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A Country Cabin

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
31 replies 3.8K views
31 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe

I've just bought a house after a (very) long time renting - and it's absolutely wonderful!! I have a garden to plant flowers in, rooms to make my own, and a front door where I can shut out the rest of the world (on the rare occasion that I want to).

However, like everyone else, my journey has started at a high cost! My mortgage is £230,000 and that's a really, really big amount! Very big.

I'm now starting the journey to pay this off as reasonably quickly as I can. However, I'm a believer in enjoying the journey, as much as the final destination and so I plan on striking the balance between paying off the mortgage, and enjoying life too. I know this sounds a bit like having my cake and eating it but, if you walk alongside me on any part of the trip, you'll have a better understanding of what I mean.

So, now that I've committed to this, I'm off to get my thinking cap on to see what I tackle first. :-)


  • IAAMIAAM Forumite
    31 posts
    So there are 2 things I've thought of to kick off My Country Cabin challenge:-

    Action Number 1
    The first step is to switch my current account. Thanks to Martin and his team, I can see that I'm just in time to switch to HSBC who are offering an incentive of £150 on switching, followed by £50 after a year.
    How easy was this to do: I did this just now and it couldn't have been any easier. (In fact, probably the easiest £150 I've ever earned!).
    Impact: Changing banks won't have any impact on me. My current bank don't give me any rewards or financial incentives so I have nothing to lose there. Also, HSBC have a branch in town (alongside my current bank) so, again, no impact. The switching is done by HSBC so I don't need to do anything, other than wait 50 days for my £150 :-)

    Action No. 2
    The next step is to review my spending. I tend to pay for everything by credit card so it will just be a case of going through the statements and seeing what I spend my money on. This should give me an idea of what I need to do personally to start saving money.
    How easy is this to do: I'm guessing this is the easy part and will just take half an hour to see how my figures stack up
    Impact: No impact. (The impact will probably be when I see what I spend money on and what I need to do to reduce it).

    I'll post the figures here so that there's no hiding place for me, and no way for me to avoid taking some action.
  • newgirlynewgirly Forumite
    7.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Hi and welcome :)

    Switching banks is a good way to start earning a bit extra to put towards the mortgage, you might find lot of other ideas on other people's diaries on this board, everybody is very supportive and helpful here.

    A few other suggestions that might be of help are things like topcashback, cashback credit cards, survey sites and even the oldstyle board here for money saving ideas in the home. Apologies if I'm stating the obvious here! Anyway best of luck with the new home and diary :)
    MFW 67

    2021 £5,829.42/£16,400
  • IAAMIAAM Forumite
    31 posts
    Thanks so much for your tips Newgirly. I've looked at what you've achieved and you are definitely an inspiration. If I can achieve what you have then I will be extremely happy!

    Well, I've finished my 2nd task of looking through my credit card statements. What I should have mentioned is that I don't really spend much money each month. Well - that's what I thought!! After doing this exercise, I discovered the reality is COMPLETELY different, as you'll see below. What really took me by surprise is that there were several items that I couldn't even remember (or work out) what they were for. What I've done is add up the expenditure over the last 6 months and put down what this works out as a monthly cost:

    So, here goes.....

    Petrol - £95pm (to and from work, and trips to town, Post Office, friends etc)
    Lunches when I'm out shopping - £24pm
    Parking when I go into town to shop/meet up with people - £14pm
    Getting photos printed (for elderly relatives) - £2.19pm
    Books (for me) - £3.33pm (this is for reading in my spare time)
    Phone usage - £8.33pm
    Handset - £6.16pm (I must check when this runs out but I think it's got another 6-8 months left to go)
    Breakdown recovery (renewal date April 2019) - £7.83pm
    Car insurance (renewal date Feb 2019) - £32pm
    Dentist - £16.16pm
    Garden - £7.96pm
    Presents/cards - £38.56pm
    Misc - £27.76pm
    Train - £32.70pm
    Medication - £6.16pm
    Car service/MOT - £32.50pm

    I'd welcome your thoughts or ideas. The one thing that I think could do is try and eliminate the lunches when I'm out shopping. Are there any tips for what I could take with me? I don't have access to a fridge so that might make it a bit more difficult to know what to take.

    The other thing I definitely need to do is be conscious of what I'm spending my money on. Spending over £300 a year on "miscellaneous" stuff isn't great!
  • newgirlynewgirly Forumite
    7.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Thanks IAAM that's very kind, it's been a long journey of ups and downs :D

    Your spending looks pretty good to me, no huge amounts that you could cut back. If you don't HAVE to stop the lunches etc when meeting with friends I wouldn't, I look at a way to offset the cost instead, do surveys for vouchers maybe? If gong out alone then take that flask of soup or sandwich though :D

    It's a big mortgage and you don't want to cut everything out straight away, make small changes and build on them over time :)
    MFW 67

    2021 £5,829.42/£16,400
  • pinkypigpinkypig Forumite
    1.7K posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic
    Good luck with your journey and happy new home to you :):)
    Original mortgage £112,000 . Final payment due August 2027.
    Mortgage neutral achieved August 2020 - 7 years early!!!
  • RundersRunders Forumite
    291 posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts
    Hi IAAM,

    Happy shiny new diary! Cor, I wished my monthly spending looked as good as yours!

    On the petrol front, do you have a nectar card? I find Sain's to generally have the cheapest or matching prices for their petrol. I only ever go there for petrol, but over a year I earn enough nectar points for a tank at least. I just had £13 off my latest tank, I then moved £13 cash into my offset account, nice little win :)

    Good luck with your journey.
    MFW Start:[STRIKE] Sep 2014 - £110,844[/STRIKE], July 2019 New Home £190,995 :eek:
    Current: £82,999.69, £190,972.18, £188,091.57, £180,026.25
    2021MFW #97 OP Goal £296.36/£3000
    2020MFW #97 OP Goal £3104.09.09/£3000
    2019MFW #109 OP Goal £1024.99/£1000
  • IAAMIAAM Forumite
    31 posts
    Thank you Pinky pig for your welcome :-)

    Runders - I do have a Nectar card and tend to get my petrol at Sainsburys too. Like you say, the petrol is usually pretty competitive there. In the past, I've used the points to pay for treats or random stuff in store but I might save it all up to pay for petrol instead. That's a great idea to then transfer the money across to my savings so thanks for the tip :-)

    Hi Newgirly - I've got 2 credit cards. One is a cashback one (Capital One) which gives me cashback in January and the other is with John Lewis. (In fact I've got a £10 voucher which is due to be sent to me shortly). I do Top Cashback too and I find that's a quick win. I did think about doing surveys but some of them take so long that I decided that the payout wasn't enough to justify the amount of time I spend doing some of them. I fill my free time with quite a lot of things already (running, yoga, trying to learn a language, friends and family) so I'm quite tight with my time. I haven't checked out the Old Style Board but that sounds as though it might be really helpful for me. Thanks :-)
  • edited 24 June 2018 at 3:00PM
    IAAMIAAM Forumite
    31 posts
    edited 24 June 2018 at 3:00PM
    Hi again,

    I must say, I'm quite excited at the prospect of taking more control over my money and (hopefully) chipping away at that big old mortgage of mine.

    I've had a look at my original list and looked at areas I've decided to cut back my spending on. Some of it might sound drastic to you guys but all of the changes are realistic and shouldn't impact on my life too much. It might even give me a new way of thinking (which is never a bad thing!), and perhaps more appreciation for things which should be treats.

    Here's the original spend with my target spending alongside:

    Petrol - £95pm - target £80pm
    Lunches - £24pm - target £12pm
    Parking - £14pm - target £10.50
    Books - £3.33 - target £0 (I'm learning a language so I should be spending time on that rather than reading books each month and not doing my homework)
    Phone - £8.33pm - target £5pm
    Garden - £7.96 - target has increased to £15pm as I have a new garden which needs plants in it!
    Presents/cards - £38.56 - target - £50pm (I only give presents to family and they've been great over the years so I'd like to up this amount)
    Misc - £27.76pm - target £3.60 (if I don't spend this amount then I'll put it in a jar)
    Train - £32.70 - target £3.50pm (I only travel by train for pleasure so I'll cut the trips down to twice a year)
    Medicine - £6.16pm - target - £0 (this expenditure is a bit misleading as I've just had a couple of random bugs in the past 6 months. I don't envisage any ongoing costs)
    Service/MOT - £32.50 - target unchanged. (I'm due to replace my brake pads/discs in 3,000 miles so this will offset that cost (and maybe tyres) so I'll keep this expenditure in)

    If my Maths is right, this means my original expenditure on these items was £348.48 and my target expenditure is £285.84.

    I'll keep you posted with my progress - as well as anything I did to achieve the change, and any impact (positive or negative).

    Wish me luck.....
  • edited 24 June 2018 at 3:11PM
    fudgecatfudgecat Forumite
    268 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 24 June 2018 at 3:11PM
    Congratulations on your new home. I have just been fiddling the a downloaded SOA (on the Stoozing part of this forum). I loaded it onto Excel and then spent time fiddling with it and double checking my spending. It can be quite hard to do, as I tend to estimate generously, preferring to see a worst case scenario. When I posted it on the forum, kind people pointed out that it did not sound right - they were correct.
    The act of doing it makes you think about expenditure. Two ideas - and apologies if you have done this already. One - books. I stopped buying new books about 10 years ago. I only read charity shop, car boot, doctors surgery sale, Tesco book sale for charity books now and never spend more than 80p per book. Often it is 20p! At that price you can afford to be adventurous, so I have discovered several new authors and read some real corkers (and a few awful ones). Secondly, local churches often have coffee shops or similar events, where you can find a lunch and cuppa MUCH cheaper than the high street.
    Debt September 2020 BIG FAT ZERO!
    Now mortgage free, sort of retired, reducing and reusing and putting money away for grandchildren...
  • nobletnoblet Forumite
    22 posts
    Really looking forward to following your diary!
    I've started to browse the local library... it's a much better selection that I had anticipated!
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