Time to start my race to zero

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  • Congratulations on your upcoming new arrival and welcome to the forums. 

    I think its great you are making plans and organising, its something I have only done recently, but even little steps will soon and quickly add up no doubt. Looking forward to reading more in your thread. 
    MFW - #133 - 2020 Challenge - £1230.67 / £1159
    MFW - #133 - 2021 Challenge - £1328 / £1270
    MFW #56 - 2022 Challenge - £325.35 / £1296
    Mortgage began Jan 2019 - £115,900
    Mortgage Currently            - £105,160
  • OhIJustLostMyShoe
    OhIJustLostMyShoe Posts: 41 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 31 March 2020 at 7:55PM
    Congratulations on your upcoming new arrival and welcome to the forums. 

    I think its great you are making plans and organising, its something I have only done recently, but even little steps will soon and quickly add up no doubt. Looking forward to reading more in your thread. 
    Thanks - sometimes I think I over-obsess about these things so it's nice to be in a position where it feels like it's genuinely sensible (albeit in very unfortunate circumstances).

    My wife's furlough was confirmed since my last post, so we'll be taking a fairly big hit both on the salary and the maternity pay, but it is what it is.  We just have to make the best of it and appreciate that her firm wasn't forced into making redundancies.

    I've bought some plants for her birthday - not a huge gift by any stretch of the imagination, but we agreed ages ago that we'd rather spend a little bit on something fun than throw £100+ at expensive electronics that we might as well have bought ourselves.  I know she wanted to make the garden a bit nicer and hopefully with the time available now and the weather starting to improve it'll be something nice to do.  Unfortunately the few relatives who bought a gift now can't even post it, so it might be a bit of a damp squib but I did manage to buy eggs today so will be able to bake a surprise cake.  Needless to say, it promises to be neither edible nor presentable but I'll give it my best shot.

    I suspect next week once the dust has settled we can talk a bit about some side hustles (probably Prolific Studies and perhaps one other survey website, then potentially some bookmaker offers depending on how good the offers are).  We can also probably dust off the tax returns from the last few years and see if there's anything we missed.  After that I'm not too sure, depends a lot on whether she wants to try earning some money to bridge the gap or whether she'd prefer to focus on other things.

    I did get round to checking the energy bills today, and managed to switch to Scottish Power for £40 savings and ~£140 cashback so that will do nicely.  I only switched about 6 months ago!  So I guess that will be my good MFW deed for the day!


  • Jessy103
    Jessy103 Posts: 1,822 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Good luck with the birthday cake, I'm sure it'll be lovely and greatly appreciated :) 
    I'm terms of survey sites have you tried Swagbucks? I find it a good one with plenty of different things to do, watching videos, surveys, games etc

    Take care and stay safe :)
    Mortgage Balance as of Jan 24 £36,500 Starting Mortgage Balance (June 2019) £72,000. 2024 Overpayment Challenge: Jan £558.40, Feb £588.11, Mar £497.32
  • Jessy103 said:
    Good luck with the birthday cake, I'm sure it'll be lovely and greatly appreciated :) 
    I'm terms of survey sites have you tried Swagbucks? I find it a good one with plenty of different things to do, watching videos, surveys, games etc

    Take care and stay safe :)
    That's a good idea - thank you! I remember doing it ages ago when there was an intro offer with MSE, cashed out shortly after and then forgot all about it. I'll mention it to her when we do some planning - for now she's just taking a few days of "holiday" to relax and transition so I've suggested no talk of money-making this week :)

    Now I'm going to have a go at doing a monthly update in a vaguely understandable way... wish me luck!
  • OhIJustLostMyShoe
    OhIJustLostMyShoe Posts: 41 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 30 April 2020 at 12:05PM
    Month	Investments	Cash	0% Credit	Net balance	Mortgage	Overall debt	
    Mar 20	90		43	27		106		414		308
    Apr 20	92		44	36		100		414		314

    Turns out I added up wrong last time (bodes well) so I've just refreshed my maths.
    This has been a very, very strange month. My wife had a long-planned investment top-up in early March that didn't hit my calculations until now, which effectively masks the fact that investments plummeted, but you can tell by the fact that despite salaries coming in our overall position worsened to the tune of £6k.
    Fun times! But we're in this for the long haul, so I'm really not worried about month-by-month fluctuations.
  • I've taken a bit of time away from the nitty gritty of finances, and it's amazing to see how crazy the fluctuations have been.  Strange times!

    I've been making what feel like colossal food shops - I'm one of those people who normally wanders down to Co-Op on a daily basis and grabs a couple of things with yellow stickers when I go past a Tesco on the commute, so when I do a "big" shop it's just things like bulky laundry detergent and some fizzy drinks, perhaps some larger packs of meat.  Now I'm going to Costco (because it feels like the safest supermarket right now) and coming out with a £150 trolley.  It's hard not to feel guilty and unfrugal, but I honestly don't know if we're spending more or less right now.

    I will do an analysis in due course, but I'm putting it off right now because I think 1 month is too short a period to analyse.  I'm sure it will be an overall lower spend if you factor in the restaurant meals that we're no longer having - after all, even a single £80 meal out pays for a lot of groceries!  The main thing I'm doing is making use of the freezer and buying food that's quite flexible, so I can go out as infrequently as possible.  We've thrown away virtually no food since the start of the lockdown, so that's pleasing at least.
  • OhIJustLostMyShoe
    OhIJustLostMyShoe Posts: 41 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 30 April 2020 at 12:10PM
    Month	Investments	Cash	0% Credit	Net assets	Mortgage	Overall debt	
    Mar 20	90		43	27		106		414		308
    Apr 20	92		44	36		100		414		314
    May 20	99		48	36		111		415		304
    
    The mortgage crept up slightly because of the payment holiday, but cash is up £4k which was the entire point of the exercise, so I'm fine with that.

    Also the recent stock market resurgence puts the investments closer to where they were earlier in the year.  It would be nice to see that overall debt figure drop below £300k, but we are entirely at the whims of the stock market on that one - as the figures here show, income can quickly be dwarfed by the markets!  For now I've held off making more investments, but will do at some point.  None of the 0% credit is due within the next 12 months, so we have some flexibility on that as well.

    I am feeling more indecisive than usual - I blame that on the general uncertainty.  I do like having a bit more cash on hand though, even if the interest rates are utterly miserable!  I just worked out that we'll probably average around 1.4% return on cash over the next 12 months...
  • vitaweat
    vitaweat Posts: 331 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post

    Fun times! But we're in this for the long haul, so I'm really not worried about month-by-month fluctuations.
    That is exactly the right attitude to take to short-term fluctuations.
  • OhIJustLostMyShoe
    OhIJustLostMyShoe Posts: 41 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 3 May 2020 at 3:17PM
    vitaweat said:
    That is exactly the right attitude to take to short-term fluctuations.
    Thanks!  Yes - it's not always easy, especially when people around us are panicking, but I know it's right.  A friend has recently been taking the hokey-cokey approach to investing.

    The challenge for me is in finding the right tracking mechanism - taking monthly temperature checks works for me as a logical point after salaries come in, but it's really only going to be useful data over a much longer period.
  • OhIJustLostMyShoe
    OhIJustLostMyShoe Posts: 41 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 3 May 2020 at 3:56PM
    I decided to spend some time today assessing my spending (since it's sunday afternoon and I don't have any silverware to polish).

    Core spending:
    Mortgage: £1340
    Insurance (life / PHI / CI): £250
    Groceries etc: £210
    Council tax: £180
    Electricity and gas: £80
    Diesel: £50
    Clothing: £40
    Internet Services: £27
    Mobile phones: £23 (£17 for 22 months, £6 rolling)
    Water: £20
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc): £20
    Management charge: £15
    TV Licence: £12
    Buildings and contents: £10
    Haircuts: £10
    Subtotal £2287

    Ancillary spending (average over 5 years):
    Holidays: £400 - did some big trips over the last few years before having children, expecting this to plummet but be immediately replaced by child-related expenses
    Restaurants: £60 - again will likely drop off as we won't be eating out often
    Household: £80 - generally furniture and the like, expect this to drop as we won't be moving again
    Social events: £30 - again likely to drop as fewer social events in London to attend
    Takeaways - £20 - can see this one rising(!!)
    Subtotal: £590
    Total: £2877

    I have to admit, that feels like a crazy number.  £34.5k annually.  Having said that, I don't treat the mortgage as a cost - I personally treat only the interest as a cost, which is approximately £590 per month.  If you strip the ~£750 going towards principle out of the above maths, you get £2,130 per month or £25.5k annually as pure cost.  That's roughly what I use for retirement projections as well, so that's reassuring!

    There's very little left to skim on the core spending at present (I'm trying to cut my own hair more often, and my wife wants to keep the TV licence!), so my main focus for the next 12 months will be on reducing the ancillary costs so that the increased child spending doesn't cause us to be spending far more.  It seems relatively simple to me, but the big unknown is child costs - and particularly childcare.  Some more thinking needed there!

    Whether the overall plan will work, I have no idea!  But people always tell me things are impossible, and I still try to do it, so I'm up for giving it a try!

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