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Cheery's country living adventure

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Mortgage-Free Wannabe
1.9K replies 152.8K views


  • ElmoRElmoR Forumite
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    :rotfl:Industrial sandwiches sound all too familiar. Our work cafes also do seriously overcooked brickette baked potatoes that are like charcoal scrubbers for your digestive system. The fillings come no where near being slimming world compliant too. Planning ahead for packed lunches was a faff at first, but now we have it nailed. Batch cooking at the weekend helps.

    On days we run out of freezer ready meals to take in, I have some tins of tuna and packet rice in a bag in my office for emergencies. It's not gourmet, it is a bit repetitive, but I now save about £30 a week (taking a flask of coffee and water/lemon slice in too).

    Like you Cheery, I had to travel away from home and that was a eating/budgetting challenge. We seem to have used the same strategy of buying something from a supermarket and eating in. :) I found it worked well to choose basics. So rye bread, sliced meat, fruit. Maybe cheese spread. Lots of taste still. maybe too basic for some.

    Did you also see the advice from the 'expert' on the news recently, it was an article about bowel cancers incidence increasing etc, the guy said ask yourself two questions...would your grandma recognise all the ingredients, and are there long scientific sounding names in the ingredients list. If the answer is no and yes, don't choose it. I guess they are saying keep it simple.

    Won't be long before your chickens are pick pockets :rotfl:
    2018 £40,000 and 2027 M end date
    Aiming to reduce, using OPs: 2019 £30k, 2020 £20k, 2021 £10K, 2022 MF. Update: Feb 2020 at £19K
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Keeping it simple is usually good advice ElmoR! :j :j

    I have uncharacteristically just sorted banks and YNAB just a few days after last time :money: Incentivised by it being payday yesterday :rotfl:

    Not too bad - but I DO need to make it a priority to sort out and claim work expenses this week :eek:

    Also need to look at the food/household spends - food is meant to come from Mr Cheery's cash money - he gets paid in cash (and I don't track that), and also is meant to do most of the food shopping - but somehow almost £200 has gone from the joint account in food spends this month already :eek: That#s the main shop, but also popping out 'for milk', and a little something to drink in the evening :o

    Something to keep an eye on I think... :o

    MB going well though :j Up to £1577 as of this morning, not bad in 9 weeks :j :j :j
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Well, I have done another £20 'just a little pop to the shops' :eek: :mad: I was at a loose end this evening for half an hour waiting to pick up Mr Cheery and as it was after 9pm and not really anywhere to go I nipped to the big supermarket... :eek:

    Didn't buy anything extravagant :o:o loo roll, stock cubes, a wooden spoon, a notebook, some reduced eco loo cleaner, some fruit... Most extravagant things were some quorn bite things to have on the drive home (£2) and some kind of falafel things (reduced to £1.60) that I can make into something to have for tea for the next couple of nights

    So not even any alcohol or cake! :eek:


    Went to a fundraising coffee morning the other day run by one of the very few local people we know. It was quite weird - it was in her kitchen, we didn't know anyone else, and she had to nip out about 5 mins after we got there :rotfl: we didn't stop long (although we did have quite a bit of cake...) - but it turns out we won the raffle! :j well, one of the prizes anyway - a voucher for one of the local cafes :rotfl:

    I can't figure out if that was random or if she chose that prize for us cos she knows of our coffee shop habit :rotfl:
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Afternoon lovely MSE chums :hello:

    Gosh, poor neglected diary :eek: :o And popping in here reminds me that we have still failed to use our cafe voucher! :eek: Must rectify that shortly :D It's partly because it's such a tiny little place and is always packed when we go past but we really should make more of an effort :o

    Anyway, some things to report (not that exciting, but still)

    Did I say we FINALLY got round to applying for married tax allowance? Only took us a year :rotfl: Anyway, they were very efficient, and we received a cheque for £467 within a couple of days :eek: :money: Can't quite work out why :o It's about £230 a year, and we've only been married a year and 2 months - although we got married at the end of March so that period actually spans three tax years.

    Anyway, they sent a detailed breakdown and I still can't quite figure it out so have just put the cheque in the bank and assume they got it right until I hear otherwise :rotfl: Will add it to my mortgage total when I get round to doing YNAB :money:

    What else? Matched betting is going rather well - we're now up to £2151 since the middle of March :eek: :money: Who knew? (Well, lots of MSE-ers knew, and I knew in theory years ago, but just wasn't ready to take the plunge :o ) I've made the mistake of trying to explain it to a few people lately :o and have decided that it's just not worth the bother :o :rotfl:

    Anyway, I've basically decided to treat it a bit like a second job, as that's essentially what it is. After the initial (very) steep learning curve I'm settling into it a bit more, and basically spend an hour or so in the morning, and then sometimes another hour or so in the evening (sometimes not). Certainly not for everyone, but there are just two of us here, and we'd quite often be sat one either end of the sofa with a laptop each :o:o :rotfl: Mostly what I've ditched is mindless trailing down internet rabbit holes :o

    So we've withdrawn £100 each from the winnings so far :j I replaced my phone (which was vastly annoying, but not *broken* so this was completely an unnecessary purchase) and Mr Cheery has (inevitably) bought a new guitar :rotfl: We'll take out £1000 to overpay the mortgage with too before we refix.

    Anyway, will start a new post for more waffling...
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Other financial things that are on my mind...

    My frivolous food shopping trips continue :o Popped into a small shop for quorn sausages on the way home today and spent nigh on £14 :eek: :mad: Only fruit, sprouts etc, but it does add up... :o

    Went on a work function last night and ended up buying a new dress in a charity shop :o and Mr Cheery talked me into buying a couple of jackets too :o Honestly that man is SUCH a bad influence when it comes to clothes :rotfl: Total spend £18 :o

    And on the way home today I popped into the garden centre and bought a couple of house plants for my study which I've now finished decorating :j We did buy a new rug for it, and a tin of paint, but that was it. Oh, and I found a white sofa cover in a charity shop for £5 - it's not the right model of sofa and I've had to undo a couple of seams at the back, but it actually looks fine with a blanket over the back cushions, and it's MUCH nicer to have a white sofa (with a patchwork blanket) in that room (which is now duck egg blue) rather than the original pink/dark red one. Total cost for redecorating that room, including rug etc, less than £100, so not toooooooooo bad :o:o

    Felt nice to do some actual unnecessary *decorating* too rather than DIY :o Just plain old 'I don't like this colour' decorating, rather than 'the walls are falling down and what are we going to do about that damp patch?' decorating :rotfl:

    Of course we still haven't finished the giant DIY project so there is the small matter of the giant hole in the kitchen ceiling, two unusable upstairs rooms, and the rubble feature in the dining room floor :rotfl: :rotfl: But we'll get to that...

    What else? Mortgage fix is due in Sept, but apparently we can check our existing provider from June, so I might do that this weekend, then overpay over the next few weeks and check again. Hoping to overpay £2000, from a combination of MB dosh, marriage tax allowance, interest on savings accounts, and other bits of savings (I must update my signature!) REALLY hoping that will bring the total under £200,000 :o:o :eek: :o

    Also pondering what else to do with MB money over the course of the next few months. Initial instinct was to throw it all at the mortgage - I've been mortgage free before and would LOVE to be again, and it's going to be a long old slog (especially if I continue with all the spendiness listed above, naughty Cheery! :eek: )

    The alternatives are either to stick in a savings pot for emergencies (we do have some emergency fund, but I'd like enough to cover a year's worth of wages really, although I'm not sure why as I have very generous sick pay (6 months full pay, 6 months half pay) and if made redundant would get several months of wages anyway. But it seems sensible.

    But the other alternative is an electric car... :eek: We have two cars, one 13 years old, one 15. The 13 year old one has done over 190,000 miles :eek: Still going strong (for now...) but one of them will need replacing at some point no doubt... We've got £1000 put aside for that (they both cost less than that, as have most of our previous cars), but we spend a LOT on diesel (probably £200 a month, especially when I'm in work more often).

    Need to sit down and do the maths to see if an upfront spend and then minimal fuel costs would work out cheaper in the long run... (and what it would do to the electric bill, which is already outrageous and they've just emailed to say they're putting up the DD again...)

    Eek, and now the postie has just brought a letter saying we're at the end of the one year gas price fix (although we're tied into a two year LPG contract so can't actually leave) and they're putting us up 6p a litre :eek: Need to check the original terms as I know the increase has a cap and I can't remember what it was.

    Anyway, blah blah blah :o All fine here really :D Doing a bit of running, bit of scything, bit of gardening, bit of dry stone walling, bit of sheep chasing (some neighbouring sheep got in last week and it has been a right job getting them out again - 14 sheep in the front garden is NOT ideal! :eek: :rotfl: ), bit of flute playing, bit of knitting, bit of reading, bit of lazing around.

    And my boss gave me some rhubarb, so I now need to figure out what to do with that :rotfl: :D

    Right, more tea I think :D
  • edited 8 June 2019 at 5:02PM
    Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    edited 8 June 2019 at 5:02PM
    Right, after almost 5 hours of sitting mindlessly on the sofa drinking tea and staring out of the window (and eating rice pudding) I am finally feeling human enough to do some financial buttling :j :rotfl:

    1. Gas supply
    Letter says our fixed price is ending, and they're increasing the price by 6 pence per litre. LPG firms are notorious (according to the MSE LPG thread) for scheming, as you *have* to lock in to a two year contract, and price fixes are usually only for one year. T&Cs state that increases either have to be linked to the wholesale price (in which case you can request details) or are limited to 3 pence per litre in each six month period. As they don't state which, I've tried to ring to request details (just to check...) - office closed today so I'll ring on Monday.

    2. Mortgage
    Fix ends September, but apparently you can check online for new offer from 3 months before. Just checked, and apparently we can't look yet - hadn't realised ours didn't run out til 30th Sept, so presumably we can't look til 30th June. But that's ok, because it gives me chance to collect various pots of money together and overpay before then.

    Ok - now YNAB and checking on the pesky banks... :money:
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    3. YNAB and banks
    All done now (and again, cursing myself for leaving it so long - had to put £73 in the budget fiddling category as it was cash spends over the last few weeks and I don't have receipts). Also realised I don't have YNAB app on new phone so have set that downloading. And I've transferred £500 from the post office savings account to the current account to cover what's dripfeeding into the regular savers with other banks :j Only £1700 left in the post office account now - but that's as planned, as the other ones are higher interest, but you can only put so much in each month. All good.

    4. Mr Cheery's phone
    He has a sim only recurring thing, but when he went abroad last year we put about £40 on so he'd be able to ring home - but as it happened his phone is far too ancient to be able to ring from the other side of the world :rotfl: So that dosh is just sat there in the phone account, so I've cancelled his monthly payment (which was only £6 anyway) until that money is used up, will probably be in about 10 years given that he rarely makes phone calls and his phone is so old it doesn't connect to the internet :rotfl: ) A small job that I've been putting off since about October :eek: :o :rotfl:
  • KarmacatKarmacat Forumite
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    Cheery, congratulations on doing so well with the matched betting, thats splendiferous! Once I've done my utilities contracts, I'll be zooming off to that website you mentioned.

    Loving the bits of things you're doing. I'm very interested in peg looms after seeing one at the local county show last month - much less stressful on the fingers than knitting, and it would use up the huuuuge stash of material I have from my mum.
    Downsized and paid off mortgage 2010
    Retired August 2016
    Paid off French mortgage September 2018
    New kitchen fully installed June 2019
  • themadvixthemadvix Forumite
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    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    Wow, Cheery, it all seems to be going swimmingly over here, especially the MBing! :)

    Thanks for sharing about the LPG - the house we went to see today had a gas tank in the garden (definitely gas not oil), so was going to have to investigate that if we had been interested. Do you know what it compares like price-wise to mains gas? They had a gas hob (which I'd've got rid of), so presumably it's not horrendously more expensive?

    Rhubarb is easy - stew it and add a crumble topping, or if you're feeling fancy make rhubarb clafoutis - mmm. Unless that was a more general deciding what to do with it, rather than being bewildered by it, in which case, I'll shut up! :)

    Your cheery post has cheered me up no end! :j :j
  • Cheery_DaffCheery_Daff Forumite
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    Aw, thanks lovely people! :kisses3: :j

    To be honest I'm not sure how LPG compares to normal gas :o Partly because we had SUCH an ancient inefficient boiler (it was 28 years old :rotfl: ) in the old house, and the new one is only about 10 years old and more efficient. We pay roughly the same I think (current DD is £84 a month :eek: but that's partly cos there's one of us here pretty much all the time, early morning til late at night, and also because we have a giant hole in the kitchen ceiling at the minute so can't keep the heat in :o )

    Well worth reading the LPG thread on here for info about what to do. The thing that baffled me at first was how you swap the tank ownership over as new person can't fill it without a contract, and we couldn't take a contract til we lived here, and the tank was empty and the previous contract-older was dead :eek: However of course it's far more simple than that - you can get a half tank from the existing supplier before doing a contract :o :rotfl:

    Anyway, just popped back in to report that I've been through ALL the betting shop accounts and withdrawn everything from most of them, and transferred £1200 to our main bank account to cover the mortgage OP and the £100 each frivolous spends :D :j :j :j Still got roughly £1000 float and going to do the same withdrawing thing each time we reach the next £1200 :j

    And now I'm going to get off the computer and start drinking :rotfl: :rotfl:
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