Where to focus - mortgage, renovations etc?

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  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,260 Forumite
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    Glad you had a good holiday. How lovely to come back and have lots of odd jobs sorted. 

    Sorry the IVF hasn't worked yet. Best of luck for next time. Sounds sensible to have taken some pressure off by buying the package.

    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 237 payments to go - now £184,341 Equity 26.26% (lower post move compensated by EF) plus spent £10K+ on home improvements/emergency repairs
    2) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £8.063/£127,466 AVC target 6.32%
    3) FI Age 60 annual income target £12,500/30,000 41.66%
    Achievements: CC free since April 22. 1 year EF from Jan 24 & dedicated pot for home improvements
  • shellstar
    shellstar Posts: 144 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    @savingholmes it was quite a stressful decision, as it's a lot of money and if it had worked first time, we'd be about £5k-7k out of pocket. I ummed and ahhed for ages, but then thought well, at no point my entire adult life has the baby journey gone smoothly (including just finding a decent guy to have them with) and the odds of it working are 30-40% each try. Very unlikely to beat the odds now, so might as well take the package. I paid half cash, and the rest is on the 0% credit card. Paying that off at £500 per month until cleared. I do find stats unhelpful as IVF is still a relatively new science, and each person is so individual, I've found it quite difficult to seek solace in the 'it worked for my friend, or 'this person had triplets first time' etc. Not helpful, as it only really matters if it works for you or not, and nobody can guarantee that. 

    The package covers two rounds of IVF, so we've got these embryos, and then one more round of eggs after that. If it doesn't work (determined as whether or not you have a live baby at the end) you get 50% back. I like my odds with that package - these places are pretty commercial, they wouldn't offer that if they weren't pretty confident you'd get a baby at some point! It's also about £12k per go individually, so does save us quite a bit of money if it does take multiple goes. 

    However, it is an awful lot of money, so if it doesn't work after the package ends, we will call it a day. I've also seen people let it make them so unhappy, and I really do fully understand that and I'm not judging that at all but I just don't want that to become my life. I was very unhappy a few years back, when a previous relationship ended and my Dad died suddenly soon after. It was a long slog back from that emotionally and I don't want to ever go back there. So we're giving ourselves this shot, and hopefully it will work. If it doesn't, I'll use the money we get back on therapy. 
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,260 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Sounds like a sensible approach to take. If it works it will be well worth the £.
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 237 payments to go - now £184,341 Equity 26.26% (lower post move compensated by EF) plus spent £10K+ on home improvements/emergency repairs
    2) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £8.063/£127,466 AVC target 6.32%
    3) FI Age 60 annual income target £12,500/30,000 41.66%
    Achievements: CC free since April 22. 1 year EF from Jan 24 & dedicated pot for home improvements
  • shellstar
    shellstar Posts: 144 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Pay day today. This weekend is the last before OH deploys until December and his Dad is visiting, so focus is on finishing up as much of the loft as we can (his Dad is pretty handy and apparently doesn't mind helping). We need to source and fit a shelf for above the toilet, as well as the gap between vanity and wall, and I need to finish off the painting in the landing area. We also need to fit a new curtain rail. Then it's fit the skirting and architrave. Also found out our bespoke wardrobe is ready to fit early and will be fitted next week. We got it from F1ttingly who I currently highly recommend (full recommendation withheld until it's actually fitted). I was impressed with their online tools and design service. Much cheaper than similar companies. We've paid for fitting because the ceilings and walls are curved and we didn't fancy getting that wrong on our new furniture! 

    Got my new plan for Round 2 with frozen embryo today. The consultant needs to do his review but otherwise we're all set. They were suggesting I consider paying £1,500 for tests on how hospitable my 'environment' is. However, when I asked about efficacy they weren't that convincing, and given we've only had one failed round (perfectly normal for it not to work first time) I think it's a bit early to assume there is something wrong with me (other than age and him being away a lot). 

    So I did my budget this morning. I can save on food this month cos I'm not feeding a strapping Aircrewman at weekends and I've got a conference away during September where food will be included. I've put money into my new emergency fund and my 'floating' Stocks and Shares ISA. I've also put some aside for OH and my mum's birthdays - significant ones coming up. Mum wants a walk-in bath (she usually asks for book tokens! :D ). I've just added £100 to the IVF fund (I guess in case I do need these tests in the future I should probs save for them). This means I've got £1,400 in the IVF fund atm. I've also paid £513 to the 0% credit card (where half the IVF cost is sitting) which keeps me on track to have it all paid off before the 0% ends in Feb 2024. 

    Nothing currently put aside for home improvements. I always do that once OH gets paid and his money has gone to the joint account to pay bills. I also joined up to QMEE for surveys. I've been rejected for most of them so far but have managed to make £1.36 in my first day, so I guess we'll see with that. 

    We're still paying £120 per month on mortgage overpayments. I'm going to keep saving some money to hopefully match his deployment pay when he's back, and then maybe we can pay another chunk off. 

    I am meeting some friends for dinner tonight but I haven't seen them in a long time. Just a local pub and I'm driving, so shouldn't be too spendy. 
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,260 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    You sound like you are budgeting well. Best of luck with IVF, family visits and home improvements.
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 237 payments to go - now £184,341 Equity 26.26% (lower post move compensated by EF) plus spent £10K+ on home improvements/emergency repairs
    2) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £8.063/£127,466 AVC target 6.32%
    3) FI Age 60 annual income target £12,500/30,000 41.66%
    Achievements: CC free since April 22. 1 year EF from Jan 24 & dedicated pot for home improvements
  • shellstar
    shellstar Posts: 144 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hope people had a good bank holiday weekend. We managed to pretty much get everything done that we could in terms of DIY. OH is now deployed so it's up to me to finish. This week I'm finishing the painting of the stairway and getting ready for the installation of the wardrobes on Friday. That's a major milestone so looking forward to that. The company was much cheaper than most and we got various discounts applied, so all in all it's been fairly cost effective as far as bespoke wardrobe fitting goes. 

    We had a chat over the weekend and decided to set ourselves a target of over paying by £12k per year. This should double what we've paid off in the term of the mortgage and get the balance down to £300k - which would be massive. In our current circumstances, we think that should be possible using likely bonusses/deployment pay, our current over payments of £120 and then we'd each have a bit of a shortfall to make up which we think would be doable. We're coming up to 1 year in the house and we're £1,700 short for this year, so we're going to take that from the renovations pot. There won't be much left of that once the shower screen is fitted (it's by far the most expensive thing we've bought for the renovations and the one thing we couldn't avoid cos the space is so awkward - curved walls, beam to fit it around. Not the kind of thing you can make yourself and I'm definitely not fitting it on my own!) but it keeps us on track and is a great achievement I think. 

    Week 1 of QMEE netted me £6.50ish. I've transferred that to PayPal, which I haven't actually used in years. I'm gonna keep it in there for now and build it up a little for our first overpayment of year 2 of the mortgage some point in September! Some of the surveys are interesting. It's a bit of a faff and some of them are repetitive but easy to do while I'm vegging with the dog or if I've popped out for separation training. 
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,260 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    You sound like you've been doing really well with the mortgage and renovations.

    Hope you're doing okay with his deployment too. 
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 237 payments to go - now £184,341 Equity 26.26% (lower post move compensated by EF) plus spent £10K+ on home improvements/emergency repairs
    2) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £8.063/£127,466 AVC target 6.32%
    3) FI Age 60 annual income target £12,500/30,000 41.66%
    Achievements: CC free since April 22. 1 year EF from Jan 24 & dedicated pot for home improvements
  • First weekend of the deployment went ok. Kept busy with jobs and the dog and I went for a lovely walk with friends who then fed me after (took the dog's kibble with me). I didn’t get the skirting done, but I did get the en suite cleaned and touched up ready for the shower screen next week. Shower tray is still a bit marked so all tips welcome there. Bathroom cleaner and stiff scrubbing brush not touching some marks. I also finished the prep for the skirting ahead of next weekend and did a good cull of clothes for the charity shop, now the new wardrobes are in. They look great, so I can definitely recommend F1tt1ngly to anyone needing fitted wardrobes at a fraction of the cost of similar companies.

    OH got paid just before he deployed. He’s found out he can claim petrol money because our home is so far from the base. He made a claim and we thought it would be going forward. Turned out it’s back dated to when we moved in a year ago, so that lump sum is going on the mortgage and has meant we’ve not needed to raid the renovation pot to hit our year 1 target of £12k in overpayments. I’ll make that payment today.

    We’ve been having an ongoing saga with our heating set-up. Bear with me, total first world problem I realise but it’s rolled on all year. As I work from home and am alone most of the week/year, I wanted to install a system that meant I could control the heating in each room. I am largely sat still in my office all day, so it’s just that room that needs heating, not the whole house! I usually use a local company for these things (we didn’t move far from where I lived before) and they recommended I install a H0neyw3ll 3voh0me. It’s been a nightmare from the beginning, and they’ve been out countless times. Keeps unbinding, hot water either doesn’t work or practically boils in the tank (got to 80 degrees once!!), heating won’t come on or, most recently, comes on with the hot water (great when it’s 30 degrees outside). The heating is currently disabled to stop that particular trick. Top if off they never got hold of the radiator valves (shortages, as per…) so it’s not even able to do what I bought it to do. I had enough recently and said it doesn’t work properly, I want something else. Much research later I’ve opted for H1ve. Usual company said they would do me a ’discount’ given the problems with the one they recommended and offered to fit the new H1ve and radiator valves for £1200!!! Er… no. 7 years of loyalty over. Shame (am now open to recommendations for heating engineering companies in the South Oxfordshire area for my future boiler needs).  

    So I arrange for H1ve to come – I’ve paid £500ish for supply and fit of the H1ve hub and 11 radiator valves. They don't fit those, but looks easy enough on YouTube. Fitter turns up today and despite me having explained all of the above to H1ve… he can’t install. Not qualified, he’s an electrician and cos the H0neyw3ll is there, it needs a heating engineer. Will say he was fantastic overall. Apologetic, but explained the issue, showed me why the H0new3ll might not be working, reassured me they will be able to get the H1ve to work properly and has arranged a heating engineer to come today! Fingers crossed – it’s been such a saga I am quite worried it's going to have similar problems now.

    On the 'plus' side, one company who quoted for the original installation said it wasn’t worth the money as it wouldn’t save me much. Probs true at the time (though part of my motivation was environmental). Definitely not true now, though we all know that’s not quite the silver lining it looks like.


  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,260 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Good luck getting it finally sorted 
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 237 payments to go - now £184,341 Equity 26.26% (lower post move compensated by EF) plus spent £10K+ on home improvements/emergency repairs
    2) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £8.063/£127,466 AVC target 6.32%
    3) FI Age 60 annual income target £12,500/30,000 41.66%
    Achievements: CC free since April 22. 1 year EF from Jan 24 & dedicated pot for home improvements
  • Still not sorted but a heating engineer is coming on Friday so fingers crossed. This is a bad week so far for house stuff. I attempted to replace a ceiling rose. Worked out how the wires should all go, but then found the existing one had used unsuitable fixings which completely fell apart when I tried to fit the new one. My poor attempts to use new ones have come to nought - I now realise I'm also using the wrong fixings but not before I made so many holes that now one false move I'll probs need to move the light fitting entirely.

    So now OH's cousin is having to travel over an hour this Sunday to come and drill some holes for me. So embarrassed (and depressingly grateful to be 'rescued'). He's very handy (built his own extension using YouTube) and he has the right fixings and some resin to fix my swiss cheese attempt so I know he'll get it sorted. In the meantime, I have no lights upstairs and feel a bit of a failure. I thought I was doing pretty well, and I've been defeated by a hole!

    On the plus side I'm going along to an open choir rehearsal tonight in the hope of joining. The advert says all welcome, only a love of singing required, no audition, which is good cos I'm not a great singer. The way this week is going, I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't get it in!  
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