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Discount Duck’s Quest For Mortgage Freedom

edited 2 February at 4:25AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
16 replies 1.1K views
DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
39 posts
Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
edited 2 February at 4:25AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
My boyfriend lovingly (?) calls me his little discount duck - partly because I’m from Leicester (as in “Ay up me duck”) and partly because I am tight as a duck’s backside with money!

This originally came from necessity, seeing my mum struggle when she became disabled and I was in my teens - working part time to be able to slip the odd tenner into her purse. I found charity shopping more enjoyable than I expected, and we are lucky to have a great market in Leicester for bargain fruit and veg where I could buy enough fruit and veg for just the two of us for about a fiver a week. The prices there still haven’t gone up very much in about 20 years, if you’re local - go. Bargain hunting and money saving became like a sport and I do find it fun.

I bought my first house at 20, having saved since 16 for the deposit. I’ve moved up twice since then and was relatively comfortable until my marriage sadly failed four years ago. Heartbroken, with my self respect and sanity hanging on by a thread, I got back on my feet and quite literally got my house in order.

My new mortgage, taken out in January 2019 was for £80k over 12 years. Shortly after taking this out I discovered the mortgage overpayment calculator and decided to become mortgage free. I lurked for a bit to build up confidence, then joined the MFI3-5 thread (mortgage free in three, take five) and am challenger number 5.

So far I’ve paid off the maximum 10% overpayment for year one that my mortgage lender will allow. I did this overpaying each month, but learned from my more experienced MFW friends on the MFI3-5 forum that you save more by paying the full overpayment at the start of the year if you can stretch to it. So that’s what I’ve done at the beginning of year 2. This has reduced my monthly payments by almost half what I was shelling out (including my 330 overpayment as the amount due was 670). They’re now 505 so I’ll be saving the other 500 a month in an ISA and hopefully using it as a lump next year.

My salary isn’t high. I work part time as I’m a single mum to two minions and so have a term time only job so that I can make memories with them while they’re still little(ish). I save money by being super organised, and not spending unnecessarily.

This week I went to the Boots 70% off sale and picked up a couple of presents for birthday presents later in the year. I have a spreadsheet on my phone of whose birthdays are when and what I’ve bought them so I can see I’ve got everyone covered. I have a fairly large family so would lose track otherwise.

I’ve also been to Wilkos and bought my seeds for growing our own veg, at half price. A packet of beetroot seeds worked out at 13p. That’s not a lot for a whole year’s supply! I’ll be using the seeds from inside the last couple of snack size peppers to grow this year’s from as they were delicious and my kids enjoyed taking a home grown healthy snack to school for break time. The seeds for heritage type veg were ordered online by a keen gardener friend and we’ve split the cost of those, as there are always too many in a packet for one family. The ones I’m most excited about are the Luffa Cylindrica - we are going to grow our own loofahs! Some will be for our bathroom and some will go with home made toiletries as Christmas presents - watch this space to find out if they grow!

Looking forward to diarising this journey as I hope it will keep me focused. Not sure anyone else will read it, but so long as it does the job I’m happy anyway.


  • GlendaSugarbeanGlendaSugarbean Forumite
    689 posts
    500 Posts First Anniversary Photogenic
    Happy new diary! I'm trying to grow more veg this year too - we share an allotment so it should be straightforward as long as we can keep on top of the watering and weeding :D.
  • regularsaverregularsaver Forumite
    69 posts
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    Happy new diary! I am new myself to these boards just like you. I am also going to be growing some veg again this year, I grew tomatoes and some herbs last year. Good luck with your journey I hope it goes well!
    MFW - #133 - 2020 Challenge - £481.70 / £1159
    Mortgage began Jan 2019 - £115,900
    Mortgage Currently            - £112,324
  • edited 2 February at 7:46PM
    DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
    39 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
    edited 2 February at 7:46PM
    Today I had a total no spend day. I try to do this at least once a week. I used up the last of our butternut squash and mushrooms from the fridge, along with some spinach from the greenhouse, and made a version of Mary Berry’s butternut squash and spinach lasagne, but with feta in the layers too as the kids love mummy’s cheesy butternut lasagne. It tidied up the fridge and avoided any food waste, which costs a fortune.
  • DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
    39 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
    Having recently been paid, I’ve spent a happy couple of hours on eBay tonight buying kids summer clothes. It is absolutely freezing outside, but January and February are the best times to pick up bargain quality brand summer dresses and shorts at 99p plus postage. Nobody else is buying totally out of season clothing, but lots of people want to clear it out in the new year so it’s a cheap time to pick it all up. Lots of brand new with tags on sandals and shorts etc, and plenty more stuff that people’s kids grew out of having only worn it once. I tend to win about a quarter of the stuff I bid on, so it’s a bit of a numbers game, but it saves an absolute fortune.
  • DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
    39 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
    This month my mortgage finally dipped under £60,000. I’m so excited! This time in 6 years and I may be mortgage free, if I can keep going with the overpayments. It’s made me even more determined to get there. 

    I rang and chased Gladstone Brookes about my PPI claim. I know they charge a percentage but I had already written to my old bank/mortgage provider and been told I didn’t have PPI, believed them, so threw out the letter and thought no more about it. I then saw an advert and thought - yeah, let them check everywhere you might have had it anyway, thinking I might have had it on some of the store cards from when I was 16 or 17 (I’ve not had any since I got my first house at 20). My mental health wasn’t up to the writing letters and stress of organising anything at that point, the deadline was coming up, and much to my surprise they confirmed I had PPI on my old Woolwich mortgage! Although I claimed back my ex husband’s PPI for him when we were together, without using a claim company, it was worth their charges to me, as I wasn’t fit to deal with it at that time and wouldn’t have got it done before the deadline.  

    I’m totally in the dark as to how much I’ll get back, if I’ll get anything at all bearing in mind I didn’t even know I’d got it, or how long it will all take. They said the banks are all taking longer than usual because they had a flurry of applications last minute before the deadline. Fingers crossed this might be enough to make a difference when I reach the end of my fixed rate period in 2 years. 
  • DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
    39 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
    I rang my landline and broadband provider today, as my contract is up soon. Negotiated a new deal with better broadband for a tenner a month less than I pay now, so I’ll be setting up a direct debit into a savings account for the saved amount to go into my mortgage overpayment pot for next year when I can pay up 10% off for the year. It all adds up. I WILL get mortgage free...
  • Suffolk_lassSuffolk_lass Forumite
    4.4K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I've just been catching up on the threads I subscribe to  bookmark and saw on MFiT (T5) that you have started a diary. It might be worth popping a link in your signature to help people find you. I have added a bookmark :)

    Save £12k in 2020 - #20 £2161.30/£5k 28.72% after Apr
    OS Grocery Challenge 2020 target £863.93/£3k 28.8% so far at end of April
    Mortgage Free Wannabes 2020 #37 £7,678.12/£15,000 51.9%
    MFIT T5 No 2 £50,483/£59,998 or 84.14% paid after Q5
    My Debt Free Diary is [URL=" t=5593594"]here[/URL]
  • DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
    39 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
    Thanks Suffolk Lass, I’ll try to work out how to do that 😂
    It’s been a struggle saving to overpay the mortgage lately as the tumble drier and washing machine have both decided to give up the ghost at the same time, but my swear jar is rattling nicely and I’ll smash it in January and put all those broken appliance frustration comment pound coins towards it!  I’ve moved gas and electricity through the MSE club so hopefully those savings should start to show soon too. It takes a while to get the balance back from the old provider, but I’m sure it will be worth it when that’s come in and I’m paying less per month. 
    My birthdays spreadsheet on the mobile is saving me tons, as I’m not having to go out and pick things up last minute. I have bought things in Spring sales in advance and have started picking up crystal Bon Bon dishes in charity shops that people are clearing out after Christmas. They’ll look gorgeous with hand made aromatherapy candles in as presents this year. Paired up with a nice home made aromatherapy bar of soap and a chocolate bar in a wicker basket as a ‘self care night’ present, I’m hoping they’ll be a hit with family and friends. Plus they save me some money and are easy on the environment! 
  • DiscountDuckDiscountDuck Forumite
    39 posts
    Second Anniversary 10 Posts Energy Saving Champion Cashback Cashier
    I am safely in the house for another ten weeks, due to being clinically vulnerable - so am using the time when I’m not working from home or trying to home educate my two little darlings, to use up our craft stash to make nice things and keep all our spirits up. We have also made a really good start on our vegetable seedlings and will hopefully be growing lots of our own produce this year. 
    My lovely mum bought us a hen coop for our early Easter present, which we have two pet hens in - Ginger and Mavis. They’re not laying yet but when they do I’ll be very grateful as we seem to be doing much more baking now we are at home all the while. 
    To change things round a bit we’ve been doing ‘days out’ to the caravan, on our front drive! We have board games and crafts that just live in the caravan so they’re a bit of a novelty. We have made bird feeders for the front garden, and downloaded the RSPB bird identifier app. Our trips out to the front garden ‘caravanning’, and craft sessions are definitely helping, and don’t require spending any money or getting delivery people to bring things unnecessarily. 
  • longway2golongway2go Forumite
    327 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    Ahhh the hens sound lovely. 
    I bet they are having lots of fun in the caravan, just nice for a change of scenery. 
    Mortgage Aug 2019 161,000 :eek::eek::eek:
    Nov 2019 156,500:T Jan 2020 153,122:T, Apr 2020 149,500 woop!! Now 148,777 :)

    Our Mortgage is never going to be as high as it is today. :j
    Onwards and downwards to a better life for our family. :j
    Just keep swimming
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