Our Journey of Mortgage Free and Simple Living

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Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and really enjoy reading the posts and have just started keeping a record of our journey.

This afternoon I spent about two hours going through last year's spreadsheet, and realised that we spent £5221.88 more than the annual income. Ouch.

We are a family of 3. My husband and I are both in our 30s. DH works full time and brings home about £2900 (after tax, NI and pension) a month. I am currently not earning. We also have a £21.8/week Child Benefit, so that's about £94.46 a month on top of DH's salary. DS is in KS1 so he gets free school meals. When he reaches KS2, I'll probably prepare packed lunches for him or pay £2.50 a day for school meals.  

Our current debts as a family include:
1. A loan with approx. £3700 remaining (interest included, pay by monthly standing order)
2. Credit card £3000 (0% interest until the end of the year)
3. Instalments of a mobile phone (I was able to pay in full at the time of purchase but thought it would be better to pay monthly instalments instead of a lump sum since it was 0% interest over 24 months) remaining approx. £300

So that's a total of £7000, plus an approx. £67,000 mortgage (ends in 2036 but I hope it could be paid in full earlier than that). We have an emergency fund of £4000.

My main reasons for keeping this diary are:
1. Keep myself accountable to clear our debts and hopefully become mortgage-free before 2036.
2. Exchange ideas with others who are also on the mortgage-free and simple living journey and cheer one another up.

Things I might throw into the thread:
1. Progress of clearing our debts and mortgage.
2. Records of expenditures.
3. Meal plans and recipes. 
Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


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Comments

  • PearlRose
    PearlRose Posts: 59 Forumite
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    For this month, after all the bills and payments, we've got £439.21 left in our hands. I do hope it will cover groceries and everything else, so we don't have to dig into our savings. 
    Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


  • dark^knight
    dark^knight Posts: 526 Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2022 at 2:58PM
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    Hi,

    I would recommend setting some goals, for example:
    • Goal 1: to build up an emergency fund. You already have this. Is this enough?
    • Goal 2: Pay off x amount of your debts each month
    • Goal 3: Overpay x amount of your mortgage each month
    This will give you something to aim for and give you some motivation.
  • PearlRose
    PearlRose Posts: 59 Forumite
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    Had a look into my spreadsheet. I feel the main thing we need to tackle is the grocery bill.

    Last year, it was about £480 a month, including food, cleaning products, toiletries, toilet rolls, etc. This year, I have managed to spend about £400 a month so far. I think it's still high for a small household (2 adults + 1 young child). For example, in May we had:

    6 big shopping (£40 - £55), that's approx. £300
    2 top-up trips every week to the supermarkets, totalling about £100

    I'm thinking about limiting big shopping to once a week. To reduce the top-up trips, I need to find ways to keep the vegetables and fruit fresh as long as possible.

    Any tips or ideas would be appreciated for this.
    Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


  • DE_612183
    DE_612183 Posts: 1,956 Forumite
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    fresh fruit and veg can be a problem - I use frozen whenever I can.
    Also dark cold places for spuds and bananas.
    Carrots last ages in fridge as do apples ( I have some apples over a month past best before and the are fine from fridge ).
    Any fruit that looks like going off ( bananas ) get frozen and end up in smoothies.
  • PearlRose
    PearlRose Posts: 59 Forumite
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    Hi,

    I would recommend setting some goals, for example:
    • Goal 1: to build up an emergency fund. You already have this. Is thing enough?
    • Goal 2: Pay off x amount of your debts each month
    • Goal 3: Overpay x amount of your mortgage each month
    This will give you something to aim for and give you some motivation.

     Thank you for your advice, so my goals will be:

    1. Build up the emergency fund to £5000 by the end of the year, so put £166.67 into the savings account every month. Hope to save more in the long term.
    2. Pay off the credit card by December, so £500 needs to be paid towards the credit card every month. Loan and purchase instalments are paid by standing order.
    3. We've been making baby steps on overpayment, and I hope to increase the amount to about £50 a month.

    To increase the emergency fund and mortgage overpayment, probably start by cutting down our grocery bill. 
    Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


  • South_coast
    South_coast Posts: 4,969 Forumite
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    Do you meal plan and shop with a list? I used to pop to the shops every evening on my way home from work, wandering the aisles and trying to decide what to have to eat. Then when the pandemic meant I was at home all the time and going shopping was an ordeal (remember queuing to get into the supermarkets???), I switched to shopping once a week. To achieve this, I wrote a list of what I planned to cook and then a list of what I'd need to buy in order to do so. It doesn't have to be anything fancy - I literally just fold a piece of paper in half, and tear off the bit which has the shopping list on it so I can take it with me. Now I'm back in the office most days, it's actually been a lifesaver, as I can plan quick meals which just need re-heating or that I can cook in a few minutes, saving the more time-consuming things for either days I'm working at home or the weekend. The fringe benefit for me has been saving money, with the much bigger benefit that I'm saving my time 😀

    Good luck with your plans, by the way!
    Mortgage start: £65,495 (March 2016)
    Cleared 🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️!!! In 5 years, 1 month and 29 days
    Total amount repaid: £72,307.03. £1.10 repaid for every £1.00 borrowed

    Finally earning interest instead of paying it!!!
  • South_coast
    South_coast Posts: 4,969 Forumite
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    PearlRose said:
    For this month, after all the bills and payments, we've got £439.21 left in our hands. I do hope it will cover groceries and everything else, so we don't have to dig into our savings. 
    One more thing, there is an excellent diary on here called "Hope Is Not An Effective Financial Strategy", which your comment above just made me think of. Do you have a list of your expected outgoings until the next payday? Write them down, deduct them from what you've got left and work out how you're going to make the remainder last. Tell yourself that taking it from savings is the absolute last resort and you need to get creative to make sure that doesn't happen. 

    P.S. Sorry if this comes across as harsh, it's not meant to be!!!
    Mortgage start: £65,495 (March 2016)
    Cleared 🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️🧚‍♀️!!! In 5 years, 1 month and 29 days
    Total amount repaid: £72,307.03. £1.10 repaid for every £1.00 borrowed

    Finally earning interest instead of paying it!!!
  • PearlRose
    PearlRose Posts: 59 Forumite
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    Joined the Grocery Challenge yesterday and set a budget of £370 for June. 

    So far, I've had one trip to Lidl and spent £13.05 (after a £20 voucher, got it from having a new home insurance). So that's £13.05/£370. I also defrosted the chest freezer recently, cramming things into the fridge freezer. Gave the chest freezer a good clean and hoped to save some electricity by switching it off for a week or two.

    I hope to finish what we've already got before doing a weekly shopping. Currently being creative about meal plans. 
    Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


  • PearlRose
    PearlRose Posts: 59 Forumite
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    DE_612183 said:
    fresh fruit and veg can be a problem - I use frozen whenever I can.
    Also dark cold places for spuds and bananas.
    Carrots last ages in fridge as do apples ( I have some apples over a month past best before and the are fine from fridge ).
    Any fruit that looks like going off ( bananas ) get frozen and end up in smoothies.

    Thank you for your suggestions. I love the idea about smoothies😄
    Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


  • PearlRose
    PearlRose Posts: 59 Forumite
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    @South_coast

    Thank you for your advice. I sometimes go shopping with a list so will be more mindful of that.

    Your words are inspiring and not harsh at all to me. I’m new to this forum but really have enjoyed the honest discussion and supportive atmosphere here. 

    BTW, is the diary you mentioned on this forum or somewhere else on the internet? Many thanks.
    Family of 3 on the journey of Mortgage Free


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