Greying's Gaining Ground - with Gratitude & Grace

Good Evening MFW'ers!

I've been around MSE for quite a few years now - both as a lurker on MFW, and a diary-keeper on DFW.  Some of you may 'know' me by my username (Waves).  I've had a hiatus from diary keeping for just over a year.  Life got in the way a little and then..... well, this year 'happened', didn't it?

So, why the switch from DFW to MFW?  Truth is, I was in the incredibly lucky position to not have actual debts when I was keeping a DFW diary.  The principle of the diary was always about simple living, living within our means and actually trying to avoid debt - whilst living the best life that we could.  So, has Greying got a mortgage?  Well, no.  I therefore hope that that doesn't immediately de-bar me from keeping a diary on here!  The reason why I want to re-start a diary is to chronicle the next stage of our lives - which ultimately will, I hope, involve some form of home-ownership, ideally with little or no mortgage.

On balance, 2020 has (thus far!) been 'OK' for the Greying's.  We've had set-backs, let downs, furlough periods, things have gone wrong, and I have to admit, that financially, we've been in quite the most precarious position this year - and we very nearly went under as we entered autumn, and had to cut every expenditure to the absolute bone.   But, we have managed (finally) to sell 'Greying Towers' this year.  People who 'know' me from DFW will know that the property had become a millstone, due to an anti-social neighbour, an inability to get relevant tradespeople to carry out renovations and the house and location no longer meeting our needs.  We ended up moving out of Greying Towers in 2019 in a vain attempt to make it easier to get renovations done.  This proved to be benefit and a burden, as it increased our living costs, didn't speed up the renovation process, opened us up to being messed around by a complacent Estate Agency company, and the long and short of it was that due to several abortive sales, and 'lockdown', the house was empty for over a year (not part of the plan!), and we could neither move forward, nor backwards, as we couldn't sell, and were locked into a tenancy agreement.........

Still, that is all now history, and we can finally look forward to a new year, and a new beginning for the Greying Clan.  The house we rent isn't perfect, but it has highlighted things that our new home 'should' (ideally) have.  The area is nicer - and we'd like to stay 'broadly' in these parts.  However, with property prices as they are, we can't really look at extending ourselves too much to take on a big mortgage, as there simply aren't the 'earning years' left for us to make mortgage payments ad infinitum.  We were blessed with a 'late in life' baby, so where we live will - for the next few years - be dictated by such prosaic matters as school catchment areas, and access to services.  

So, the initial purpose of this diary is actually to have a 'mortgage in reverse' - ie a 'savings plan'.  There really isn't alot of spare money at the moment, and we still have to meet our rental payments each month!  However, we need to try to add to our capital total, to try to either buy a property outright, or have the smallest mortgage possible (DH and I are reasonably risk-averse).  I was looking at properties in our 'target' budget zone today, and was somewhat depressed to see that what I regard as an incredible amount of money, is still regarded as 'first home buyer' territory  :/

I will have a nice 'clean sheet', budget-wise to start 2021 (fingers crossed), as the household DD's have been financed for this month (only) with refunds from insurances, council tax and energy over-payments associated with Greying Towers.  The only wiggle room I really have is with the food budget, and any savings that I can glean from CHB and tax credits.  I have always tried hard to save the CHB/tax credits for Little Greying (formerly known as Baby Greying - but hey.....growing, what can I say?), but have had to use any income this year, just to meet bills.  Little Greying (LG), has been incredibly fortunate with generous Christmas gifts this year from Family & Friends, and has toys that are 'what they wanted', and monetary gifts have (with the donors gracious permission), been either put into long-term savings, or used to purchase much needed 'practical' items, such as warm, winter clothing and waterproof footwear!  

So, I'm hopeful that I can keep an 'interesting' diary, although it will be somewhat 'unorthodox' - at least initially - until we really start to crystallise our purchase criteria, and until such time as these criteria meet up with an 'opportunity' that is actually for sale, and within our budget!  Our next home won't be our 'forever home'.  I've changed my mind significantly about property over the years, and i've become much more objective about what a house is for, and what we need from it.  Renovation projects, or even self-build are no longer on my radar.  Ease of maintenance and manageability are far more important to me (I detest dusting and housework!), so we will be looking for 'sufficient' for our needs (as a family of 3) now, and then, in the future, will look to change/downsize as LG makes their own way in the world.  

I'd be so pleased if you'd care to join us on our journey - to cheer us on, in our attempts to 'gain some ground' (ie buy a home).  I'm always aware that there are many blessings in life, and even when things aren't going to plan, there is usually something to be grateful for.  And i'm old enough now to at least realise (even if I don't always 'live' it  :# ) that there is no point in sweating the small stuff........... and it really is (mostly) all small stuff.......

I usually like to make a round-up of at least 3 things that I'm grateful for.  Today, I'm grateful for;

1)  LG's enduring fascination with snow
2)  knowing that the direct debits are met for this month
3) a store-cupboard, 'buddha bowl' tea  :)

Thanks for reading.  

Greying X




Pounds for Panes £2,300/£10,000 - start date Dec 2023

Coins for Camping (March) -  £0/£15  (Camping TTD - £45/90)

Grocery spend February £198.51/200  Charity Blankets completed 1/24


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