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    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
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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
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
Page 12
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 14th Jul 17, 12:56 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Good morning! Nothing at all to report here. Mr E came home last night and is spending the day with the kids while I catch up on work. Kids very happy. Dog still here. Mr E slightly less keen on the concept of walking the dog than I had hoped, but I have approximately 14 hours of work to do today so tough.

    Most of his spends from the trip away are reimbursable (it's mostly meals) and the few that aren't (beer!) will just come out of his personal spends, so I am ignoring the red bits on YNAB and being patient for reimbursement.

    Managed to patch his coat up, but it doesn't look very good now so he's going to go explore the sales. Which will put us over budget on clothing again since he already bought a new shirt and a pair of pants earlier this month. I had no idea we spent so much on clothes! But there we are, I guess: I honestly don't see how we could do it much more cheaply, it's only things being bought when they're frayed or too small, and usually in the sales, there's no buying-for-boredom going on. I try and do charity shops but it's time consuming, and Mr E won't contemplate it. The girls' stuff comes from Kmart (= Pr!mark) supplemented by charity shop finds and things the grandparents gift them. Mr E definitely has more expensive tastes than the rest of us, but also he's the one with an office job, so he has to have half-decent stuff.

    Anyway, I'm just thinking aloud.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 14th Jul 17, 7:08 AM
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    Tahlullah
    I tend to find my clothes all wear out at the same time, and have put it down to the fact that at one point, I bought a load of quality items. They then last forever, and so when they die, they do it in unison. It does mean that I have vast periods when I am not spending on clothes year on year.

    Cannot be helped. If his working environment demands a particular dress code at a certain quality, then its a cost that has to be met. At least he won't need a new coat for a few more years.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 16th Jul 17, 2:56 AM
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    armchairexpert
    You'd think so, wouldn't you, but he's strangely hard on clothes for a man with an office job. This coat was only two years old.

    Visiting Dog goes home this evening, much to the relief of my elder cat. Younger Cat thinks V Dog is great, and happily chases him all over the garden, but Elder Cat is not having anything to do with this nonsense and has spent a week holed up in my study sulking.

    We really want our own dog - have I talked about this before? - but because the laws around pet ownership and backyard breeders are so strict here (which is obviously great!) there are very few rescues, and they tend to be pit bulls with abusive backgrounds or 13 year olds with serious health problems, and buying a pure or cross breed puppy runs into the thousands. I've been on various waiting lists and rescue lists for almost two years now, and I may have to suck it up and pay $2,000 for a puppy or just accept that we're never getting a dog. I'm sad today because I found someone who needed to rehome a cat-friendly one year old dog, but someone else got in ten minutes before I did.

    Mr E's repainting the lounge room today and then building a new bookshelf to replace the old one we carted across from the last house. It's going to be properly huge, with a rolling library ladder, which is basically my childhood fantasy come to life. I'm working, with Elder Cat sulking on the armchair behind me.

    Scored a big bag of school uniform hand-me-downs this morning, though. And I have a friend who's saving a lot of her second hand clothes for me when I visit her city in a couple of weeks: she has a taste for very expensive clothes so this is excellent. I bought a couple of dresses from her last year, which I always get complimented on (she paid $350 per, I paid $60), and this time she's said she doesn't want any money which is very sweet. Must go through and chuck out a bunch of my old stuff, though: things that are just ripped or paint stained.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • bubblycrazy
    • By bubblycrazy 16th Jul 17, 11:28 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 397 Thanks
    bubblycrazy
    We really want our own dog - have I talked about this before? - but because the laws around pet ownership and backyard breeders are so strict here (which is obviously great!) there are very few rescues, and they tend to be pit bulls with abusive backgrounds or 13 year olds with serious health problems, and buying a pure or cross breed puppy runs into the thousands. I've been on various waiting lists and rescue lists for almost two years now, and I may have to suck it up and pay $2,000 for a puppy or just accept that we're never getting a dog. I'm sad today because I found someone who needed to rehome a cat-friendly one year old dog, but someone else got in ten minutes before I did.

    Mr E's repainting the lounge room today and then building a new bookshelf to replace the old one we carted across from the last house. It's going to be properly huge, with a rolling library ladder, which is basically my childhood fantasy come to life. I'm working, with Elder Cat sulking on the armchair behind me.
    Originally posted by armchairexpert
    That's amazing that there's a 2 year waiting list for rescues! I think there should be a ban on animal breeding here until all the unwanted animals have a home first!
    Love the sound of a rolling library ladder!
    MFW - Original balance 28/08/2014 £52850
    Original MF date: 2049 Aiming for: 2025
    Balance 28/04/2015 £52250
    Balance 27/07/2016 £49990
    Balance 08/07/2017 £47999
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 17th Jul 17, 1:29 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Well there's not exactly a two year waiting list for any and all rescues - that's how long I've been looking for a rescue that's suitable with cats and kids, which does narrow it down. But yeah, I do think the rules are good. One of the things that happens here is that registered breeders can only sell pure breeds if they're desexed, unless they're selling to another registered breeder. So that really cuts down a lot on accidental cross breeds, and unwanted puppies. Also, of course, if you have to spend $2,000 on a puppy, you're going to make sure you're really prepared to look after a dog and you probably won't dump it. It's all really good! But also I want a dog and I can't afford one. I'm stalking aged care facilities, because you sometimes get dogs that need rehoming because an elderly person is going into a care institution.

    Anyway! Enough doggie talk. Mr E is off with the kids again today and has taken them recreational-shopping, so we'll see what comes of that. It's only bric-a-brac stores, I think, but no doubt they'll eat lunch out. To be honest, it's been so drizzly and miserable here all week that I can't blame them - they're going stir crazy just being in the house.

    Lounge room painting is done, with enough paint left over (I bought 10L = $160) to do the next room as well, and it looks much better.

    Mr E's been waking up with worsening back pain for a few months, and we have conceded that our mattress is well past it: it was fancy, 12 years ago, but now it's sagging. A good new one is thousands, though, so instead we swapped it with Elder Girl's mattress (she's 8, she won't get back pain!) and then bought a new mattress topper to go on top of her firmer one. So hopefully that's solved that problem for $100.

    Once again, though, all of these perfectly reasonable, modest costs are going to be the difference between an overpayment and a breaking-even. Bring on the tax return!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 17th Jul 17, 8:20 AM
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    armchairexpert
    The friend for whom I was looking after Visiting Dog has just dropped past with a thank you card and an offer to have my girls to hers for a sleepover so Mr E and I can go on a date. And then I opened the card once she'd left and there's also $100 in it!

    I feel really touched and excited about the idea of going out for dinner with Mr E, we never go out together just the two of us - last time was January, because my Dad sent us some money for a dinner out. But also I feel super uncomfortable at the idea of taking money from her. Surely I should give it back and just accept the free babysitting? WWYD?
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 17th Jul 17, 9:29 AM
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    Tahlullah
    Hi, that was really very kind of your friend. What would I do? It would depend. Is my friend absolutely skint or not? If you know that by taking the money, she won't be able to buy food for a week, I would return it. If however, they are financially comfortable and can afford the gift, then I would accept it with good grace. Sometimes, it is more hurtful to the giver say no to a gift.

    You can send her a nice hand written thank you note saying what you did with the money and how it was the first time in however long since you and Mr ACE went out etc. Your friend will then know it was very much appreciated.

    To be fair, if we had to pay £2k for a puppy over here, there would be fewer strays. Great idea. Because you have to try and get the right dog and so there is a waiting period, it does mean that those dogs will end up in the right home and with families that care for them and accept the responsibilities that dog owning brings. Just wish they could introduce such laws and regulation in the UK.

    The bookcase and ladder sound lovely! Wish I had a room big enough to accommodate such a wonderfully large collection of books!

    And yes, something always comes up, just when you thought you were getting back on an even keel and back to paying down that mortgage. Don't lose hope, you are still heading in the right direction.

    Tx
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 17th Jul 17, 1:59 PM
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    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Definitely accept the money graciously. $100 is probably a lot less than paying for kennels anyway.

    Im sure friends would love to have the children over as well (they'd have just given you the money and not offered the childcare if not)

    Have a great night out, book it in before you forget...

    Wish.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 18th Jul 17, 4:42 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Thank you both! Yep, I checked and kennelling would have cost them closer to $300, and you don't get one-on-one spoiling and millions of walks and belly rubs in a kennel. They're not skint, they're like us in a middle class comfortable-but-careful way, so I will accept.

    It's been pouring for four days here, and last night thunder and hail - my cat was hiding behind the couch glaring at me as if it was my fault the weather was being so loud. Got up this morning to find a sleeping possum in one of the chicken's nesting boxes: it must have crept in at twilight for scraps and got shut in for the night when I locked up the hens. When I let them out this morning it sat up in the box and blinked at me. I think it's gone back to sleep, though: it's dry and dark, which is a lot better than a tree in this weather!

    Spent the entire day so far doing my spreadsheets for the accountant. Not sure why I pay an accountant really, since I do so much of the prep work myself, but she helps with deciding what's allowable as a deduction and she always suggests a few things I wouldn't have thought of, which pays her fee. I'm eager to see how much she thinks we'll get back this year. Sad as it is, I've had a really nice morning with my figures and my spreadsheets.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 18th Jul 17, 6:27 AM
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    wishingthemortgaheaway
    I love spending time with a good spreadsheet, I find it quite calming.

    Love the story of the Possum squatting with your girls, I'm assuming that possums are 'safe' as far as interacting with the chicks is concerned?
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 18th Jul 17, 7:25 AM
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    Tahlullah
    Ahh, spreadsheets. moving towards the big reset.

    All good.

    Tx
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 18th Jul 17, 11:47 AM
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    armchairexpert
    I love spending time with a good spreadsheet, I find it quite calming.

    Love the story of the Possum squatting with your girls, I'm assuming that possums are 'safe' as far as interacting with the chicks is concerned?
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    They seemed to be? I watched them for a while and they seemed entirely uninterested in one another.

    Yes, exactly, the big reset Tallulah! Now I can apply for the refi and do a big money transfer. She couldn't tell me the exact numbers, but I think I got pretty close to last year's goal of saving a $10K cushion, so that's going to make a decent dent. Well, a visible dent anyway. If you squint.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 20th Jul 17, 5:08 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Good things today:

    1. We found a dog! She is from the bush and has grown up in an Aboriginal community so she's already used to kids, cats, dogs, is generally well socialised. She has to be flown down here from the outback, so she's going to cost $550 to cover that cost as well as microchipping and desexing and things, but I had most of that in the pot already so it's all good.
    2. Tax return done, so I transferred $9,000 into the mortgage today. That leaves me enough to pay my tax bill with enough left over for a new phone and a few hundred dollars extra in case any of the calculations are wrong. Mr E should get about $2,000 back, and we'll probably use that to top up the savings accounts and give ourselves some breathing room.
    3. Which also means I can send the remaining docs to the bank and hopefully get the refi through.

    I'm not changing my sig until the end of the month when the mortgage payments come out, but it's looking healthier than it has in ages.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 20th Jul 17, 7:51 AM
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    shangaijimmy
    New dog... fantastic news. Our lazy little pooch is snoring in his bed as we type, a lovely contended sound!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2023... 32//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction £34,271.00
    Aug 2009: £163,051 // Current: £101,729.00 // Avg Daily Interest £4.57
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 56.74% of £41,000
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 20th Jul 17, 7:53 AM
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    Tahlullah
    Congratulations on the new Doggy. Do you know what breed? Or is it a Heinz 57?

    And congrats on the paperwork completion, nearly there.

    And fantastic news on the money front and the overpayment! nice lump sum so real progress!

    And finally, great news on having a bit of spare cash in your pocket for those emergencies!

    Win win all round!
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 21st Jul 17, 12:55 AM
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    armchairexpert
    She's got some Kelpie in her, but she's smallish, and that's all I know. Very Heinz. Exactly what I was after.

    Went shopping for dog equipment yesterday and Oh. Em. Gee. I think if I hadn't had the lump sum I'd have been a bit more circumspect and shopped around, but I went to a dedicated pet store and just let them sell me a bunch of things. I got:
    Two months' worth of food (hopefully)
    Toys
    Treats
    Doggy toothbrush and toothpaste
    Doggy shampoo
    A car seatbelt
    Collar
    Lead

    I still don't have a bed, which I think is one of the more expensive things, or a car harness, and I might need a coat. Also I need a tag still. AND I SPENT $250 ALREADY. Lordy goodness. I mean it's not exactly a surprise that dogs cost a lot, but blinking heck. Maybe I shouldn't have let the girls have their head in the toys aisle.

    Shipped the girls off to their Nanas for a sleepover last night and took Mr E out for dinner. That was $95, but I don't care: last time the two of us went out alone was January.

    Last thing I need to buy with the lump sum is a new phone (I know I have flip flopped on this, but since the money's there I might as well just do it) and then the rest can snuggle into the mortgage and stay there.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 21st Jul 17, 7:18 PM
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    Tahlullah
    This sounds like one spoilt pooch in the making! I am certain she will bring you lots of joy and I bet she has a fantastic life going forward.

    And the pooch is worth the spend. After all, you won't be spending at that rate forever.

    Enjoy

    Tx
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • Viking_mfw
    • By Viking_mfw 21st Jul 17, 8:15 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 266 Thanks
    Viking_mfw
    My mother washes her dogs with washing up liquid or at a push cheap 2 in 1 human shampoo. Works a treat and tends to smell better than dog shampoo - usually a lot cheaper too! A tip for next time
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 22nd Jul 17, 9:28 AM
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    • 4,510 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    My mother washes her dogs with washing up liquid or at a push cheap 2 in 1 human shampoo. Works a treat and tends to smell better than dog shampoo - usually a lot cheaper too! A tip for next time
    Originally posted by Viking_mfw
    Really? Mr E thought that human shampoos had too much scent and the wrong chemicals in them. I'll investigate further! I am usually pretty savvy, but dogs are new for me so I'm just getting sucked into the marketing. An experienced friend broke it to me today that they don't really need toothbrushes and toothpaste either, but the girls have already taken everything out of its packaging and arranged it nicely, so I can't take it back. Booo. Oh well.

    Gorgeous sunny day today, the first in quite a while. I planted pumpkins, courgettes, climbing beans, winter salad mix, tomatoes, carrots, peppermint, sweet basil and some lupins because Little Girl wanted flowers. Lovely to be out in the sunshine!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    October 2017 - $216,963.86 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Viking_mfw
    • By Viking_mfw 22nd Jul 17, 1:15 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 266 Thanks
    Viking_mfw
    It doesn't seem to have done my mum's two terriers any harm, and she is a vet... but I imagine there are fancy human shampoos which wouldn't do them any good.
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