Changing my life, goals and finances!

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leftatthetrafficlights
leftatthetrafficlights Posts: 1,529 Forumite
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edited 6 September 2022 at 6:44PM in Debt free diaries
Just under a year ago I started a diary on this forum: 

https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6296292/time-to-clear-the-remnants-of-my-old-life/p1

The intention was to become debt neutral on my substantial interest free historical debts before I put in offers for F&F settlements. 

However, my priorities have changed dramatically since then so a new diary which more accurately reflects my current situation and how I'll achieve this debt free goal seems appropriate now!

I have a specific debt neutral account that I put the money into - unfortunately due to a family bereavement recently I have raided this account rather than take the money from savings so I'm basically starting from scratch again. 

So  what has changed?

Well, I have recently taken a good long look at my life, left work and am taking the  time to get myself physically and mentally sorted, embark on a healthier and more frugal lifestyle and hopefully pursue an entirely new career path once I make / if I make the decision to rejoin the workforce. 

Although I am still aiming for debt neutrality, it's going to take a whole lot longer and I'll need to be a lot more savvy financially and do a great deal of work to achieve it now! 😳😂 

I see this as a holistic shift in my lifestyle which ultimately will bring me the balance, peace and improvement in my mental and physical health - I'm incredibly lucky to be in the position to be able to make this decision. 

I don't owe anything other than the historical debts - we paid off the mortgage a couple of years ago, my credit cards have a zero balance and I have savings should I need them. We did a full refurbishment of the house and garden a couple of years ago too so other than wanting (not needing) a new kitchen, I have no major expenses looming. 

However, I have got into a habit of letting money slip through my fingers, spending too much on the grandbaby and being generally wasteful with my cash - all of which needs to stop! 

I've got a family birthday coming up this weekend which includes visitors and spending which means that I won't be embarking on the full lifestyle change until next week- however, from a financial perspective the money is already earmarked/budgeted for so it will hopefully be relatively painless in that respect! 

I'll be spending the time between now and next week making sure that I really think about and plan the next stage of my journey - the lifestyle stuff is pretty much sorted but I need to set goals for the finance stuff. 

Right, now that I've written that essay, I'm off to catch up on the boards!! 🤦‍♀️😂
Tilly Tidy Fund 2024: £80.86/£100

Weight loss challenge 2024:
4/24lbs
1st quarter starting weight: 9st 13.1lb
2nd quarter starting weight: 9st 9.2lb
3rd quarter starting weight: 
4th quarter starting weight:

GC 2024 - Annual Target: £2712- Running total:£764.12/£2712
Monthly Target: £226
Jan: £74.12; Feb: £300; Mar: £190; Apr: £200; May: £; Jun: £; Jul: £; Aug: £; Sep: £; Oct: £; Nov: £; Dec: £


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  • Chrystal
    Chrystal Posts: 1,880 Forumite
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    Happy New Diary!

    Followed you over to cheer you on.  :smiley:
    I Believe.....
    That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others.
    Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery
    Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

    happiness isn't achieved by getting extra things,
    but by getting rid of the things that make you unhappy
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,559 Forumite
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    Also cheering you on. My condolences on your bereavement too.
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 236 payments to go - now £183,036 Equity 26.8%
    2) Spend on handyman & external building works & new patio door £12.65K
    3) CC £4.6K on 0% spends card but offset by £33.8K savings (part EF, part future home improvement)
    4) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £10.2K/£127.5K AVC target 8% value at 15/5
    5) FI Age 60 annual income target £13.7/30K 45.7%
  • leftatthetrafficlights
    leftatthetrafficlights Posts: 1,529 Forumite
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    edited 7 September 2022 at 5:44PM
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    Thanks @Chrystal and @savingholmes! 😁

    So, today I have tried out my instant pot to cook short grain brown rice and roasted peppers - very impressed with the results and although there's not an awful lot of difference in cooking times the roasting of the peppers will certainly save me money as I don't need to heat the oven first (my oven takes an age to get to temperature - probably would have just got there in the time it took to cook the peppers) and the rice saves me time as I don't need to be hovering and stirring so it's a win on both counts! 

    As I stated in my first post, my debt neutral fund has taken a real battering in the past week due to the bereavement (we've had to pay for flights as the relative's funeral was not in this country) so I'm starting from scratch with that at the beginning of October; I've also decided that as I'm due a tax refund due to leaving work, I'm going to put a chunk of it aside for a 'bulk buy' fund for next year. I'm planning on reducing my general grocery spend from October to a maximum of £250 from £300 and adding the additional £50 to a bulk buy fund until the end of this year then splitting it between the bulk buy fund and the debt neutral fund from next year. However,  I'm really hoping to reduce our grocery budget to £35 per week- we buy less fruit in the autumn/winter months as berries are always expensive and pretty tasteless by then. 

    Once this weekend of birthday celebrations and relative visits are over, we have 10 days left of this months grocery budget so I have written a meal plan from what I already have in - I have to buy wraps for one meal and possibly potatoes and onions but other than that and uht milks (normal and soya) it should be spend free! The plan is as follows (no particular order though 😉): 

    1) Spicy red beans with rice and calabrese
    2) Spicy red bean enchiladas
    3) Cannellini beans with horseradish mash, carrots and peas
    4) Smoky courgette and jackfruit with pasta
    5) Smoky courgette and jackfruit in buckwheat pancakes and salad
    6) Ethiopian lentils with rice & hm flatbreads
    7) Puy lentils with buckwheat and a courgette and tarragon salad
    8) Nut burgers/balls with beetroot and apple salad & leaves
    9) Moroccan lemon & potato casserole with chickpeas in a herb dressing and mashed swede
    10) Moroccan lemon soup with hm olive bread

    Having more time on my hands now means that I can spend more of it making my own stuff - first on the list is vegan bouillon which I'll make next week as I've nearly run out - it costs pennies to make in comparison to the shop bought stuff and I use a lot of it so it will save me a fortune! My elderberries are pretty much ripe now too so cordial is on my list of things to make next week- I bought loads of sugar for my flavoured gins recently so won't need to buy any more. 

    I've spent most of my afternoon today watching YouTube frugal videos to get more ideas on what I can do to decrease my costs - it's been really useful tbh even though I do a lot of stuff already, there's always more to learn! 😁
    Tilly Tidy Fund 2024: £80.86/£100

    Weight loss challenge 2024:
    4/24lbs
    1st quarter starting weight: 9st 13.1lb
    2nd quarter starting weight: 9st 9.2lb
    3rd quarter starting weight: 
    4th quarter starting weight:

    GC 2024 - Annual Target: £2712- Running total:£764.12/£2712
    Monthly Target: £226
    Jan: £74.12; Feb: £300; Mar: £190; Apr: £200; May: £; Jun: £; Jul: £; Aug: £; Sep: £; Oct: £; Nov: £; Dec: £


  • cinnamon123
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    Hi left! You are off to a great start :)

    Looking forward to following your journey.
    Jan 2023 GC - $88.35/$150 (grocery budget-food only) 

    Declutter/Organize/Move-Downsize in 2023
    New career in 2023
    Frump to Fab in 2023
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,559 Forumite
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    Good luck with your plans. Make sure you are having enough protein.
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 236 payments to go - now £183,036 Equity 26.8%
    2) Spend on handyman & external building works & new patio door £12.65K
    3) CC £4.6K on 0% spends card but offset by £33.8K savings (part EF, part future home improvement)
    4) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £10.2K/£127.5K AVC target 8% value at 15/5
    5) FI Age 60 annual income target £13.7/30K 45.7%
  • leftatthetrafficlights
    Options
    Today I have sorted out a box for my veggie seeds so that I'm more organised with the sowing! I know that I've missed a few opportunities this year as I've forgotten what I've got then missed the sowing window as a result 🤦‍♀️ In all fairness, it's not a surprise as I've had a bit of a chaotic year but I want to make sure that I get it right from now on - growing more of my own veg features heavily in my frugal plans and I get a great deal of happiness from the whole process so it's good for me in general. 

    I've decided that I'm going to start making the majority of my own toiletries, laundry and cleaning products once my current supplies have run out - I've been checking out youtube for ideas and I'm pretty convinced it will save me a considerable amount of money! There's obviously going to be an initial outlay for some of the stuff but long term its definitely going to be a positive move. I used to do this years ago but haven't had the time over the past few years so I'm looking forward to it 😁

    I've also made the decision that I'm going to make my own tortillas for the 10 day food plan in my last post - I have everything I need here and as my plan is to buy as little as possible it makes more sense 😁 

    My relative is bringing me a load of tomatoes tomorrow which I am going to dehydrate so, depending on how many they arrive with, I'll make the boullion tomorrow to make sure the dehydrator is at capacity - I've got loads of courgettes again so will do those too and I have quite a few carrots to harvest which I will use in the boullion and also as part of the veg for Sunday lunch. 

    The process of putting in the new boiler is starting on Saturday- my son in law is doing the installation (it's his day job 😉) and he wants to get the base sorted this weekend with a view of doing most of the boiler installation next weekend 🙌 At the moment we are still using the oil from the old tank so there's no massive rush but the oil level is getting low now so it's probably the right time to get all the pipework etc sorted so it's a case of 'plug and play' once the oil runs out - we're going from an inside to outside boiler so we should have no break in service! 😉 Once the new one is in place  it should have a significant impact on both our oil and electricity usage due to it being so much more energy efficient- welcome news considering current costs! 😳 

    We've booked the restaurant for the birthday celebrations- I've gone for somewhere local so that it reduces the fuel costs; we live in a rural area and it would normally end up as a 40+ mile round trip so we'll be more than halving that 🙌 even small wins are good wins! 😉

    Tilly Tidy Fund 2024: £80.86/£100

    Weight loss challenge 2024:
    4/24lbs
    1st quarter starting weight: 9st 13.1lb
    2nd quarter starting weight: 9st 9.2lb
    3rd quarter starting weight: 
    4th quarter starting weight:

    GC 2024 - Annual Target: £2712- Running total:£764.12/£2712
    Monthly Target: £226
    Jan: £74.12; Feb: £300; Mar: £190; Apr: £200; May: £; Jun: £; Jul: £; Aug: £; Sep: £; Oct: £; Nov: £; Dec: £


  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Posts: 27,559 Forumite
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    Options
    I look forward to hearing about your growing plans. 

    We found a load of seeds in the garage and some bulbs yesterday. At least I know where they are again now.
    Achieve FIRE/Mortgage Neutrality by mid 2030
    1) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 236 payments to go - now £183,036 Equity 26.8%
    2) Spend on handyman & external building works & new patio door £12.65K
    3) CC £4.6K on 0% spends card but offset by £33.8K savings (part EF, part future home improvement)
    4) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 AVC £10.2K/£127.5K AVC target 8% value at 15/5
    5) FI Age 60 annual income target £13.7/30K 45.7%
  • Blackcats
    Blackcats Posts: 2,749 Forumite
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    Nice to see your diary.  Sounds like you've got a great approach to frugal lifestyle.

    look forward to following along.

  • leftatthetrafficlights
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    Thanks @cinnamon123, @savingholmes and @Blackcats 😁 

    The weekend of family visits and birthday celebrations was lovely 😍  I overspent but it was worth every penny and I have no regrets 😉 so, that's the good news.....

    On the 'you're having a bubble!!! 😳🤦‍♀️' news, I've discovered that due to a lack of research/checking stuff out by dh, my 'we've paid for the new boiler/oil tank' belief has been completely shattered - yep, the basics were paid for but my son in law has had to buy so many additional bits to get it ready to install I'm having to find an absolute fortune unexpectedly 😔😭

    It needs to be done and we have the money but I could really have done with knowing this prior to a) resigning from work and  b) agreeing to the visit to relatives in the autumn 🙄 - suddenly needing an additional 1k has somewhat thrown all my plans 🤦‍♀️ 

    Anyway, no point in dwelling- it is what it is and I need to just focus on getting us back on track 😉 the next few months are going to be being super frugal and getting the various 'pots' back up to where I expected them to be - it will probably take a good 6-8 months to rebuild the 1k which I wasn't expecting to spend but we'll get there - got to love a challenge!! 😂😂😂 

    So, positive stuff - I did a bbq at the weekend for the relatives, totally overdid the amount of food so lots of that is now safely tucked in the freezer; nothing that I will eat but enough tandoori chicken, chinese pork steaks, belly pork, burgers etc to keep dh in stuff for his lunchtime salads for a few months probably! 😉

    Yesterday I made 2 different enchilada pies --one for dh and one for me; I cooked some spicy aduki beans in the instant pot, mixed them in with a spicy tomato sauce then layered them with tortillas, nacho cheese dip, salsa, pepperoni slices and sour cream and chive dip for dh and with hm salsa and vegan cream cheese for me. It was fab and we've got enough left for today too! 🙌 

    We're doing really well on the food budget- hopefully we'll continue with that, I'm determined not to have any food waste and I'm repurposing every leftover we have so I've spent nothing now for a couple of weeks I think - minimum of 10 days anyway so that's a massive bonus! 

    My focus this week is to work out how to maintain minimum spends and try as much as possible to rejig budgets to get back on an even keel! 😳😂
    Tilly Tidy Fund 2024: £80.86/£100

    Weight loss challenge 2024:
    4/24lbs
    1st quarter starting weight: 9st 13.1lb
    2nd quarter starting weight: 9st 9.2lb
    3rd quarter starting weight: 
    4th quarter starting weight:

    GC 2024 - Annual Target: £2712- Running total:£764.12/£2712
    Monthly Target: £226
    Jan: £74.12; Feb: £300; Mar: £190; Apr: £200; May: £; Jun: £; Jul: £; Aug: £; Sep: £; Oct: £; Nov: £; Dec: £


  • Blackcats
    Blackcats Posts: 2,749 Forumite
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    I love your positive approach - items like there's always something ready to throw us off course but you'll bounce back.
    I always over cater for family bbq's too .... as long as it gets eaten ... OH will enjoy his lunches using it all up.


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