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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
    November 2017 - $216,000.00 Current MFD 31 July 2035
Page 21
    • VelvetFreak
    • By VelvetFreak 22nd Nov 17, 9:18 PM
    • 167 Posts
    • 493 Thanks
    VelvetFreak
    Oh dear Ace, you poor thing.

    I am the oldest of two girls and am still scarred from having friends over and my younger sister annoying the bejesus out of us
    Family Loan of $8000 - Paid off 22/06/2017
    Emergency Fund $6,000 / $10,000
    Flooring Renovation Fund $2400/$5000
    Kitchen Renovation Fund $0 / $8000
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 23rd Nov 17, 1:32 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Yep, I'm an eldest as well, I do feel her pain. It was okay, actually: I let Youngest put on the TV, and so she mostly let the others play, although she shushed them a lot.

    The rest of Mr E's overtime finally came in. FINALLY! And...it's underwhelming. I thought that I had lowered my expectations and accepted that it would only be about $700, but in fact it's $550. I think maybe they took out more tax than usual because it just got added to his normal pay and the system thinks he's in a higher tax bracket than he is.

    Nonetheless! I have the December budget done now (my pay is always the same and pays the mortgages, so it's easy to see the lie of the land even before it comes in (assuming my slow paying clients get their acts together before the 30th)) and I have managed to allocate a bit extra to the grocery budget to get us through the expensive December month and visitors coming (an extra $200, which I suspect is not enough because Mr E's family are extravagant hosts, but whatever), a bit extra to the family entertainment budget, and pay for my mother's air conditioner. Which I must organise now the money's in.
    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 24th Nov 17, 12:26 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Couldn't face proper cooking last night, so I did the girls a quick spaghetti bolognese and sent Mr E out fora lazy supper in the lounge for us two later - nice sausages, fancy bread, cheese, olives. I'm going to go over the grocery budget this month, but I'm not sure I care that much. Part of the reason is that I went for a Costco run at the end of October, and counted it towards November spends although some of it was used in October. It confuses things.

    Relatedly, I'm thinking of getting a Costco card of my own instead of having to rely on my Mum's, but I split the cost of it with her and we only renewed in September, so I'm dithering. The problem is that by the time I drive to hers and pick her up and then help her back with her own groceries it's a whole day gone, and she's not always free when I want to go. If I had my own I could go once a month and buy all the bulk meat and things fairly quickly, and also time it so that the nearby cheap butcher has its reductions on. It's a long way from my place - about a 50 minute drive - but once a month would be worth it I think. Maybe.

    Birthday and Christmas shopping continuing apace. I'm hoping to get a couple of hours to myself with the car this weekend and do the last of the girls' birthday shopping (a proper ballet sports bag for Big Girl, with compartments and a generally serious vibe about it, rather than grabbing random shopping bags on the way out of the door: ideally a vintage jewellery music box for Little Girl) and also buy Mr E's Christmas present. After that it's mostly just food, for both events. I still have to pay the venue for the birthday party but that's accounted for.
    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 27th Nov 17, 12:58 AM
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    armchairexpert
    What a mad weekend. The girls have their annual ballet recital next weekend, so this weekend we had three hour continuinty rehearsals both Saturday and Sunday, and when you add in the time it takes to get their hair done and find all their stuff, it's at least another hour a day. Had to drag them out of bed this morning.

    The week's even worse. Thursday is Little Girl's birthday, which is fine: she wants prawns, garlic bread, coleslaw and trifle, most of which is easy.

    Friday is Big Girl's birthday, and they also have a dress rehearsal. We get home from school at 3.30 and we have to be back in the car by 4.45 with both girls absolutely concert ready - that means full on ballet buns with nets and gel and hairspray and a million pins, plus full faces of makeup, plus their costume bags and make up and a packed dinner to eat in the breaks. I told Big Girl I'd make their packed dinner as treat-y as possible to make up for the fact that it's her birthday, so that'll mean a special shopping trip for nice ham and pickled octopus (her request!) and I'll bake cupcakes.

    They won't be back home until past 11pm, and that means she won't see her Dad on her birthday, so he's going to come home early from work and be there for the 4pm - 4.45 slot. So effectively we're trying to open presents and eat cupcakes at the same time as I'm doing makeup and hair. It's going to be fraught. I am dreading it.

    Saturday is the recital, that's a commitment from 11am to 11pm (two performances plus extra last minute rehearsals) and we'll grab a family dinner out somewhere for their collective birthdays. Sunday I have told them they can wear PJs all day and not leave the house. I'm tired just thinking about the whole thing.
    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 27th Nov 17, 8:08 AM
    • 644 Posts
    • 2,533 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Wow. That's a crazy week Ace. Definitely need to make life as simple as possible around that.
    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
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 27th Nov 17, 11:11 AM
    • 948 Posts
    • 4,243 Thanks
    Cherryfudge
    That sounds like an organisational nightmare.

    I wonder if they could just open a 'main' present on the actual birthdays and save the celebrations for Sunday? Though you will probably be washing glitter out of their bedding all day...

    One thing is sure though - you're going to be proud Mum when you see them on stage! I hope you all have a great time at the recital.
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 27th Nov 17, 11:55 PM
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    armchairexpert
    I did suggest the Sunday birthday thing, but Big Girl got all teary at the idea of not having any 'family time' on her actual birthday, and she's always a bit stressy this time of year anyway because of the recital so we'll make it work somehow. Costume bags and dinners packed and in the car before I even pick them up from school, all the hair-doing equipment laid out on the table, that sort of thing.

    Of course, it's also the week where all my clients want urgent things done, and friends want to catch up (nope) and I'm not sleeping well because I'm worried I've forgotten things.

    The light at the end of the tunnel is that Mr E is basically in charge of Christmas. I do presents for my family and stockings and that's it. So once the birthday madness is out of the way, my life gets a bit easier while everyone else ramps up.

    Money news: none. Deep denial.
    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 28th Nov 17, 11:44 PM
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    armchairexpert
    Lots of spending and activity yesterday!

    a) Finished the girls' birthday shopping. Found the most magical toy shop, tucked away in an arcade near where I live and haven't ever been in there before. It's all wind up toys and ornaments and hand carved wooden things with secret compartments, it's unlike any other toy shop I've been in, like something from another world. I got Little Girl a night light with a fairy inside dancing in swirling confetti. She's also getting a Spirograph kit and a beanie boo.

    Big Girl is getting a proper serious ballet bag with compartments and things, my old Kindle onto which I've downloaded a bunch of books I know she'll like, and a renewed subscription to an animal magazine.

    b) Also ordered a new air conditioner and ceiling fan for my Mum's unit, her current one is an ancient wall unit that just needs to go. When they arrived I'll book the electrician, and I'll need a glazier to replace the window once we pull the old unit out. So that was close to $1K but the money was in savings: it's where the overtime cash went.

    c) Also bought makings for the girls' birthday cupcakes (they each want a different sort, because of course they do), lollipops to distribute at school (getting off easy: for a few years there the classroom norm was to bring in home baked cakes for one's birthday, as if I didn't have enough to do), the last of the makeup and hair equipment for the concert.

    AND the crockery arrived! Most of it! There are 6 side plates missing, so Mr E has to check whether they're out of stock or what's going on. But it's very pretty.

    Getting a bit anxious about a new client who keeps appearing, reassuring me that they definitely want to work together on an ongoing basis and then disappearing again. If they settle down and come back to me properly it's worth about 30% of my income, and it's fun work, but this is now the second time they've disappeared after praising the work I've done for them and promising to send me more and I don't know what's happening. The answer is to go out and drum up more work elsewhere instead, but it's such a crazy time of year I was really hoping to not have to do the unpaid hustle for a while.

    So money's going out and not coming in at the moment! I'm alright for the next two months, and I have money in a business savings account to cover tax and a small shortfall, but I'd better get hustling.
    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 30th Nov 17, 12:18 AM
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    armchairexpert
    If I were skipping down the street tossing $100 bills into the breeze I could hardly be spending more money than I am now. Ridiculous. Did another 'small' 'top up' shop this morning to buy Little Girl's birthday dinner for tonight and Big Girl's picnic birthday dinner for tomorrow, plus a few party plates and candles and things for next week's birthday party, and oh also they need makeup brushs for the recital and foundation wedges and then I was $75 down. That's half a week's shop!

    Luckily, Mr E has decided that he doesn't need a new phone as urgently as he believed: I showed him how to check his usage and which apps to delete and that's improved its battery life enough that he can wait a couple more months. So I've pulled the $500 back out of that savings pot and used it for the overspends, and we are breaking even this month. But only because we also had an extra $1500 in overtime, if I'm honest: we've spent well over our normal monthly income. It's just the time of year, I'm giving in to it otherwise I'll get even more anxious and uptight than I am.

    Anyway! Little Girl liked her presents from us, and hopefully her Gran's card arrives in today's post so I can put the requested $50 into it for her (she did a bank transfer so she didn't have to send cash). Big Girl is tomorrow, and I have all her requested favourite things. Today I have to ice Little Girl's cupcakes for dinner time, and after they've gone to bed I'll bake Big Girl's cake for tomorrow. Tomorrow is also the ballet recital dress rehearsal with the crazy turn around times, and because that's not impossible enough, the weather is forecasting heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. So fun!
    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 1st Dec 17, 12:24 AM
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    • 4,714 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    November Wrap Up
    November was a pretty ridiculous month. I'm kind of ludicrously hoping that December is better, which of course it won't be. However, thanks to Mr E's extra income for the month, we somehow emerged out the other side okay.

    Here's how things look:

    Mortgage: $216,000. I'm only managing to overpay in little bits and pieces, but I've taken off $4K since we remortgaged in August. This month, December, we have three fortnightly payments so I won't overpay past that but one of those payments will effectively be a hefty (to me) OP. I'd like this to be under $215,000 next month.

    Each fortnightly payment is $647. Goal is to get the interest payment down past that amount so more than 50% is off the principal. Didn't achieve that in November: interest was $700 for a 31 day month. Maybe next month.

    General spending: Hahahahahahahahahaha. But in brighter news, the bulk of the Christmas costs are paid for now, it's just food and booze and maybe a couple of small presents left. Mr E's Mum has said she'll contribute to Christmas dinner as well, which is lovely of her and will help. All in all, while I could have kept this cheaper, part of the journey is to find a balance that doesn't leave my family feeling deprived. Both girls had lovely birthdays with their favourite foods, they're all set for their ballet concert with the proper equipment, I'm happy with that.

    Savings: I've been really struggling to build up buffers and savings pots, partly because I'm also trying to make small OPs, I think maybe I should just build up the EF first and then OP, but it's so annoying. As it stands at 1 December, I have:

    $826 in total in the "General emergency/Home repairs/investment unit repairs' funds, which will cover a boiler breakdown or something but not much else - I need $2K
    $260 for a new phone for Mr E - I need $550
    $600 for an iPad for Big Girl for school next year - this needs to be $900
    $860 in the holiday pot. This needs to be $5K minimum. Traveling anywhere at all from Australia is ridiculous, and with four of us it's almost impossible.
    So by my calculations, I'm about $7K short. I don't need all of this immediately, but that's my best guess for upcoming 2018 commitments.

    Overall: YNAB lets me track 'net worth' as well as mortgage. I count all debts (mortgage + credit card) and all money in savings, but not asset value. That's improved by $2100 this month. No idea how.
    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 Dec 17, 5:03 AM
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    armchairexpert
    Girls' ballet recital went smoothly and now we're having a lazy Sunday. Well, I say lazy: i've made bread, taken the dog for an hour-and-a-half walk and done the grocery shop and now I'm working.The girls got up around 10,30am, came downstairs for pancakes and the Big Girl went back to bed and read until we dragged her into the fresh air at 2pm. It's safe to say they were tired.

    A fresh new December budget to play with! I've put a lot more money into Family Entertainment than usual, although we wasted $85 of it yesterday on a rushed meal between ballet performances that wasn't nearly as much fun as that price would suggest. We wanted sushi, but we were worried about getting back in time so chose somewhere closer and as it turned out, a lot more pricy. Ah well! I'm trying hard not to worry about money during the holidays, not sure how it'll go.

    Mortgage payment came out on the first, and the bank calculator now thinks I've shaved off two months in the past five, which is gratifying. I'll end this month in the 214000s, I wonder if I can get below 200 in 2018? This year most of our overpaying came from the money I had saved up in my business tax account (I always put aside a lot more than I need and then move the extra once I get my tax assessment) and I don't think I'll end up with nearly as much this year. But we'll see!
    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 6th Dec 17, 12:40 AM
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    • 4,714 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Little Girl eye appointment today, no need for new glasses which is something. Modest spends on new sandals for her and new swimming costumes for both of them ahead of their pool party on the weekend. Otherwise life continues apace! Was out for a meal last night, tab picked up by the school because it was a thank you to the school council parents, so that was nice. Burgers tonight. Very boring update!
    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
    • Cherryfudge
    • By Cherryfudge 6th Dec 17, 11:18 AM
    • 948 Posts
    • 4,243 Thanks
    Cherryfudge
    Good to see you got through the crazy weekend so well and the girls seem to have had a good time!
    • armchairexpert
    • By armchairexpert 6th Dec 17, 11:44 PM
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    • 4,714 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    The crazy weekend has spilled over into this week, unfortunately. A million pieces of work have landed on my desk, and at the same time I'm organising a present and card for Big Girl's best friend's birthday dinner tonight, ordering sandwich platters and looking up cake recipes for my girls' birthday party Saturday, and in between, Friday night, is the school End of Year concert to which I am supposed to bring booze and help out at the fundraising bar.

    Next week is looking a bit better. And my Mum decided that the girls' Christmas present this year would be her taking them away for a 4-day beach holiday in the week leading up to Christmas, which they will adore and therefore I can use that time to deep clean the house ahead of my in-laws arriving and also get ahead on some work. I've never been away from them for that many days, so I am a bit nervous and preparing to miss them, but it'll be great for them I think.

    Mr E got paid today and it was about $120 more than usual. Am waiting to hear if this is his annual payrise coming through, which I have been expecting since September. Mr E doesn't like to ask people about money, even if the question is literally "what is my salary", so it's a bit guessworky.
    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 Dec 17, 3:31 AM
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    • 4,714 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    Out to dinner again last night for a friend's birthday. Good food, decent company, I tried hard not to think about the money and largely failed. We've spent $200 on eating out already this month and it's only the 9th.

    Actual grocery costs are going very well, though, so I might shuffle some money from one pot to the other. Supposed to take a picnic to the school this evening ahead of the end of year concert in which we all sit around and watch our adorable offspring warble something in a homemade costume. It's a bit cold and damp this year, though, so I'm tempted to go a bit later and just buy them a sausage from the barbecue instead of spreading blankets on wet grass. I did buy crisps and ham and things, but I burned the bread and I can't really be bothered making a new loaf in time.

    It's their birthday party tomorrow, so I have bought all the trimmings to make them the cake they wanted (and have been obsessing over for almost a year, since my MIL bought them* a Disney Birthday Cake cookbook). It involved five different bags of sweets! I mean not all of every bag goes on, obviously, but I needed something that looked like rocks, something I could turn into seaweed, some fish-shaped candies, chocolate seashells and some jubes to make an octopus from. The whole production is costing me about what it would have cost to buy a ready made and beautifully decorated cake from the bakery and is infinitely more faff-y.

    I've also ordered a platter of ready made wraps from the supermarket, which I know is not MSE but I am on my knees here. We were out at dinner last night, we're out until 9.30pm again tonight and I have so much work to do that I'm working on the couch until approximately midnight. The poor dog is getting an occasional walk squeezed in and if I had a dog walker to hand her over to I would. It is RIDIC and I am prepared to throw money at it at this stage.

    Anyway, so this afternoon/evening I need to:
    1. Pack at least a partial picnic for this evening, we can't literally eat a sausage-in-a-bun for dinner
    2. Clap/encourage/etc while sitting on plastic chair
    3. Make cake (Victoria sponge thing)
    4. Decorate cake
    5. Pick up wraps and buy fruit
    6. Bake sausage rolls and wrap in foil
    7. Buy wrapping paper and construct a pass-the-parcel oh goodness kill me now I do not have TIME for this
    8. I do have crisps, biscuits, drinks and party cups and platers and things organised
    9. Work out how to get all of this down to party venue
    10. Don't forget to pick up Big Girl's best friend on the way
    That's not including the 2-3 hours work, obviously.
    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 Dec 17, 1:40 AM
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    • 4,714 Thanks
    armchairexpert
    So once every month or two circumstances mean that Mr E does the weekly shop instead of me, and I always end up here complaining about how much he spends.

    This weekend was the same. I made a short list of the basic things we needed, knowing he'd pick up about a million other things, and I took a deep breath and sent them all off because it's December and it's not the end of the world if we go over budget.

    And he came back way under. WAY under. He'd gone to Aldi for the first time, bless him, managed to spend only $145, and picked up the Christmas turkey as part of that. I was amazed!

    And then this morning I was making lunches for the girls and - no lunch meat? No savoury snacks? Where's all the fruit? "I tried to stick to your list".

    Why? Why this time? If I'd known he was going to stick to the list I would have made a longer list! I put "fruit" and he bought three apples? This is a man who, if I say "apples", usually comes back with a 5kg bucket of apples, some pears, a different kind of apple, tangelos because he knows I like them and also three boxes of peaches because they were on a bulk special. I'm mystified. Bless his heart. I'm going to go do a second grocery shop this afternoon.
    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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