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    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
    • 648Posts
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    armchairexpert
    The ups, downs, and occasional sideways bits of trying to be mortgage free
    • #1
    • 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
    The ups, downs, and occasional sideways bits of trying to be mortgage free 9th Feb 17 at 4:00 AM
    Hello! I used to loiter around here a few years ago and you were all terribly friendly. Then I was made redundant, started my own business, and it's all been a bit uppy and downy since then.

    We've been meandering along for the past three years, since taking on a new mortgage in 2014, paying things as they come up and failing to notice that we're not making a dent in the mortgage at all. It's set up as a line of credit, so the minimum payment on it is only interest - we'd expected to be paying down the principal as well just as a matter of course, but it hasn't quite worked out that way.

    I'm not going to do a SOA because I'm in Australia, and even the most dedicated MFW'er probably can't tell me if I'm paying the right amount for my electricity! But I have buckled down and done a very comprehensive YNAB budget, and it tells me that I should have about $700/month extra without cancelling the children's extra-curricular and the occasional treat. We shall see if this holds true.


    As an aside, I also have a second mortgage on a buy-to-let, but the tenant is my mother, who can't afford to pay us market rent much less cover the running costs, so that costs us about $5,000 a year or so. As a way of clawing back savings, I don't budget any of the tax reductions that brings us, I just treat it as a normal expense, and then anything we get back at the end of the tax year is like an annual bonus.

    What else? Two DDs, the youngest one started school this year which is a GAME CHANGER I tell you what, some lovely silly chickens who very generously make eggs for us, the beginnings of a fairly pathetic vegetable garden which I'm not convinced even pays its own running costs - and long suffering DH, of course, who keeps the lights on.

    Also I am not the most succinct person in the world.
    Last edited by armchairexpert; 09-02-2017 at 4:10 AM.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
Page 11
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 4th Jul 17, 11:27 AM
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    • 2,537 Thanks
    Cherryfudge
    So many things I was going to say have already been said (more lucidly, too).

    You were there for your friends when they needed you, which in the end matters 100% more than money. You have family around and hot meals when you need them. You are learning from experience which is tough but helps protect your future and your family's future. Lots of this month's expenses are already part-covered. The progress you made from March onwards is still progress: if you hadn't done that work, your situation would have set you back that much further now. You are still 5K ahead of this point last year...

    I think this is a blip in the graph not a change of trend. Keep focussed on the long term goal: you'll get there!
    • mfmaybe
    • By mfmaybe 4th Jul 17, 7:52 PM
    • 989 Posts
    • 3,143 Thanks
    mfmaybe
    I definitely had that realisation when I started properly budgeting. Now I try to save up for ALL annual bills - including the RAC, the annual vet visits for boosters, dentist, MOTs, insurances, presents, parties, you name it; as well as creating buffer funds for less predictable stuff like car repairs or unexpected appliance failures. It took a while to identify them all and I'm sure there are still gaps. The money I have to set aside each month is astonishing, and more than takes care of my "surplus". Ahem. But I do feel better for it. Living in a state of permanent skint-ness seems to work for me
    Create credit card buffer fund £12.93/£1000 1.4%paid. Pay by Christmas 17

    Other debts paid since 1/1/14: £17,005
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 5th Jul 17, 12:24 AM
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    • 4,667 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Yes, I think we are all there. We were living in that land of make believe, thinking we had a lot of disposable income with which to overpay on the mortgage. And then one day you realise and wake up. And like you, I can honestly say that I am skint. I don't know how I manage to survive from day to day.

    But that's what learning to budget the YNAB way is all about. It's about teaching us to live within our means. But for me, the austerity is awful. All it will take is one major hiccup and the whole thing can come tumbling down.

    However, you are doing fine. Stay positive.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 5th Jul 17, 2:00 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Cold and rainy again today. My chickens are looking very unimpressed and keep asking to come into the house and dry their feathers.

    Mr E has an appointment with the cardiac surgeon today, so we'll finally know how long the waiting list for surgery is on the public system (or at least a ballpark) and be able to go forward from there. Unfortunately, the girls haven't really experienced anyone needing to go to hospital and not dying before - we lost three family members (two very elderly) in the past three years, all of whom went into hospital and didn't come out - and so they keep freaking out every time I mention the H word, poor loves.

    Had a builder come around yesterday to give me a quote on what it'll cost to make the world's smallest bathroom into just a normal small bathroom, so I'll be interested to see what kind of ballpark we're looking at. I really liked him, but goodness, talk about leading one into the paths of temptation: while he was there he mentioned that he'd recently restored a set of vintage windows very similar to ours and put double glazing in, and also was that an old fireplace cavity behind my gas heater, wouldn't that have looked great when it was still a working fireplace, and how did I heat the place, had I ever thought of underfloor heating...I'm making him sound pushy, which he wasn't at all, but he zeroed in on my entire private wish list for restoring my shabby old house!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 5th Jul 17, 8:00 AM
    • 2,207 Posts
    • 10,145 Thanks
    shangaijimmy
    But I do feel better for it. Living in a state of permanent skint-ness seems to work for me
    Originally posted by mfmaybe
    I try to rationalise (more likely make myself feel better about) the skint-ness situation at the end of each month by declaring that we are making all our money work as hard as possible on our behalf!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2023... 30//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction £32,077.72
    Aug 2009: £163,051 // Current: £103,922.28 // Avg Daily Interest £4.67
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 47.86% of £41,000
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 5th Jul 17, 8:27 AM
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    Tahlullah
    Ooohhh, he can open up the fireplace? So tempting. But he was doing his job of up-selling, and he clearly did it well.

    One thing at a time. The bathroom and then the kitchen? I think I would go straight from bathroom to open fire and everything else could come in stages.

    Is the gas heater just that? A gas room heater? That wouldn't be too big a job then?

    Hope the girls are ok. That sort of stress can put you off hospitals for life. that or they become Doctors and heart surgeons. Hope Mr ACE is ok and the consultation goes the way you want it to.
    Last edited by Tahlullah; 05-07-2017 at 8:29 AM.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 5th Jul 17, 10:53 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Bathroom first, because it's easy. Kitchen is a bigger job: it's a load bearing wall that has to come out, so lots of reinforcing the ceiling with steel beams. They might drop a beam in as part of the bathroom remodel, since that's right above the kitchen. The kitchen is the worst space in the house at the moment and opening it up to what will be the dining room will give us an extra guest bedroom downstairs so it takes precedence over the fireplace. But it will cost a fortune.

    Fireplace was blocked up when the MONSTERS put in the second storey, and there's an ugly gas heater in front of where it was - it's a matter of pulling it out, putting a new fireplace surround in, but also we'd have to punch a chimney through the wall horizontally or extend the old one up so it also goes through the upstairs family room. I am guessing: I haven't had a professional opinion on that.

    All of this is pending me getting a refinance through obviously! Which requires me to do my tax return, which I can't do until I submit a bunch of business paperwork. Which I also can't do because I have to do one part online, and then I need to register for a particular business code to access some sort of government portal, and I set aside this evening and OF COURSE the blinking government website is down. For want of a nail, I tell you what.

    Mr E's appointment went really well: they can get him into a public hospital in four weeks from now, with the same surgeon who would have been doing it in a private facility (small city means the same specialists work across all the hospitals basically), so that's a total win. Girls untraumatised.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • VelvetFreak
    • By VelvetFreak 5th Jul 17, 11:51 AM
    • 154 Posts
    • 454 Thanks
    VelvetFreak
    Hi ACE, just catching up on your diary. Apologies for potentially sloppy typing as I have a cat asleep on my arm

    Sorry you had kind of a crappy month. Onwards and upwards

    This is all very exciting re. potential remodelling. Glad to hear your hubby's hospital stuff went well.

    Also thank you for the Ald! tips, I will have to give it another try.
    Family Loan of $8000 - Paid off 22/06/2017
    Emergency Fund $6,000 / $10,000
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 5th Jul 17, 6:11 PM
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    • 4,667 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    All for the want of a horse shoe nail.

    But, at some point, that one nail will line up and everything else will tumble into its rightful place and you will be chasing yourself around trying to get everything done in the right order at the right time.

    Enjoy the lull whilst you can. Great news about Mr ACE's appointment.

    Tx
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 6th Jul 17, 1:42 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Website back up (big article in today's Guardian about how often our tax office systems are offline: it's an ongoing problem, and of course it's peak time now because the financial year ended 30 June), spending my morning doing paperwork. The thrills! Tomorrow is the last day of the school term, and I really need to be out in front of my deadlines before the holiday starts, which is looking unlikely. Lots of late evenings for me.

    Nothing financial to report, really: Mr E got paid today so I'll go and drip that money into August pots in a second. He's out tonight so it's lentil soup and laundry folding in front of the TV for me. I know, it's just non stop glamour around here.
    Last edited by armchairexpert; 06-07-2017 at 1:48 AM. Reason: typos
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 6th Jul 17, 7:38 AM
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    Tahlullah
    Ooh, when I was younger, I used to dream of folding the laundry in front of the TV. So jealous!

    Payday! Something great to shout about! Don't let these small victories pass you by.

    Tx
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 7th Jul 17, 1:05 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Ooh, when I was younger, I used to dream of folding the laundry in front of the TV. So jealous!

    Payday! Something great to shout about! Don't let these small victories pass you by.

    Tx
    Originally posted by Tahlullah
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Jul 17, 3:21 AM
    • 648 Posts
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    armchairexpert
    No mistaking that it's mid winter now. Mid winter here isn't as fierce as there, obviously, but it's barely climbing to 10 degrees during the day, and we have all the heaters going inside (no central heating in Aus, so it's a matter of turning on the gas heater in the lounge, lighting the old wood oven in the kitchen and hoping the heat gets through the house!). We're dog sitting for the week, so lots of brisk country walks with our breath puffing out in front of us. It has the merit of being free.

    Cheap weekend all round in fact: yesterday was dog walking and groceries and house cleaning, today I'm working and Mr E is making a papier mache Mr Tickle costume with the girls for Book Week because I guess he's that kind of parent? I'm far more of a "here, carry a pile of books, now you're Matilda" kind of person but whatever keeps them happy. Most expensive thing all weekend was a Friday afternoon cafe trip to celebrate school reports. Yep, it's the end of the term, with two weeks of holidays and no activities planned in front of us!

    Gorgeous laksa for dinner Friday night: I bought a ready made paste ($4) from the speciality Asian grocer, which is cheating but it meant I got to use up a couple of cubes of fried tofu, a few fish balls and the last of some cold roast chicken and it was as good as a takeaway. Half the broth is in the freezer for next time, because it served 4 but was too spicy for the girls so they had a fishball, seaweed and noodle miso soup instead. Salmon poke and avocado miso salad last night. Roast lamb and gravy and all the trimmings tonight, and looking forward to it!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 9th Jul 17, 9:38 PM
    • 782 Posts
    • 4,667 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Mr Tickle? How will he make the arms?
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 10th Jul 17, 2:50 AM
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    • 4,146 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Sticks, I gather? So her entire body is going to be encased in this enormous papier mache oval, with holes in the sides out of which she will poke long sticks with gloves on the end?

    I don't really think either of them have thought through the logistics of how she's going to function at school in this contraption, but I'm staying out of it!

    The sky is blue today! I'd almost forgotten how pretty that colour is. I have even optimistically hung out some clothes. Mr E took off this morning for a four day jolly-I-mean-conference, so I'm looking forward to uninterrupted control of the remote and lazy meals.

    On the downside: after finally, finally switching my phone contract over to a sim-only plan, I dropped my phone and smashed the screen yesterday. So now I have to either repair the screen or replace the phone. Replacing the screen is obviously cheaper (about $70) but it's an old phone now (iPhone 5c) and the battery life is pretty dodgy. I will do the screen I think, but then I have to start saving up in earnest for a new phone. I want an iPhone SE, which are about $400-500 now. I don't need new and shiny tech, just something that will keep working for a while. It's a tax deductible expense for me, at least.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 10th Jul 17, 7:09 AM
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    Tahlullah
    2 steps forward, one step back. Still the right direction of travel.

    Tx
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 11th Jul 17, 6:12 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Various children shrieking in my back garden at the moment. Visiting dog must be tired: he's eschewed the company of the shrieking children in favour of flopping next to me for a nap on the couch. Between Visting Dog, two cats, a bunch of chickens, various visiting children and my own offspring, I feel like my day has just been feeding and wiping up spills!

    Had other various children here yesterday plus my business partner for a Very Exciting tax conversation. Am mildly concerned that my tax affairs are going to turn out far more complicated than I thought, but the accountant will clear that up for me next week. I keep a huge percentage of my income aside for tax, way more than I'll need, so there is room for errors. Hopefully there will be no error, and I can shift $10K across to the mortgage, but one never knows.

    Have decided to see if I can buy a thin cover for the iPhone, thus protecting the cracked screen from disintegrating further, because it does still work but it's so badly cracked I worry about chunks of glass falling out. That should only be $10-20, then I can save up for a slightly newer model.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 12th Jul 17, 4:51 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Sun is shining, dog is walked, children are making craft projects while I try and work. Tonight they're at their Nana's, and Mr E is still away, which I think makes it the first/only time I have been completely alone in the house overnight for 9 years. Feel like I should do something, but not sure what, and also I don't like leaving Visiting Dog alone for too long because I worry that he'll get insecure. So I'll probably buy some ice cream and watch a movie on the couch, tbh.

    Lots of transactions appearing on the statement from the city where Mr E is, I'll wait to find out how many of them are refundable (hopefully all of them!) before I worry about it.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 12th Jul 17, 7:49 AM
    • 782 Posts
    • 4,667 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Sounds like he is having fun. You enjoy you 'me' time too!
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 13th Jul 17, 2:40 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Apart from a few fairly inevitable school-holiday spends (trip to the dollar store for cheap craft items, a cafe stop) it's so far shaping up to be the cheap month I've been hoping for. Except an $800 bill that's the beginnings of the repair costs on the rental unit, due by the end of August. Groceries are rolling along quite nicely - going to make a huge tray of roasted vegetables tonight, probably with some sausages and/or bacon - I talked Mr E into waiting another month before buying a replacement coat for the one he's managed to destroy (ie, we'll do a patch job until the winter coats go on spring sale) - all the July bills are already paid - all is well.

    Interest rate went up again though. That's twice in two months which I think is outrageous. Need to get the refi through.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    September 2017 - $218,597.77
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