What's your best tip on the MF journey?

atypicalblondeatypicalblonde Forumite
3.1K Posts
:) Hello friends,

I hope no one minds me starting this thread, if there is already a similar one please feel free to merge! :):)

It seems like quite a few of the MFW folk are in the final throes of paying off their mortgages and achieving the dream. For many like me with a high mortgage it seems like paying it off is a million miles away, but I'm sure many MFWers who started diaries years ago and are nearly at the finish line felt exactly the same :):):)

So my question is, to everyone, what is your best tip on your MFW journey? In the short space of time we've been really focussing on battering down the mortgage I've got a few to share - nothing too dynamic but here goes:

1. Tracking our mortgage online - I look at the balance daily and seeing even my small OPs hitting the account makes me smile
2. Aldi & Lidl are my friends, plus menu planning - I've knocked my Ocado deliveries on the head since starting this journey and saved ££££££S&S
3. We paid off our credit card debt and closed the card. So our only debt to focus on is the mortgage

Finally, huge thanks to all for being so inspiring and supportive. It's lovely to be in a community of like minded folk :)

ATB xx:):)
MFW :)
[STRIKE]Mortgage 8.2.15 - [/STRIKE][STRIKE]£171,064.64[/STRIKE] Mortgage 1.5.2018 - £99,980.45
Aiming to be MF 1.10.2020


  • bexster1975bexster1975 Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Bake Off Boss!
    Hello ATB

    I don't have a diary :o
    Not sure if I have anything inspirational either honestly.

    I agree Lidl has been a godsend. I also bought a breadmaker last year ( secondhand) but it makes loads of other stuff too ( cakes, doughs and jams). I make most of my own snacks and treats too.
    I do menu plan but it's flexible. I use coupons and deal sites for treats like dinner out or spa days etc.
    I didnt have other debt either, so focus is on mortgage.
    Other than that I would say slow and steady wins the race. I will finish my mortgage after ten years in a couple of months time. I have overpaid from the start but amounts have ranged from £50 a month to £500! With a couple of big one offs for good measure.
    For me, the key was remembering why you are doing it. In honesty, going to work every day has been incentive enough :D

    Bexster :)
  • Really like this as an idea for a thread. After making the obvious changes like swapping utility and insurance companies, it can seem a struggle to see where else big savings can be made.

    My top tip for money saving is to make your own sandwiches to bring to work. This will easily save £3-5 per day over going to the local supermarket/bakery/take away.
    I would also advocate drinking tap water - its free*!!

    I think the biggest problem is staying motivated. Make sure you enjoy life and don't try to live too frugally as you may well become depressed. Have some short term goals like getting to the next LTV bracket, and celebrate achieving these goals.


    *Unless its from your own tap and you have a meter, in which case its virtually free.
    Initial mortgage (Dec 2012) £108,000 3.84%APR MF date Jan 2038

    Mortgage remaining £68285
    Daily interest £4.28
    MFW #14 £3746.90/£10,000
  • jodles16jodles16 Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Car Insurance Carver!

    Love this thread!

    Mostly I would say that celebrating all the small achievements works for me, every time I drop a percent bracket, drop into the next pound bracket in daily interest and into the next thousand bracket it's a small milestone! Our mortgage is still going to be at least 18years so I find thinking that seems overwhelming, thats why I have smaller goals to achieve, current goal is to have 10% LTV by April 2016 so can get (fingers crossed!!) a cheaper deal, ergo paying off more!

    Think Midnight Child is spot on with the comment about balance, as much as I try to live within my means I am also happy to spend where needed/wanted and refuse to feel guilty if it might seem frivelous to others (I have spent over £300 on trees for my garden since moving in, about 10trees some which are quite mature)!

    Mostly I share my little goals on here as my hubby can only keep his eyes from glazing for so long!

    Jodles :D
    MFW2020 #115 250/3000 J-250
    1% challenge- /1525
    Save 1k in 2020- /3000

    Joining in UberFrugalMonthChallenge set up by the Frugalwoods!
  • Tilly_MFW_in_6_YRSTilly_MFW_in_6_YRS Forumite
    7.8K Posts
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    Look on your freezer, larder (cupboard, garage, or real larder :)), fridge as cash storage. Keep a regular eye on your stock and menu plan.

    Budget - I have pots for Christmas, vacations, clothing, animals (food, jabs), birthdays, annual bills, dental, association memberships, bulk meat purchases.

    I use a separate bank account for food and move money on the day I'm paid. Anything leftover was moved to mortgage, now moved to Future pot.

    I'm fortunate to have an offset account which allows me to have pots for saving, all linked to mortgage.

    Keep a spending diary - knowing where your money goes is vital. Money has a habit of evaporating.

    Use the tool on MSE (can't remember what it's called) to annualise the cost of your daily coffee, magazine etc. This can be a real wake up call for people.

    The library is your friend.

    Finally Tilly Tidies - I started moving all 'virtual' pennies to either mortgage or offset pot feeding mortgage OPs. This amounted to circa £45 a month. Bear in mind if you move them straight to mortgage your statement will be looooong - makes more sense to move to a holding pen, then move monthly.

    Best wishes Tilly
    2004 £387k 29 years - MF March 2033:eek:
    2011 £309k 10 years - MF March 2021.
    Achieved Goal: 28/08/15 :j
  • atypicalblondeatypicalblonde Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    These are all wonderful tips, thank you all so much for sharing.

    Anyone else? :):):):)
    ATB xx
    MFW :)
    [STRIKE]Mortgage 8.2.15 - [/STRIKE][STRIKE]£171,064.64[/STRIKE] Mortgage 1.5.2018 - £99,980.45
    Aiming to be MF 1.10.2020
  • newgirlynewgirly Forumite
    8.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I would say keep a mfw diary, when you are doing well its nice to have a friendly well done and when you are straying from the path you want to be on , you get a much needed kick up the derrière :D
    MFW 67

    2021 £16,071.71/£16,400
  • edited 27 July 2015 at 7:04AM
    ourcornercottageourcornercottage Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    edited 27 July 2015 at 7:04AM
    Can I make a list of my top tips.....

    1. Don't waste money, just try to not waste, that way you don't have to compromise on lifestyle to achieve your goals. Whether it is food (meal plan) , buying things last minute (a good stock of gifts) , clothes you never wear, bulk buy essentials like loo roll it's all potential money off the mortgage without giving anything up.

    2. Keep a track of your goals and how you achieved it. I have a house of squares representing each £1000 of the mortgage which is coloured in when we own another £1000. A diary on here and a blog which I put my money saving tips on. link in sig. I'm also getting a spreadsheet template from Shanghai Jimmy too. It's a long road so you need to set mini goals

    3. Get free money sent straight to your mortgage/offset. Money from quidco, tbc, Santander cash back, Halifax rewards etc you never had it, you won't miss it. When they've all paid out I'll have paid about 500 off my mortgage this year (maybe more) doing this but I do have to book the odd hotel which adds it up.

    4. Have the odd treat. In our old lifestyle our downfall was eating out. We allocate £30 - £40 per month now for this between us. It keeps us motivated. If your old downfall was handbags, chocolate, designer clothes, whatever it is allocate a small amount per month so you can afford that new bag you're fawning over every six months (and it'll be in the sale by then and you'll have worked out if you REALLY need it!)

    5. Have some sort of emergency fund even if you think you don't need it. I'm self employed with a steady income so spent the majority of my savings on solar panels earlier this years thinking it'll be okay. the day before they were fitted we had a plumbing emergency that cost over £3000 to rectify. We had to be weeks without hot water whilst saving up the rest of the money and use every penny we had to get it done ASAP. I won't mak that mistake again and have a regular saver which is now an emergency fund with £500 in it growing by £100 per month. I want to get to about £5000 but those who are employed should consider a lot more in case of redundancy.

    Those are my top tips!

    I posted a similar question on the old style money saving forum a while ago, I'll go and get the link as there were good suggestions

    Edit : and here is the link http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5218679
  • Hell1Hell1 Forumite
    160 Posts
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    Hi A Typical Blonde!

    I am not sure how useful I will be as I have only last (last week) paid off my mortgage, but here are my two pennies worth....

    1) I worked out how much I could afford and kept reducing my mortgage term, also overpaying when possible.
    2) I kept a piece of paper with 1880 squares, each representing £1000 of my mortgage. I religiously coloured it in every month. It was really motivating, a visual reminder of what I was working for!
    3) I did all the things I learnt as a DFW, shopped at Lidl, bought sandwiches to work, didn't buy coffee....
    4) I became a serious DIY expert, taught myself to decorate, lay parquet floor and tile! (Only got the experts in for electricity....)
    5) I became a minimalist, only buying what was completely necessary, and what I loved.

    Good luck on your journey, you will get there. I thought I would never get debt free, then I did. I never thought I would get my money under control, and I did. I never thought I would pay off my mortgage, but I did. All are small steps leading to the endgame.
    I have been skinter than skint, living week to week, month to month, but if it is important to you, you will manage.
    If I can do it while being a single parent to three, then believe me anyone can!

    Lots of luck everyone.

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