Shipshape and Bristol Fashion

Hello, I'm a long time MSE-er venturing into diary land! I paid off over £20,000 2013-15, but have lost my way a bit since having a family.

I find reading diaries on here so inspiring but struggle to get on and do things myself, so am finally taking the plunge and hoping to keep myself on track!

I read a lot online (mainly while awake with non sleeping 18 month old!) and recently came across an article about procrastination and perfectionism which really resonated. The metaphor they used was a ship on a long voyage battered by storms - it would be great to be able to go back to port for a complete refit but this isn't possible in the middle of the ocean, so repairs have to be made using materials on hand as well as possible.  I'm very guilty of telling myself that when some perfect time is reached - when I'm less tired, when I deep clean the house, when I have a day to myself - I'll get things done properly (or perfectly) and until then there's no point starting, and in the meantime the house is a mess, we lurch from month to month with the help of the overdraft, and I'm not in a good place. I need to change mindset and focus on running repairs to our little ship before we sink!

A bit about me - I'm a nearly 40 year old mum of two, S who is 4 1/2 and M who is 18 months. DH and I live in the South, hence our ridiculous mortgage - we bought our first house about 7 years ago, it was a complete wreck and we did a huge lot of work on it and sold it last year which allowed us, along with really stretching ourselves on the mortgage to buy our current home which is a 3 bed and in a lovely area with great schools and a reasonable commute for both of us. The house didn't need much apart from cosmetic work and a new bathroom, or so we thought. We had money from the move to do this work, but unfortunately after we moved in we discovered a problem with the roof and rendering which hadn't shown up on the survey and needed costly repairs, so all and more of our pot was used up.

DH works in an office based job, he's been working at home since lockdown and will continue for the foreseeable future. We're v lucky that he hasn't been furloughed as he's the main earner. I work part time in healthcare, 2 shifts a week.

So - my main aims. I've divided them in to 3 categories and tried to set some initial goals:

FINANCE
I'd love to start overpaying the mortgage but we're a way off that yet. We currently owe around 1800 on 2 credit cards at 0%. We also have a small emergency fund, around £1000 I think - it's squirrelled away in an account I have embarrassingly lost the log in details for, but at least it's stopped us spending it! We need to decide whether to take a loan to do the bathroom, windows and other stuff on the house or save up and then do it - obviously this is the frugal option but I imagine it would take at least 5 years and some of the work needs doing more quickly than that. Our main challenge at present is prior to lockdown S was innursery 3 days (free hours) while my mum looked after M. This isn't possible at the moment, and as my mum has been shielding probably won't be for a while. DH has been looking after the children while I work, his employer has been really good and let him flex his hours but obviously this isn't easy and can't carry on for ever. S is back at nursery now and we're hoping to get a place for M in August - but  we'll then have fees to pay. My grocery bill is huge, at least £450 a month at an estimate and probably more as everything is going up so much in lockdown.
FINANCE GOALS
1. Do a proper SOA and budget
2. Meal plan and work out where I can save on groceries. A lovely MSE poster has given me some child friendly snack recipes so will give those a go to start with
3. Talk to DH and plan a strategy for house improvement works

HOUSE
It's a bit of a tip with us all home constantly unless I'm at work. We moved house at the end of last year, after being very slow the process suddenly jumped forward and we moved with only 2 days notice. I'd intended to sort and declutter when we packed but it didn't happen. Once things are today, a bit of painting starting with the children's rooms will be fairly cheap and start making the place more our own.
HOUSE GOALS
1. Declutter and tidy downstairs
2. Declutter children's rooms
3. Declutter my clothes (see below)
4. Decorate children's rooms

PERSONAL 
I'm a bit of a mess to be honest. I've had some health problems since my youngest's birth which has made it hard to exercise, and problems with my stomach muscles mean I still look pregnant, which makes me feel really rubbish. I'm on the waiting list for physio, but goodness knows when that will happen now. But there are things I can do - losing weight would help, I'm going to aim for 1 stone. I'm about 2 stone more than pre-children, but I used to be really slim and fit and I just can't do exercise like I used to at the moment so I think 1 stone is realistic and would make me feel better. I also need to get rid of old clothes that either don't fit or that would look awful in as they make me feel awful. I also get quite anxious, pre children I did a lot of mindfulness and meditation which really helped but I struggle to find time now. This is important from a finance point of view as when I'm feeling low and anxious I spend - printables from parenting websites, stuff for the children they don't really need, must have cleaning products and home stuff. I'm quite exhausted which doesn't help as S is usually up a couple of times a night and M often doesn't sleep at all unless held/rocked, but I can make small changes.
PERSONAL GOALS
1. Get on scales and set target
2. Snack on fruit only, stop evening 'treats' of magnum or chocolate buttons and have nice herbal tea instead.
3. Do pelvic floor app exercises daily and low impact workout 3 times a week.
4. Do short mindfulness meditation 2 times a week.

Sorry, that was super long, if anyone has got through it I'm amazed, thank you! It feels good to have gone through things and written it down though, it's a start at least  :)

Mortgage December 2023: TBC

Credit card debt (extension cost) Dec 2023: £9786

Fashion on the Ration 2024: 0/66 coupons

He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.' Julian of Norwich
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Comments

  • BabyStepper
    BabyStepper Posts: 771
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    Welcome the diaryland! Glad you're here. :-)

    Wow, you have a LOT of goals. Your finances look in not bad shape, only £1,800 in debt and with a £1,000 emergency fund. You're doing alright. If you sort out an soa we can help you trim back as much as possible and see about getting that debt paid off. 

    Best of luck with it all. 
    Emergency fund £8,500/£8,500
    Mortgage overpayment £260
    Debtfree!
    £21,228.07 paid off in 22 months
  • MagicCat
    MagicCat Posts: 390
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    Thanks for stopping by Baby stepper! 
    It's kind of you to say we're not in bad shape - the crazy thing was I think you're right, we weren't - but I've just done our SOA based on costs of nursery from August when M starts - and it leaves us with almost no wriggle room at all. I need to get on top of the grocery spends!

    font=courier new][b]Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet[/b][b]

    Household Information[/b]
    Number of adults in household........... 2
    Number of children in household......... 2
    Number of cars owned.................... 1[b]

    Monthly Income Details[/b]
    Monthly income after tax................ 872
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 2534
    Benefits................................ 134
    Other income............................ 0[b]
    Total monthly income.................... 3540[/b][b]

    Monthly Expense Details[/b]
    Mortgage................................ 954
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 0
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 182
    Electricity............................. 115
    Gas..................................... 0
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 54
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 25
    TV Licence.............................. 13.2
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 99
    Internet Services....................... 0
    Groceries etc. ......................... 450
    Clothing................................ 40
    Petrol/diesel........................... 50
    Road tax................................ 20
    Car Insurance........................... 59
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 30
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 0
    Childcare/nursery....................... 706.4
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 25
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 14
    Contents insurance...................... 18
    Life assurance ......................... 41.6
    Other insurance......................... 19
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 60
    Haircuts................................ 15
    Entertainment........................... 50
    Holiday................................. 100
    Emergency fund.......................... 50
    (Unnamed monthly expense)............... 0
    Spotify................................. 9.99
    Amazon Prime............................ 6
    Charity................................. 20
    Professional subs....................... 22.5
    Children's savings...................... 200[b]
    Total monthly expenses.................. 3448.69[/b]
    [b]

    Assets[/b]
    Cash.................................... 1000
    House value (Gross)..................... 355000
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 1800
    Other assets............................ 0[b]
    Total Assets............................ 357800[/b]
    [b]

    Secured & HP Debts[/b]
    Description....................Debt......Monthly...APR
    Mortgage...................... 250000...(954)......0[b]
    Total secured & HP debts...... 250000....-.........-   [/b]

    [b]Unsecured Debts[/b]
    Description....................Debt......Monthly...APR
    CC1............................934.......25........0
    CC2............................918.......40........0[b]
    Total unsecured debts..........1852......65........-  [/b]

    [b]
    Monthly Budget Summary[/b]
    Total monthly income.................... 3,540
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 3,448.69
    Available for debt repayments........... 91.31
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 65[b]
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 26.31[/b]

    [b]Personal Balance Sheet Summary[/b]
    Total assets (things you own)........... 357,800
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -250,000
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -1,852[b]
    Net Assets.............................. 105,948[/b]

    [i]Created using the SOA calculator at www.stoozing.com. 
    Reproduced on Moneysavingexpert with permission, using other browser.[/i][/font]
    The good thing is, nursery goes down a bit from September as S starts school, currently he has free hours but there's some tips that the nursery charges.
    I've really estimated things like presents - it's probably more in reality as DH is really generous with gifts, he's just spent a lot on his dad for father's Day, and I'm a bit more mean but have a big family with lots of children we buy for. So although new nursery fees are a shock it wasn't like we had that much spare cash at the end of the month as it was.

    I've tried to allow for costs going forward - DH working at home so no commuting cost, and although no holiday for us this year as any money we had was spent on house repairs I'd like to aim to go away next summer, just something cheap like a UK holiday park, so saving for that.

    I think a spending diary is needed now to really pick up where our money is going. It's easier when everything is contactless, just been going through the bank account and noticed lots of DH takeaway coffees when he takes the kids to the parks so will be having a word! :D
    Mortgage December 2023: TBC

    Credit card debt (extension cost) Dec 2023: £9786

    Fashion on the Ration 2024: 0/66 coupons

    He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.' Julian of Norwich
  • Honeysucklelou2
    Honeysucklelou2 Posts: 4,631
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    Have you tried meal planning? I’ve found it to be the most effective  way to reduce the grocery budget.
    paydbx2024 #2 £480/£5000 . Mortgage £144k start ~ £148k Jun 23 -
    2024 savings challenge £5/£2000
    EF £140. Savings 2 £30.00. Weekly savings envelope #17
  • Moneywhizz
    Moneywhizz Posts: 459
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    Welcome to the diary board. Its a great place to get some help/advice about how to get the most out of your money. As you say your SOA is very tight and doesn't allow room for you to borrow more to get the work done on your house that you are planning. For that to happen you are either going to have to increase your income or cut your expenditure. You have already identified that your grocery bill is a good place to start cutting back. That could free up a fair amount of money every month. Your tv package also seems high as do your building and contents insurance. Might be worth checking if you can reduce these areas. The one thing that stands out to me, however, is your childcare costs when set against your salary. It appears that you are working for approx £170 per month. This really doesn't seem worthwhile. Is this only temporary till your mum can take over again? I know you said it would decrease when your eldest child starts school but it is definitely something to consider and see if there is any way you can reduce this, maybe by working different hours when your OH could cover childcare. Just some ideas. 
  • Bluegreen143
    Bluegreen143 Posts: 3,041
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    Yay well done starting your diary!

    I so relate to a lot of what you’ve said - parenting website printables, lurching from month to month with no proper budget etc! 

    I really feel for you on the sleep front. It makes life so difficult. Both my kids slept poorly as babies and my 18mo Bambi really was so atrocious (up breastfeeding 5x a night even at 14mo) I actually felt I was going psychotic. I’m going to be honest here and please don’t be offended if it’s not for you - just take anything that does work & leave the rest as you know your family best - but eventually we bit the bullet and did some sleep training with Bambi, involving some crying which I know can be controversial (along with also stopping breastfeeding) and this has led to 11-12 hour straight nights for her and 2hr naps. But we realised that the situation was affecting all of us so badly that something had to give. I decided that I was letting my own anxiety and mindset (that she would be traumatised etc) make me treat her like she is fragile whereas actually she is strong and capable enough to cope with some disappointment and that’s OK for kids to feel those things. I totally understand if making changes in this way isn’t for you! Plus you need some energy to actually get started on that path which you may not have. Most of all, whatever you do I hope you can get unbroken nights soon as it really does help everything else when you get that back ❤️ 

    Sounds like you have so much on your plate juggling work, husband wfh with the kids so don’t be hard on yourself on anything you think isn’t perfect, though I think you’re so right that we need to do what we can rather than wait for life to be perfect - I can be so guilty of this too.

    Good luck and I look forward to reading all about your journey ❤️
    Part time working mum | Married in 2014 | DS born 2015 & DD born 2018 | Allegedly attempting to be mortgage free - diary here
  • MagicCat
    MagicCat Posts: 390
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    Thanks very much for the comments and ideas.

    Honeysucklelou2 - you're totally right, I need to get on top of meal planning - it's one of my perfectionism things, if I can't do it 'right' I don't do it - really, I just need a list of meals and a shopping list!

    Moneywhizz - I will have a look at our buildings and contents, I have a feeling when we moved we did it all in a hurry so there may well be better options. The TV is high - it's internet and landline as well, but we have a full TV package so DH has sky sports, he used to have a season ticket for his team but gave it up last year so this is his treat - so don't want to stop it unless we have to.  I agree, the childcare is crazy, the problem is my shifts change and can be any two of 3 weekdays and one weekend day, so I need childcare for the weekdays, DH covers the Saturdays/Sundays. With nursery this means booking all 3 days, so my mum looked after S until he got his free hours and now M. I'd like to think she could get back to it, but she has a health condition which is well managed day to day but puts her high risk for Corona, so I can't see her doing it anytime soon. It is crazy as you say to be working for £170/month, and I don't think we'd have got our mortgage approval if we'd been in this situation a few months ago - I think we'll have to just see what happens over the next few months, and then make a decision. A childminder would be cheaper but none are taking new children round here at the moment. 

    Bluegreen - thanks so much for sharing that, I've definitely reached the 'something has to give' stage, DH and I have both booked time off next week so we can really focus on it and make some changes. I really relate to what you say about an anxiety mindset and it's good to know your little one is so much more settled now. More sleep will make all the difference to us I think so am making it a priority. 

    Oh and I tried the muffins, they were a great success! :)  
    Mortgage December 2023: TBC

    Credit card debt (extension cost) Dec 2023: £9786

    Fashion on the Ration 2024: 0/66 coupons

    He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.' Julian of Norwich
  • Bluegreen143
    Bluegreen143 Posts: 3,041
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    @MagicCat awww I’m pleased the muffins went down well! I want to make blueberry ones in the next few days. 

    Good luck for hopefully sorting out a bit more sleep, whatever form that takes for you - I am so familiar with the “something has got to give” stage so you are not alone xx

    It’s when you have high set bills like a high mortgage and childcare costs. You’ve got a good handle on all the costs and with that awareness I’m sure you can make good progress.
    Part time working mum | Married in 2014 | DS born 2015 & DD born 2018 | Allegedly attempting to be mortgage free - diary here
  • BabyStepper
    BabyStepper Posts: 771
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    Well done getting your soa posted. There are one or two areas where small cutbacks could be made, food, tv, insurance, but you seem to have it in hand. Great! I agree with Moneywhizz, it does seem that borrowing for home improvements is not going to be possible at the moment, there's just not enough leeway. How annoying. 

    I was in a similar position of needing something done with our bathroom very early on in the debt busting journey but we had no cash to pay to have it done. Me and OH decided to do it ourselves with a lot of youtube video watching, a bit of enthusiasm and the attitude that we really couldn't make it any worse so why not try? You can source things like lino and shower panels cheaply online and transform your bathroom for a fraction of what it would cost to pay someone else to do. Just an idea. 




    Emergency fund £8,500/£8,500
    Mortgage overpayment £260
    Debtfree!
    £21,228.07 paid off in 22 months
  • Bluegreen143
    Bluegreen143 Posts: 3,041
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    Agree with @BabyStepper. We just “redid” our kitchen - painted the cupboards & walls, DH spend some time tightening and levelling squint doors etc, put tile stickers off eBay on all the tiles too and cleared off and rearranged our open shelving to be more useful and attractive rather than a cluttered mess. It’s made a world of difference, looks like a new kitchen and cost well under £200. 
    Part time working mum | Married in 2014 | DS born 2015 & DD born 2018 | Allegedly attempting to be mortgage free - diary here
  • MagicCat
    MagicCat Posts: 390
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    Hello all, hope you're well. I was working yesterday so not time for much else. I put a casserole in the slow cooker for tea, M threw it on the floor and S refused it so ended up with toast instead. A great success there  :D DH and I are it though. Today I'm doing a sausage and pasta bake, so hopefully that will go down a bit better.

    Weighed myself, so I have a starting point. I was pleased as I did quite well in work yesterday, there are always lots of biscuits and chocolate around but I had a small piece of cake my colleague made and nothing else. One good thing about wearing all the PPE is you can't quickly pop in the staff room for a snack and having the mask does make you think before you eat!

    Thank you BabyStepper and Bluegreen, I will definitely have a think about what we could do ourselves. I'd seen some photos of people using tile stickers online but just assumed they wouldn't be any good, will have to investigate.  M doesn't start nursery until next month so we have a bit more flexibility in the budget this month, but need to put aside money for S's school uniform, and I want to look in to getting some paint for the children's rooms.
    Mortgage December 2023: TBC

    Credit card debt (extension cost) Dec 2023: £9786

    Fashion on the Ration 2024: 0/66 coupons

    He said not 'Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased'; but he said, 'Thou shalt not be overcome.' Julian of Norwich
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