Council to Country

Welcome to my shiny new diary. I have lurked around these pages for years so I thought it was time to start my own diary and track my progress. I'm Mrs A and I'm married to Mr J. We have 2 lovely children a DD who is 3 and a DS who is almost 18 months old. We live in the middle ish of England (over to the west a bit) and on a huge Council Estate. I work 3 days a week in coach tourism and DH works full time as a Network engineer.

Home is a 3 bed semi detached ex council house that actually belonged to Mr J's Grandparents for well over 50 years. They sadly both passed away in 2017 and Mr J's parents put the house up for sale. It was up for a while with hardly any interest. Mainly because it was overpriced and needed a lot of work doing. We decided to sell our 3 bedroom end terrace shoe box in a nearby village (more on that later I'm sure) and buy DH Grandparents home as it was over twice the size of our old house.! We managed to negotiate the house sale down from £130k to £117k and we also got help from DH family and my family to start tackling the renovation. We put our terraced house up for sale and it sold in 24 hours with 4 offers for the full asking price. Whilst the sale was going through we started work on our new home,! A luxury of buying from a relative and not a stranger. It meant we could peel wallpaper, plaster, paint and tart up the house without living in the mess.

Before we talk about money let me mention a few positives and negatives about our new house. I'll start of by saying that this isn't our dream home and isn't somewhere we want to bring our children up long term. The dream is a house somewhere rural or semi rural or even in a pretty village. We would love an older house and definitely one with a log/wood burner for those cosy winter nights. A couple of chickens wouldn't go a miss either :)

So the positives about the move are as follows:
*An affordable 3 bed semi detached home
*A bigger property
*Close to my Mum, Sister and In-laws
*Close to work for both of us
*The neighbours in our street are all lovely and friendly unlike the last place we lived
*We could start renovating the house before we moved in, which was really helpful due to having two small children
*The house holds a lot of happy memories for DH
*The local school is excellent

The negatives:
*We have no drive so it's on street parking
*We live opposite a school and sensory play area so it can be hard to park when there are events on
*The estate has it's fair share of crime
*Some of the houses look very run down
*In the summer you can hear the raves from houses that are streets away and you have to keep your windows closed
*Our next door neighbours had their windows smashed in
*There is a lot of theft in the area
*Our children's pumpkins got robbed and smashed
*Most of the children on the Estate don't get in the excellent local school as it's so oversubscribed

The idea is to do the house up (we are more than half way there already) repay debt, overpay mortgage, save a bigger deposit and move to our dream house. I do hope you will share our journey with us :)

Mrs A


  • Let's talk money

    House cost £117000
    10% Deposit - £11700
    Mortgage as of April 2019 - £102700 ish
    Years left on mortgage = 23
    DH salary = £1800 a month
    My salary = £950 a month (will increase when I go full time)
    Child benefit £137 a month for 2 children
    Debt = £15000 house renovation loan (would have been way more had we not made a good £25k on our hold home)
    Our car is paid for, we spend very minimally on DH credit card and pay zero child care costs thanks to a mixture of family and me working part time.

    A more detailed SOA will come later
  • How will I get there

    In order to save money I plan to meal plan, shop at cheaper supermarkets, markets etc. I also plan to cook more from scratch and bulk cook. Take our own food to work instead of relying on meal deals. It's so tempting where I work as I am right next door to a sandwich shop, a chip shop, a cafe, a pub and a million other eateries �� lol. I also plan to take packed lunches everywhere for the children and make sure we always take their beakers out save buying expensive juice/pop. Same for us as drinks out cost just as much as food these days. We have reusable water bottles and I've got flasks for my tea and coffee. I plan to keep a spending diary and budget properly as well as using saving accounts to plan for holidays, car costs, Birthdays and Christmas etc.

    One of the biggest challenges will be to stop eating out so much. I like to get out and about a lot and the DC love to eat out. I'm very proud that they are well behaved in that department. I've taken them out for meals quite regularly since they were very young so they are both used to it and expect it oooops. This needs to stop and eating out should be a treat not a regular occurrence.... especially if we want to buy a countryside dream ��

    I also plan to be more frugal with buying clothes for the DC as you can get carried away and they aren't in them for long. I will start looking in charity shops and on the selling pages. Same for myself and DH. I also plan to sell things we no longer need, find more free places to entertain the DC and just get better at tracking the finances.
  • Plans for the house and what we have done

    So far we have done the following:
    *New electrics and security alarm
    *Everywhere re-plastered
    *New skirting boards and doors everywhere
    *Everywhere painted and new carpets throughout
    *All light fittings upgraded
    *A new bathroom (the old wet room was iffy)
    *A new kitchen (was very much needed)
    *A full garden renovation
    *Full renovation of the side entry of the property outhouse storage room and downstairs toilet. New windows and doors in this section and a new main front door

    What we still need to do:
    *A new patio door in living room
    *Get side renovation painted throughout and new flooring plus tiling to toilet
    Replace the glazing in 4 windows plus 2 windows in the front porch
    *Have 3 new window sills fitted to cover the ugly stone ones
    *Carry on stripling wallpaper in porch and redecorate and get new flooring fitted
    *Knock down a very old scruffy crumbling wall at in the front garden and get all the slabs replaced
    *Picket fence in front garden to replace the wall
    *Get rid of a million weeds in said front garden
    *Do something with the weird sloping grass in front garden
    *A new boiler (will try and get away with this one if I can)
    *New radiators or at least painted/ radiator covers
    *Some of the pipework needs covering up
    *A new outside light in back garden
    *Get rid of the aerial that looks like it was from outer space and replace with something less strange ��
    We have done so much work on the house but the front garden makes it look so scruffy. It definitely needs tacking before we sell

    Take a deep breath and remind myself how far we have come in just over a year
  • BrindlebabeBrindlebabe Forumite
    92 Posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    Happy new diary and good luck! I will follow with interest.
    Jan 2019: £211,500
    September 2020: £197,600
    Target: mortgage free by 2032
  • BachSoonBachSoon Forumite
    172 Posts
    Good luck with your journey. A country dream sounds lovely :)
  • teapot2teapot2 Forumite
    3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    You've done loads already and made a great start - good to have a plan :cool:
  • Hi Brindlebabe, Bachsoon & teapot2. Thank you for reading. We have done loads in such a short space of time. I need to remember this next time I want things doing yesterday lol.

    Today has been quite a productive day. The sun's been shining all day so I l have managed to get quite a few loads of washing dried on the line. DD started Nursery yesterday. All the new starters just went for an hour to get them used to it. Today she went for 2 hours. It gave me chance to make lunch for myself (I had left over chicken fajita mix in a wrap) and prepare DD! a snack box for when she came out of nursery. I did her sliced cucumber, a couple of slices of chicken, easy peeler segments and an apple. It went down a treat and she ate it on the walk home. I also managed to go shopping and get a couple of tubs of cheese spread, some tortilla wraps to make pizzas this week and some pudding rice to make DS his rice pudding instead of keep buying it. Spends in the supermarket were £4.87. I can live with that.

    I had some frozen mince in my Mums freezer as I'd run out of room in our tiny freezer, so for tea tonight I made a chilli con carne with rice as I had all the ingredients in. The left over chilli will be used to make DH loaded fries for tomorrow night and I'll have my chilli in a jacket potato. I have a few more jackets left so will also do the children jackets with cheese. This will hopefully mean a low spend day or even a no spend day tomorrow. We might just need to grab a loaf of bread.
    I'm at work tomorrow so my dear Mother will be looking after the DC at my house and will be taking DD to Nursery. I'll prepare her another snack box tonight for after Nursery tomorrow. I will also use the final bit of chicken fajita mix in a wrap for lunch at work. Waste not want not.

    DD is really into baking and making at the moment. Sunday night we made rice crispy cakes, last night we made lemon and sugar pancakes and tonight we made cornflake cakes. The best thing is we had all the ingredients in so didn't have to spend anything. I did have to compromise on the cripsy cakes though as we didn't have any golden syrup. I did however find some agave nectar in the cupboard and used that instead and it worked a treat. I didn't have any cupcake cases so we just dolloped the mixture onto plates and put them in the fridge to set. Once they were set I sliced them with a knife and put them all in a tub. They turned out more like bite size toffee crisps. One word amazing. Hope you have all had a lovely evening

    Mrs A
  • No spend day at work for me today. I have been taking all my lunches in and squash in my reusable bottle. Tea was left over chilli from last night. Mr J has been and done a top up shop at Mr T's and spent £20 but that will keep us ticking over until the weekend. Two tiny toddlers seem to be eating us out of house and home :rotfl:

    I've made a massive batch of rice pudding in the slow cooker which DS turned his nose up. It's delicious. Might have to give some away though.
    My brother in law was rushed Into hospital tonight with breathing difficulties. All is ok now thankfully. I sent DH to pick him and my Sister up when they were discharged and I sent the some homemade cheese and coleslaw wraps, crisps, chocolate and a drink as they had not eaten all day. Hospital food can be very expensive. My sister and brother in law do struggle financially at times, so I like to help them with free lifts and food as much as I can.

    Works been crazy but I'm trying so hard to reach my targets set by my manager. If I can book coach tours for 1500 passengers by the end of December I will have a nice £750 bonus. The more I book the more I will earn. Such a great incentive for after Xmas when everyone is skint.

    I need to call and make an appointment to remortgage tomorrow. Our deal has ended now and we are paying £575 a month. [email protected] will be well over £100 a month cheaper if we switch. We will leave the payments at £575 and will automatically be overpaying then :j

    Goodnight All, Mrs A
  • beanieloubeanielou Forumite
    77.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Mortgage-free Glee! Name Dropper
    Happy shiny new diary :)
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~**
    MFW. Finally mortgage free February 2021****
    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. ***Be the difference.***
  • newgirlynewgirly Forumite
    8.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Hi and welcome councilestatemum, sounds like a good plan to achieve what you want in the future. It should be much easier cutting costs while the kids are little, wishing you lots of luck with your journey :)
    MFW 67

    2021 £16,071.71/£16,400
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