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  • FIRST POST
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 28th Jan 17, 12:18 PM
    • 1,142Posts
    • 14,745Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Get a grip woman!
    • #1
    • 28th Jan 17, 12:18 PM
    Get a grip woman! 28th Jan 17 at 12:18 PM
    Having been reading a number of people's debt-free wannabe diaries for some time now, I have finally decided I will start my own.

    We are less than three years from wanting to stop work, and less than ten years from state retirement age. I manage our household finances and DH lets me get on with it. His attitude is more "live for today" so we are a good balance, I think. We have two holidays each year and sometimes more - and he has some boys toys - 2 Harley Davidson motorcycles in the garage, that seem to always need money spending on them. That said, there is more to be said in favour of a happy and contented DH than against them so I don't resent them in any way.

    So to debts - It seems a good time because I have recently finished the finance on my car, and as of yesterday, paid off the finance for DS's car (I borrowed from him 18 months ago and paid back by buying his car on finance and paying his insurance). I was paying 4.7% on that debt so it was my highest priority. I paid it off 10 months early using most of my HSBC Regular Saver that matured this week.

    The debts I have currently are:

    £110,621 - Mortgage - interest rate of 0.74% (0.5 above the BoEBR)
    £3,476 - DH's car - 0% credit card until Sept 17 - a £4000 cash advance with a £76 fee
    £8,755.54 - Barclays Finance for double glazing 0% over 2 years 2/24 paid

    Total £122,852.54

    It isn't that I can't afford to keep up payments, it is more that I want us to start our non-work phase without them hanging over us, if you know what I mean.

    I think that will do for a scene setter.

    SL
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
Page 5
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 30th Mar 17, 10:15 AM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Electricity Tariff
    My current fixed deal will end on 30th April.

    I received the nudge from the MSE Cheap Energy Club to look for another one. I like the certainty of a fixed tariff, preferably without penalties and I'm not bothered about cash back.

    I did the comparison and the first four or five all had terrible customer service ratings. They were all more money than my current tariff (Connect 6 with Flow). I tried the variable tariffs with similar customer service ratings (we are talking 50%+ in poor or terrible!). The next one was Flow's variable tariff. So I logged in and secure messaged Flow to ask them to move me to their variable tariff when my current deal expires.

    By return I received an email saying they are actually introducing a better value fixed deal with no penalties (so offering the same flexibility as the standard variable tariff) and so they would move me to that instead as it offers better value for money for me! I am so happy they have done this.

    Of course I did get the standard email from them a couple of days later saying my current tariff is ending next month - so either the auto-generated email cannot be suppressed... or they forgot to do that.... or they forgot to change me to another tariff

    So in conclusion, this could be my best ever experience of customer service from an energy supplier, or it could be something else. As a glass half full sort of girl (in my head I'm still a girl!), I am hoping it is the former. Very happy with that though!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
    • Karmacat
    • By Karmacat 30th Mar 17, 10:41 AM
    • 27,097 Posts
    • 145,167 Thanks
    Karmacat
    Wow! Brilliant, just brilliant, I love that
    Retired August 2016

    Goal: earnings of £25k from new opportunities from September 2016 to December 2020 when my state pension kicks in.Save
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 14th Apr 17, 10:39 AM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Time for a bit of an update! We have returned from a week in a rented house in the Scottish Highlands (it was great) and a few days at my Mum's, doing a few jobs at her house in Ayrshire. Yesterday we had to clean throughout (Son had been staying here, cat-sitting) and do a mountain of washing, and restock the fridge and freezer. I wouldn't have it any other way but I look forward to him learning how to wipe surfaces and clean toilets before he is 30 (I live in hope, he will be 25 next month!).

    The good things
    • I nudged Flow about the paperwork for our new tariff and they re-sent it. It is a non-published deal for people coming off their Connect 6 tariff which is actually better than the new customer deals on offer. I like that a lot (I have loyalty tendencies)
    • My Mum has completed her cardiac rehabilitation course. It is almost five months since her heart attack and emergency surgery and she continues to get stronger and is back driving her pals around and walking to and from Church
    • Everything in the garden is growing. I refer to the onions, potatoes and strawberries that we put in before going away, and the trees are full of blossom. Lots of weeds too but we won't talk about those!
    • I came off my 8-week low blood sugar diet but I did not go mad and I am less than 3 pounds heavier on my scales, after my holiday.

    I will get back to no carbs and low sugar after Easter weekend but I am eating a bit this weekend - I had a butcher's sausage roll for lunch yesterday, a small piece of bread with salad last night and a small Snickers in the evening so 3 cheats yesterday! I plan a hot cross bun with my coffee when I have finished this too!

    Less good things
    • Despite being short of funds this month (Husband's credit-card bill is almost a thousand on 22nd, and we will clear in full), I spend £30 extra in the SM yesterday (5 jars of my coffee-brand, on offer for £4 instead of £6.95 each) plus a bottle of Prosecco for £5 and three bottles of Aspall's PC Cider for £5 - and bought a humungous shoulder of lamb for £18 for Easter in the Butcher's. It will be lovely but very extravagant.
    • I had to use our bills account to pay for the shopping as we are down to about £65 in the running costs (living expenses) account. This means I will not be overpaying the mortgage this month for the second month running.
    • We plan to use my Husband's DC pension pot to pay down our mortgage and forgot to phone the fund-holder yesterday to enquire about taking the 25% tax-free lump sum this year. I want to understand if this freezes the residual pot or constrains us in any way and I wanted to check with HMRC regarding how to declare this on his SA tax return.
    • Having been away for almost a fortnight I have done very little account-tidying and so our savings are down this month too.
    • I don't want to go back to work on Tuesday. This sounds flippant but I am just not enjoying work at the moment and that is really important to make the time pass with value. I need to look at moving job. Seriously look, rather than talk about it and just have an escape plan that I don't actually put into action.

    Time to have that coffee before I go and clean out my greenhouse and get some seeds planted for other vegetables. If the wind drops I shall weed the beds with gooseberry bushes in, but that might be tomorrow...
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 15th Apr 17, 9:08 AM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    April 17 mid-month update:

    Debts

    £110,621 £105,830 (£4,791 paid so far) - Mortgage
    £3,476 £3,076 (£400)- DH's car (payment on 22nd)
    £8,755.54 £7,561.62 (£1193.92) - Barclays Finance for double glazing

    Total £122,852.54 £116,467.62 - that is £6,384.92 so far



    £8448.27 (aiming for £10,000) Emergency fund today -£1551.73
    £12,226.24 S&S ISA with Fidelity International (original £10,000 4 years ago, no further capital added)
    £5,247.88 DH's S&S ISA with Charles Stanley Direct
    £3,113.08 2 year Bond with Skipton BS @ 4% Finishes in early 2018
    £10,947.52 7 year bond with Skipton BS - matures Oct 20
    £38,630.43 £40,138.88 Total actual cashable savings

    Shortfall -£76,328.74 (all debts)

    I have updated the shortfall to reflect the actual, against all our debts, rather than just the mortgage shortfall.

    We have had DH's DC Pension annual statement and it is almost £68,000. This is good growth (about £10k) in the last year. We are considering withdrawing the permissible 25% tax free lump sum to pay down the mortgage and reduce the interest we will pay in 2017 (we paid £1050 in 2016 despite a rate of 0.74%).

    It feels a bit disappointing this month so far, with most things paid and almost nothing left in our accounts except planned payments. I suppose it goes like that.
    Last edited by Suffolk lass; 15-04-2017 at 9:08 AM. Reason: typo
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 15th Apr 17, 6:38 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Oh my. We had to buy a new lawnmower today.

    The good news is I took out a trial subscription to Which and we bought the top recommendation for £30 less than they said we could get it for.

    The bad news is that my credit card statement date is 16th so it will go in May.
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 20th Apr 17, 8:53 AM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    I lucked out re the CC statement. The lawnmower will be in the June bill so a bit of financial smoothing will be possible in May.

    This month's CC bill is just over £600 rather than £1100 (phew!) and will be cleared in full.

    I have just reviewed my statement and there are some extravagances in there...
    • £63 A new summer duvet and cover from my favourite Dep't Store - it was from the economy range and the old one has replaced the thick hot one at my Mum's house
    • £245.30 for two new waterproof jackets - both needed but did we need Berghaus?
    • £78.87 at the garden centre - my word it mounts up. This is an area of indulgent weakness for me. I must get a grip!
    Other than these I bought a few items of work clothes (used some of my birthday money) and bought flowers that will be reimbursed by others on our holiday, and some fuel (I was anxious not to go OD on the running costs account) - all of which I can forgive.

    I'm also back on the low-carb, low-sugar regime now, aiming for the next half-stone marker, hopefully by July. I must keep an eye on some of my wardrobe or I will pass through some clothes without wearing them. I intend getting shot of clothes that are two sizes too big from now on (my wardrobe has 6 sizes, not 5, as I originally feared). In my sane moments I can see where our money went.
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
    • Bobarella
    • By Bobarella 20th Apr 17, 5:40 PM
    • 10,278 Posts
    • 65,948 Thanks
    Bobarella
    Great news, I love reading your big updates
    "You're not rich until you have something money can't buy."

    Debt neutral 27/03/17 from £40k in the hole 2012.
    Roadkill 17 £52.96 2016-£62.28 2015- £84.20)
    RYSAW17 £1530.02 2016 £2,535.16 2015 £1027.20
    • Karmacat
    • By Karmacat 20th Apr 17, 10:05 PM
    • 27,097 Posts
    • 145,167 Thanks
    Karmacat
    No you didn't need Berghaus ... but you wanted them, and I know MrMoney Mustache would disagree, but since you can pay it off from income, and your spending diary has told you you're being a bit enthusiastic, why not? Quality will keep, it always does.

    I have to tell you ... if I bought plants worth £78 or so, I'd *never* plant them in time for them not to die good luck!
    Retired August 2016

    Goal: earnings of £25k from new opportunities from September 2016 to December 2020 when my state pension kicks in.Save
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 20th Apr 17, 10:42 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass

    I have to tell you ... if I bought plants worth £78 or so, I'd *never* plant them in time for them not to die good luck!
    Originally posted by Karmacat
    You know what? that sounds so much like me! We did buy all the plants for the pots and hanging baskets, plus lots of tomato compost (I like to grow at least five different tomatoes as they mature at different rates and I have two "window-box" like tubs that take 3 each so lots of compost).

    I tried to be stingy one year and ended up with blight - I forgot they were the same as the potato family and planted them outside the greenhouse instead of in fresh compost. Never again!

    I also indulged myself with a pot of sorrel - I have never succeeded with it so let's see how it goes
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
    • Karmacat
    • By Karmacat 21st Apr 17, 8:58 AM
    • 27,097 Posts
    • 145,167 Thanks
    Karmacat
    Oooh sorrel! Mine has gone native, and as well as becoming two other plants in the border, has spread into the grass too (I may have let it go to seed ... twice).
    Retired August 2016

    Goal: earnings of £25k from new opportunities from September 2016 to December 2020 when my state pension kicks in.Save
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 21st Apr 17, 3:28 PM
    • 1,142 Posts
    • 14,745 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Oooh sorrel! Mine has gone native, and as well as becoming two other plants in the border, has spread into the grass too (I may have let it go to seed ... twice).
    Originally posted by Karmacat
    Ah now, for growing in the lawn we have lots of oregano. It seems to move around one particular area and gets cut, along with the grass!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 12.11% after Q4
    Save £12k in 2017 #64 - £2,369.83/£11,000 (21.54%) after Mar (Save £12k in 2016 thread #92 £10,488.04/£10,000)
    OS Grocery Challenge 2017 budget of £3,600 £3000 (reduced from Apr) - 32.68/33.33% including stores after April
    Reading and learning about investing...
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