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    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 9th Feb 17, 4:00 AM
    • 609Posts
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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 16
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 5th Sep 17, 11:57 AM
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    Cherryfudge
    What a horrendous day yesterday seems to have been. Poor you, and poor doggie. Absolutely amazingly brilliant resistance to the call of the caf!, though.

    I can feel your horror at the power cut from here. <- Hope this helps.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 6th Sep 17, 12:48 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Thank you Cherryfudge, it is very appreciated! It is raining AGAIN today, and I am so thoroughly over it now I cannot tell you. Poor Little Girl, hearing me complaining this morning about having to walk Doggie in the rain again, apologised for wanting a dog in the first place. I had to reassure her that Doggie is not the problem!

    Wasn't an NSD yesterday after all because I realised I needed sour cream for dinner. Today won't be either, since I'm off to the hairdresser. All budgeted for, though. I'm impatient for the first mortgage payment for the new mortgage to come out and then I feel like I'll be able to see where we're at.
    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
    • Betterthanever
    • By Betterthanever 6th Sep 17, 7:38 AM
    • 181 Posts
    • 655 Thanks
    Betterthanever
    I know what you mean about being impatient. We shouldn't wish our time away but those weeks when we just want to see a big payment or change seem sooooooooo long!!
    Former DFW Need 230. Determined to be MF.
    Current balance £116,878.11. Offset £1034.
    end date - 03/29 aiming for 10/22

    Bring it on!
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 6th Sep 17, 7:59 AM
    • 2,198 Posts
    • 10,044 Thanks
    shangaijimmy
    Impatience is an affliction for MFW's! Short term monthly goals really help for motivation but the constant over analysis of our spreadsheets always sees us waiting for the next payment, the next payday, the next month end etc... Get used to it i'm afraid!!

    I'm currently wishing away 2017 as i know we can be in the 99's by New Years Day!!
    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
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 7th Sep 17, 3:21 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Impatience is an affliction for MFW's! Short term monthly goals really help for motivation but the constant over analysis of our spreadsheets always sees us waiting for the next payment, the next payday, the next month end etc... Get used to it i'm afraid!!

    I'm currently wishing away 2017 as i know we can be in the 99's by New Years Day!!
    Originally posted by shangaijimmy
    That's a proper milestone and no mistake! How exciting for you.

    I've definitely been wishing time away for a while now. This time it's more about understanding how the accounts work together and what to expect. For example, the mortgage payments are listed as being fortnightly, but the first one is due a month after we set up the package, and it's for a monthly amount - so is that just a standard thing that the first one is delayed and then it's fortnightly, or what? I could ring them, but I can't be bothered. Also I am still confused about the account balance vs what I actually need in reserve. Because it's all just been in one big bucket before I'm nervous about moving too much into the mortgage. But I want to!

    Continuing cold and rain here and we're all so down in the dumps that I'm finding little treats very hard to resist. Yesterday I gave in and bought a hot coffee to take to the hairdresser with me, and today I stopped in at the supermarket and bought a meat pie to heat up for a hot lunch instead of a sandwich. I'm dreading the electricity bill. We're one of the highest priced places in the world for electricity, I don't have gas, and I work from home - plus Mr E gets cold at night, so there is a heater running basically all day and all night at the moment. I'm guessing it's going to be around the thousand dollar mark for the quarter.
    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 7th Sep 17, 8:45 AM
    • 777 Posts
    • 4,663 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    I can see the advantage of opening up the fireplace!!

    What about an electric blanket? They are so much cheaper than a fire running all night. Would he be ok with that?

    It's winter ad people treat themselves in winter; to keep their spirits up whilst they wait for the return of good weather, and to give them the essential energy boost that you just won't get from a sandwich.

    These things come in waves. They are seasonal. You won't be doing it in summer, so accept that it is a winter tradition. Like hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, or mulled wine. Winter treats.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 11th Sep 17, 2:42 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    We used to have an electric blanket but he found it took away from the softness of the bed. Oh, dear, I do make him sound precious! The bedroom heater is only a drop in the electricity-guzzling ocean, to mix metaphors. The bright side for us is that summer is pretty cheap: our house is old, and double brick, and was designed to withstand Australian heat long before air conditioners were a thing, so we get away with just a fan in the hottest parts of the year - a huge change from previous homes, where we ran the airconditioner all night just to sleep.

    The new mortgage payment came out today. The interest component was $704, down from $905 before I refinanced. $200 straight off the principal, very satisfying. The monthly payment is now $1203, so in fact we're paying at least $400 off monthly even before my over payments. That isn't much when you remember the mortgage is $220K - it's only $5K a year (and we're not even talking about the second mortgage, which is higher) - but it's much better than before.

    On the down time, we're getting lots of bills from the strata company for Mum's unit to do investigatory work around the subsistence. I paid a $200 bill this week and there's another $400 due in a month on top of normal strata bills. And Mum also pointed out the other day how very worn the carpets are getting. They're super cheap carpet, so it's not a surprise, but I'd been blocking it out. There's so much I want to do to my own house, but this stuff has to come first.
    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 11th Sep 17, 8:14 AM
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    • 4,663 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Congratulations on the mortgage. I think we look for the big changes and miss the smaller ones right in front of our eyes sometimes. The $400 per month is great. You didn't have to lift a finger and there it is. Passive mortgage payments. Fabulous. And now you get to make the overpayments, so you are off to a great start.

    The bills on your Mum's house will stop eventually. And when you are paying them, just remember this is an investment into your future.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 11th Sep 17, 12:28 PM
    • 609 Posts
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    armchairexpert
    Mid Month Round Up
    I've been putting this off because the refinancing meant that at the end of August I was still largely in limbo. But here we are:

    1. As above - the refinancing on the home mortgage means I save $200/month in interest alone. And in fact, the investment mortgage is also benefiting, because it's offset by my savings account, which saved me another $100 last month ($1040 instead of $1150). So that's $300/month saved in interest alone. Add to that the fact that I am now actually paying down the principal on the first mortgage and I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere.

    2. I do think that when I set up the balances, I mis calculated what I needed in savings to cover upcoming costs and over estimated. I'm going to keep reassessing those balances over the next few months, rather than do one big transfer, because I'm worried about not leaving myself enough buffer. It does mean that this month I made an overpayment of $778. Some of that is just number juggling: i.e., I've transferred it from savings rather than taken it out of this month's income, but I am counting it.

    3. I am going to stop and look back a little bit here: I may not be making the progress that I originally hoped, but I am making progress. We've changed a bunch of habits. The grocery bill is consistently lower than it used to be, we bake our own bread and brew kombucha which has replaced our fancy squash habit (even the kids like it). I take the kids for walks instead of cafe visits when something's bothering them. It's the eleventh of the month and in terms of personal discretionary spending I've bought a coffee and some sweets, and that's it. I've checked the accounts every day since we started, compared my insurances, refinanced my home loan and generally made sure I understand where my money goes and why.

    All in all, I'm counting this as an excellent month, whingeing about the weather notwithstanding!
    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 Sep 17, 3:42 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Today was derailed when Big Girl managed to slam her finger in the car door as we arrived at school. She went pale, vomited in the sick room and is now back home watching her fingernail turn purple.

    No matter: she's watching TV and I'm doing all the bits of work I don't need a lot of concentration for, because she keeps chatting to me and there's no chance of doing the harder work! Should be an NSD if I get off my backside and make a new batch of bread. There's a school commitment this evening which I'm not looking forward to.

    I really must start getting the rest of my life under control now the finances feel like they're taking care of themselves. I've been eating so badly I can't even tell you. Like two chocolate bars in a row for no reason. Now the weather's finally turned I can start to do better. And housework is letting me down. I had a bit of a meltdown on the weekend because so much of my house is old and hard to clean, but also I just haven't been keeping up, so I was scrubbing window frames which are old and cracked and filthy, and wiping down dusty and streaked walls, and just feeling mired in grime. I need a routine, but Flylady terrifies me!

    To do this week:
    1. Work out a little-and-often household routine
    2. Return booking form for Girls' birthday party
    3. Make a decision about whether to put some clothes on eBay (there is a back story, I'll spare you)
    4. Bake bread
    5. Make pizzas for lunches
    6. Take advantage of weather and wash cushion covers/other upholstery linens (what does one do with curtains though?)
    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
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 12th Sep 17, 6:46 AM
    • 307 Posts
    • 1,250 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Morning.
    Washing curtains can be a risky business.
    Depending on type and size and level of risk.

    To machine wash (huge danger of shrinkage though) remove hooks or eyelets wash gently, spin very slowly, if at all and hang up to drip dry.

    Dry cleaning at the laundrette is the most common way.

    Or... put the 'low suction' nozzle on the vacuum cleaner and vacuum both sides. Then, if you've got a steam cleaner (for things like tiles) lightly steam clean each side of the curtain and leave open to dry.

    Sometimes a spray with a fabric refresher spray (fabreeze is the brand name in the U.K.) is useful too.

    It all depends on the size, dirt level and risk level you want to take.

    My curtains have been up about 11 years, they get vacuumed about once every 6 months and steamed at the start of every winter (more to get the creases out of them as they've been in the tie backs all summer)
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017
    July : £36,800 8/100
    August: £36,411.85 8/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • greent
    • By greent 12th Sep 17, 11:10 AM
    • 6,207 Posts
    • 62,823 Thanks
    greent
    . I need a routine, but Flylady terrifies me
    Originally posted by armchairexpert

    Flylady itself is hard work - have you tried the MSE weekly flylady threads? - friendly, and instead of a zone/ room a week, there's a room a day - and 3 levels of 'work' in it - if you only achieve level one that's still great. And if you want to work on a different room, that's also great. And if you do nothing you don't get moaned at - but can get support to cheer you along
    I'm not doing it this week as I'm working 'off list' as there are certain things I want/ need to get done which take priority. I'll be back to it next week though. It's very friendly and the lists are usually done by 2 mse members on an alternating week basis
    x
    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) £4151/£3286
    Net sales 2017 £1152.39/£500 PAYDOX17 £11333/£10k Decluttered 1515/2017 items
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 13th Sep 17, 2:37 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Morning.
    Washing curtains can be a risky business.
    Depending on type and size and level of risk.

    To machine wash (huge danger of shrinkage though) remove hooks or eyelets wash gently, spin very slowly, if at all and hang up to drip dry.

    Dry cleaning at the laundrette is the most common way.

    Or... put the 'low suction' nozzle on the vacuum cleaner and vacuum both sides. Then, if you've got a steam cleaner (for things like tiles) lightly steam clean each side of the curtain and leave open to dry.

    Sometimes a spray with a fabric refresher spray (fabreeze is the brand name in the U.K.) is useful too.

    It all depends on the size, dirt level and risk level you want to take.

    My curtains have been up about 11 years, they get vacuumed about once every 6 months and steamed at the start of every winter (more to get the creases out of them as they've been in the tie backs all summer)
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    This is such a great thorough explanation, thank you! I used to just wash my curtains on a delicate cycle in my last house, but I never really liked how they came out and also ironing them was awful, so I haven't really done anything with the ones in this house ever (they've been up two years!). I am going to look into a steamer.

    Flylady itself is hard work - have you tried the MSE weekly flylady threads? - friendly, and instead of a zone/ room a week, there's a room a day - and 3 levels of 'work' in it - if you only achieve level one that's still great. And if you want to work on a different room, that's also great. And if you do nothing you don't get moaned at - but can get support to cheer you along
    I'm not doing it this week as I'm working 'off list' as there are certain things I want/ need to get done which take priority. I'll be back to it next week though. It's very friendly and the lists are usually done by 2 mse members on an alternating week basis
    x
    Originally posted by greent
    This post made a lightbulb go off in my head! Thank you. I have looked at those threads but I immediately feel intimidated at the idea of doing a thorough clean of a room every single day. I didn't know it was a different approach to official Flylady. Maybe I will dip my toe in and try for Level 1 this week and then see how I go from there. I am wary of trying to take too much on: I work a lot of hours as it is and I really need to focus spare time on building my business, but the grime is getting to me!

    I am also really noticing how doggy my house smells - especially the lounge, where she sleeps, even though I bathe her and groom her regularly, vacuum often and use upholstery deodoriser. The previous owners sealed most of the windows shut, which doesn't help. Any other magical tips from you lovely lot?
    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 13th Sep 17, 2:50 AM
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    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Oh, right, it's a money diary. Let's see. Well, the annual Emergency Services Levy came in today - $490, it pays for things like bushfire and storm responders, water rescue, that sort of thing - at which point I realised I had totally forgotten to budget for that in YNAB. So that was fun. It's not due until next month so I have skimmed tiny bits of money out of as many categories as possible to cover it, as well as sending a bit of October's income (the only bit I've received so far!) straight to it. I'll budget it monthly after October. Hopefully that's the last big expense I've forgotten about - YNAB is a learning curve!

    I am also a little bit narked because I have needed a new phone for ages. Mine is an old iPhone 5c. The screen is badly cracked (still usable, technically, but a finger-cutting hazard!) and the battery drains within about an hour of usage. I want to go up to the SE. I held on until today because I was waiting for the new iPhone to be announced, on the basis that all the others would get cheaper. They have in the US, but not in Australia. Ludicrous. In fact, the SE has gone UP in price on the bargain site I've been eyeing off! $499. Which seems like a lot of money for a base model phone. Anyway, it's a minor vent but still very irritating.

    Parent-Teacher night tonight and we'll be home too late to cook, so we're splurging on what the kids call a "platter dinner" - cheese and cooked chicken and dips and nice bread.
    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 13th Sep 17, 8:13 AM
    • 777 Posts
    • 4,663 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    We are forever getting caught out forgetting an obvious bill. Good to know that a bit of shaving here and a bit skimming there helped to make up the payment. Yep, YNAB is a learning curve.

    About the phone. Do you have Black Friday in Australia? Perhaps you should wait until then? Everything gets a bit cheaper whilst they try to convince the populus that we NEEEEED this new item so they can make space for new stock. Great if you really do need a new phone!
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 14th Sep 17, 2:32 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    I've been coping with a cracked screen for so many months, I just bit the bullet and bought a new phone. It really was a hazard every time I swiped! $550 (I went with official Apple supplier because of the warranty), but it's still cheaper to buy outright and pay for a sim-only phone deal at $30/month than go contract for $85/month. And phone is tax deductible legit business expense.

    Waiting on a couple of rebates to come in and do more money shuffling. I think my favourite thing about YNAB is that it positively encourages fidgeting!
    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 15th Sep 17, 2:10 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning for no apparent reason, and now I'm hiding in my office sulking. It's cold, it's grey, the house next door is being demolished which is noisy, the dog did a wee on the upstairs carpet, none of these are why I am grumpy, I am just grumpy.

    No money action today: I have skipped out on having coffee with a friend due to horrible bad mood, so that's a saving. I have just skimmed $14 off one of my YNAB balances (one that I have been slightly overestimating for ages so there's a bit more in there than I need) and transferred it over to the mortgage to see if that cheers me up.
    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
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 15th Sep 17, 11:59 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 2,094 Thanks
    Cherryfudge
    I have a category on Spotify just for days like that - 'happy' music (if I can motivate myself to switch it on). If I tell you it includes Amarillo, you'll get the idea!

    Now I've either sent you back under the duvet or off to turn the sound up!
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 16th Sep 17, 3:02 PM
    • 777 Posts
    • 4,663 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Chocolate.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 18th Sep 17, 3:12 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 3,876 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    The sun came out over the weekend and I feel much better now. Took Doggie on a two-hour trail walk yesterday which was quite satisfying.

    Seems to have been a spendy weekend despite my best efforts. Lots of little housey things need buying: bird netting for the garden, replacement light bulbs for the kitchen, that sort of thing. Added up to $80, and we'd already maxed out the 'housey things' category balance because Mr E is building a new bookshelf for the lounge and bought lots of wood and whatnot. Lots of little red arrows on YNAB!

    Spring weather means spring cleaning, and I did quite a lot of that. The house is too big and too old to be able to do a full house clean over a weekend so I'm taking an incremental approach: I decluttered the breakfast/craft/pantry room which gets all the girls' artworks and half-finished projects dumped in it, scrubbed some window frames (they all need sanding back and repainting, really, they're vintage and the paint is peeling everywhere and it's grimy), scrubbed the oven (also falling apart), did a deep clean of the lounge room sofas and upholstery...long way to go, but i do feel like I made some progress.
    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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