A new season

A new season in life...That's how I'm trying to think about things here at the moment. A lot of changes are happening around, to, and sparked by me, not all of them pleasant or wanted, and whilst it feels like its going on forever, I know in the great scheme of things its a very short proportion of my (hopefully long) life! 

Am currently juggling life in two different places - my home, where I've lived alone with DD for much of the last 15 years, and where she has now flown from, quite literally, for uni adventures overseas. The quiet of the house has been replaced by two other young people - one here on the homes for ukraine scheme, and one lodger doing a postgrad course. I enjoy their company very much, and we have some interests in common, but at 15 and 22 years their senior, I realise while I may think of us as sometime-housemates, they probably think I'm an old lady who pops by and sometimes sleeps over  :smiley:

I'm not home by any means every night as my parents need more care and support after a series of medical incidents and hospital stays, which catapulted us last summer into a very different relationship. So I am in their spare room many nights a week, and luckily can work from home here. Its a year since I contracted C19 and I've suffered with first lingering effects, then total exhaustion. Add that to the other challenges of this year, along with a fairly toxic working situation, a few hundred miles away, and I've been, for the first time in my life, off sick for quite a while.  

I return to work next week with a new, WFH job with a different employer, but with a team that I know quite well and have previously worked alongside. I'm a little nervous but also excited to regain the bits of my identity that are linked to work. 

I have a mortgage on my current home of £83.5K fixed for a further 2 years at 1.19% and a term remaining of just under 7 years, ...I have become a bit obsessed with seeing it go down. Over the last few months as the situation in my homes has become clearer, I am exploring the possibility of purchasing a second home, very close to my folks, with one room for me and one to airbnb - something I have done in our other house for several years.  This set up might be better for my mental health and would help me feel this period of limbo is actually an investment in my future. We'll see how the sums stack up! 

Having been in debt a lot of my adult life, I have relished being DF for the past year. It wasn't an easy climb out but I learnt a lot along the way. I now use 2 credit cards (for points etc) but clear in full each month. I've been able to build a savings pot that would be close to wiped out by a house purchase but has shown me I have enough to service essential; costs linked to the project above. 

Purpose of the diary is to feel less alone in this adventure; to help me focus on the progress that I'm making, and to be accountable about financial activity. In the first instance, as I start my  new role I'm determined to stay on top of work expenses, etc, as over the years I've been very slapdash about that sort of thing, and also prone to overworking. 

In the past month I've been trying to tackle one financial/life admin frog a day. There seem to be so many! This week I'm mid-move to a new current account (switching a barely used one, but it does have the 2 DD required!); have become an olio collector; and am trying to make sure I have/install loyalty cards as these are not things I used anywhere near routinely previously. 
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  • Sncjw
    Sncjw Forumite Posts: 3,465
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    If your parents need more care would air b and b be a good idea? Just because it would need cleaning down before the next guests arrive. That could take you away from your parents and also would mortgage have the permission to do that 
    Mortgage free wannabe 

    Actual mortgage stating amount £75,150

    Overpayment start date 1/3/23.

    Starting balance £66,565.45

    Current balance £63,787.16

  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    edited 19 February at 10:35PM
    Thanks for dropping in sncjw; I'm lucky to have back up plans in form of a network of friends who can pitch in to help with changeovers, and a lot of credit in the bank so to speak, in having done the same for them over the years. Also a lot of experience doing it over the last decade so very aware of all the tasks/commitments it involves, and I don't plan to do it full pelt, or open the diary far in advance.
     I've been open with mortgage brokers from the beginning, and one thing that's helped with getting an AIP with a company is that I don't intend to offer the whole place as a self contained let, just a room within it. 
  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    Arrived back at 'my house' for the first time in a week tonight. Delighted that the girls have continued in my absence helpful habits about minimising heating, doing washing and dishwasher at night (we have economy 7). A bit more slapdash about turning plugs off at the socket but they are definitely trying and I appreciate that! 

    Greeted with pancakes stuffed with mushrooms & cheese; and a sweet cheese and apple - in Ukraine this whole week is pancake week, a concept I think I could get behind! 

    First Direct switch account paperwork has arrived so I intend to get my head around that tomorrow. Am not great at life admin momentum but the purpose of the new account was the switch reward so just need to jump through appropriate hoops for that. 

    Have combined a few appointments tomorrow over this way to reduce stress, travel time and petrol costs, taking a leaf from foxgloves about being organised about my diary = moneysaving.  I have left enough time between appts to use free parking for the first one, and a cheaper car park for the second one. I must also chase up repeat prescriptions to see if that could be done by the time I am next passing.

    A couple of calls tomorrow to organise my first few weeks in new role. This role pays travel costs which will make a big difference as I was previously paying a hefty if occasional commuting cost. There's a few more days than normal away in the first month or so, as you'd expect, to meet people and learn systems. I am trying to fit this as best as I can with more stable parts of a treatment cycle, and also to use the opportunity to catch up with friends who live in the destination cities, as I haven't had.much chance to see them since the pandemic started in 2020. Just also need to pace myself, but luckily I have friends who understand and are happy with low key catch ups. 

     Very much enjoying an evening at home! 
  • savingholmes
    savingholmes Forumite Posts: 25,914
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    Nice win on the switching.
    Moving goals: Anticipated costs £8K (excluding new furniture or any post move renovations)
    1) Upfront house move costs Paid £1034/£2,609 (£448 for legal, £586 for mortgage, £76 post redirection, £1,500 removals)
    2) Balance of likely house move costs Paid £0/£5,372 (£1,772 legal, £3,600 land tax from equity)
    Longer term financial goals
    3) £6,539/£10,000 Emergency/Freedom/Home/Moving Fund 65.39%
    4) MFW Nov 21 £201,999 with 264 240 payments to go - now £185,701 Equity 37.6%
    5) Mortgage neutral by June 2030 £6,289/£127,466 AVC target 4.93%
    6) FI Age 60 annual income target £12,500/30,000 41.66%
    7) CC Debt free April 22 (now stay that way!!)
  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    Thanks for dropping by savingholmes! I've found some of your posts on other threads really helpful during my lurking era :) 

    Finishing tasks that I begin in my real life is not one of my skills, despite being ace at this at work. 🫣 Am trying to apply work-based approaches a bit more to life admin.

    Pleased I progressed the switch admin last night (it was very straightforward on the FD app via the chat function) so hopefully that will be activated in a week or so; the only other condition that I can see to trigger the release of the £175 incentive is to pay in £1000, so I have set a reminder to do that on payday, which is not far off now. Then they say the cashback will be with me within 28 days of meeting all conditions. Am already looking for the next! 

    First day at new job and am enjoying being on a train the organisation pays for rather than coming out of my pocket. Have kept taxi receipt safe as well and will make sure I do my expenses as least weekly. I was absolutely rubbish about submitting claims in previous roles (though haven't had a lot of work travel in my most recent job) and always felt guilty about asking for the money back! Not any more, and will be making sure the expenses policy is something I read and understand as part of induction! 

    Packed breakfast and cuppa from home, including bagels and salad picked up from olio last week. My own olio collection team is growing and we have a new squad captain - I am enjoying being part of the community as much as getting the free food, to be honest. I have sent off for flyers to promote it as there are not a lot of users near my folks address, but all of the friends and family I convinced to give it a try last week were impressed and have begun using it in own right. I shared the collection with two strangers, and with four households known to me.  I would estimate that helps them all save over a fiver, plus have some baked goods pas treats they wouldn't usually buy. 

    In house related news, have had an offer accepted, and so we now begin the next stage  The estate agents haven't been very speedy at any point in this process, even at requests for viewings!  Whilst it suits me to go slow (and have a couple more paydays before paying SDLT) I really don't want to lose the property, and had hoped to get this first bit all actioned just before starting the new job instead of simultaneously. 

    My broker has been really impressive, she was recommended by a friend. Secured a fairly good mortgage offer in principle, then as we sought to progress it, has come back with one a full percentage lower! 

    Solicitor all lined up, having got several quotes. So I have got a lot of tasks to be doing that will give small dopamine hits and feel like I am making progress!

    Best I start my work reading now... and a cuppa and slice of fruitcake off the train trolley have appeared to celebrate (stashed receipt!). 

    Hope all have a good day today! 
  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    First few days of new role reassured me that moving organisations has been the right thing to do. There are of course so many things to learn, about culture and process as well as the people and the role, but I already feel valued and that it's a place and a social issue on which I can help make a difference, and the interactions have been so much less stressful than the workplace I have just left.  Being treated like a grown up makes such a difference. I had a happy, and hopeful weekend. 

    On a practical basis, I have a few days ahead of me with all of the usual  logging into systems learning to do, and online meets, then some work travel again for a couple of days midweek.  I very much enjoyed my three day weekend, which will be my work pattern for the foreseeable future.

    I did have a lot of care-related things to mop up, sometimes quite literally after being away for a few nights, but I have tried both to rest and to ready ourselves for the week ahead on all domestic fronts.  Spent some quality time everyday with 🇺🇦 guest & friends. I wasn't quite sure how this weekend would go, given the context, and just wanted to be there in the background. As it was, she had a couple of other 🇺🇦 friends around for a sleepover and just chilling out like teenagers everywhere. Sometimes the talk was serious, but mostly they have been busy being 18 years old, and I am so glad we can give them a space to do this. Our group have all experienced conflict since 2014, almost half of their life. 

    Had a couple of evenings with both housemates, cooking together and watching a bit of TV. Our 🇺🇦 has introduced us (we both have strong connections to the midlands) to Peaky Blinders, which seems a bit ironic. In turn we offered up Grayson Perry's travels around exploring the concept of englishness.  Investing in the firestick has revolutionised the way the lounge and the TV gets used. it was  hand me down smart TV that I hadn't connected to anything...I guess that was the opposite of smart! 

    Today we visited a national trust place, and a couple of beauty spots nearby. It was brilliant sunshine, but a cold wind near the sea. The art deco / arts and crafts interiors were amazing and so stylish. We took tea, bagels, and the last of the fruit I bought with expenses for my train ride home last week (but fell asleep before I could eat!). Ate it surrounded by snowdrops and daffodils. Incurred a few spends by fitting in other things, while we had the time, inclination, and were in the area. A short boat ride, tea and cake, and a walk on the beach. Total costs were £23.50. I had budgeted more for this weekend, thinking plenty of distractions might be needed, or the girls might want to travel to anniversary vigils or events a bit further away. 

    I, my passport and my smartphone have spent most of the weekend in different counties, so first personal job of the morning is completing the ID checks estate agent finally sent out on Friday, and printing off the solicitors documents that need signing. 

    During the course of the next 48 hours I want to get as much of the  document requests and info requests done as I can. I feel vaguely uneasy about this stage and look forward to it being over! 

    Work-related jobs that impact on MSE include:  
    1.arrange travel for week ahead, try to minimise parking and fuel costs, and consider how this fits with seeing a great friend  

    2. do the necessary training to unlock the  diary section of the computer, then I can really start to plan ahead; hopefully also submit expenses).

    Am also working through a mountain of washing, on my folks solar power tariff (at their invitation, of course!). 

    Good luck to all! 
  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    edited 12 March at 10:28PM
    Well, it took a fortnight, but I have nearly finished the jobs set out above! Am still very much enjoying new role. It has been a bit more travelling than I had anticipated, but am trying to accommodate this while I can - new boss is understanding about situation with my parents and that there will be times when I can't travel at all - but it is nice to meet people face to face at the beginning. Am still trying to sort a few login issues and haven't yet nailed the expenses submission process.  Working a compressed week is tiring,not sure how much of that is the long covid, how much is the travelling, the everything-and-everyone-is-new-cognitive load, the transition for my family as I have been more available to them over the past 5 months whilst I was on various types of leave. Hopefully it will settle. 

    I also have  few tasks hanging over me that I plan to complete today, as I need to take a few hours back later in the week, because...drumroll... DD is home for a surprise flying visit - with a commute of many thousands of miles back from uni, this is a rare occasion. She is feeling run down and in need of duvet days, familiar fruit and veg, snuggles with her little sister (ex's) and hopefully a walk on the beach with me later in the week. Her dad picked her up so I'll drop her back to the airport (6 hr round trip) at the end of the week. I don't mind the drive at all - it feels quite a special, liminal space, between her two worlds. I hope the visit tops her up enough for the push to the end of term, and beyond as there are internships this summer. Luckily laundry is limited to carry on case, as I have two households worth to keep on top of as it is! 

    Weather is due to come in worse here at lunchtime, which justifies bringing my departure from my folks to my own house forward from mid-afternoon, but I do have quite a few things to get done before I head off, and also need to see what state everyone is in when they arise this morning. We may need a nurse visit if dressings need changing, so that will influence my ability to depart. They are currently scheduled to be coming in tomorrow, while I am away, which is reassuring.  

    So, a quick mental list to support the day ahead, as I have a rare few min peace and quiet and have retired to bed with a cuppa and to get my head around things. Also, its preferable to write it down and organise it, than to do some of it!! 

    Prior to departure:
    • Healthy smoothie for breakfast 
    • Washing x 3 - now 4 - third load is in, fourth needs to wait for people to change. Am relieved that I remembered correctly suit jacket doesn't need dry cleaning, but tolerates a gentle wash just fine. 
    • Put away all dry laundry
    • Charge everything whilst on cheaper tariff - undeway!
    • Clean bathroom - all done 
    • Sort out fridge and make sure enough meals for both in fridge/freezer; meal plan for me tues night onwards: hm soups for lunch; nut roast or hm butternut tart for wed night
    • Tidy my bedroom - not sure whats in which house at the moment 
    • Clean Kitchen - all done bar floor
    • File some paperwork away 
    • Go to gym on drive between houses, even if only for 20 min, just to break the cycle of not going post injury. Am dressed in gym kit, so intent is there!  (narrator: She didn't go)
    • check details for various hospital appts coming up
    • pack for work trip as all clothes etc are here
    • pack fridge food to transfer between houses. All now in car
    • don't forget the frozen food to transfer between houses
    • photograph both parents diaries in case things crop up that need rearranging remotely
    At either house 
    • check with new (returning) cleaner if they are starting this week. Horay! they are!
    • make contact with friend who is weighing heavy on my mind, I have not had mental space for this for a while. Took seconds, wish I had done this earlier. 
    • sort out place to meet other friend during work trip. Pizza express, to accumulate points on their app! Also in checking t&c noticed they give you (a tiny amount of points) if you buy PE branded pizzas etc from supermarkets, you have to add the barcode to the app. 
    • book taxi for early morning station drop off on monday 
    • work - report to review; comms brief to review; newsletter to review; shortlisting to complete; one paper to write. Just realised thats far too much to aim for today, explains why I am feeling overwhelmed. Will pick a couple of quick wins and also plan to work for 90 min on the train tomorrow am. Er - not much of this happened, but am feeling ok about the week ahead. 
    • expenses - summarise if I cant get system to work (but hopefully I can!).Found instructions, and put all receipts in a folder to take with tomorrow. 
    • chase up why phone DD not paid and make sure is paid - this was part of the 'seemless' account switching process - humph.On closer inspection, I think this was a scam & have reported as such. But I remain unconvinced that all the DDs have moved over during the switch as phone account still has old account details. I need to keep an eye on this.  
    • check hotel details for work trip
    • list books on ziffit and drop off. This was deprioritised, not a today-job in scheme of things. 
    • airtime - missing transaction?. Ditto,
    • do budget review/update. Began this, They say thats the hardest part?

    At my house: 
    • Tidy DDs room in case she meets me there/comes to stay
    • Check for bank statement from account I have switched from - needed for solicitor
    • Sort out fridge , freezer and meal plan for this house
    • meter readings to submit
    • Clean kitchen, bathroom, lounge if cleaner not coming / just tidy if they are
    • Help UD with job applications;
    • Spend a bit of time with UD - we have the final of some season or another of peaky blinders lined up. 
    • Give UD details of how to pick up her repeat prescription which I finally managed to reorder last week - this will be first trip to the pharmacy alone!
    No wonder I feel a little like hiding under the duvet!

  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    Getting through the adulting tasks felt like pulling teeth today; but some progress was made on most fronts. 

    Cooked dinner with lodger and UD - was really nice to spend a bit of time together.  Used some spices from the tub of hello fresh surplus spice packets to make the curried paneer and lentil pie, with bendy veg from the bottom of the fridge, and everything else from stores. Have enough pastry left for another pie, so have popped that in the fridge. Zero leftovers, we all had seconds as big as our firsts! The girls are looking after the house well but we are all very excited that the cleaner is returning this coming week; shes a little less expensive that the person who has been cleaning for us for the last few years, but is currently on a sabbatical that extended significantly. It will be a mental load off for me if I know we are staying on top of things in this house, as both caring duties ramp up and hopefully the house purchase moves on. 

    Should hear from broker tomorrow about whether I have sent all the things they need, bar a payslip that needs to wait until payday, which currently feels forever away.  I need to ring solicitors to pay for searches tomorrow, and also check with HR at the new job that I am actually on the payroll for the end of this month! On plus side it will have an extra weeks pay when it comes, as I started in Feb. 

    The two friends who know about the house purchase have been in touch to offer furniture they are getting rid of. I obviously need to do all the landlord due diligence over fire certification etc, in readiness for hopefully renting out in the future, but am looking to equip as reasonably as I can, especially for this first season where guests are most likely to be family friends. Will start another post with offered items so its easier to update!
  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    Holding note - Equipping the new place!

    Single bed (was DD's, very good quality, currently in cousins loft. Need to check if it has a mattress with it). Plan is to put this in the room I'll use as a study, and I can sleep in it if we have guests in both double rooms. 

    Futon 2 seater sofa/bed (currently at BFs, about 150m away, but we will be seeing each other in between times). I've slept on this plenty of times, it will be fine as a sofa or as a extra bed to begin with, but probably not comfy for paying guests / older friends of mum  and dad who I hope will visit while they can all enjoy time together. 

    2 seater sofabed (currently at relatives nearby, in garage) - has all certificates, nice colours, will be perfect for lounge to begin with. Like the futon, have slept on this often!

    TV stand and coffee table (currently at BFs, as above) - these do what they say on the tin!
    Dresser/bookcase with cupboard under (currently at cousins, as with single bed)

    Keeping my eye out for: 
    1 or 2 x double beds. I could potentially borrow one from DDs room at our house if I replaced with one of the bed options above; we purchased a new one in December that would be good enough for guests, 

    Bedroom furniture - wardrobes are built in, but side tables of some sort required. 
    Dining table and chairs - possibility of a couple of chairs from my folks, or swapping sets between the houses. 
    Garden furniture - patio table and chairs
    Washing machine 
    Fridge Freezer. 
    Dishwasher. 
    TV
  • Starlight_at_Sea
    Starlight_at_Sea Forumite Posts: 212
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    A long day to close off a fairly long week - up long before the crack of dawn returning DD to Heathrow, and onward to the-rest-of-the-world.  Cheap and quick drop off, and then headed away from the big city. Guided by petrol price app to supermarket just off route to fill up at a less astronomic price, did a couple of work phone calls whilst in supermarket car park, then stopped at a farm shop cafe about 5 min off the main route, which was so much nicer than a branded service station.  Have book marked to remember it.

    Sun came out, I was able to sit out in their yard, tip-tapping away at my laptop in the fresh air with a china cup and teapot with loose leaf tea, - felt like a real break from driving. Stocked up on a few pasties and vegan sausage rolls as the one I had there was so tasty, and I wanted to support what was obviously a fairly new family business.

    Home via another cuppa at my cousin's, a bit of special time with her kids, listening to reading books etc. Then home to my folks, about ten hours after I left...has taken me about 5 hours since to stabilise this household, whilst also finishing up last bits of work as today was theoretically a half day which for me is 5 hours. 

    MS news: DD has got a bursary to cover her summer school abroad, so that is very exciting. It means also that we can now plan summer activities around the margins of her schedule as all the dates are now known. 

    Spa Hotel contacted me to remind me they hold a deposit for a many-times rearranged trip. I have made a tentative plan with a friend to use this in early summer, I can pay the room in full from my deposit, if she sorts out the massages.

    FD switch incentive has arrived already, it's only just over a week since the criteria was all met. Have instigated the next switch based on Martin's email, to NatWest. I have to say I have been very impressed by FD and would def go back! 


    Have high hopes for the weekend and will outline in separate post so it's easier to edit! 
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