The Piano Diary

Options
1235742

Comments

  • glass_half_full
    glass_half_full Posts: 580 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Debt-free and Proud!
    edited 14 September 2018 at 7:11AM
    Options
    Dear diary and all,
    We’ve been quite busy since getting back from our mini break in the Lakes. I have spent some money on a new suit, two shirts and a pair of shoes, as my work wardrobe was starting to look a bit threadbare. I managed to get 20% off. OH was given some money by her parents for her 50th which was really nice and has meant that she has been able to buy herself a couple of items which she had needed for a while.
    In money related news, I am a member of the Universities pension scheme called the USS. There was a strike earlier this year over proposed changes to the scheme which were being imposed without consultation. We have received a proposal from the scheme which says that the contributions need to increase for both individuals (from 8% to 11.7%) and for employers also. The scheme is in good health, but since changes in legislation, some of the assumptions have changed and so it has been deemed as underfunded. Lets see how this plays out. For me it would mean my current AVCs would be absorbed as ordinary contributions.
    This weekend DS goes back to University for his second year. I have to teach tomorrow afternoon. Next week I am off to Germany for a few days. I will get paid which is good. Will see how much it is and decide what to do with it, maybe an OP on the mortgage!
    Have a great day all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Good morning diary and all,
    A random musing on the not very exciting subject of mobile phones!
    In October 2015 I took out a 2 year deal on a mid-range new mobile phone from one of the main mobile suppliers. I notice that my first post and LBM in my original debt free diary was at the beginning of November 2015. I don’t think this is a coincidence as I think that this was typical of my mindset back then. At the worst point I think we were paying around £105 per month for the three mobile phones in the family. I still have this phone now and I switched to a £9 per month SIM only contract in November 2017 when the contract came to an end. I had paid a lot of money over that 2 years because I kept going over my data allowance and being charged for it. Recently, the phone has been running out of storage and that has caused a few issues. So one evening this week I went on line to find out how to free up storage. I did a few things like transfer photos and videos, delete unused apps, delete e-mails with huge attachments and uninstall and re-install e-mail, and now I am back to the phone being only 2/3 full. The battery life is not fantastic and I might get the battery replaced at some point. I have been reading on line that the manufacturer of this phone says that the design life is about 3 years and this is how old the phone is now. I am going to see if I can squeeze another year out of it!
    Have a great day all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Dear diary and all,
    The trip to Germany went well although the return was a bit disrupted by a flight cancellation due to the storm. Had a really nice day yesterday with OH. She went clothes shopping and I was bag carrier for the day. We had a really nice lunch and a chat. Good to have a day not thinking about work or doing chores.
    Mortgage payment has gone out. It actually makes a difference to the balance now and when I look at the account and it says ‘6 years and 10 months’ to go it actually feels like the end is now in sight rather than some ridiculously long time in the future. Yesterday I went into the phone shop and had it tested, it seems I don’t need a new battery after all so that has saved some money. The biggest money concern right now is vet fees we are having to pay out for tests for our cat. He is insured and it should all be paid, but so far we have paid out £250, £620 and now a third bill is going to be £950 which is making me nervous. I’m going to speak to them tomorrow to make sure that it is covered before going ahead.
    Today I am taking part in a cross country run I entered some time ago in the local area. Hoping to finish it in a reasonable time, lets see!
    Have a great day all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Dear diary and all,
    Well we have made it to the end of the month and the end of the week! We have both been paid and the budget is just about balancing with a bit of juggling amounts here and there.
    Today we are having the stairs and landing carpet fitted. This is the second of the two big redecoration projects we decided to get done after the debt had been paid off. We had the stairs and landing decorated back in the spring and we have waited until now that we actually have the money saved to get this job done. The will cost about £950 in total. We are using a local firm who we know do a really good job which will last. The other main financial concern right now are the Vet bills for our aging cat. So far we have paid £250 for and x-ray (this has been paid by the insurer), £600 for a heart and lung investigation. They have found a mass next to his heart/lungs which is giving him a bit of trouble and he is coughing. The next stage is a CT scan which will cost £984. I spoke to the insurance company yesterday and it seems that there is a cap on the total we can claim for this condition which is £1700 so this will cover the last two amounts. If the vet recommends an operation or medication after the CT scan then I think we will have to pay that ourselves. Lets see how this develops from here.
    One other saving we are going to make is on an outdoor activity which OH and I have been doing which costs us £25 per month. We have not been going recently (actually for several months) and we have decided to cancel that.
    Got my piano lesson later on today so looking forward to that!
    Have a great weekend all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Dear diary and all,
    The carpet that was fitted yesterday looks great. The hallway, stairs and landing have now been decorated and new carpet as well. Its interesting how other rooms are now looking a bit tired! But we are not doing anything else for a while.
    Yesterday I cancelled the direct debits for the activity that OH and I are no longer doing regularly. We can still pay as you go so it just means we are not paying for something we are not doing. This saves us £50 per month. This week I received my pension statement and so I have reviewed that position as well. The pension is made up of two parts, the DB part where I contribute 8% and my employer contributes 18%. Then there is a DC part which is voluntary, I currently contribute 4% to that and my employer contributes 1%. I have increased my voluntary contribution to 6% so this means that my total contribution is now 15%. I always planned to use some of my pay rise to increase pension contributions. I decided to do this sooner rather than later so I dont get too used to the additional money.
    Were going to see some friends today for a late summer outdoor party.
    Have a great day all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Dear diary and all,
    I have a day at home on my own. OH has an all day course for a qualification she is studying. DS is not coming home after all, one of his flatmates has a birthday. It gives me the chance to catch up on some chores and maybe relax a bit later. And also to gather my thoughts on here. On the money front, we are taking our cat for his scan next week which will cost nearly £1,000! This is covered by the insurance, but that is it so then after we would need to pay for further treatment. The previous treatment of £600 should be paid by the insurers in the next few days, so that will cover part of the cost of the scan. We will pay for treatment, but we are not going to borrow to pay for it. When I was repaying the debt, there was always something happening to knock us off course. Over the 2 ½ years we had appliances breaking, roof leaking and damaging the ceilings, many car problems, and that doesn’t include all the self-sabotaging overspending from time to time! You have to keep focused on the long view.
    Have a great day all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • Hazelnutty
    Hazelnutty Posts: 721 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Hi GHF I work at a university too and on USS. It's quite a worry as the figures for more junior staff are pretty scary. I have a small TPS and LGPS from previous institutions and my pre-academic career, but I doubt any of them will look that great by the time I retire!
    Choose kind:)
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Hazelnutty wrote: »
    Hi GHF I work at a university too and on USS. It's quite a worry as the figures for more junior staff are pretty scary. I have a small TPS and LGPS from previous institutions and my pre-academic career, but I doubt any of them will look that great by the time I retire!

    Hi Hazelnutty,
    Thanks for your comment! :) I must admit, I didn't really think hard about the pension until I reached 50. At that point I thought, ok retirement actually is going to happen rather than being something in the far distant future! This has made me prioritise it and take some action now. Do you make any additional contributions?
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • glass_half_full
    Options
    Dear diary and all,
    Our cat went for his scan on Tuesday and it seems that he has a quite large fluid filled cyst in his chest, poor thing! This is displacing his lungs and heart and causing the cough that he has. The vet doesn’t know how long he has had this, could be a long time or more recent. He is at the moment consulting with some colleagues to decide the best next steps. It may be that he will be able to drain it and this might provide an interim solution. This scan cost £900, we are about to receive the payment for the previous £600 treatment from the insurer so that will help. I’m looking forward to pay day in 2 weeks time because then I will have a better idea of where we are financially. By then hopefully we will have received the £900 insurance money and I hope to be paid for the work I did recently in Germany.
    Have a great day all!
    Aiming to early retire in April 2025 - DC pension currently £350k 
  • Hazelnutty
    Options
    Sorry to hear about your cat GHF - hope the vets manage to come up with a solution
    Choose kind:)
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.3K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.4K Life & Family
  • 248.5K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards