Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 20th Nov 15, 10:30 PM
    • 1,710Posts
    • 17,713Thanks
    Courgette
    Courgette's 'Frugality gives us options' diary
    • #1
    • 20th Nov 15, 10:30 PM
    Courgette's 'Frugality gives us options' diary 20th Nov 15 at 10:30 PM
    Right, having attempted a name-change I just couldn't feel the love for I'm back in my original guise - albeit with a cleaned-up history and a commitment to being a bit more careful with what I share!

    This new diary's title is inspired by a thread of the same name on Frugalwoods (one day I'll learn to add links!). Those of you who've known me a while will know that of late I've found it hard to find purpose. Not in an unhappy way but in the sense of questioning constantly what I'm working towards in financial and more general terms. Life currently is so busy with 3 children and the day to day chaos that comes with that, plus our income is pretty low at this point and that makes focus hard. I change my mind weekly between wanting to relocate to numerous different places and the various reasons behind that and my financial goals change - do we OP, do we invest, do we give up on self-employment in jobs that excite us and just earn what we can as quickly as we can (tempting), do we even look to get another BTL (unlikely) or do we just blow it all on the here and now (even more unlikely!)?

    One thing I've always done really well at is spending less than my income and saving for the future. Even when I've been on the bones of my derriere I've always always always put something aside. Over time, this approach has served me very well. I've had the ability to enrol on courses I would not have otherwise been able to do, I've been able to leave jobs I've hated with nothing to go to, I was able to get myself on the housing ladder as a single mother earning minimum wage as well as having the luxury of being annoyed rather than in crisis when things have gone wrong or broken down.

    We currently owe about £83.5k on our family home valued at approx £200k with 22 years left to run, we owe family £5,750, we have £4k in emergency savings and owe £83k on an IO BTL mortgage on a house valued at approx £120k. We have no pensions or ISAs or any other investments other than a tiny bit in P2P. I've got a terrifying birthday with a zero in it next year, DH is just the other side (and seems to be okay - maybe I will be too!).

    So, right now I don't really know what I'm working towards but as it says up top... frugality gives you options and options are always brilliant to have.
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
Page 6
    • Secret Saving Squirrel
    • By Secret Saving Squirrel 6th Feb 17, 9:40 PM
    • 3,929 Posts
    • 36,202 Thanks
    Secret Saving Squirrel
    Good idea Courgette. It is easy to forget about good places that are recommended to you if you don't write them down. Have fun!
    Paid off mortgage nine years early in 2013. Now picking and choosing our work to fit in with the rest of our lives!
    Still thrifty though, after all these years
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 6th Feb 17, 10:05 PM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    Great idea EG! Sounds very organised too!

    Did some sums and worked the cost of us visiting all the museums just once over the next 12 months would be £59 so it definitely is money saving. Gonna hunt out some more free stuff first though
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • museumworker
    • By museumworker 10th Feb 17, 10:21 PM
    • 1,969 Posts
    • 11,127 Thanks
    museumworker
    Just popping on to say your London weekend sounds lovely, so glad you enjoyed it and apologies I wasn't feeling well enough to meet you. You'll have to come again soon

    Sorry to hear you're not feeling great - I had low iron levels in pregnancy and I felt really worn out. I subscribed to spatone on Amaz0n which worked out only a few quid for a month's supply, it's one of the few supplements I've noticed making a difference so I still take it now to deal with fatigue.

    Great news on possible daytime work and also eBay sales sound like they're doing brilliantly.

    Definitely buy the annual Musuem pass
    Mortgage 16/03/2011: £190K 01/01/2017: £107,729.65 01/07/2017: £95,979.89
    OPs 2011-2016 = £45K 2017 OPs = £9250.20
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 13th Feb 17, 8:35 AM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    Thanks MW!

    Yes, London was really great and yes, shame but as Arnie says....I'll be back!

    My general malaise has been solved - a severe vitamin D deficiency. I've let Gallygirl know she needs to get the spare room ready as I'll be overwintering with her from now on

    I've not seen the GP yet (just got results over the phone) but in the meantime have bought a load of vitamin D and spatone from Amazon to start building me back up again. I'm glad to get an explanation but I'm a bit worried about it all really too as I have a lot of symptoms like painful wrists when I pick the children up and painful hips too. Still, must be positive. Might mean to move to Shetland will have to be swapped for a move to the south of France (what a shame )

    Half term here now and the weather is being suitably grim. We're having a day out at the Deep in Hull today but this is the only expensive day we've got planned. Tickets already bought so just train fare. Will take a packed lunch obviously

    Rest of the week should be pretty much free except for bus fares.

    Oh, exciting eBay news....Drum roll please.....We've passed £9k!!!!!!! That's £9k turnover for two months. I had a hardcore offence day on Tuesday and that's pushed it up. I'm very very pleased as you can probably imagine!

    Right, time to crack on. Have a good day, all!
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • gallygirl
    • By gallygirl 13th Feb 17, 8:41 AM
    • 16,455 Posts
    • 107,807 Thanks
    gallygirl
    I've let Gallygirl know she needs to get the spare room ready as I'll be overwintering with her from now on

    Originally posted by Courgette
    I think I'm going to need bunk beds

    Well done on ebay .

    Save
    A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort
    Mortgage Balance = £0
    "Do what others won't early in life so you can do what others can't later in life"
    • newgirly
    • By newgirly 13th Feb 17, 8:50 AM
    • 5,861 Posts
    • 40,043 Thanks
    newgirly
    That's so impressive courgette well done
    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.
    • Tropically
    • By Tropically 13th Feb 17, 8:56 AM
    • 144 Posts
    • 417 Thanks
    Tropically
    Wow that's very impressive! Great work!!
    • Pooky
    • By Pooky 14th Feb 17, 8:42 AM
    • 6,725 Posts
    • 41,561 Thanks
    Pooky
    Brilliant turnover - can't even begin to imagine how many parcels you've sent out! Do the post office collect from you?
    "Start every day off with a smile and get it over with" - W. C. Field.
    • earthgirl
    • By earthgirl 14th Feb 17, 4:50 PM
    • 2,453 Posts
    • 20,142 Thanks
    earthgirl
    Sorry to hear the vit D is a problem..hope it improves soon and you get the help and support from the docs you need.

    Great offence!!
    15/5/12 Paid off Mortgage 1 (£220k) Dec 13 - £116,508 Bought Dream House Dec 14 - £94, 402 (£22,106 offset in 2014) Jan 16 - £67, 852 (£26,550 offset in 2015) Dec 16 - £33,529 ( £34,323offset in 2016)
    Jan 17 - £39, 773 (Re-estimation of endowments )
    June 17 £32,053 Sept 17 £22,619
    Kids savings 13,578/36k
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 15th Jul 17, 6:52 PM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    So there I was minding my own business mooching around an allotment with the lads when I spotted a courgette. The boys got very excited and started shouting "Mummy, courgette, look Mummy courgette" (clearly I need to get them out more if seeing a vegetable growing on a plant arouses such high excitement ). Anyway, it got me thinking....yeah, Courgette - where is she these days? I used to get such fabulous support from this place so I really need to be back don't I!

    Some news, but not loads. eBay 60 day turnover has now gone over £10,000 which is totally fab. Mortgage something like £78,000 which is less fab.

    We also got planning permission granted for our kitchen extension. I drew the plans myself and it only took three attempts to get the planners to accept them, apparently they need to be accurate. Who knew! Anyway, quotes from the builders to do the whole lot averaged around £12,000 excluding the actual kitchen units themselves obviously so we, being tight gits, decided it'd be a good idea to do it ourselves. You know, both work, three kids one of whom has only just finished A levels and another who is only at nursery 15 hours. What could possibly go wrong?!

    So far it's taken us 4 weeks and counting to dig the footings (we decided to do it by hand. Never, ever again) but we are thankfully nearly at the point of Latin cement.

    I've also had to have lots of ridiculous conversations with various people way more knowledgeable than I am about various building related stuff. It's fun and I'm learning loads but it's gonna be slow going!

    I've also started teaching online, working with a school in China. I'm really pleased about that as the hours are much more family friendly than tuition usually is although the rate of pay isn't quite so high.

    All family debts are also cleared which is obviously great.

    So actually I've been pretty busy! One more year before DS3 starts school (we deferred his start date due to being a very late August boy) and I've enjoyed this time. I haven't been as aggressive with the mortgage as I could have been but in hindsight I'm pleased despite sometimes feeling frustrated by this.

    I'll start posting more regularly again now as we start to move into this new chapter in our lives
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • earthgirl
    • By earthgirl 15th Jul 17, 7:49 PM
    • 2,453 Posts
    • 20,142 Thanks
    earthgirl
    Great to have an update courgette!
    Wow to drawing your own plans and actually doing your own building work. £10k in 60 days is ace.

    Ds2 starts school in August so I've been enjoying this year
    15/5/12 Paid off Mortgage 1 (£220k) Dec 13 - £116,508 Bought Dream House Dec 14 - £94, 402 (£22,106 offset in 2014) Jan 16 - £67, 852 (£26,550 offset in 2015) Dec 16 - £33,529 ( £34,323offset in 2016)
    Jan 17 - £39, 773 (Re-estimation of endowments )
    June 17 £32,053 Sept 17 £22,619
    Kids savings 13,578/36k
    • newgirly
    • By newgirly 15th Jul 17, 9:16 PM
    • 5,861 Posts
    • 40,043 Thanks
    newgirly
    Wow building your own extension is very impressive you dont fancy giving me a quote for a kitchen extension do you?
    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.
    • greent
    • By greent 15th Jul 17, 10:35 PM
    • 6,423 Posts
    • 64,860 Thanks
    greent
    Am always impressed at just what determined MFW-ers turn their hands to!
    xx
    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
    Next: BTL Mtge 12/16 £69786. 2017 OPs (#18) £5034/£3286
    Net sales 2017 £1221.45/£500 PAYDOX17 £11937/£10k Decluttered 1730/2017 items
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 16th Jul 17, 9:22 PM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    Thanks all!

    Did the big weekly shop today - £84.64 plus £2.90 for taxi to carry it home. I know this is no where near impressive compared to the average MFWer but food shopping is a real area of weakness for me. My subconscious believes the sky will cave in if I don't have full to bursting cupboards at all times. My challenge for the week is not to buy anything other than bread before next Sunday. Once I've cracked that I'll start trimming.

    Aside from the food, it's been a no spend weekend. Went to a local free event yesterday and today we've been pottering at home. The footings for the kitchen are very nearly deep enough now, I'm really hoping we can get them signed off by building regs and get the concrete poured this week.

    We've also inherited an absolutely gorgeous table which will eventually go in our new kitchen. We've spent the afternoon cleaning and polishing it up and it's looking great. It didn't come with chairs unfortunately so I'll need to keep an eye out for some when we've decided what we'd like

    That's about it. 2.5 hours online tuition this morning before breakfast (getting up at 6.30 on a Sunday just seems obscene but I have a great feeling of smugness once I've finished)
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • Secret Saving Squirrel
    • By Secret Saving Squirrel 17th Jul 17, 8:17 AM
    • 3,929 Posts
    • 36,202 Thanks
    Secret Saving Squirrel
    IT is lovely to hear from you and good luck with the extension. Building isn't rocket science, just take it steady, take advice and never do a bodge and you will be fine! And you will save thousands.
    Paid off mortgage nine years early in 2013. Now picking and choosing our work to fit in with the rest of our lives!
    Still thrifty though, after all these years
    • earthgirl
    • By earthgirl 17th Jul 17, 7:23 PM
    • 2,453 Posts
    • 20,142 Thanks
    earthgirl
    Sounds great courgette, your table sounds lovely.
    15/5/12 Paid off Mortgage 1 (£220k) Dec 13 - £116,508 Bought Dream House Dec 14 - £94, 402 (£22,106 offset in 2014) Jan 16 - £67, 852 (£26,550 offset in 2015) Dec 16 - £33,529 ( £34,323offset in 2016)
    Jan 17 - £39, 773 (Re-estimation of endowments )
    June 17 £32,053 Sept 17 £22,619
    Kids savings 13,578/36k
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 26th Jul 17, 11:30 AM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    Oh dear, I promised myself I was gonna start posting more regularly. Oooops!

    We made a massive purchase this week of a bike for DS2 - £330. I've been searching for ages for something similar second hand and they just haven't been coming up and as we don't have a car and are surrounded by hills it's important he has a decent bike. Plus DS3 will also be able to use it .....still a lot of money though

    Other than that it's all been pretty spend-free. We've got the keys to a friend's allotment for a few weeks so we're enjoying eating her veggies. We're also cat-sitting for one of my students for 3 weeks while she goes home (this really is above and beyond usual teaching duties!). These three things - the bike, the allotment, the cat will keep the boys interested for a while over the holidays for no more outlay.

    I've also had a good sort out of the bookshelves and games so they can easily see what they have which I'm hoping will reduce the temptation to buy new.

    Bit of a set-back with the extension unfortunately. We really don't feel confident doing the brickwork especially as this means removing bricks from our existing house to tie the new walls in. I'd assumed (stupidly it seems) that it would be possible to hire in a bricklayer as we needed them, in a similar way to getting in a plumber or plasterer. Turns out this isn't really the case as all brickies seem to be employed by building firms. This means there's gonna be a massive delay in the building. We had someone over last night who comes with a very strong recommendation but he can't start until mid October. Sigh. I've waited 5 years to get going with this kitchen so I guess I can wait a bit longer.

    DS2's last day of school today. Because we thought the summer would be all about the kitchen we haven't booked anything. Will have a look and see what I can find to do

    Ho hum
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 28th Jul 17, 10:38 PM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    The kids have all broken up from school now, hooray! so far haven't spent any money but it's only been 2 days!

    Tomorrow we're off on a once in a childhood day out to a local expensive tourist attraction. Tickets cost me £36 plus I'll need to spend £5 on the bus to get to the coach. Not entirely sure I'd make the same decision to go there again at that price but the boys are very excited.

    I'll make sure it's a NSD unless emergency hot chocolate is required. Have made some ginger biscuits with them this evening which can be their treat in the lunch box then will just take what we have. Have printed out a guide from what I could cobble together off the website too to keep it a bit cheaper

    Friend's allotment is doing well - courgettes and mangetout grow very quickly don't they!
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 30th Jul 17, 12:11 PM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    Well, don't want to be negative so, er, I'll try not to be.

    Zoo was a learning experience. I learned that spending a load of money on a single activity is not a good use of resources. The children really do not like feeling like they're being ushered from one 'wow, look at that!' experience to the next. I learned that really the best way to teach them anything is to be hands on and use what they know to link to the bigger picture. For example, observing ants in the garden and discussing how they live and threats to their habitats etc would have been just as beneficial as looking at, say, tigers in a cage. But there we are. Done now.

    Unfortunately boys are being really hard work today due to being overtired. I've got a much more gentle week planned for them this week with possibly a bike ride if the weather holds well enough.

    Going to go food shopping in a moment. Will aim to keep the spend under £60 and will carefully meal plan first
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
    • Courgette
    • By Courgette 30th Jul 17, 3:00 PM
    • 1,710 Posts
    • 17,713 Thanks
    Courgette
    £59.69 spent in Aldi and Asda plus £2.90 on taxi. Not too bad considering recent levels
    A reminder to myself: Persistence Pays Off
    Mortgage 1: £95,000 £78,900 at 3.1%
    Mortgage 2 (BTL): £83, 489.15 at 2.99% (I.O.)
    Savings (S&S ISA): £3000 Plus 6 months emergency savings earning 3%
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

332Posts Today

4,660Users online

Martin's Twitter