Dreaming of mortgage- free having naively bought a ‘project house’ at the market peak

As the title says really! 

Completed on my first house in June at 34. Found all my leftover money eaten up by house surprises. My salary isn’t super high (take home £1524) so I’m really limited on what I can overpay. With the cost of living and inflation rising so much faster than expected I have much less left over each month than I thought I would for overpaying. Got the mortgage offer early on and didn’t anticipate the drastic change in interest rates so only on a 2 year fix, which I DEEPLY regret now :( 

Any tips for a mortgage free wannabe with not much in disposable income? Second job isn’t really an option as I already work 40 hours a week, and then studying to upskill. 


  • Moneyminded
    Congrats on your new home! Overpaying is great and small amounts can add up quicker than you think. 

    There are a few things that you can do when you don't have much disposable income

    1. Increase your income - you said you don't have time for a 2nd job but are you earning as much as you can in your current field? Is there ever any chance of overtime occasionally? 
    2. Decrease your outgoings - do you have a budget that you stick to it each month? Is there anything you could trim off i.e. unused subscriptions, etc? 

    Small things you can do
    • Tilly tidies - anytime you make a payment round down your account to the nearest full £ and make an overpayment or sweep the money into a separate account to bulk overpay when you hit a certain amount
    • Pay yourself (or your mortgage) first. At the start of the month figure out how much you can overpay based on your budget and transfer that as an overpayment first rather than waiting until the end of the month (easier to do if you have an emergency fund and/ or a misc category in your budget for anything unexpected that comes up)
    • Do some surveys or mystery shopping on an ad hoc basis - I use Prolific for most of my surveys, not a massive earner but it all adds up 
    • Sell anything you aren't using/ don't need 
    • When you are making a necessary purchase i.e. an insurance policy then check cashback sites such as Quidco or Topcashback to see if you could earn cashback on the purchase (I've earned over £900 through doing this on purchases I would have made anyway
    Good luck with your overpayment journey. The first year of home ownership is always the hardest so it will get easier 
    • Original mortgage end date: March 2041
    • Current mortgage end date: Dec 2032 (aiming for October 2025)
    • MFW 2024 #15 £446.24/ £2500 /// MFW 2023 #15 £8,617.84/ £10,000 /// 2022 #15 £7,315.24/ £7250 /// MFW 2021 #15 £8,530.07/ £8500
    • Daily interest is currently £4.44
  • edinburgher
    edinburgher Posts: 13,462 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Seconding Prolific, about £100/mth for me I'd I keep it open in the background while doing my real desk job  ;)
  • Deedoodee
    Deedoodee Posts: 196 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Thanks both. I’m on YouGov but got a long way to go before the reward :( signed up for the Prolific waitlist.

    There’s occasionally opportunities for overtime but that seems to have gone quiet now. I’ve let them know that I’m open to night/ weekend shifts too. I’m on a training contract so options to move around to increase income is very limited at the moment. 

    I’ve been doing Tilly Tidies. I’ve been putting all my money into my savings account or overpaying the mortgage so that both the current account and mortgage account are whole pounds. 

    I’ve been marking down No Spend Days and giving myself a pat on the back when it happens :) 

    My emergency funds have significantly depleted because of the unexpected things with the house (leaking roof within weeks of completion, and other leaks inside too) so slowly trying to build that up. 

    Im quite strict with my budget and watch the monthly remainder quite closely and then move it into savings at the end of the months. 
  • Deedoodee
    Still waiting for Prolific (not too hopeful on that now). 

    1000/5000 points on YouGov. 

    £19.00 on TopCashback. 

    I’ve been tillytidying my pennies into pounds. 

    Struggling with the balance of wanting to pay into overpayment account/ saving into emergency fund or generally living life. Especially on such a low budget and single person mortgage. After all the bills and food come out, I have approx £300 left for ‘general spending’ (which includes travel to work). If I scrimp like made I can put some away in the overpayment but then I find myself wishing my life away doing nothing but work and counting down to the next payday. Also not helped that my partner makes (a lot) more than I do. We had a long chat about how I don’t want to take money from him so we have to dial back our activities (like coffee when we’re out 😢) 
  • linz
    linz Posts: 1,915 Forumite
    Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    I would add focus groups / market research sites too. You don't always get picked but they're often a nice little earner. 

    Take Part in Research, Research Opinions and People for Research are some of the ones i've used in the past. They tend to be either face to face in a city centre or online on Zoom etc for 1-2 hours. They generally pay around £40 an hour.
    #2 - Save £2024 in 2024
    #35 - Save £12k in 2024
  • cafelady
    cafelady Posts: 117 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Do you have a spare room? If so, could you take a lodger? Have a look at HMRC’s Rent a Room scheme. 
  • Deedoodee
    Sadly don’t have a spare room as someone is living with me (but temporarily cannot pay rent or bills contribution) 

    As I’m jealously reading how well everyone’s doing, I’m hoping for some tips on any way I can cut my spending/ shuffle my accounts. 

    My budget is below, I round the outgoings up and put the pennies in the overpayment account.

     critique welcome!

    1 Income £1555 after tax

    Mortgage £377
    Gas and electric £250
    Council tax £160 (not eligible for single person discount)
    Water £40
    Internet £23
    Netflix £11
    phone £8
    Grocery shopping (food and toiletries) £110
    Petrol £60
    Gym £50 (this is steep but it is a particular type of sports gym and also where nearly ALL my social life is. I typically go 4-6 x a week for exercise or socialising, and in December occasionally just for the heating). I justify is as cheaper and healthier than 16-20 trips to the pub a month. 
    ‘General’ living (including socialising/ travel) £120. If I go to the office, that’s £5 a day and I generally go 1-2x a week. Last month went over by approx £30 because it was a busier and more social month. in the two months before I had £10-£20 left over. And I only get gifts for very close friends or very special occasions. 

    And the remainder is split between savings for mortgage overpayment , house repairs, and savings (for annual things like car MOT and insurance) or gifts. And anything that’s not used (eg fuel has been every other month), goes into the ‘remainder pot’. 

    I’ve been selling the odd thing online but it’s quite slow and not had too much success. Also on YouGov, but also quite slow. No overtime options available at work currently. 

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