3yrs....Arrgghhhh!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2023... 32//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction £34,271.00
    Aug 2009: £163,051 // Current: £101,729.00 // Avg Daily Interest £4.57
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 56.74% of £41,000
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