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  • FIRST POST
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 28th Aug 17, 10:07 AM
    • 257Posts
    • 2,206Thanks
    njk1012
    Life Planning and Moving Goalposts
    • #1
    • 28th Aug 17, 10:07 AM
    Life Planning and Moving Goalposts 28th Aug 17 at 10:07 AM
    I have decided I NEED to post more and have a place to keep myself accountable as well as track progress. So well here I am.

    Background

    To cut a long story short we as a family are not in a bad position and certainly a better one than previously. I have been here before with debts that at the time seemed impossible to pay off with a combination of benefits and minimum wage jobs. They were however paid off in full and with an intact credit rating Go Us! I managed to study my way to a pretty good (but stressful) career and the last couple of years we have started to enjoy the benefits. This however has lead to spending what we earn and not allowing for any planning for the future.

    We are a family of 4 and other than me there is my OH, DS1 aged 18 and DS2 aged 15.


    Here and now


    So we have a reasonable income (read fairly average) but are spending all of it! This has included car finance taken out for 5 years in January. Our house is a mess and needs lots of work done we have little savings for this or the future. I'm more than aware that without my income the family would be in a big pile of the brown stuff again. Just to add to this TC have made a massive error and now state that we owe them over £4000.

    I've also been looking to the future I'm currently 38 and having worked since I was 16, I really don't want to be working until I'm 68! It seems so far away but if I don't start planning now there will be no choice of retiring earlier.

    Where I want to get too

    1 - Repay all debt currently £8819.52 on car finance (checked and they allow over payments ) challenge TC decision (which they are not currently chasing but likely to start soon). If it cant be resolved also start paying this back.
    2 - Save every month into a house improvement and contingency fund and don't let it drop below 1 months total income when spending on the house.
    3- When 1 is completed move over to a saving diary to plan for a way of exiting or reducing work prior to 68!

    I have compiled what I feel is a reasonable budget, however I am discovering that we have been spending much more than this, so time to tighten the purse strings and stick to it! As you can see I like bullet points and the number 3 so I'm suspecting my post will involve lots of mini lists and goals.

    If you have stumbled across this diary, I apologize for my ongoing ramblings and lists in advance, but feel free to comment and make me feel that I'm not constantly talking to myself (do enough of this already!).
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
Page 1
    • mumblingtaff
    • By mumblingtaff 28th Aug 17, 11:46 AM
    • 141 Posts
    • 3,723 Thanks
    mumblingtaff
    • #2
    • 28th Aug 17, 11:46 AM
    • #2
    • 28th Aug 17, 11:46 AM
    Good luck nkj - I love a list too!
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 28th Aug 17, 11:49 AM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    • #3
    • 28th Aug 17, 11:49 AM
    • #3
    • 28th Aug 17, 11:49 AM
    Had a quick look back at a previous thread which i started in 2010/ 11ish. and OMG so much has changed some for the better some for the worse anyway it's nice to see how our lifestyle has changed and that my list making was just as irritating then as it is now.

    Some thinks I noted:
    - My dad is no longer with us sadly and I miss including him in things but my mum has become more important than ever.
    - We no longer feed hoards of children as we clearly are not cool enough to hang around older teenagers, but do seem to provide a taxi service lol. I miss having a house full of little ones it was fun!
    - We did pay off all the debt in my previous thread and have been living in comparable luxury since then (part of why i'm back here).
    - My OH is now well enough to work part time and has done now for about 3 years, something i'm very grateful for.

    Right back to the to do list, as its a bank holiday i'm off work. I probably should do some work in preparation for next week but I'm not going to if it doesn't benefit home life. Work life balance has become a bit of an issue of late.

    Today's jobs:

    - Tidy out chest freezer and take stock of what we have in.
    - Clean the bathroom
    - Dust the lounge
    - Change bedding
    - make evening meal from stores
    - Go to Iceland with £5 voucher for cheese and milk we need.
    - Go woopsy hunting at 2pm for bread (almost run out)
    - Figure out what form i need to send in to dispute TC decision
    - Check online banking
    - Check diary for which days I'm likely work late and plan meal prep for this
    - Find some 'me time'.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 28th Aug 17, 12:26 PM
    • 4,686 Posts
    • 8,873 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    • #4
    • 28th Aug 17, 12:26 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Aug 17, 12:26 PM
    Some good goals there and maybe you are looking to a 20 year plan with the early retirement? Savings for home improvements, holidays and overpaying car finance is definitely a good idea.

    One other thing I would do though is get familiar with your pensions now. Even an additional £25 a month (£300 a year) would help you with the early retirement options.

    Do you have a mortgage and if so when does it finish?

    Will your boys be going to university because that can also throw a spanner in the retirement plans?

    We planned to go at 55 initially but university, weddings and helping our daughters with first homes delayed this by a few years. OH went at 58 and I go a month before my 58th birthday at the end of this year. We started planning for this in our late 20s due to the type of work my OH did (lots of travel and long hours). The sooner you start, the better position you will be in and you will hardly miss £25 or £20 after tax relief. Ideally you would both overpay occupational pensions assuming you both have one.
    4 weeks to go until early retirement in December . Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 28th Aug 17, 12:52 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    • #5
    • 28th Aug 17, 12:52 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Aug 17, 12:52 PM
    mumblingtaf- they get a bit obsessional don't they

    enthusiasticsaver - So glad it worked out so well for you despite the blips. We have only just started to think about it as now were in a position too. Funnily enough our pension statements came through this week and are quite confusing frankly. We both pay into LGPS's OH for 3 years and me for just over 2. Looking at the projected annual pension at normal retirement age I personally don't think it will be enough, although we will hopefully not be financially responsible for the DS's by then! Which kind of started us thinking that we HAVE to do something now.

    We currently rent from a family member, the plan was to buy the house from them at a greatly reduced rate as soon as we were able at 66% of market value. Looked into it last year and unfortunately the family member is now no longer in a position to take the hit of capital gains tax. Bit of a compromise reached whereby the rent will never increase (already less than comparable housing) and some home improvement costs will be split. We will eventually inherit the house, very likely prior to retiring as owned by a elderly relative who I would much rather stay alive frankly, but that's the reality and it does offer us some stability moving forwards (lived here 17 years and we kinda like it).

    Good point on over paying the pension, I need to look into this particularly for mine as OH doesn't earn enough to pay tax so I presume over payments would be better placed where there is some tax relief?

    Edited to add: 18yr old has completed 2 years at college and now has an apprenticeship (no uni aspirations). The youngest has one more year at secondary and he does plan to go to uni but we'll see where that leads.
    Last edited by njk1012; 28-08-2017 at 12:54 PM.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • enthusiasticsaver
    • By enthusiasticsaver 28th Aug 17, 1:03 PM
    • 4,686 Posts
    • 8,873 Thanks
    enthusiasticsaver
    • #6
    • 28th Aug 17, 1:03 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Aug 17, 1:03 PM
    Even if your OH does not pay tax he will still get tax relief so worth doing though maybe as a Sipp rather than overpaying his pension and then HMRC will top it up. You can get quotes and although if you are like me payrises are a thing of the past it is worth just seeing if you can cut something else to pay a little bit extra.

    I have a LGPS too and I bought additional years by transferring an old pension into it and overpaying as soon as I could afford to. Saving long term really ought to be either via pensions or stocks and shares isas as savings rates are so low. Regular savers for the home improvements would be a good start though once you have sorted the loan out.

    Normally by the time most people have retired the mortgage is gone so this reduces living expenses. As I say we planned as soon as we could (only in the background as we still wanted to do things to the house, buy new cars and go on holidays). We just got very careful with money and did not spend thoughtlessly and budgeted hard. We just gradually upped pension payments from the base rate of 6% up to 10% for my OH and I did 6% on my pension and a further 10% of my part time wage into Stocks and Shares ISAs and Sipp. We aimed eventually to get to only spending 50% of our income so we knew we could live within pensions.
    4 weeks to go until early retirement in December . Debt free and mortgage free.

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 28th Aug 17, 11:17 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    • #7
    • 28th Aug 17, 11:17 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Aug 17, 11:17 PM
    Thanks enthusiasticsaver I may be picking your brains in the near future when I start to get a better idea of our options. I need to do some research on pensions and savings options as well as tax relief. Our original plan of many years was to buy our home, over pay to get it paid off early, then buy another rental property to do the same again (which would if paid off, hopefully, subsidize income post retirement). My family's background is property development so it made sense at the time. The recent changes however mean that probably wont be the best place to put our money, although still considering a holiday let? bricks and mortar though not the money pit of a caravan etc. Anyway a lot to think about. It seems I have a massive gap in knowledge about future finances (I need my dad right now!).

    Had another look tonight and our annual projections combined would be just over 24k a year IF we worked till normal retirement age, which we don't want to do. I have been really down over the weekend because I handed in a really rubbish report to uni on Friday (the worst ever completed and it's post graduate, higher standards required ). I just didn't leave myself enough time to complete it, which is frustrating because I was used to getting pretty much straight 1st's before and I'm not sure this will even be enough to scrape a pass. The plan sort of hinges on this a little bit as I'm stuck at the top of a LA pay band, but this would bump me up to the next one so would mean pay rises of about £800-£900 per year for the next 4-5 years on top of the 1% yearly increment. This would however probably be it for me pay increase wise in the current climate once I reach the top of the next pay band unless I want to move into the office permanently pretty much, there is little room to improve the income without an additional job on top. So its all about making what we have work for us long term. 20 year minimum plan (fingers crossed for 60 but I don't think I would be devastated if we had to wait for 61-62).

    Anyway I'm aware that I sound pretty entitled right now so onto the mini tasks:

    Today's jobs:

    - Tidy out chest freezer and take stock of what we have in. Done and we still have no need to buy any meat apart from mince in the next week (maybe two?)
    - Clean the bathroom Done
    - Dust the lounge Done
    - Change bedding Done
    - make evening meal from stores Completed I made 3 chicken and veg plate pies 1 GF for me and have enough for tomorrows evening meal left over. Also put a batch of chicken in the slow cooker with a jar of chicken tonight to mix with pasta for Wednesday's evening meal.
    - Go to Iceland with £5 voucher for cheese and milk we need. Done also picked up reduced items we need before pay day inc. fruit, bread, marg and lemon curd.
    - Go woopsy hunting at 2pm for bread (almost run out) Done see above, although I think I went a little bit too early thinking shops closed at 4pm today (they don't).
    - Figure out what form i need to send in to dispute TC decision- Still no wiser on this one I will have to do this after work tomorrow.
    - Check online banking Done nothing has changed which is good but mainly due to the bank holiday.
    - Check diary for which days I'm likely work late and plan meal prep for this Meals prepped for the next two days with additional left overs and batch cooking in the fridge for the DS's to have for lunch for at least 3 days.
    - Find some 'me time'. Had a long bubble bath and a bottle of re from my personal spends budget

    3 Things I'm grateful for today:

    - My stores of food and cleaning products which have reduced spending a bit this week
    - My health and ability to actually do this at all, I think most people take this for granted
    - This forum, so surprised that anyone has commented at all, its much appreciated

    Tomorrows to do list:
    - Brave work ( I have no idea why I am saying this as I usually love my job but it seems daunting tomorrow (might be the Uni report thing?)
    - Sort out the TC dispute form as this could cost us thousands for their error.
    - NSD - We need nothing stay away from the shops!
    Last edited by njk1012; 28-08-2017 at 11:24 PM.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 29th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    • #8
    • 29th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    • #8
    • 29th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    Todays to do list:
    - Brave work ( I have no idea why I am saying this as I usually love my job but it seems daunting tomorrow (might be the Uni report thing?) Done and I feel much better after discussing it with a colleague.
    - Sort out the TC dispute form as this could cost us thousands for their error. - Still not done this must pull myself together
    - NSD - We need nothing stay away from the shops! Done I resisted the numerous "do you want anything from the vending machine/ shop" shouts round the office and the pull of the supermarket on my way home YAY!

    Well I seriously considered editing or deleting last nights whiny drivel, but I figure it was honestly how I was feeling so I'll leave it and put it down to TOM.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 29th Aug 17, 9:50 PM
    • 209 Posts
    • 498 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    • #9
    • 29th Aug 17, 9:50 PM
    • #9
    • 29th Aug 17, 9:50 PM
    Hi there,
    Please don't feel that you have to explain/apologise for what you have written on your diary. This is your space to use as you see fit. I use mine to work out all kinds of stuff that I am pretty sure doesn't always make a lot of sense!! As it happens, I think your story is very interesting.I think that it is great to be planning ahead and thinking and planning for the long term. Good luck with your journey !
    Total unsecured debt - £4,367 (November 2017) - Debt free Target 27th February 2018
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 29th Aug 17, 11:22 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    Thanks glass_half_full!

    Well I think I've figured out that work days I'm pretty limited what I can do extra as I work long hours, but there is a lot I could not do like spend money. Today was a success on that front and in an effort to continue I'm planning on not buying lunch at all. I am rather partial to a cuppa and a slice of cake in a nice cafe occasionally with a friend and this I won't be giving up as it's only once a month sometimes once every two months so there's my little compromise. I think it's about keeping the things that truly make you happy and get rid of the stuff that really don't. Lunch options at work are usually fairly dire anyway and leftovers are generally more appealing!

    Checked on the online banking earlier I think this will be obsessional until I know the budget is working, so far so good. I have discovered today that the car finance company although allow over payments charge £1.50 for every debit payment made, so no small or payment a day style plan for us. This is a little frustrating as it will probably mean waiting till payday every month to make 1 payment with whats left over and I used to love making lots of payments over the course of the month as it feels like your doing something often. Patience is not one of my strong points but that's the way it's gotta be.

    Things I'm grateful for today

    - My wonderfully supportive colleagues
    - My fab OH who gets me out of bed every morning, I don't think i would ever make it to work on time without him
    - Surprise time with mum when she popped in this evening

    Tomorrows to do list
    - Take lunch to work again
    - sort out the tax credit form
    - Send DS2 to the shop with the exact money for milk as it's nearly run out again (I honestly think a cow would be cheaper than our milk bill!)
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • stoplurking
    • By stoplurking 30th Aug 17, 7:48 AM
    • 348 Posts
    • 2,318 Thanks
    stoplurking
    Hi NKL

    I wish you the best way of luck with your journey and plans for early retirement.

    Re the car loan - could you open a separate little savings account alongside your main account, make your payments a day into that then transfer the lot plus any extra you can scrape over to car loan at the end of the month? If you can do it all online it's so easy. It's annoying they want to charge each time you make a payment. SL
    LBM Oct12 Debts at LBM £17715.93.
    Orig DFD Apr15 DFD 24/12/13
    3-6monthEFC#9 £1193/4000 29.8%
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 30th Aug 17, 8:44 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    Thanks stop lurking its definitely the long game for us. Just trying to balance saving, future planning and living with debt repayments. It's early days but i think it's doable. I might consider opening another account for that purpose although we already have 5 online accounts for different things, is that excessive?

    I have a tough few weeks at work ahead but hoping to take a few days off when my current glut of deadlines are completed. All about the balance!

    Anyway today's list:

    - Take lunch to work again - Done
    - sort out the tax credit form - still not done I'm rubbish!
    - Send DS2 to the shop with the exact money for milk as it's nearly run out again (I honestly think a cow would be cheaper than our milk bill!) Done but also spent £2.76 on yellow sticker items on the way home from work.

    I'm not writing a list for work tomorrow as i'm due in work early and will be working late, possibly through the night tomorrow night to meet a deadline. So here's where I cut myself a break, all goals are work related tomorrow (although I will still take lunch in to the office and wont have time to shop so should be quite a money saving day!)
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 3rd Sep 17, 8:14 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    So the last few days have been as busy as I thought with a huge work deadline looming. I managed to work from 6:30am Thursday solidly through till 5:30pm Friday with a break of four hours for sleep. So Friday night from 7 I have mainly been sleeping. I did manage to list 3 items on E-bay yesterday currently selling for just over £20 (ending Thursday) and today I have completed the form for Tax Credits to see if we can get their decision over turned. We will hear back within 15 days on that one and we have everything crossed.

    I have another really busy week ahead at work so time is at a premium, although I'm planning on taking at least a days TOIL following this, I really need some time at home to just potter if that makes sense. I realized that I haven't claimed any expenses from work for the last couple of months to hopefully I can find some time to put these through so they are paid in September.

    Anyway the budget is still going well and I'm setting myself mini tasks such as no buying lunch or food at work and not paying full price for any bread. Fingers crossed the month runs out before the money.
    Had a lovely roast made with the whole chicken I bought for 9p a week or two ago and I've had quite a productive yellow sticker shop this afternoon.

    This weeks list
    - claim work expenses up to date
    - pluck up the courage to check if the essay for uni scraped a pass
    - look through bags of out grown clothes and see what could be listen on E-bay and put aside for next weekend
    - Buy no lunches or snacks at work
    - check latest offers at discount shops online to see if there is anything worth stockpiling.
    - Book TOIL
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 13th Sep 17, 9:01 AM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    So I haven't posted in a while but we're still beavering away at the budgeting with varying success. Work has been pretty hectic and lots of extra hours (salary so no extra pay though!). On our main bills and grocery shopping etc were doing fine even a little under budget so far but still 13 days till payday. I've worked out that we should be able to make a payment of over £100 to the car finance at the end of the month which although not huge is progress. We can't really start any other savings (apart from the 3 we already have holidays, Christmas and home improvements) until we pay off the car so that's our priority at the moment, although we have been looking in to pension saving options. We know so little!).

    Ordered DS2's school uniform (budgeted for) but he proceeded to rip his PE shorts and his Blazer in the first week, so I had to buy replacements including extra postage (neither budgeted for). It really is starting to grate that we are only allowed to by uniform from one online shop with 3 day delivery. It's his last year, I won't miss it.

    We have been looking at swapping our holidays around to go abroad earlier in the year packages are so much cheaper in the May school holidays than they are in August. We compared the exact same holiday and in May it was just under £900 for 3 of us and in August it was £2300. It will probably be a last minute booking if a good offer comes up. (All about living a similar lifestyle for less money). This is the last year we are tied to the school holidays so after this year, holidays should be considerably cheaper.

    Made £30 on e-bay sales and have one item still running, although I think there is loads more clutter to clear out. I would do a car boot sale but the weathers not really up to it (I might start putting stuff together in the loft for next year for this).

    last list I wrote

    - claim work expenses up to date - Still not done this i have at least 3 months to claim so this would be a great over payment amount. Must get my bum in gear!
    - pluck up the courage to check if the essay for uni scraped a pass It Passed! I was amazed, i even got a commendation (I'm wondering if they read it at all or mixed them up!)
    - look through bags of out grown clothes and see what could be listen on E-bay and put aside for next weekend Nothing for e-bay at the moment but have some which would go for car boot sale or weigh in?
    - Buy no lunches or snacks at work- Only one lunch bought the whole of the month so far (95p Mr A ready meal).
    - check latest offers at discount shops online to see if there is anything worth stockpiling. - visit to factory foods completed and got lots of bargains to reduce the grocery shopping bill.
    - Book TOIL - Booked the max amount 2 days (even though I have worked about 5 days extra in hours so far). So today is a day off as well as another one before pay day.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 13th Sep 17, 10:25 AM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    So what do I need to achieve this week?

    - Claim all work expenses that are outstanding (work mileage)
    - Reduce item on e-bay which doesn't seem to be selling (Breadmaker we never use!)
    - Organize meal plans (so far have HM pizza dough rising for tonight and a plan for lasagna for tomorrow)
    - Post sold e-bay items
    - Continue to buy no lunches at work
    - Plan annual leave that's left and book some in.
    - Check the loft to see if there is stuff up there to be sold.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 17th Sep 17, 6:05 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    Were still plodding along with trying to spend less. I was pleased last weekend when I was invited to a Wedding but I had nothing to wear. I managed to pick up a lovely dress for 99p at a charity shop had one free drink at the reception followed by another at £2.70 (lemonade). When your driving there is no pressure to be buying rounds etc. So total cost for a lovely evening out was £3.69.

    This weekend me and my mum went to the beach to walk the dogs and had GF fish and chips on the sea front. Total spends for me £4.50 on lunch (mum bought the coffee's). Even had a browse around the antique markets on the way home, another lovely day that wasn't too spendy.

    On the downside we have heard back from the tax credits and we seemingly have to pay them a big chunk of money at some point. They state this is our fault for not informing them of a mistake they made (that we had no idea about!). It really makes very little sense to me how we could have informed them of their mistake that we didn't know they had made?? Anyway it seems there is nothing we can now do about it, as frustrating as it is. I need to figure out exactly how much we need to pay, but currently they are taking the repayments from our award of approx £11 a week (now stopped) and not asking for additional payments yet, so we'll keep saving in anticipation of having to pay this in the future.

    We do however have a brand new, shiny, oven today thanks to our landlord, the other one has been temperamental for a while (no working thermostat so burnt everything). The home improvements have started

    - Claim all work expenses that are outstanding (work mileage) - still need to do this
    - Reduce item on e-bay which doesn't seem to be selling (Breadmaker we never use!)- going to wait this one out I think
    - Organize meal plans (so far have HM pizza dough rising for tonight and a plan for lasagna for tomorrow)- Meal plans gone fairly well so far
    - Post sold e-bay items- Done
    - Continue to buy no lunches at work Done
    - Plan annual leave that's left and book some in. 3 days in October requested
    - Check the loft to see if there is stuff up there to be sold. 7 more items listed on E-bay
    Last edited by njk1012; 17-09-2017 at 6:08 PM.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 23rd Sep 17, 9:21 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    Almost the end of our month as Wednesday is payday. I'll be able to make an over payment on the car which I'm really pleased about, especially as we started the month almost £200 in to the overdraft.

    Our goalposts are moving already though. We will be adding a good chunk to two pots each month as usual Christmas and holiday pot and home improvements and contingency pot. But the house has really been getting everyone down to the point of being embarrassed when visitors turn up. So I have been looking at fairly cheap things that we can do to make acceptable for now. This has been spurred on by me going through all the left over paint this morning in the shed and finding an almost full tin of white gloss and white emulsion as well as a few other bits and bobs. I spontaneously started glossing the grubby hallway woodwork and it kinda spiraled from there.

    We have wall paper bought months ago for the hallway feature wall but no paint. With what I found in the shed I have everything I need to get this room done apart from colored emulsion for the walls, wall paper paste and some sort of solution for the gap between the carpet in the hall and lounge which don't meet (though otherwise the carpets aren't too bad). So a smallish spend of £30 at B and Q (went for platinum shade which is lush!) and I feel so much happier already (although i probably have at least two more days of work on it to get it done). I'm still no wiser about the gap between the carpets but i might pop over to the other boards to see if anyone has any pearls of wisdom.

    Our main big house projects that need completing soon are new windows to the back of the house (4 windows with one being paid for by the landlord because it's literally falling off it's hinges), an extractor fan fitting to the bathroom (landlord covering this due to mold starting), a complete new bathroom and my son needs a new bed (he is 6'4 and no longer fits in his high rise one). Being realistic we can probably do the windows and extractor fan before Christmas and it will be quite a few months after this before we can afford the other stuff. So if we can patch up the rest of the house with the basics while saving for the bigger jobs we will all feel a lot happier.

    Money saving otherwise has been going well all budgets are pretty much on target and way below previous months spends and this has been the first month in a long time that no overdraft has been needed.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 6th Oct 17, 7:17 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    Haven't posted in a week or two so thought i'd better check in.

    Today has been one of those days which has reaffirmed that I love my job and I'm making a difference in the world. Much needed after several very tough weeks.

    We almost kept to budget last month, apart from a few unexpected spends which were unavoidable and managed to overpay the car finance by £100. Not a massive amount but I figure each small amount makes a difference.

    I have decorated the hallway on minimum spends, have a new oven and a new extractor fan (funded by the landlord). So all seems to be going OK, I wish we could overpay a little more but it's a work in progress. I might not even be able to afford a full £100 this month as we have two birthdays in the house but we will see how that goes.

    I'm still looking at ways of making a lil extra here and there but can't really commit to things on a daily basis because of my long working hours. I'm transferring the penny's from Qmee regularly and hope they will start to add up as well as regularly checking for things to e-bay at weekends (running short now, so must go through the teenagers rooms next).

    On the plus side we have drastically reduced our shopping budget, it's taking a little bit of time to get used to but were definitely not starving in any way shape or form. Also the tax credit debt although huge is not as bad as we originally thought it might be. I know it is under £2500 but I will have to call to find out the exact figure. They have frozen all our payments at the moment and taking the £11 odd a week as payment for the time being. This wont pay the debt off as I know that with my earnings we wont be entitled to this come April, but at least it bides us some time.

    Anyway happy Friday people! enjoy your weekend!
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
    • njk1012
    • By njk1012 28th Oct 17, 1:47 PM
    • 257 Posts
    • 2,206 Thanks
    njk1012
    Three weeks since my last post on here and a lot has happened.
    My OH has become very much on board finding things to e-bay and this has meant that we have made enough to cover his annual prescription charge and make a bigger payment to savings and over payments on the car finance. I also got around to claiming my work expenses which have mounted up nicely. We desperately needed an increase in income in October as it was my OH birthday, DS2's birthday, three other families birthday's and one party to pay for also.

    We are now home educating DS2 which is the right thing for him and us, however it will mean we incur extra costs such as paying for him to take his exams etc next June, but at least we have a little bit of warning for that.

    Despite all the above we stuck to budget and made a £304 over payment to the car, which after the monthly payment on the 1st will take it to under £8000 which seems like a mini milestone has been met. I did check this morning and if I could pay off the balance today we would save £1500 in interest payments, which is a huge amount! Alas we can't do this but it does motivate me to get it paid off as soon as possible that £1500 could be used so much better.

    I have been offered a secondary job through my employer that I could do at home on evenings and weekends. The pay is not amazing but would certainly boost up the over payments if I decide to take it. I'm not sure if this will be too much on top of what i already do, but I'm tempted to give it a try.

    New budget for November has been drawn up now were past pay day and thankfully we have no birthdays or annual bills due this month.

    My aim before November payday on the 27th is to earn enough through surveys/ Ebay to buy a new printer as our broke this month and there is a limit to how much of your own stuff you can print off at work. Anything extra above this will be added to the over payment fund.

    I think we have enough in the home saving pot to do the windows but i'm not sure, so i'll be requesting a quote before the end of the month from the company we used before.

    Anyway enough of my ramblings off to clean the house and get rummaging for things to sell.
    Grocery Challenge Sept 17 £407.79/£434. Oct 17 £394.44/£400. Nov 17 £228.71/£400
    Car finance 28/08/2017 = £8819.52 Car finance now £7934.38 (27% paid).
    Tax credit debt 28/08/2017= £2300
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