Ready to embrace a mortgage-free journey

A bit about me:

I'm married and have 2 grown up children (+ 2 adorable grandchildren). My DH and I both work full-time and are very lucky to have relatively secure jobs.

I've been finding myself wishing time away recently so that I could become mortgage free. As my mortgage isn't due to end until 2033, I realised that this is a dreadful mindset to have and I need to come up with an actual plan if I'm desperate to get rid of the mortgage early.

I've done a bit of soul searching to try and understand why I want to fast track paying off the mortgage. If I know what's behind all of this then, once my initial enthusiasm wanes, I'll have something to keep spurring me on when my spending habits start slipping. 

So, why am I so desperate to pay off the mortgage:-

1.) My job has changed a lot in a few years and it's now pretty soul-destroying! I've looked for alternative jobs but the salaries are considerably less than what I currently earn and are far less flexible. (I am a homeworker and go into the office when it suits me in my current job). If the mortgage is paid off then I could resign from my job and do voluntary work one or two days a week, or maybe find a part-time job which I actually enjoy doing (or maybe not work at all!)
2.) I have lots of hobbies and interests and there just isn't enough time in the day to do them at the moment. If I didn't have to work to pay the mortgage then I could start enjoying my free time again and get so much more out of life
3.) I have several friends who have retired early and it would be nice if I could meet up with them more often. At the moment, I see them at weekends (which is my precious time because of work) or I occasionally book a day's leave (which isn't great either). I always seem to start text or phone conversations with "I'm really sorry I've taken so long to call...."
4.) I could help my children more with the grandchildren
5.) I think my health would improve! As I get quite stressed with work these days, my blood pressure is a bit higher than it should be, I rarely do enough steps during the day; I sometimes comfort eat as I'm tired, I don't always sleep well if I've got a deadline or horrible piece of work that's looming etc. etc.

Crikey - that's more reasons than I initially thought there would be and will, hopefully, be enough to keep me grounded when I get saving fatigue!

Some other things about me: I already do Top Cashback and I think it's brilliant. It doesn't take up any time at all and some of the cashbacks are pretty good. I've seen that some people do Shopmium. I had a quick look at that today and, unless I'm missing something obvious, it seems quite limited in what discounts there are. I think there were only about 10 - 15 products when I registered earlier and I wouldn't normally buy any of them so it wouldn't really be a saving to me :-(

I also saw that some people do surveys. I went through a period a few years ago of doing surveys but I stopped because there were a few times where I'd spend 20 minutes on a survey and then just get paid 10p! For me, my time is more valuable than 10p and I'd rather spend 20 mins enjoying a good book or chatting to a friend. 

I am a relatively regular bank switcher and have changed banks 3 times in about 2 years. That has worked very well although it's now difficult to switch as I like my current bank. A real dilemma!

I'll post a full SOA tomorrow but I know I definitely spend too much money on groceries, Christmas and birthdays. Hopefully the SOA might show a few other areas that I can attack too.

Thanks for reading to the end :-)


Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

Target MF date: May 2027
(Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
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Comments

  • IAAM
    IAAM Posts: 95
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
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    Here's my SOA:

    Mortgage owed: £165,436.07
    Fixed rate: 1.64%
    Fixed rate end date: 28 Feb 2025
    Remaining term: 10 years 6 months (Feb 2033)
    (DH is currently making monthly overpayments of £111pm which will reduce the mortgage term to 9 years 9 months i.e. July 2032)

    My savings: £18,167 
    Pension: Various pension pots held, with varying retirement ages. I'd like to have a retirement income of between £20,000 - £25,000 (including the state pension) when I retire so I will have to increase my current pension contributions to achieve that

    Net income: £2,227 pm (pay rise of £25pm due next month)
    Standing order to joint a/c: £1,100 
    Pension contribution: £176
    Vodafone: £15
    Medicines/supplements: £40
    Petrol: £50
    Car insurance/tax/MOT: paid annually but I always use comparison sites and then phone my provider at the time to see if they can beat the other quotes. (It usually works out at about £300 all in as my car tax is about £20 as it's low emission).
    Disposable income: £846 pm

    I already knew that I had a significant disposable income each month and so I'm tackling my "personal" budget first (and so is my DH) before we then look at things we can reduce (or cancel) from our joint budget. The only exception to this is our groceries which form our biggest joint expenditure and can definitely be reduced from their current level.

    I suspect this isn't the way most MSErs would go about this but our joint liabilities are already tightly managed (other than groceries) and we do use comparison sites etc. It's our individual disposable income which seem to be running away with us - as you can see from my SOA above.

    So my challenge is going to be more about my attitude to money and the choices I am currently making when I spend money, rather than trying to find ways to cut costs (although I'm sure there will still be room for that on some things). I think the reasons I outlined in my first post for wanting to be mortgage free will definitely help to keep me focused on the task in hand.

    Background info on my mortgage:
    My mortgage currently allows us to overpay by 10% p.a. of what we originally borrowed, without incurring any charges. That works out at £23,000 pa. (We are currently only overpaying by £1,332 pa!).
    We are also in a very strong position that our rate is fixed for another 2 years and 4 months. We clearly need to capitalise on this and reduce the mortgage as much as we can before Feb 2025. I suspect that interest rates in 2/3 years time will be much worse than they are currently and we need our balance to be as low as possible before then.

    My DH and I have had a bit of a spending spree recently with trips away, birthdays, going to weddings and hotel stays and we will need to top up our joint account around 3rd November to cover these additional costs. Until then, I won't know how much money from my October (and possibly November) pay I'll need to put towards this so I'll have to wait until then to start chipping away at that £165,436.

    In the meantime, I'll try and come up with a budget for Christmas presents as that is definitely a weakness of mine. I'm incredibly generous but I have an amazing family who would be equally happy having small token gifts rather than the gifts they usually get. And they would all love for me to be retired and to enjoy life more too.

    I'm curious to know how everyone decides what their budget is for Christmas presents?
    Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
    Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

    Target MF date: May 2027
    (Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

    Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
  • Nice to see a shiny new diary. Maybe print out your why list and put next to where you buy stuff online ;) 
    Or aim to have a £ set amount as a goal to hit for increased savings, OP and Pension contributions.

    We have reduced our Xmas spend from huge excess- a few hundred each in stockings plus a main gift each to now a family shared main gift (so if people want a big thing all family members such as parents/grandparents/aunts etc) pool money for the big gift so £50-80 each plus individual stockings. It still costs - probably £100 each + for the stocking plus the main.  This year we will cut the stockings down a little - my sister always says try to limit to 5 gifts each but there are her little kids so thats always difficult so I normally put more like 10 gifts each - however with COL, my parents being on a fixed income and 2 of us in the wider family aiming to save for house deposits we do all want to cut down.
    Its hard as I do have excess income as you do but its about choices and the bigger life goals.

    There will always be a (beautiful stilettoed) foot in fabulous in LaPlan's life.
    I am choosing to be fabulously frugal to support some wonderful life changing and affirming financial goals including buying a London home I love.

    DON'T BUY STUFF (from Frugalwoods)
    No seriously, just don’t buy things. 99% of our success with our savings rate is attributed to the fact that we don’t buy things. You can’t really hack your way to frugal. You can and should take advantage of discounts, coupons, rewards points, and the like. But at the end of the day, the only way to truly save money is to not buy stuff.    Money doesn’t walk out of your wallet on its own accord.

    My Feb streaks to track
    Track Minimalist game  items (Nov 310)   (Dec  95)  (Jan 90)   Feb 38 to 6th Feb 
    Exercise streak  4 
    YNAB days:: Target 50 days -Age of money 42 
    Track my NSD's - Target 13 days/ 1/13

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6289577/future-proofing-my-life-deposit-saving-then-mfw-journey-in-under-13-years#latest
  • IAAM
    IAAM Posts: 95
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    LadyWithAPlan - thank you for the great ideas. I will definitely write down my reasons and carry the note in my purse and have a post-it on my laptop, to cover all spending formats!

    I can completely relate to the excessive Christmas spending. I adore Christmas and get so much enjoyment from giving lovely presents. But there are other ways to achieve this (like you've found within your own family) and it just needs a bit of thought and a new plan. 

    I love your final comment about choices and bigger life goals. That is so true and it's a succinct reminder of what I am striving for.

    I can see your signature mentions FIRE. I've looked at a few FIRE websites recently and they've been interesting and helpful and I'm intrigued about what the FIRE figures and percentages in your signature mean?  Would you mind explaining them?

    I'm just about to have a read of your journey so far, but thank you for your comments to my post
    Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
    Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

    Target MF date: May 2027
    (Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

    Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
  • IAAM
    IAAM Posts: 95
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    Having read some great MFW diaries on here (especially @LadyWithAPlan), I've decided on my initial next steps:
    1.) Set up an initial standing order to overpay the mortgage by £111pm. (This matches what my DH is currently overpaying by). This is a minimum but the sooner I do it then the sooner it starts making a difference. I'll review the amount in the next couple of months (see point 3).
    2.) Look into making additional contributions to my pension as these will automatically attract tax relief. (Need to check out making monthly contributions vs making ad hoc payments; how easily I can access the money; any limits (or implications) on withdrawing Tax-free cash at a later date and using this to put towards the mortgage)
    3.) How to decide the potential split between overpaying the mortgage, making additional pension contributions and increasing my savings pot (which is currently in Premium Bonds).
    4.) Working out how I can be more mindful of spending my disposal income. The idea @LadyWithAPlan came up with (printing off a list of my reasons why I want to be mortgage free) is definitely going ahead and I'll see what else I can use to change my behaviours.
    Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
    Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

    Target MF date: May 2027
    (Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

    Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
  • IAAM
    IAAM Posts: 95
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    Has anyone discovered that the minute you come up with an actual plan for saving or reducing debt, life will throw you some challenges just to test you?

    So this is Day 3 of my exciting MFW journey and in the last couple of days I've had to pay out unexpected costs for a new tyre and some dental work. It's a bit disappointing as I had grand plans of starting my journey BIG and going full-in with money towards my mortgage/pension & savings in the first month or two to prove my new-found commitment and to see some immediate changes to figures.

    Still, we live and learn and it's been a timely reminder that, whatever our savings strategy, there will always be those curveballs that come along when we least expect them. 

    I'll take another look at my savings this weekend and make sure that I've got sufficient emergency funds (with easy access!) so that it covers these unplanned things. This might also help me with working out that mortgage OPs, pensions and savings split.
    Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
    Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

    Target MF date: May 2027
    (Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

    Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
  • IAAM
    IAAM Posts: 95
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    Some positive steps taken so far this weekend:
    1.) I'm going to pay £111pm OP to mortgage (starting next month)
    2.) £500 will be set aside each month (from next month) to put towards additional pension contributions and savings. (I'll need to do some more research to determine how it's best to split this figure). I'll keep this under review over the coming months to maximise using this money as well as not restricting my access to the money too much
    3.) Give myself a monthly spending budget of £352.98

    I did some Christmas shopping today and managed to use some Boots Advantage points (together with a 3 for 2 offer) to buy presents for 3 people, at no actual cost. I also got a fab Christmas present for another family member for just £7.99. 

    So 4 Christmas presents purchased for £7.99!

    I've got M&S vouchers and John Lewis vouchers coming next month so I'm hoping to buy more presents with those, at cost neutral if I can.

    Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
    Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

    Target MF date: May 2027
    (Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

    Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
  • IAAM
    IAAM Posts: 95
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    My plan for today is: 
     1.) do a stocktake of the Christmas presents I’ve bought so far and what presents I still need to get. I’ll check what value the vouchers from John Lewis and M&S will be next month and then I can see what gifts I could get with these. 
    2.) read some more MFW journeys on here to give me some ideas for my own plan of action
    3.) do a meal plan for the next few days.
    4.) have a look at the calendar for things coming up in the next month and see if there’s anyway of bringing the costs down
    Mortgage Balance: £162,615.84 (December 2022); £163,945 (November 2022)
    Current MF date: Feb 2032.  (Previously: Jan 2033)

    Target MF date: May 2027
    (Overpayments needed to achieve this: £1,750pm!) 

    Joint spend: £391.09 (Nov)
  • South_coast
    South_coast Posts: 4,789
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    On the bank switching, you could set up an account with A N Other bank (one that doesn't have a switching offer available) specifically to switch away from. It's a bit more of a faff, as you have to make sure it's got the right amount of direct debits etc for the bank you're switching to and wait for them to have been collected once so they're "active", but it allows you to work your way round the bonuses without ever switching your actual bank. That's the way I've always done it. 

    Extra points if you do it multiple times and have several switches doing the rounds at once!
    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!!!
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