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  • FIRST POST
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 11th Jul 16, 2:16 PM
    • 24Posts
    • 59Thanks
    Lumina
    Lumina's leap towards a brighter future
    • #1
    • 11th Jul 16, 2:16 PM
    Lumina's leap towards a brighter future 11th Jul 16 at 2:16 PM
    Like many others, I've read countless mortgage free wannabe posts over the past year, but never managed to start my own diary. But here we go, I'm determined to make a start.

    A bit about us, we're a family of two (soon to be 3 ) and have gone through so many changes over the past year, that I've kind of lost track of our finances. I think as a first step I should try and work out how much money is coming in (fairly easy) and how much we're spending (). With more changes ahead I thought it'd be a good time to get started - and it's also a good way to ignore the pile of washing that's waiting for me in the kitchen...

    While I'm not sure how to get there yet, our big goals are:
    • buy a nicer house
    • sort out pension etc
    • build up savings/ensure financial stability
    • be more aware of what we can afford

    We bought our current house about a year ago and knew at the time that it would only be a temporary solution. Our bank offered us a 250k mortgage at the time , but we settled for a much more manageable 85k... it turned out that it was one of the best decisions we could have made.

    In the short term, I plan to tackle the following:
    • sort out water bill
    • pay home insurance in full
    • cancel travel insurance if possible
    • post SOA
Page 2
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 10th Aug 16, 6:30 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    Two additional OPs since my last post: £7.42 & 3.52, bringing August's total to 14.87

    I'm still trying to reduce our food budget, but just had to place a £95 order . It covers the essentials for 2 weeks, but we'll still need to do a few top up shops mainly for fresh bread, milk and cheese...and it doesn't include fruit and veg, because we get a separate veg box for £15 once a week...
    OH normally has cereal for breakfast, but he's lost quite a bit of weight over the past few months and needs a proper breakfast... so far I've bought things for
    • fried eggs on toast, fruit (60p)
    • sardines on toast, fruit (£1)
    • omelette, toast, fruit (80p)

    Not sure what else I could make that wouldn't cost lots of money?
    • PennyJar
    • By PennyJar 11th Aug 16, 11:18 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 293 Thanks
    PennyJar
    Hey Lumina,

    Hope your well and dear OH...was thinking what about porridge pots from Aldi (39p each) which I think are a lot nicer than the Alpen/Quaker Oats pots? Really filling and quick and easy to make (you only need to add boiled water from kettle) plus they're really filling too.

    Also you could always get 'yellow sticker' reduced bread loaf (I had a massive malt loaf for 3p last week Asda and its still fresh today) and do a couple of slices of toast too if he fancied something extra.

    So brekkie per day - 39p/40p

    PennyJar
    Debt Free - 2011 (£15, 000) | MFiT - T4 #78 £0/£20,000 (Mortgage reduction target)
    Mortgage Free Goal - 2026 (£101, 062) | #198 Emergency Fund Challenge £500/£1000
    Massive fan - thank you for changing the game!
    • PennyJar
    • By PennyJar 11th Aug 16, 11:32 PM
    • 114 Posts
    • 293 Thanks
    PennyJar
    P.s just re-read my post...apologies for stating the obvious lol ...as if you've never heard of porridge pots before lol i'll put it down to the Welsh valley culture in me coming through....just ignore me if I get too carried away!!

    Haha
    Debt Free - 2011 (£15, 000) | MFiT - T4 #78 £0/£20,000 (Mortgage reduction target)
    Mortgage Free Goal - 2026 (£101, 062) | #198 Emergency Fund Challenge £500/£1000
    Massive fan - thank you for changing the game!
    • smallholdingsister
    • By smallholdingsister 12th Aug 16, 8:14 AM
    • 2,503 Posts
    • 19,522 Thanks
    smallholdingsister
    Hi Lumina and welcome!
    Love the name.

    Are you somewhere rural - can you get eggs from a farm? Ours are £2.50 for thirty. Saves a fortune.
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 29th Aug 16, 11:57 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    Hi Lumina and welcome!
    Love the name.

    Are you somewhere rural - can you get eggs from a farm? Ours are £2.50 for thirty. Saves a fortune.
    Originally posted by smallholdingsister
    Wow, that sounds great. We currently pay £1.35 for 6 eggs. We live in the countryside but I wouldn't say it's rural... I'll try and find somewhere that sells eggs a bit cheaper

    Hey Lumina,

    Hope your well and dear OH...was thinking what about porridge pots from Aldi (39p each) which I think are a lot nicer than the Alpen/Quaker Oats pots? Really filling and quick and easy to make (you only need to add boiled water from kettle) plus they're really filling too.

    Also you could always get 'yellow sticker' reduced bread loaf (I had a massive malt loaf for 3p last week Asda and its still fresh today) and do a couple of slices of toast too if he fancied something extra.

    So brekkie per day - 39p/40p

    PennyJar
    Originally posted by PennyJar
    I love porridge I normally buy a 1kg bag and then use 1 cup of oats and 2 of water, stir + boil it quickly. I think it costs about 5p but OH thinks porridge is vile & would rather go hungry...

    August update to follow.
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 29th Aug 16, 12:42 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    August's targets were:
    - have homemade lunch 4 out of 5 days a week worked well, but forgot to include coffees etc...
    - track food spending and stick to meal plan most days
    - TT works really well and we don't seem to miss the money even small OPs will make a difference in the long run!
    - find 2nd hand pram for LO - we were about to buy one but then found out it would be too wide for our car,drive and front door... we might leave this one until LO arrives and buy a sling for the first month or two
    - use any underspend from Aug as OP - no underspend, went over budget by quite a bit...
    - need to try UHT milk it's not too bad tbh, so will buy some more
    - decide if we can reduce emergency fund by 2k to overpay decided against it, the immediate security is more important to us than clearing the mortgage slightly earlier..

    August wasn't the best month financially. I had budgeted £335 for groceries and we spent £460 £135 for top up shops and £35 for work lunches , also had a rather expensive family lunch and ended up overspending £55 in the eating out category... feeling slightly deflated about our MFW journey and we only started 6 weeks ago... only managed about £15 in overpayments

    I don't think we waste much food, and we buy own brand items for most things... I might change our fortnightly online delivery to weekly which might stop us going to the local shop too often. And remember ready a thread about budget meals somewhere on here, that might help me to see what we're doing wrong...

    On a more positive note: OH's business went well in August *we think*, and he might be able to pay himself a small wage this month. We should know once all his expenses have been paid, but fingers crossed
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 10th Sep 16, 6:30 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    Just a quick update:
    We changed our fortnightly online delivery to weekly and haven't been to the local shop since, which will hopefully mean that we'll be able to stick to our budget this month.

    What's even better is that OH will be able to pay himself a wage for the first time! We had a look at August's books and he's made a decent profit. He's now also fully on board with our MFW + financial security journey and happy for me to decide how to allocate his income. It will be a mix of fixed pension contributions for OH (thinking of £500 initially) and any surplus will be split between overpayments and a savings/fun/holiday fund. I will work out the details later, because for now we've decided to treat ourselves with a nice meal and to celebrate
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 12th Sep 16, 9:54 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    House renovations are coming along nicely - we're definitely making progress and sensible choices most of the time.
    I have set aside £800 for heating work so far and we should be able to save another £800 in Sept which should be enough. We decided not to get the bathroom done this year, because there are quite a few other things we'd like to do and they all seem to add up!

    We'll hopefully be able to start more substantial overpayments in Jan next year, I've made a small £12.54 OP for now.

    Targets for next few months
    • meet a few IFAS for OH pension
    • put OH wages into savings until Jan 2017
    • stick to meal plan
    • Kittenkirst
    • By Kittenkirst 13th Sep 16, 8:26 AM
    • 845 Posts
    • 3,770 Thanks
    Kittenkirst
    Hi Lumina, sounds like this month has been a better month for you
    Well done on the overpayments!

    If your OH doesn't like porridge would he eat flapjacks if you made them in advance? I've made various fruity flapjacks using either *ldi super 6 fruit, fruit that's going a bit dodge in the fruit bowl or ys fruit I've nabbed (like spiced plum flapjacks). I serve them with a big spoon of full fat Greek yogurt (you can even heat the flapjack in microwave for a warm brekkie)
    Emergency savings- £701.54 /£1000
    Mortgage Oct '16- £170.995 LTV- 90%
    2016 OP target- £15.06 / £150 -
    Mortgage end date- Nov '41

    NST: 42
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 29th Sep 16, 3:29 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    Hi Lumina, sounds like this month has been a better month for you
    Well done on the overpayments!

    If your OH doesn't like porridge would he eat flapjacks if you made them in advance? I've made various fruity flapjacks using either *ldi super 6 fruit, fruit that's going a bit dodge in the fruit bowl or ys fruit I've nabbed (like spiced plum flapjacks). I serve them with a big spoon of full fat Greek yogurt (you can even heat the flapjack in microwave for a warm brekkie)
    Originally posted by Kittenkirst
    Thanks Kittenkirst, that's a good idea! We recently bought some granola bars with berries and pumpkin seeds that were rather tasty. I'll try and make my own next week
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 29th Sep 16, 3:44 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    Just went through our finances from September and it went much better than August! We only overspent by £15 which is much better than the £215 last month... I know it's still not in budget, but we never had one and always just bought what we liked so I'm happy about the improvement

    Targets for today:
    Submit meter readings
    Sign up to MSE switch
    Switch broadband provider

    I also found out that I got a small payrise which means that I can start to make a regular overpayment each month without cutting back
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 30th Sep 16, 6:13 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    I just overpaid £33 A combination of cheaper broadband and slight pay increase
    • lippy1923
    • By lippy1923 1st Oct 16, 1:31 PM
    • 1,069 Posts
    • 3,018 Thanks
    lippy1923
    Hi Lumina


    Just come across your diary. Keep up with the good work. I will be reading with interest.


    Lippy
    Total Mortgage OP £15,000
    House Value £240,000 Mortgage £99,932
    Emergency Fund £21,575
    Shares £93
    • themadvix
    • By themadvix 3rd Oct 16, 10:28 AM
    • 374 Posts
    • 1,301 Thanks
    themadvix
    Hi Lumina,

    I saw above you mentioned meeting IFAs regarding your OH's pension... I'm self-employed and only got around to sorting a pension out earlier this year. I met with a couple of IFAs and did some research but the pensions I was being offered were expensive and complicated - in the end I opted for the NEST pension (the government set-up one that is standard offering for auto-enrol). SE people can have one, they just don't get any contributions from their employer (funnily enough!). It's just what I was looking for as it offered the flexibility to put as much or as little in per month as I could afford (and in fact I tend to put in a lump sum at the beginning of the year, as I collect all tax money/NI and pension contributions together and pay into pension once tax bill is sorted). It also offered an ethical option too (which was important to me). It might not be what your OH is looking for, but I just thought I'd mention it as it was perfect for me, and much cheaper than IFA options!

    Vix

    ETA Obviously I can't vouch for it's performance as it's all very new!
    OPs made 2016 = £6142.12
    Starting balance 2012: £132000; balance December 2016: £105,159.36
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 12th Oct 16, 3:31 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    Hi Lumina,

    I saw above you mentioned meeting IFAs regarding your OH's pension... I'm self-employed and only got around to sorting a pension out earlier this year. I met with a couple of IFAs and did some research but the pensions I was being offered were expensive and complicated - in the end I opted for the NEST pension (the government set-up one that is standard offering for auto-enrol). SE people can have one, they just don't get any contributions from their employer (funnily enough!). It's just what I was looking for as it offered the flexibility to put as much or as little in per month as I could afford (and in fact I tend to put in a lump sum at the beginning of the year, as I collect all tax money/NI and pension contributions together and pay into pension once tax bill is sorted). It also offered an ethical option too (which was important to me). It might not be what your OH is looking for, but I just thought I'd mention it as it was perfect for me, and much cheaper than IFA options!

    Vix

    ETA Obviously I can't vouch for it's performance as it's all very new!
    Originally posted by themadvix
    Thanks Vix,
    I had a look a Nest and it seems like a good option for the self employed . I think it will be best for OH to pay in monthly - once the money is gone it can't be redirected towards the mortgage but he's also putting money aside each month for taxes and overheads, which I think I overestimated by about 20%. He doesn't know this, but it should hopefully leave a nice lump sum at the end of the year

    We also had some rather good news and should have about £4000 coming our way I'm very tempted to overpay all of it, but we're most likely to split it between OH pension, savings, OPs and the home improvement pot...

    October has been a very expensive month so far and I fell slightly off the MSE wagon... I ordered lots of nice bedding for LO and other bits - the damage is about £130 - but at least it's all good quality stuff that should last years - at least that's what I'm telling myself
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 18th Oct 16, 11:54 AM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    No progress to report on the OP front, but I have now started my Mat Leave. After a bit of an initial low (I love my job and the prospect of staying at home for months frightened me a little bit to be honest), but I'm now rather enjoying it

    We seem to be leaking money at the moment - I spent the past days ordering the last few things for LO and I feel I have made sensible choices, but it's still been really expensive
    Heating work is being done too at the moment, so that's another £1200. And we have family visiting this weekend, which could easily cost another £300 for eating out for 4 days. But the alternative would be to have them all in our house which would be a bit stressful
    • try harder
    • By try harder 18th Oct 16, 3:30 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 456 Thanks
    try harder
    Really enjoying your diary Lumina ,hope you have a lovely weekend with family.
    • Lumina
    • By Lumina 11th Nov 16, 5:58 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    Lumina
    A lot has happened since my last post: LO arrived!
    It's amazing how quickly your priorities change once you start to look after a little person - a hot cup of tea was something I used to take for granted

    October was a very expensive month - I haven't had the courage yet to assess the damage, but we did have a nice time with my family, and they paid for most meals

    I don't think November will be much better: sleep deprivation and money saving don't seem to go hand in hand... we ordered lots of freezer friendly food and the next day I left the door open and it all defrosted overnight

    On a more positive note: I got paid an extra £140 in October, something to do with ML pay which I swiftly overpaid. It's our biggest OP to date
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