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  • FIRST POST
    • 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
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
Page 18
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 2nd Oct 17, 12:41 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Lovely weekend behind us. It's the school holidays, and Mr E has taken this week off (I have next week off, we usually split rather than pay for child care) so I get to do proper long working days without school run, bliss. We have mostly been pottering around the house, but yesterday we went down to a seafront market and poked around all the vintage bric-a-brac shops. Little Girl is obsessed with ornaments and nic-nacs.

    I bought two books, $2 each, to christen the new bookshelf Mr E is finishing this week. Big Girl found a gorgeous dress for $10, Little Girl picked a rainbow slinky and a cat ornament, we packed a picnic (I give Mr E some grief in this diary, so let the record show that he was the one to make sandwiches and pack a picnic to keep costs down) and then splurged on ice cream. Mr E found a pewter dish, signed by the artist, for $3. Not bad for an entire day out and everybody happy and tired at the end of it.

    I'm finding it easier and easier to not spend money. A couple of months ago I was feeling so deprived about not having much spending money: one breakfast in a cafe and a new book and the week's budget was gone! But now, a breakfast in a cafe plus a new book seems like a lot to be able to buy every week, and I'm not doing that any more. This is the thing about budgeting I wish people knew and could believe: it genuinely does get easier as the habits ingrain.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 3rd Oct 17, 1:14 AM
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    armchairexpert
    The monster bookshelf is finally finished! The girls are putting all the books on it today. I'm so excited, because it'll have a big knock-on effect: It means I can also get the old musty text books that belong to Mr E out of my study and have a huge clear out. They're going in his studio (the garage!) in a bookshelf that is getting moved out of the dining/breakfast/craft room, meaning I can clear that room out as well. Nothing I like more than throwing away half our stuff and making rooms look bigger.

    The downside is that Mr E is muttering about getting a wing chair and a second coffee table for the lounge, which is currently the only room as sparsely furnished as I like it, but I reckon I can hold my ground on that one. He's not a hoarder, but his tolerance for Stuff is far greater than mine is. Browsing in antique shops or on Etsy is his favourite hobby.

    Anyway! The sun is shining, the laundry is flapping on the line, the power bills will hopefully start heading downwards from here on it. Mr E is in charge of cooking this evening, and if he's forgotten to take the chicken out of the freezer that is not my problem. Yesterday was a NSD for me, and today should be as well.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 4th Oct 17, 3:45 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Had a client meeting in the city today. Mr E is off for the week looking after the girls, and needed to pick something up from his office, so we all drove in together. After the meeting I wanted to amble about for a couple of hours, maybe treat myself to lunch in the city and a new lipstick, but I made the fatal mistake of running into my family on their way back to the car instead. Little Girl was feeling ill, so they'd cut things short. I guess this way is cheaper, but I am kind of mourning my child-free hour of browsing the shops. I so rarely get to do that!

    So far (three days into the school holidays) we're doing a good job of keeping expenses low. We did buy a box of mini Magnums yesterday to thank the girls for all their hard work helping with the bookshelf, but that and today's parking was really it.

    On Friday, though, I let myself get talked into looking after someone else's six year old for an entire eight hour day, and she and Little Girl can get scratchy with one another after a while, so I think I am going to have to throw at least a tiny bit of money at the problem. So far I'm thinking, walk down to the duck pond with a picnic (and not Doggie, who will try and chase the ducks) and see if we can spot some ducklings, maybe curve back around via the gelati place for a treat, drop into the library and see if there are any free activities on. They are doing a free screening of Moana but it's 8+, unfortunately - they do usually also have some craft thing or other, but not advertised so it's a bit pot luck.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 4th Oct 17, 11:52 PM
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    armchairexpert
    Last day of Mr E looking after the girls and then it's all me for the next couple of weeks. I need a plan. Hit me up with your low cost holiday ideas! So far I have

    Baking
    Beach (the weather looks to be good enough)
    Picnic in the native Botanic Garden
    Playdates with local kid friends
    Um.

    (No money things to report. I've been working from home and not spending anything. Mr E bought himself three pairs of new trousers yesterday but only from a cheap shop, so $60 for the three. "That's definitely the last new thing he'll need for a while", apparently. But he hasn't really taken the kids out much these holidays, so that's kept costs down. And for some reason they seem happy enough to potter around at home all the time).
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 5th Oct 17, 12:07 AM
    • 648 Posts
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    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Sometimes children do just want to do the things we think are boring:uninteresting/ easy for a parent.
    As a teacher I used to find interesting ways to do lesson activities, for children to generate their own questions, all linked to a theme. When actually most of them just wanted a page of calculations to complete. It did make me wonders why I bother sometimes.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 Aug: £36,411.85 8/100 Sep: £35,945.66 10/100 Oct: £35,500 11/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 5th Oct 17, 10:20 AM
    • 800 Posts
    • 4,690 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Hello Ace, looks like you have had a bit of an up and down period recently. Look on the bright side, at least you can identify where things are going wrong, and you have the ability to correct as you go along.

    Based on this, something is going the right way. You are becoming naturally more frugal and when extra expenses fall on your lap or there is an overspend in the budget, you can still accommodate it all by cutting back somewhere else.

    All seems good in the overall picture to me!
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    2018 MFW #135
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 6th Oct 17, 1:50 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Thanks Tallulah! Nice to see you around. And yes, you're right. My norms are changing, so things that seemed like unimaginable frugality before are starting to be normal.

    Mr E will get a chunk of money after this work trip. At least $650, which is an expense allowance, and maybe also overtime depending on whether it's compensated with paid overtime or time in lieu or a combination of both. If it's all overtime, it'll be closer to $2K, which will allow me to put a decent buffer into the savings pots.

    Little Girl's friend is now only over for four hours, which is much easier. So far they're happy with unstructured play, so I might get away with a cheap playdate after all. Wish me luck!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 8th Oct 17, 3:19 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Doggie is asleep in a sunbeam, all the windows are open to air the place out, the linens are on the washing line and I've deep cleaned the rugs - yes, it's finally spring. Thank goodness for that.

    We had friends come over for dinner yesterday. I had originally misunderstood and thought it was just one person, but then she revealed that she was bringing her whole family (this is the problem with only communicating via text), so we ended up splurging on a takeaway dinner for the lot of us. Our half cost $75, which wasn't at all bad for 4 people and I think it would have cost us more than that to cook a nice dinner for 9. Plus, enough leftovers that they took half home for lunch today and we had the other half. It's so nice to hang out with people who have similar finances, so there's no pressure.

    Did a huge grocery shop yesterday because Mr E goes away tomorrow and I don't want to have to drag the kids around the shops on my own while he's gone. Not because they're that difficult, but because they always talk me into a packet of biscuits or some blueberries or something not budgeted for! So I bought extra cat food, extra milk, a frozen pizza and garlic bread and ice cream for next Saturday's "girls' movie night in" which we only do when Mr E is away (we do a whole girly thing, with face masks and nail polish and stuff, I know it's ridiculous with such young children but they adore it) and I have meal planned every lunch and dinner for the next two weeks. And it came to about $180, which is great if I can make it last the fortnight.

    Already planning what I'm going to do with Mr E's extra money when it comes in at the end of the month. I don't know how much it'll be, but I'm hoping there'll be enough to top up the birthday and Christmas pots a bit and also put a ceiling fan into our bedroom before summer hits.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 8th Oct 17, 3:45 AM
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    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Ace, it seems odd for you to be talking about throwing open the windows and sorting out a fan when all of us here in Blighty are hunkering down for the winter. Nights drawing in, heating starting to kick in, warm soups and stews.
    But it's also nice that you post in the wee small hours for us as I'm sat here with a not sleeping 1 year old.

    Mr E being away may be good for the finances in other ways too, will he splurge from the family finances or is everything on the expense account?

    My hubby has just headed off into mainland Europe for the week, then he's flying back into London to work there for a week, so sending you lots of 'we're temporary single parent' solidarity vibes to you. In my case, it's tough on the parenting front, but easier on the housewife front, I don't have to tidy up nearly as much or as often. And, this time... there's a laundry service on the gig, so he's under strict instructions to get as much of his washing laundered before returning home as possible.

    Have a great day, little one here still thinking sleep is optional.

    Wish.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 Aug: £36,411.85 8/100 Sep: £35,945.66 10/100 Oct: £35,500 11/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 8th Oct 17, 3:56 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Ace, it seems odd for you to be talking about throwing open the windows and sorting out a fan when all of us here in Blighty are hunkering down for the winter. Nights drawing in, heating starting to kick in, warm soups and stews.
    But it's also nice that you post in the wee small hours for us as I'm sat here with a not sleeping 1 year old.

    Mr E being away may be good for the finances in other ways too, will he splurge from the family finances or is everything on the expense account?

    My hubby has just headed off into mainland Europe for the week, then he's flying back into London to work there for a week, so sending you lots of 'we're temporary single parent' solidarity vibes to you. In my case, it's tough on the parenting front, but easier on the housewife front, I don't have to tidy up nearly as much or as often. And, this time... there's a laundry service on the gig, so he's under strict instructions to get as much of his washing laundered before returning home as possible.

    Have a great day, little one here still thinking sleep is optional.

    Wish.
    Originally posted by wishingthemortgaheaway
    Oh, golly, I remember the wee-small-hours days! Hang in there.

    Mr E is going to a remote part of the Outback. There are - hurrah! - no shops. They buy their own groceries to take there, but then they get reimbursed a set amount per day which far exceeds that amount because it's a flat rate that's calculated to reimburse travelling staff whether they're in a city paying for restaurant food, or in a desert cooking beans over a fire. I hope that makes sense. So it works out quite lucrative for these sorts of trips, but he breaks even if it's a conference in a capital city.

    And yes, I hear you on the housewife front! It's an ongoing mystery to me, because Mr E is a very egalitarian bloke, who does a lot of housework. He doesn't "help", he just does things as they need doing, which is often more than I do because I'm working in the evenings. And yet AND YET things stay way tidier and cleaner when he's not here. Mystery. I think it's because I cook lower-effort meals rather than his all-the-pots-in-the-kitchen specials, and I tidy as I go whereas he doesn't, and we generate a lot less laundry because he wears four layers of clothes at all times, etc., etc.

    Also I get to watch what I want on telly and I have bought and stashed snacks! Bring it on!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 11th Oct 17, 12:09 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Mr E being away appears to have sent a signal to Big and Little that I am at their disposal 100%, and I've struggled to find any time to post! But on the bright side, they're clearly wanting a laid back holiday, which has proven very cheap. They asked for a picnic on the lawn instead of lunch in a cafe yesterday, and today they specifically requested a day where they didn't get out of their PJs all day. They're making pipe cleaner people at the moment, it's all terribly wholesome.

    We will have to walk Doggie at some point, but otherwise the agenda is baking, craft, me trying to find an hour to get some paid work done, then we'll watch a movie and paint our toe nails.

    Nothing at all money related to share, I haven't spent a cent in days!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Silence101
    • By Silence101 11th Oct 17, 5:17 AM
    • 311 Posts
    • 472 Thanks
    Silence101
    Those are great days. I need to start saving the unspent money instead of splurging once we do have a spendy day!
    09/17 Shared Ownership 50% share - Mortgage £77500 Original MFW 2052
    10/17 OP £108.01 /£100 11/17 £471.44/£100 12/17 £114/£100
    • mfmaybe
    • By mfmaybe 11th Oct 17, 10:44 AM
    • 1,002 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    mfmaybe
    Mr E being away appears to have sent a signal to Big and Little that I am at their disposal 100%, and I've struggled to find any time to post! But on the bright side, they're clearly wanting a laid back holiday, which has proven very cheap. They asked for a picnic on the lawn instead of lunch in a cafe yesterday, and today they specifically requested a day where they didn't get out of their PJs all day. They're making pipe cleaner people at the moment, it's all terribly wholesome.

    We will have to walk Doggie at some point, but otherwise the agenda is baking, craft, me trying to find an hour to get some paid work done, then we'll watch a movie and paint our toe nails.

    Nothing at all money related to share, I haven't spent a cent in days!
    Originally posted by armchairexpert
    Such a positive lovely post. Your girls sound gorgeous and what happy memories you are all making. Wholesome is right
    Create credit card buffer fund £12.93/£1000 1.4%paid. Pay by Christmas 17

    Other debts paid since 1/1/14: £17,005
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 12th Oct 17, 6:04 AM
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    armchairexpert
    It's not 100% sunshiney - it became obvious today that part of why Little is so keen on staying home is because she feels sad without her Dad around and doesn't want to be out of her comfort zone. She didn't even want to go to her Nana's for a sleepover today, and that's usually a huge treat. She did cheer up eventually, and was fine once they arrived, but the poor little bean just hates changes to her routine. She didn't even want to go to a cafe for lunch, also usually a huge treat.

    Anyway, they're gone now, and I did treat myself to a coffee and a browse around the charity shops for an hour. Picked up a lovely warm long cardigan and a couple of summer tops for $20, which was great.

    We did have fun last night. Even I got into my pyjamas to watch a movie with them and paint their toenails!

    Oh, and I landed a new client which means my 'anchor clients' - guaranteed income - is now at the next target level and anything else is just a bonus. Very pleased with that.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 12th Oct 17, 6:26 AM
    • 648 Posts
    • 2,580 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    It's amazing how changes affect them isn't it? Even at 16months my little one is very different when Daddy is home to when Daddy is away.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = £400)
    2017 July : £36,800 8/100 Aug: £36,411.85 8/100 Sep: £35,945.66 10/100 Oct: £35,500 11/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029
    Current mortgage free date: April 2025
    • greent
    • By greent 12th Oct 17, 8:49 AM
    • 6,511 Posts
    • 65,699 Thanks
    greent
    Great news re new client and increased base level income!
    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) £5278/£3286
    Net sales 2017 £1445.57/£500 PAYDOX17 £12239/£10k Decluttered 1870/2017 items
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 13th Oct 17, 12:48 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Little cheered up when she actually got to her (beloved) Nana's - I think it was good for her. And I enjoyed an evening completely on my own, which never ever happens. I got home, worked, walked Doggie, and then felt like I should recognise it somehow. Should I drive (a long way) to the mall for late opening and browse shops without children in tow? Should I take myself out to a restaurant for dinner on my own?

    In the end, I went to the library and spent a luxurious amount of time choosing books without children interfering, and *coughs* also paid off an old fine, so that's nice to have off my plate, and then ate cheese and ham in front of Netflix. I have very modest ambitions in life.

    Next on the sorting-out-finances list is updating my credit card auto-payment form. It's this ridiculous saga from when we refinanced, because the bank can't process the request in-branch, and you can't email the form you have to FAX it, and even Mr Expert's huge government department no longer owns a fax machine, and the postal service won't fax forms with financial information on them, and when we finally did find somewhere that would send a fax for us, for a fee, apparently we forgot to fill in a bit of the form, and now we have to start again, and I am SO BAD at this kind of admin work. But it's coming up to the next month's direct debit, which will bounce again (because it's trying to take from a closed account) if I don't sort it. So! Nag me before the 18th!

    (Why are banks so far behind the rest of the world? It is a mystery.)
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • Tahlullah
    • By Tahlullah 13th Oct 17, 7:54 AM
    • 800 Posts
    • 4,690 Thanks
    Tahlullah
    Really surprised at this. I thought most home printer / scanners also sent faxes!

    But not only banks still on old technology. Some courts and law firms in the UK only accept fax.
    Striving to be mortgage free.
    2018 MFW #135
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 16th Oct 17, 1:19 AM
    • 726 Posts
    • 4,719 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    No it's crazy, isn't it? My home printer/scanner does not fax. Mr E's government department doesn't fax. He could instal a piece of software on his computer at work that would allow him to send a digital fax, but that involves getting signed permission from the IT department, and that takes like a week. It's ridiculous.

    Over here, the courts accept PDF attachments by email now.

    Anyway, I realised yesterday that the bank tried to take the autopay on the 13th, Friday, so that's annoying and will generate another $9 dishonour fee. I have done a manual transfer so I won't get charged interest on the actual credit card balance, but still. Grr.

    In other news, I took the girls out to the swimming pool for a treat-y end to our fairly frugal holidays yesterday. As part of the treat I decided we'd eat lunch at the pool cafe, but they were out of plastic cutlery so they gave us metal cutlery and Little Girl managed somehow to slip and fall down while holding her knife and fork in such a way that the knife made a small-but-deep gash in her head, so the we ended up at A&E. She's fine, and she was okay to go to school today, but that wasn't ideal. The poor girls ended up with a packet of crisps each from a hospital vending machine for lunch (at 4.30pm).

    Few unexpected spends there, then, but not much harm done!
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 17th Oct 17, 2:21 AM
    • 726 Posts
    • 4,719 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Mr E back tomorrow. Kids back at school. Workload evening out. All nice and uneventful.

    I paid the quarterly electricity bill today. It came to $1150. Ridiculous. I've been enquiring about solar but my roof is probably too shaded to make it worthwhile.

    I'm toying with saving up my clothing money for a while and then going and buying a few basics in different colours so I don't have to think about clothes for ages. Like three pairs of culottes, some plain t-shirts, maybe a couple of dresses with short sleeves, then I'm just basically done. I don't like clothes much.

    I did do a clear out of my wardrobe a while ago and on paper I have enough clothes, but somehow they don't go together. I have a bunch of summer dresses, but only one pair of sandals to wear with them and those are cracking a bit, and also only two of the dresses are really casual and I own one pair of summer pants but the fly comes down a lot so they're really unwearable... And now I spend time at the dog park I need some light sneakers or something I can wear instead. I might need to draw up a list and see what's actually missing. And maybe do another clear out and be really, really ruthless instead of having all this stuff that I own but don't wear because it's tight/the fly isn't right/it only looks good with a tunic length top and I don't own any of those/etc.
    MFW diary here. 1 Feb 2017 $229,371 - MFD Feb 2043 aiming for May 2028
    14 August 2017 - Refinanced: $220,000
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
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