More Bangs for Our Bucks - Part 2

edited 7 February 2019 at 12:30AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
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ThriftyknickersThriftyknickers Forumite
130 Posts
Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
edited 7 February 2019 at 12:30AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
Having cleared our mortgage a couple of years ago, I’ve now found my way back to this forum as we’re just about to undertake another £62,000 (re-) mortgage to help pay for some major home improvements. I found contributing to the forum the first time around, hugely beneficial – as well as picking up various tips, it certainly helps focus the mind and so here I am again for a second stint.

First a bit about us, I’m 53, married and with twin 13 year old daughters. I had breast cancer back in 2001 and have rheumatoid arthritis (normally well-managed with medication). This is relevant because it shapes our philosophy. We want to balance saving where we can with still enjoying life and having fabulous experiences as none of us know what’s round the corner. We particularly enjoy our holidays but we can cut back on some of those things that maybe aren’t quite so important to us – so stop wasting money unnecessarily. DH and I are both fortunate to be in fairly well-paid jobs but we still didn’t have enough put away to cover all of the work that needs doing, despite being mortgage-free for almost a couple of years. And in fact, when and if we can ever afford it, there’s probably another 100K worth of improvements we are considering doing, later down the line! The joy of old houses!

Hopefully we’ll have our new Nationwide mortgage approved shortly. We’re going to overpay what we can – unless we can get a better savings interest rate elsewhere . Our aim is to be mortgage-free, or at least have a positive net worth again in 3 years. It should be very do-able but we are giving ourselves a bit of leeway in case we need to replace our ageing cars or household items.

You’ll see from my signature that I’ve been planning this first post for a while – I’ll be following up shortly with our end-of-January figures. In order to get our net worth into the black in 3 years (I’ll be hopefully joining the MFiT-T5), the aim is to get to -£25K by the end of this year. I want to bring in extra income of £1,500 this year – Ebay, questionnaires, hosting foreign language students, cash-back sites etc. I want to lose 14lb – good to keep it down for the rheumatoid arthritis and my vanity!! And finally, I want to win a competition. (We’ve been very lucky over the years – won a mega holiday in The Grenadines 14 years ago, £2,500 for my kids’ school, theatre and event tickets and £50 to spend on lovely Neom pampery products so I’ve done quite well when I’ve put my mind to it – been in it to win it and all that.)

Finally, a few tips that worked well for me in recent months which might also work for you? I have a cat on medication and I got a prescription from the vet (£just under £20) and then bought exactly the same medication (for hyperthyroid, high blood pressure & kidney disease – but no meds for the latter, just renal food) online from Pet Drugs Online (and cashback!) and I think this will save us around £700/year. I’ve switched to buying frozen fruit rather than fresh berries – M&S do some lovely British raspberries and Summer Fruits and they work out much cheaper than fresh. Great for on my morning cereal or with yoghurt. I go yellow sticker hunting – did particularly well in M&S after Christmas with joints of meat. I’ve done a freezer audit and wrote up what we actually have in them to use. And I discovered Wilko! I have an elderly neighbour in hospital who is very particular about the sweets she liked – York Fruits were half the price in Wilko compared to Sainsburys – who knew?!!

As for my other goals - I’m endeavouring to do my 10,000 steps a day…. I’ve just commandeered my kids’ old Nano shuffles and down-loaded some (free!) Ricky Gervais podcasts to encourage me to take a break from work and go for a walk- weather permitting! Finally, I turned any of my old glittery Christmas cards into postcards – anyone else notice that it was hard to recycle Christmas cards this year? (We do try to recycle/re-use/reduce). Hopefully they’ll stand out when it comes to pulling out a winning competition entry!!

Look out for my next update where I’ll tell you how the first month went….
Predicted Net Worth 31/12/2018: -£38,898.03/-£34,616.86
Target 31/12/2019: -£25,000
Extra Income 2019: £1,500/£732.38
Target Weight Loss 2019: -14 LBs/-2.5 LBs
As at 3/4/2019 MFiT-T5 No 49

Replies

  • The reducing the net debt figure looks slightly worse than it really is as I'd hoped we'd complete our mortgage of £62K in January and have money sitting in our current account (and so not counted in our savings) ready to make the first payment. We're now going to complete on 11th Feb so at some point an adjusted first payment will come off of the mortgage total. Been a bad month for car and heating repairs too.


    On the plus side - my additional income was £60.11 made up as follows in case this helps anyone decide what additional activities are worth pursuing:-


    Valued Opinions £10
    My Surveys £10
    Shop&Scan £10
    GlobalTestMarket £10
    TCB £9.90
    Quidco £6.35
    Nationwide Simply Rewards £2.87
    Ebay profit £0.99


    I'm getting fanatical about keeping on top of the questionnaires - in terms of reward v time they're not great but I must admit, I find them quite relaxing after a day at work. The Ebay profit wasn't great - but I've made a start and it was a profit (I've got my costs wrong before now!)


    I've also lost 1.5lb (but am not sure if its going to stay off for Feb - I've been wavering! I need to focus on my health as well as the finances!)


    Other things that have worked for me this month:


    I bought all my Christmas cards, wrapping paper, crackers and this year's calendar for £6! Haven't done this before. Although the cards were charity ones from Sainsburys, I normally buy the lovely Guide Dog ones - will have to just make them a donation this year in lieu - I suspect this will mean the charity will actually benefit more.


    I've been producing lots of spreadsheets to motivate me - one keeping track of cashback etc that I should be paid - its amazing how much of that doesn't get tracked and I forget to follow up. Not any more! And I've also produced one to compare our monthly and this-time-last-year spend.


    I managed to sign up to Boots' Testing programme and had a couple of night creams to try - so that will save some money eventually.


    And we had a bit of a clear out and took a lot of pencils, felt tips, games, craft items etc to our local nursery who seemed pleased to receive it.


    Anyway, hope this is of use to someone. Any questions - let me know. I get lots of ideas from these forums so happy to pay back. Now to keep on keeping on for February!
    Predicted Net Worth 31/12/2018: -£38,898.03/-£34,616.86
    Target 31/12/2019: -£25,000
    Extra Income 2019: £1,500/£732.38
    Target Weight Loss 2019: -14 LBs/-2.5 LBs
    As at 3/4/2019 MFiT-T5 No 49
  • ThriftyknickersThriftyknickers Forumite
    130 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Apologies - a little late this month! You can see from my updated signature as to how we're doing - not as well as we'd like, but moving in the right direction!

    What didn’t go well
    • Car bills, additional house bill and tax totalling £3,229!!
    What did go well
    • Put in claims for PPI – one for period 1992 -95 so not overly hopeful but you never know! Have already received a phone call from Nationwide asking about my level of savings back in 1995.
    • Retailers' Birthday gifts
      • Hobbs - £20 no min spend so I got 3 pairs of Fox-y socks and I got DD’s first Christmas present. Plus cashback.
      • Paperchase - £5 – 2 nice cards for the £1.99 delivery charge. Possibly cashback.
      • Body Shop - £5 – bought a year’s supply of soap in order to get the free postage!
    • Marks & Spencers
      • Very pleased with their jeans - £5 off plus 20% off. Great fit. Either I’m getting less choosy or they really do compare very well to my previous 'big name' versions.
      • Shareholder benefits – 1 share gives annual benefits - the benefits more than cover the cost in the first year.
    • Cashback spreadsheet – have claimed on 3 things that I would have missed.
    • Mended computer speakers and Nutribullet – thanks to Google and You Tube
    • Combined a boring bath product with a relaxing aromatherapy oil that wasn’t being used

    Predicted Net Worth 31/12/2018: -£38,898.03/-£34,616.86
    Target 31/12/2019: -£25,000
    Extra Income 2019: £1,500/£732.38
    Target Weight Loss 2019: -14 LBs/-2.5 LBs
    As at 3/4/2019 MFiT-T5 No 49
  • ThriftyknickersThriftyknickers Forumite
    130 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    This totaled £121.20 and is made up as follows:-
    • Valued Opinions £20
    • One Poll+ £7.21
    • Award from work £20
    • Quidco £7.82
    • IPSOS £10
    • Ebay -£6.22
    • Power of Opinions £10
    • Shop & Scan £10
    • Life Points £20
    • Total Cashback £0.99
    • Checkout Smart £21.40
    The negative figure for Ebay is because I had to invest in some packaging. I also sold some of my kids' stuff and gave them the money so they made almost £30 as well.


    We've done pretty well comparing Feb 19 costs to Feb 18 - food and petrol costs are both a little better. The big noticeable difference is that we spent £144 less on fun this month compared to last February - less eating out and when we go to the cinema as a family we go on Cheapy Tuesday rather than Meerkat Wednesday and avoid the family visit to Ben & Jerrys!!
    Predicted Net Worth 31/12/2018: -£38,898.03/-£34,616.86
    Target 31/12/2019: -£25,000
    Extra Income 2019: £1,500/£732.38
    Target Weight Loss 2019: -14 LBs/-2.5 LBs
    As at 3/4/2019 MFiT-T5 No 49
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