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happihorse's journey to mortgage freedom and contentment…

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  • happihorse
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    So it's been another good day on balance.

    Got out for a long walk and been fairly active so I have already hit my step and active minute targets.  Luckily the weather was nice until about lunch time and I made the most of it before then!

    Also got some chores done first thing (including a deep clean of the toilets which I have been putting off for ages) so feel like I have had a productive yet chilled day.  B)

    Really enjoying the extra day off too - nice to know I have another day off before the madness of work starts again.

    On a slightly less positive note I did get a takeaway pizza this afternoon which I now know (having done my statement of affairs) is something that happens far too often!  :#
  • FlacosFloozie
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    Hi happihorse,

    I'm also in my 40s and aiming to pay off the mortgage early. I got here via several years of being a debt free wannabee so most of my savings tips come from stuff I learnt there.

    A spending diary really helps. There will always be areas you underestimate. Foos was a big one for me as I work long hours and have a real tendancy to resort to take aways and ready meals. I still use a budgeting app called You Need A Budget (YNAB) to track my spending and set progress goals. It really helps me visualise where the money goes vs where I want it to be.

    Meal planning is a big moneysaver for me. I have a board in my kitchen where I write down my shifts and what dinner is going to be that each night once I've done the weekly shop. If I don't have to make the mental effort of deciding in the evening I'm less likely to waste food by letting it go out of date and more likely to eat better balanced meals. I always go for quick easy and tasty options when I'm working late and this helps me resist the takeaway trap.

    Like you, I can be a bit all or nothing but it really is a marathon not a sprint. I found that if I set my targets too high I really struggled. Setting smaller short term targets that stretched me a bit worked better. Keeping a track so I could see the benefits helped. The challenges on the DFW board were a help. Some worked really well and some I was just useless at but they kept me focussed.

    Once you get past your 6 months I'd also advise looking at pensions and possibly stocks and shares ISAs. Investing is intimidating to start but is worth doing while mortgage interest rates are low.

    Best of luck on your journey!
    MFW 2024 £0/7500 Mortgage £129,500 Jan 22 Final payment June 38 Now £99,801.75 FP May 36 Emergency Fund £17,500 100% Added to ISA 24 £0 Save 12k in 24 #31 £0/20,000 Debt Free 31.07.14
  • badmemory
    badmemory Posts: 8,090 Forumite
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    I would also suggest keeping aware of the energy prices as they are going to be a nasty shock for a lot of people.
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,893 Forumite
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    I would halve grocery and takeaway spend and then review and try and get groceries lower still. Is your mortgage inclusive of OP as that's a huge proportion of your income?

    Good you have savings but having overspent on food a lot over the years myself it really can erode your funds quickly.
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 234 payments to go - now £181,773 Equity 27.3%
    2) Spend on handyman & external building works & new patio door £13.45K
    3) CC £8K on 0% spends card but offset by £34.3K savings (part EF, part future home improvement)
    4) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £11.3K/£127.5K AVC target 8.97% value at 15/7//24
    5) FI Age 60 annual income target £13.7/30K 45.7%
    6) SIPP £4.3K at 12/7/24
  • happihorse
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    Hi happihorse,

    I'm also in my 40s and aiming to pay off the mortgage early. I got here via several years of being a debt free wannabee so most of my savings tips come from stuff I learnt there.

    A spending diary really helps. There will always be areas you underestimate. Foos was a big one for me as I work long hours and have a real tendancy to resort to take aways and ready meals. I still use a budgeting app called You Need A Budget (YNAB) to track my spending and set progress goals. It really helps me visualise where the money goes vs where I want it to be.

    Meal planning is a big moneysaver for me. I have a board in my kitchen where I write down my shifts and what dinner is going to be that each night once I've done the weekly shop. If I don't have to make the mental effort of deciding in the evening I'm less likely to waste food by letting it go out of date and more likely to eat better balanced meals. I always go for quick easy and tasty options when I'm working late and this helps me resist the takeaway trap.

    Like you, I can be a bit all or nothing but it really is a marathon not a sprint. I found that if I set my targets too high I really struggled. Setting smaller short term targets that stretched me a bit worked better. Keeping a track so I could see the benefits helped. The challenges on the DFW board were a help. Some worked really well and some I was just useless at but they kept me focussed.

    Once you get past your 6 months I'd also advise looking at pensions and possibly stocks and shares ISAs. Investing is intimidating to start but is worth doing while mortgage interest rates are low.

    Best of luck on your journey!
    Hi FlacosFloozie - many thanks for your comments and suggestions.

    I have been having a look for You Need a Budget (YNAB) today.  I had heard about it on here previously but not really looked into it.  Do you have to pay for it?  I can see the option for a free trial but it seems to charge about £15 per month thereafter.

    I definitely need to plan my meals and shop with a list - things I haven't really done before.  I have got a week's worth of juices in the freezer so am going to use those up this week and then do a plan next weekend along with a big shop to get everything I need for the week ahead.  That really should help me plan what I am doing, cut out the junk food and reduce additional spends (including fuel).

    I will head over to the Debt Free Wannabee Board too for more ideas.  I did frequent there previously but don't seem to so much now.  And I really could do with all the help I can get!

    Yes, agree 100% re the pensions.  The more I think about it the more I need to funnel money into my pension, especially if I am hoping to retire early.

    Thanks again and hope to see you 'around'!
  • happihorse
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    badmemory said:
    I would also suggest keeping aware of the energy prices as they are going to be a nasty shock for a lot of people.
    Hi badmemory.

    Energy prices are causing me some worry at the moment (like millions of others I am sure)!

    I have been in this house since the autumn and have had one bill so far covering a 3 month period.  The total charge for that period (across both gas and electricity) was circa £200 which I thought was pretty good.  I am not in contract because, when I looked at options shortly after I first moved in, the prices were ridiculous and would have cost me much more than without a contract so I carried on without a contract.  Only problem is, now I have no idea what the next bill will be and / or how much they will increase it.  And I can't seem to find a contract that reduces my current bill so currently thinking I am best just to ride out the storm so to speak.   :#
  • happihorse
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    I would halve grocery and takeaway spend and then review and try and get groceries lower still. Is your mortgage inclusive of OP as that's a huge proportion of your income?

    Good you have savings but having overspent on food a lot over the years myself it really can erode your funds quickly.
    Hey savingholmes - I think you are right - I can (and must) massively cut my grocery and takeaway spends.  It's a ridiculous amount of money to waste and is impacting on my health too.

    Yes, the mortgage amount includes my overpayment of circa £895 a month.

    The positive thing is that, if I halve my grocery and takeaway spends, that will give me the funds for about 6 hours riding a month!  Just need to put the plan into action now.  
    :p 
  • happihorse
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    It's been lovely to have an extra day off this weekend.  It's still flown by but I do feel like I have had a bit more of a break and got the chance to relax and re-charge as well as get a few other things done.  I've still got a fair bit of holiday to either use or save over the next couple of months so might try to squeeze some more days off in soon.

    Did lots of walking today so smashed my step and active minute targets.   B)

    Was going to get some food shopping in but have decided to do my juice diet this week (which is all stored in the freezer) so that will hopefully stop me going out shopping!  And shed a few pounds.

    Also contemplated buying house plants and dog beds online today.  Got all the way to the checkout and then decided not to as it will set me back even further with my current spending issues.  I can live without additional house plants for now and the dog has plenty of beds (albeit some are a bit tatty).  Once I have got through this month (and hopefully back on an even keel) I will include some 'treat' money in my budget so I can buy the occasional thing like that in the future.

    Right, going to make a cuppa, watch some TV in bed and then get an early night as it's going to be a busy week with work!  
  • happihorse
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    Hi again.  

    Gosh, it has been hectic so far this week.  Work is busy and took a few hours to catch up on yesterday so I need to make sure I don't do too much extra for the rest of this week.

    In money news, I finally got around to looking at my mobile phone contract.  The contract finished a year or so ago and I got a text last week to say charges were going up again.  I secured a deal for a bit more data plus free minutes and texts (as before) but with a £6 per month saving!  B)  Quite chuffed with that but should have done it a lot sooner.  :#  My M&S vouchers for my credit card have arrived today so that's £21 towards the grocery bill for next week.  It's nice to get the vouchers but does highlight how much I have been spending with them.  :p  Still waiting on the solicitor's compensation money but sent them a snotty email last night (after waiting 3 weeks so far) and have been assured it will be with me this week!  Let's see.  :/

    I have been having a mix of juices (from the freezer) and food this week so that's helping keep costs down and should also result in the loss of a few pounds.  I have been out for my walk the last couple of days too so continuing to hit the step and active minute targets.

    The house was quite tidy at the end of the weekend but is slowly returning to a mess now I am back at work.  Must try to have a productive day tomorrow so will make a bit of a plan and list tonight.

    Have a good evening!
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,893 Forumite
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    Great result on the vouchers.

    Well done on the op. 

    Energy bill sounds great. Just be aware they are going up dramatically in April
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 234 payments to go - now £181,773 Equity 27.3%
    2) Spend on handyman & external building works & new patio door £13.45K
    3) CC £8K on 0% spends card but offset by £34.3K savings (part EF, part future home improvement)
    4) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £11.3K/£127.5K AVC target 8.97% value at 15/7//24
    5) FI Age 60 annual income target £13.7/30K 45.7%
    6) SIPP £4.3K at 12/7/24
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