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Cheery's country living adventure

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
2.4K replies 182.7K views
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  • KarmacatKarmacat Forumite
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    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Cheery :( she's someone you've *chosen*, the connection was natural between you, it makes sense that the news is affecting you deeply :(

    Are you going to be able to go see her in hospital? Taking her legacy forward sounds like a beautiful thing to do.
    Downsized and paid off mortgage 2010
    Retired August 2016
    Paid off French mortgage September 2018
    New kitchen fully installed June 2019
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Thanks KC. No I won't be seeing her - she knows a LOT of people and her family ask that the news is kept quiet so she isn't overwhelmed with visitors. I've only been told because I specifically asked and the person who told me knew I wouldn't pry or turn up unannounced. So thinking of her & passing on her legacy will have to do x
  • KarmacatKarmacat Forumite
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    Got it, I hadn't quite understood, thanks. She sounds an amazing lady. Continuing and passing on her legacy is a lovely thing to focus on.
    Downsized and paid off mortgage 2010
    Retired August 2016
    Paid off French mortgage September 2018
    New kitchen fully installed June 2019
  • Greying_PilgrimGreying_Pilgrim Forumite
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    .........she's had SUCH a very hard life, but has such grace and kindness that I've never seen in anyone else. True kindness, such strength to deal with such awful circumstances, and it's so sad to lose her.


    Cheery - so sad to hear that your friend is moving towards the end of her life. But what a tribute you have paid to her. As you realise, true grace and kindness are such rare attributes, that when you find people with them; they impact on you greatly. I hope that the love and respect that you have expressed for your friend wends its way through the ether and reaches her. Admission policies can't thwart love.


    Greying X
    'Larger than the World's chaos, is it's miracles...' - Katherine Rundell, Author.

    'I am not in the pursuit of happiness, only in the discovery of joy' - Joyce Grenfell
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Thank you both xx There will be such a lot of sad people out there when she goes. I just wish she'd had a less tough life herself.

    When the community garden woman died though it was utterly lovely to see so many people at her funeral, so many different ages. She'd had such an influence too on all of us, in a very different way.

    It makes you think about the sort of person you are yourself and what people will think of you when you're gone �� Might start being a bit nicer!! ��

    Anyway, best stop being so maudlin & shift a tail feather as Greying would say. Having sat around feeling ill yesterday I am attempting work again today - my last office trip of the year (I'm working tomorrow, but at home). Not a difficult day though - just meeting up with a couple of people who are fretting about things.

    Going to have breakfast with a friend first though! Most jolly :)

    And I might take a big enough bag to carry everything home to work at home in January - don't need to go into the office much at all after Christmas and I don't want to HAVE to go because I've forgotten to bring something vital home!

    Not much MSE to report in the meantime. Did YNAB yesterday & have started populating January's budget :eek: have put aside £30 for savings :j must transfer beforr I spend it... :o

    Will be at home MUCH more in the first two thirds of next year so hoping diesel budget will reduce significabtly from its current average of £167 a month :eek: Can't see why we'd need to go to the city more than twice a week, if that, whereas we're currently going 5 times (sometimes six if we have to take separate cars)

    Need to get hold of the food bill too (although I always say that...)

    Perhaps another attempt at Uber Frugal January is in order now we're settled in the new house??
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  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Evening MSE chums :hello:

    I've been to work and came home early and am still feeling quite queasy and sorry for myself :o So I'm curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle :j There are a million things I *could* be doing (like writing Christmas cards for a start) but even just the thought of doing something I HAVE to do is making feel sick :o :rotfl: And I whenever I get up I just feel more sick, so no cleaning for me :D :rotfl:

    So I'm going to sit here and start plotting and scheming in advance of Uber Frugal Month in January instead :j

    So here's the link to sign up to Uber Frugal Month if you're interested and haven't done it before:

    Uber Frugal Month

    And here's the initial post I'm following for my musings (and there might be quite a few musings, so you might have to bear with me... I'll try to split posts so I don't break the forum...)

    Ultimate Uber Frugal Month Guide and Planning

    So here goes...
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Step 1 - establish your goals

    1. Why are you participating in this challenge?
    Because we moved house last year and things have been rather spendy while we adapt to our new budget. We're not putting any of our regular income into savings, which I don't like. We've drifted into a few unhelpful habits and I want to get us back on track.

    2. What do you hope to achieve?
    I want a good overhaul of our finances now we've had 10 months of living here. I want to see where we can cut back and where we might need to increase the amount we budget to cover what we need (rather than raiding other spending categories each month). I want to put aside a regular monthly amount towards our savings, and it would be nice to put some towards the mortgage too. I'd like to figure out how much savings we'd be comfortable with before we start putting a bigger monthly amount towards paying off the mortgage.

    3. What are your longer term life goals?
    Pay off the mortgage early (it's got 24 years and 2 months left to run so it's not going to be any time soon!)

    4. Where do you want to be in 10 years?
    I want at least half of the mortgage paid off, which will mean we'll be on track to pay it off 5 years early. I plan to have had 2 promotions by then which will make things significantly easier :p :rotfl:

    5. What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it?
    Hmm... I do a fair bit of frittering of money... not loads, but lots of little things. We've not been particularly efficient about travel, or electricity consumption etc. I'm sure there's plenty more we could do...
  • edited 21 December 2018 at 9:54AM
    Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    edited 21 December 2018 at 9:54AM
    UFM Step 2 - Review last month's spending

    Ok, here goes nothing... :eek: :eek: I'll do December and since I am an avid YNAB user, I can tell you averages for each category for the last year too ... :eek: The categories are mine, as they've been set up in YNAB. Monthly totals are probably a bit out, as I don't always reconcile properly until part way into the following month, but averages work across the year.

    I should point out I'm not expecting anyone to actually read this properly :o :rotfl: This is just me trying to work stuff out and keep myself accountable :D Also don't expect it to add up perfectly - I'm rounding up and also I'm not perfect!

    Monthly direct debits
    Mortgage - £890
    Council tax - £166
    Gas - £84
    Electricity - £75
    Water - £13.48
    House phone and internet - £37
    Life insurance - £7.63
    2 mobiles (sim only) - £20
    Union fees - £23.96
    Local organisation membership - £3.65

    Everyday household expenses
    Diesel - £167 in December (monthly average £161)
    Food and household - £510 (monthly average £189) - !!!!!! has been going on there?!
    Chickens - £0 (monthly average £37 - that includes all set up costs though as we've had them less than 4 months)


    Just for fun
    Treats budget £32 (monthly average £104 - can you tell our favourite cafe closed down last month?!)
    My personal socialising - £46 (£27)
    My clothes - £15 (£20)
    My travel - £5.20 (£10)
    My personal 'other' spends - £26 (£36)


    'True' expenses (stuff you know will happen but not sure how much)
    Car maintenance - £285 (£113)
    Home maintenance £445 (£95) - This was 3 new radiators, must check I refunded it from savings)
    Garden and land - £285 (£42) - fruit trees, paid for with money that my nan left me
    Dentist/medical - £9 (£38)
    Birthdays - £26 (£36)
    Ad hoc donations (raffles, collections etc) - £5 (£13)
    Christmas £86 (monthly average 63p :rotfl: )
    Budget fiddling (where I stick everything that's disappeared but I can't remember what I spent it on) £125 (£57)
    Magazines and memberships £17 (£16)


    So total actual spends last month
    Monthly direct debits - £1359.69
    Everyday household expenses - £698.77
    Just for fun - £126
    True expenses - £1280 (but if we exclude fruit trees & radiators that have come from savings, this is around £630)
    Total without fruit trees etc = £2814.46

    Ouch.

    Also, we have several annual bills that we put money aside for each month

    Annual bills
    TV licence - £12.50 (currently £87.50 in there)
    Mr Cheery's national insurance - £12 (£84)
    Web hosting £10 (£25)
    Car tax £12.50 (£37.50)
    Car breakdown £12 (£48)
    MOT (only separated this from car maintenance the other day so there's nothing in it yet :o )
    Car insurance £80 (£560) - this is ludicrous because we only ever had 1 car before so I'd only ever been named driver - damn insurance company saw fit to charge £770 to insure the second car - which cost £565 to buy... Hoping it will be far cheaper this year!!)
    House insurance £22 (£124)
  • edited 21 December 2018 at 9:55AM
    Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    edited 21 December 2018 at 9:55AM
    UFM Step 3 - Categorise your expenses

    There may be some repetition in here... bear with me...

    Fixed mandatory expenses - things we can't easily change
    Mortgage - £890
    Council tax - £166
    Gas - £84 (we're on an LPG contract and this is fixed til June)
    Water - £13.48 (we have a septic tank so no mains drainage)
    Life insurance - £7.63
    Union fees - £23.96
    TOTAL = £1185.07


    ]Relatively fixed - not up for grabs this time round

    Electricity - £75 (they've just put this up because we were using more than we were paying for - we'll attempt to reduce but I'm not switching now)
    House phone and internet - £37 (out in the sticks so limited options, very happy with this service for now)
    Local organisation membership - £3.65 (this is the local wildlife trust, not cancelling membership now)
    TOTAL = £115.65


    Discretionary expenses - things that are up for grabs
    Basically everything else - mobiles, my spending, joint fun spending, diesel, food, insurance (when it crops up, but a few things are due in Jan)

    So based on last month's spending, that's £1513 we potentially have to play with :eek: Clearly we can't stop spending ALL of that (no food, no diesel etc) but we could make a substantial dent...
  • edited 21 December 2018 at 9:55AM
    Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    edited 21 December 2018 at 9:55AM
    UFM Step 4 - What can we eliminate entirely? and Step 5 - embracing substitution

    Ooh, that's a tricky one... Might have to give that a bit more thought... But initial feelings:

    * buying lunches at work
    * trips to the vending machine

    Hmm. I think I tried Uber Frugal Month in an 2018 but with an impending house move my mind was elsewhere.... But I looked back at my notes from 2017, and apparently I pledged to eliminate all spending on

    * taxis
    * clothes
    * takeaways
    * books
    and to be mindful of what I spent on food and socialising.

    Well, takeaways have pretty much been eliminated anyway, by virtue of living somewhere nobody will deliver :rotfl: :D And I can, on the whole, manage without taxis (I don't get them very often, although I did today because I just felt so poorly and needed to get back to the car :o )

    So for now let's go with eliminating entirely:

    * work lunches
    * taxis
    * takeaways

    As for substitution, that's difficult... :o I don't have a gym membership, so any exercise is free anyway (other than race entries I suppose...). We like a cafe trip, but generally only buy one drink each. We only very rarely go out for lunch, or to eat. We already buy all books and clothes in charity shops, main food shopping is done in @ldi or similar, booze is almost always drunk at home and is supermarket own brand...
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