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  • FIRST POST
    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 8th Mar 15, 11:07 PM
    • 5,120Posts
    • 25,838Thanks
    AlexLK
    Renovations and Repayments.
    • #1
    • 8th Mar 15, 11:07 PM
    Renovations and Repayments. 8th Mar 15 at 11:07 PM
    Hello and welcome to visitors familiar with my journey thus far and are surprised to see me on such a sensible board and a further warm welcome to the new faces wondering what they've let themselves in for.

    Let me begin by clarifying a few points: the first one is I am not sure whether I'm actually serious or not about clearing my mortgage and the second is the fact my house needs quite a bit of work doing to it. This work I do myself and in the time my wife and I have lived in the house we've learnt all kinds of new skills. The current project involves renewing the windows and I am making the frames myself, two are done and I'm pleased to say look great.

    I plan to use this mortgage free (how very grown up) diary to document the renovations and my savings activities, out of which overpayments may or may not be made. However, I am fully committed to long term saving and making as much money as possible. A long term goal of mine is to add to the BTL portfolio I shall one day inherit and am already becoming more involved in which is perhaps a good reason to pay my mortgage off and make my current property into an investment.

    Aside from the recent interest in moneysaving I have a four year old son, run my own company, play and teach the violin and piano whilst studying for my own interest. Oh and don't mention the cars.

    Those familiar with my debt-free diary will know I'm not exactly great at record keeping but am trying to improve, so please don't expect the detailed financial updates others seem to put on here. To kick things off, I suppose I ought to confess the mortgage debt is a total of circa £185,000 and I have no real timescale or plan in mind to pay it off.

    Sorry if this is not a particularly articulate introduction, as I seem to be at a loss how to tailor it to both those who've read my debt free diary and to new readers frequenting mortgage free.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

Page 111
    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 12th Oct 16, 11:08 PM
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    AlexLK
    Alex you are clearly practical and creative so why not buy a cheap white bathroom suite and create???
    have seen a old buffet table sideboard turned into a double sink vanity unit - it was really stunning and lots of other old pieces could be re-purposed. You might also create a room you love and feel the house belonged to you then.
    Originally posted by Watty1
    Great idea Watty

    MCI
    Originally posted by misscousinitt
    Thanks for the suggestion, Watty.

    I have a good idea of what I want to do with the bathroom (think I discussed on here before) but at the moment we cannot afford to do it.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 12th Oct 16, 11:17 PM
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    AlexLK
    Well, today my pencil was returned by "child b" (the one I've spent a lot of time, effort and money on). All very apologetic, guilty and weepy. Apparently she did it because she "wanted to know what it was like to have a silver pencil in her violin case"???! I honestly still do not know how to react to that.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • A Frayed Knot
    • By A Frayed Knot 13th Oct 16, 12:01 AM
    • 1,742 Posts
    • 7,989 Thanks
    A Frayed Knot
    That is amazing news, you must be so pleased and disappointed at the same time. The girls parents must have caught sight of the pencil and made her return it. She obviously liked it and maybe obviously didn't know the value sentimental or value's worth.

    So pleased it's back with it's rightful owner.
    Always have 00.00 at the end of your mortgage balance and someday it will all be 0's
    MFMarch 30 Re/M Oct 23 Target -Dec 19
    o/p 2014/£4000, 2015/£6294.69 MFW2016 #27 £3101.03/£3000
    £1000/£1000 51.44/33.29=84.73
    • CathT
    • By CathT 13th Oct 16, 5:42 AM
    • 4,884 Posts
    • 33,474 Thanks
    CathT
    Good news the pencil has been returned.

    Do you have any plans for half term? Not long to go. We have a couple of NT properties locally that we enjoy this time of year.
    June 2010 £121,287
    Nov 2016 £84,680
    WIOTW Nov £92,214
    • newgirly
    • By newgirly 13th Oct 16, 7:34 AM
    • 5,212 Posts
    • 35,894 Thanks
    newgirly
    Glad you got the pencil back, although wrong to take it she was brave returning it to you.
    MFW 21
    Target for 2016 £30,000 \ £72,350.11 paid so far

    Mortgage £63,080 5 yrs 8 months left. Total owed £92,893.96.

    Weight loss 2016 - 18.25 lb lost 40lb target
    • Watty1
    • By Watty1 13th Oct 16, 8:47 AM
    • 2,486 Posts
    • 17,579 Thanks
    Watty1
    What a brave child. Suspect there was an element of wanting to be like the teacher that has been so encouraging. Bless. Yes wrong to take, but needs praise for doing the right thing.
    Mortgage at start of diary Sept 2013: £132,995 Aug 2015 £0
    Overpaying next mortgage. £79,491 now £68801
    • tootallulah
    • By tootallulah 13th Oct 16, 5:24 PM
    • 1,934 Posts
    • 6,679 Thanks
    tootallulah
    She shouldn't have done it but the easy thing would have been not to return it so kudos to her. You never know what is going on inside someone's head.
    Mortgage House £173,000 July17th 2016.
    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 13th Oct 16, 10:49 PM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    That is amazing news, you must be so pleased and disappointed at the same time. The girls parents must have caught sight of the pencil and made her return it. She obviously liked it and maybe obviously didn't know the value sentimental or value's worth.

    So pleased it's back with it's rightful owner.
    Originally posted by A Frayed Knot
    I thought it was gone forever, so I am certainly pleased to have it back.

    I do think she was genuinely sorry and regretted doing what she did but that hasn't stopped me being very disappointed. Managed to not lose my temper, at least.

    Good news the pencil has been returned.

    Do you have any plans for half term? Not long to go. We have a couple of NT properties locally that we enjoy this time of year.
    Originally posted by CathT
    Thanks, Cath.

    Not even thought about half term yet. It's also my son's birthday in just over a month and still have no plans for that, either. At the moment my son seems quite run down and tired, so I think we'll have a quiet half term. Will probably have a walk around the Chatsworth estate one day with my parents and the dogs, possibly have a look what they're doing for Halloween there. How is your son settling into Reception?

    Glad you got the pencil back, although wrong to take it she was brave returning it to you.
    Originally posted by newgirly
    I agree, NG but hope she realises it is an unacceptable thing to do. We talked about an act such as this potentially putting her future career choice (violin teacher, which she seems very set on) into jeopardy and that she was very lucky I didn't get the police involved.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 13th Oct 16, 10:57 PM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    What a brave child. Suspect there was an element of wanting to be like the teacher that has been so encouraging. Bless. Yes wrong to take, but needs praise for doing the right thing.
    Originally posted by Watty1
    My wife said something similar. Poor girl needs all the help she can get if she thinks I'm a suitable role model.

    I did tell her I am very thankful for her returning it and will continue to teach her. Hopefully I won't come to regret that decision.

    She shouldn't have done it but the easy thing would have been not to return it so kudos to her. You never know what is going on inside someone's head.
    Originally posted by tootallulah
    Yes, that's very true.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 13th Oct 16, 11:16 PM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    NSD today. Apart from that, it hasn't been so good. Had a terrible night's sleep and not been particularly well today. Managed to get through it and I've kept myself busy, also managed to put a couple of things up for sale which should see some profit. Son had an awful day at school with a substitute teacher who refused to let him go to the bathroom, apparently because lunch was 10 minutes away. After I thought everything was going fairly smoothly with school, he now doesn't want to go to school tomorrow.

    Decided that for the rest of the year I'm not going to buy anything unnecessary for the cars. Hopefully I'll be able to put a little more money into the savings before the end of the year.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • CathT
    • By CathT 14th Oct 16, 6:41 AM
    • 4,884 Posts
    • 33,474 Thanks
    CathT
    A quiet half term is planned here too. Over the last year or so whenever I've asked the children what they would like to do at the weekend I.e a day out, they just want to go to the park or ride their bikes. They're so busy with extra curricular things that half term is needed for a rest! NT properties are our limit!

    He's settling well thank you. I did think transition would be smoother as he's gone to private nursery full time since he was 2 and did 'wrap a round' during his nursery year. He found the days quite long though as think he was used to moving around more.

    Alex do you have any advice re: piano tuition please? Dd started a year ago, she's 8 niw and actually picked up scale of c on y0utube which impressed her first teacher at the initial lesson. She had a few lessons and then we started with a music school shortly after. I've been informed she's ready to work towards grade 1 but apart from a sheet of paper in her book there seems to be little progress or feedback. We are debating switching to a private teacher (for several reasons) as she is taught in a group of 4-6 children. Any tips re: timing? I thought getting her through grade 1 would be best but we don't seem to be moving forward and she's losing interest. She has a natural ability so want to nurture it and until recently she has been super keen and played at a concert at school and loved the feedback she got.

    Sorry, that went on longer than expected!
    June 2010 £121,287
    Nov 2016 £84,680
    WIOTW Nov £92,214
    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 14th Oct 16, 4:32 PM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    A quiet half term is planned here too. Over the last year or so whenever I've asked the children what they would like to do at the weekend I.e a day out, they just want to go to the park or ride their bikes. They're so busy with extra curricular things that half term is needed for a rest! NT properties are our limit!

    He's settling well thank you. I did think transition would be smoother as he's gone to private nursery full time since he was 2 and did 'wrap a round' during his nursery year. He found the days quite long though as think he was used to moving around more.

    Alex do you have any advice re: piano tuition please? Dd started a year ago, she's 8 niw and actually picked up scale of c on y0utube which impressed her first teacher at the initial lesson. She had a few lessons and then we started with a music school shortly after. I've been informed she's ready to work towards grade 1 but apart from a sheet of paper in her book there seems to be little progress or feedback. We are debating switching to a private teacher (for several reasons) as she is taught in a group of 4-6 children. Any tips re: timing? I thought getting her through grade 1 would be best but we don't seem to be moving forward and she's losing interest. She has a natural ability so want to nurture it and until recently she has been super keen and played at a concert at school and loved the feedback she got.

    Sorry, that went on longer than expected!
    Originally posted by CathT
    My son is tired and it's been a long half term too. To be honest, I'm rather glad he will be happy with a quiet one this time. Though we did talk about going to my parents' apartment in Spain, not done anything about it and time is running out. May look at flight costs as I suppose it would be nice to get away. It seems the black dog is brushing up against me at the moment, trying not to let things get as bad as they've been in the past though.

    Going to school was quite an ordeal for my son (OK, I'll admit it, for me too. ) but sounds like yours was much better prepared. It is a long time for them to be there and I think most are tired; both my cousin and brother-in-law have children and said something similar despite being better prepared than my son.

    Re. piano: I'd be moving on now as I don't personally think a child can learn to play piano being taught in such a group whilst building good technique and a good general awareness of music. Clearly, I cannot tell you whether your daughter is ready to sit Grade 1 when I have never heard and seen her play but after a year most pupils are ready. To give you an idea of feedback I provide, each one of my pupils leaves their lesson with an A4 sheet of paper stating what to / how to practise over the coming week. They have books / folders for technique, repertoire / composer studies, theory and musicianship. I do not have pupils sit exams until all components of the exam are to a satisfactory standard and I personally believe the pupil is a Grade x musician. Many teachers will get a pupil to learn three pieces by rote and have an idea of how to play the required scales. To me, this is not a Grade x standard musician. Further, I would not get hung up over exams. I'm fairly certain I could coach my son through higher grades than he has currently sat but I would be neglecting to give him a broad education in music as well as things he enjoys like playing duets and putting together mini-recitals.

    Do you play piano / another instrument? If so, you may find your daughter's interest is renewed if you are willing to play duets with her or even have her play simplified accompaniments based around the primary chords. Ask her what she likes about playing the piano and what she dislikes. If you don't play an instrument, learning to play piano / any other instrument well is a disciplined process which is not going to always be wonderfully "fun". Listen to Radio 3, talk about music and take her to see a concert.

    Hope this is useful.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • tootallulah
    • By tootallulah 15th Oct 16, 8:02 AM
    • 1,934 Posts
    • 6,679 Thanks
    tootallulah
    You sound like a really committed music teacher - lucky students!
    Mortgage House £173,000 July17th 2016.
    • SingleSue
    • By SingleSue 15th Oct 16, 8:48 AM
    • 9,559 Posts
    • 51,992 Thanks
    SingleSue
    It's not just the little ones who get tired, youngest son who is in his final year of A levels, is also exhausted and looking forward to the half term.

    His workload is absolutely massive at the moment and on top of that, he is doing his uni prep (portfolio, personal statement etc) plus he has this mad idea of trying to fit a part time job in there somewhere, no idea where it would fit though or where he would find the energy for it!

    So far, the only thing we have planned for the half term week is right at the end, an open day visit to Lincoln university.
    Keep battling on, I will get there eventually..even if I don't know where there is! Now a degree student and a carer to 3 disabled sons! Eldests' diagnosis (4.5.10) is Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility type and now it looks like I have it too (13.1.11) eekk!
    Tilly Tidy #10 £92.24/£180
    • CathT
    • By CathT 15th Oct 16, 9:09 AM
    • 4,884 Posts
    • 33,474 Thanks
    CathT
    Great advice thank you Alex. I gave found another teacher who will give individual lessons and I think dd will really get along with her. Dd tells me she isnt even being observed whilst she plays.

    I used to play violin but not to a high standard and only on a ceap violin! I do appreciate music though. The new tutor is part of a music school where they have concerts I think dd will enjoy.
    June 2010 £121,287
    Nov 2016 £84,680
    WIOTW Nov £92,214
    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 16th Oct 16, 12:06 AM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    You sound like a really committed music teacher - lucky students!
    Originally posted by tootallulah
    Thank you, I try my best to be.

    It's not just the little ones who get tired, youngest son who is in his final year of A levels, is also exhausted and looking forward to the half term.

    His workload is absolutely massive at the moment and on top of that, he is doing his uni prep (portfolio, personal statement etc) plus he has this mad idea of trying to fit a part time job in there somewhere, no idea where it would fit though or where he would find the energy for it!

    So far, the only thing we have planned for the half term week is right at the end, an open day visit to Lincoln university.
    Originally posted by SingleSue
    The A Level years are always difficult. What's he hoping to study?

    It's a very long time since I've been to Lincoln (never been to the university, so cannot comment) but I remember it being a lovely city, surrounded by nice countryside.

    Great advice thank you Alex. I gave found another teacher who will give individual lessons and I think dd will really get along with her. Dd tells me she isnt even being observed whilst she plays.

    I used to play violin but not to a high standard and only on a ceap violin! I do appreciate music though. The new tutor is part of a music school where they have concerts I think dd will enjoy.
    Originally posted by CathT
    You're most welcome, Cath.

    I don't think you've anything to lose by trying the other teacher.

    Not too late to take it back up. My wife used to play clarinet and saxophone at school. Didn't play for years but she talked about starting saxophone again, so I bought one for a wedding anniversary present. We always make time once per month to learn and play some jazz standards together.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • SingleSue
    • By SingleSue 16th Oct 16, 10:19 AM
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    SingleSue
    His choices (at the moment, all subject to change) are Lincoln, NUA (Norwich), UCA (Farnham), Worcester and possibly Staffordshire.

    I know none of them are high brow or RG but he is extremely picky (as he should be) on the course content offered in what is quite a niche course, so the pool of universities is really quite small. He is also held back a little because of his GCSE results (his maths needs to be one grade higher for the really good universities). He's a typical late bloomer partly thanks to the brilliant college he is now at after an abysmal academy he previously attended who decided to ignore his statement and not provide him with the help he was supposed to get in his GCSE years plus left him languishing in the bottom set of classes with all the disruptive students because he had additional needs. It didn't matter if he showed potential, they had written him off because of his statement and the fact he had only been full time at school since he was 11 and his attendance even after that was not great due to hospital admissions.

    Once he got to the college and felt comfortable, the shutters opened (he has complex autism plus other 'stuff') and he finally felt able to show exactly what he could do.....top of his year group, achieving 3 x Distinction* which is equivalent to 3 x A* at A level. He works incredibly hard to remain at the top, putting in hours and hours of work every night producing thousands of words for every task, so I get very annoyed when I see people saying that BTEC is easy, that they do no work, that it is for the failures and a 2 year doss. So far, in all his units, he has achieved Distinctions and probably killed several large trees....

    It's been a complete surprise for the college, they thought at best he would be a below average to average student, with an aspirational target of 3 x Merits (equivalent to 3 x C at A level) at the start of level 3, I was never in doubt that he would fly at some point, he just needed the right setting and support.

    His top two are Lincoln and NUA. Eldest will be very upset if youngest gets an offer from NUA, it was the only uni to reject him after interview and was the one he had set his heart on, of course, all that is spurring youngest on, he wants to beat his brother!

    Eeek, went on a bit of a rant there! Just for balance, his infant and junior schools were amazing, never giving up on him and some outside the box thinking from the head of his junior school which meant that youngest could stay in mainstream education. His high school was also very good and he was making good progress and starting to fly until it became an academy...then it all went horribly wrong.
    Keep battling on, I will get there eventually..even if I don't know where there is! Now a degree student and a carer to 3 disabled sons! Eldests' diagnosis (4.5.10) is Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility type and now it looks like I have it too (13.1.11) eekk!
    Tilly Tidy #10 £92.24/£180
    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 17th Oct 16, 11:33 PM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    Sounds like your son is on track to do well, Sue.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • AlexLK
    • By AlexLK 17th Oct 16, 11:42 PM
    • 5,120 Posts
    • 25,838 Thanks
    AlexLK
    Well, it seems everyone on here is buying Christmas presents already and I haven't even got anything organised for my son's birthday (one month away). I am struggling a bit at the moment, to be honest. Lots of thoughts about the past and if I'd taken this route or that rather than the ones I did. Mainly questioning if I could've changed things and prevented all the problems I have.

    Financially I've done nothing productive and there is not a chance that we'll be able to make any kind of an overpayment.
    Savings 2016: £9,790.
    £32,000 in debt on 2/9/2013. Debt free on 12/1/2015.
    Saved £11,000 in 2015.

    • A Frayed Knot
    • By A Frayed Knot 18th Oct 16, 12:53 AM
    • 1,742 Posts
    • 7,989 Thanks
    A Frayed Knot
    We all think from time to time (don't we ?) about what if . . . . . I had done this instead of that, or that instead of this. However I generally think the path you take is the right one, and if your not on the right road, then you steer till you get on the right road. Even if on the right road, it's not all plain sailing (?) I get some strange peculiar thoughts, like, if I had crossed the road minutes later, would I have been hit by a bus

    Result is. if you didn't have all the past problems, you wouldn't be the person you are today, and from what I read, that's a good person, a good husband, a good son and a good father

    On another note, you say you won't be able to make a o/p this month, but look on the positive side, would you be able to add £10 to your savings, making the total £9,800 (that's the zeros kicking in)
    Always have 00.00 at the end of your mortgage balance and someday it will all be 0's
    MFMarch 30 Re/M Oct 23 Target -Dec 19
    o/p 2014/£4000, 2015/£6294.69 MFW2016 #27 £3101.03/£3000
    £1000/£1000 51.44/33.29=84.73
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