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    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 6th Apr 16, 4:39 PM
    • 352Posts
    • 4,360Thanks
    Cutting Down Countdown
    • #1
    • 6th Apr 16, 4:39 PM
    Cutting Down Countdown 6th Apr 16 at 4:39 PM
    This is going to be my own little diary as I embark on a journey towards an exciting new personal & family journey. (Possibly!)

    Our family dream of living in the middle of nowhere is a reality, but my hubby and I both work full time and juggle a lot of responsibility at work & our two precious babies.

    At the moment we stagger our days off, and I look after the children at the weekends & he looks after them on 2 weekdays. It works well, but there's a definite piece of our countryside 'dream' missing, and I think it's that my heart's not that of a career woman but a country mummy.

    In fact, the possibility of admitting this is a bit scary, and I'm dragging the 'lead-in' to this possible new life (without a career!) for months and months just to make sure we (ok, I!) can survive and we (ok, I!) really do want to make it happen.

    The short of it:
    I don't have to work for us to have the current cars, home and general expenses we have. We'd only have to cut out extras/luxuries that we've become accustomed to because we've been able to.

    Eeeeek! Looking forwards!
    We're very organised, both pretty good at cooking and working from monthly meal plans, set budgets based on our incomes & stick to them & have a cycle of checking our expenditures on fluctuating resources such as electricity, car insurance, life insurance etc etc already in place.

    BUT, I'm not one for major risk taking, so from this point onwards I'm going to be tracking spending as though my income is non existent, and if we can manage it, I'll be handing in my notice by the end of the year and a stay at home mummy for 2017. Phew. There, I SAID IT!!!

    Planning on growing lots more fruit and veg this year compared to previous years, and hoping to get some chooks in the longer term. Need to perfect batch-cooking and bulk buying to maximise the power of our pennies too.

    Hubby's def. saying not to panic and that this is an opportunity and not scary, but I'm either panicking or superbly excited as it's all I can think about!!!!!!!

    In reality I can hand in my notice at any point, so the plan is flexible...which is why hubby's not panicking.

    I'll let you know how we get on week-by-week. I know it may sound silly to some, but please join us on this journey if you're interested and can offer your usual expertise and support.

    I also feel like I should add three extra bits of information here: 1) A dear friend of mine lost her husband yesterday with no warning. 2) My cousin is currently in IC after an unexpected operation & we've been told the next few days are critical. 3) My mum & dad worked their socks off until retirement only for my dad to become ill and pass away. Yep, sometimes life sucks, & we choose enjoying every second we can to the best of our ability before our time is up.

    Thank you! Here goes!
    Last edited by dingdongsaving; 06-04-2016 at 5:15 PM.
Page 2
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 29th May 16, 4:59 PM
    • 3,155 Posts
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    It be wise to look into voluntary national insurance payments if you intend on staying home for the longterm, NI is protected if you claim Child benefit for a child under twelve, you need 35 years contributions if you want a full state pension on retirement age.
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 29th May 16, 5:21 PM
    • 10,858 Posts
    • 28,874 Thanks
    It be wise to look into voluntary national insurance payments if you intend on staying home for the longterm, NI is protected if you claim Child benefit for a child under twelve, you need 35 years contributions if you want a full state pension on retirement age.
    Originally posted by tori.k
    This is so very important

    I've only worked on zero hour contracts since I left full time employment and my pension is now going to be non existent, esp with the new changes regarding using husbands qualifying years
    if you lend someone 20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 29th May 16, 9:19 PM
    • 352 Posts
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    Thank you all for reading. I read almost all posts on here and hardly post...and just cruised along thinking nobody would be reading this. Hehe.

    We live well below our means in terms of earning and have a very good amount in savings in various forms: saving accts, ISAs, and other areas (some of which are and some of which aren't managed by us that we contributed to monthly to annually)... but which I won't ever post about specifically on here. We've looked into my state pension and are willing to cut our losses there in order to achieve this and we know we can and all of our long term financial projection plans include my work pensions and not my state pension.

    My husband does love being a dad, and has been working one day a week less for the last 2 years whilst spending time with our youngest on weekdays (allowing extra family time for him and saving us 2 days of childcare to boot), but he's desperate to get back to full time hours.

    I love how the written word can be so wooly. My apologies! Country life really isn't wooly here! LOL! We live in the middle of the woods and we love it. Our nearest corner shop is a brisk 45 minute walk, and our local school is the same...and there are no other amenities of any sort within miles. Our 'neighbours' are few and far between, but we all share our eggs/fruits/veg/baking etc. throughout the year and it's a heartwarming and wonderful. We moved here almost 6 years ago, but it's the kind of place you stick around and lots of our friends have parents living nearby too. Almost all local folk who work have to cycle or commute to a nearby town or into the nearest city to work, although there is one other large town about the same distance as that away too...just in the other direction.

    As for our daily/weekly routines we like to spend our mornings in the garden/garden room and our evenings doing the same and enjoying the swings/climbing frame and log houses (1 for sensible fun/reading/music and 1 jam-packed with fairy lights and toys!)...hehe...we're all just big kids. We also like to walk our dogs and enjoying the woodland, and sometimes we cycle, or hubby/I take turns popping for a jog, but as you can see, there's nothing in our that will have to change as all of these things are free. All of our books come from our library bus that comes to a village near enough to walk to every other week, and our pet associated costs/vet costs are covered by a set pet budget. For trimming down, we'll just plan less holidays accordingly and eat out less as we won't be forced to be a long way from home at late work meetings and trying to snatch a 'family meal' rather than miss seeing each other at all on longer days where my hubby or I aren't home until after kiddie bedtimes.

    We know we'll lavish how much less fuel we'll buy without both of us driving to work, and we've even thought about dropping a car, but we own them both and a friend works on them as and when we need...and because of our locality/garages our insurance is very low. I was amazed by the insurance comparison when we moved out here. I've lived in Kent and London previously and my insurance was always between 200 and 250 for just 1 car then!!!

    Just off to pop tomorrow's tea in the slow cooker. Hubby's working tomorrow and we have a friend popping over to exchange some kids clothes (I give her my son's old clothes for her son who is smaller and she gives me her daughters old clothes from her daughter who is bigger) Win all round.

    Happy bank holiday weekend to all...esp. those working who need a little shout-out. I packed my hubby's packed lunch as I put our BBQ lunch away earlier and he's excited to have a sausage sarnie, some hm pasta salad and a slice of hm tray-bake to enjoy even though he's at work.

    Sorry for my ramble. I'm nursing a cuppa and watching a cheeky squirrel try and get to one of our bird feeders! We've recently 'proofed' them with bottle bottoms and it looks like it is really going to stop them stealing the food!
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 29th May 16, 11:28 PM
    • 3,155 Posts
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    we live a similar..ish lifestyle not so remote we are a mile from the nearest village and 10 from the nearest town.

    I love the peace that I have here and go my stars back as the house on the outskirts of a local town that we previously lived in grew so fast my edge of town house is near the town centre now
    I'd did become hard for the kids (now grown) as teenagers you will spend a good few years being mums Taxi, start saving now to get them on the road as soon as they can for your own sanity and invest in unlimited broadband I think my kids equated being a few miles out about the same a living on mars at times.

    We are trying to FIRE ourselves at the moment still have a decade ahead to make it possible so look forward to seeing how you get on.
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 30th May 16, 9:27 AM
    • 352 Posts
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    Yes tori.k, that's another reason we're keeping our cars...either would make a nice little starter for him to buy/insure himself when the time comes (if he'd like)

    I agree about the internet too. Hubby and ds were delighted in January when 'high' speed internet came to us! Our slow.slo-ow.SLOW. internet is now almost average! Hehe.Talking of internet, he's desperately waiting until 10am because that's the agreed time he can skype a friend...and today he's asking them over to play/sleep over today or Wednesday if they're free. So excited isn't the word!

    I'm a little slow moving today. We've done a little garden room time with a pot of tea and I'm none-the-faster! I've now moved on and am trying a coffee. I don't think the leftover BBQ sausages made into carb-fest sandwiches helped. Poor hubby's at work and we're all still in our PJs!
    • try harder
    • By try harder 2nd Jun 16, 11:05 PM
    • 754 Posts
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    try harder
    Sounds perfect dingdongsaving,just the kind of day i like.
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 29th Aug 16, 6:45 PM
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    • 4,360 Thanks
    Well, it's been an age since I posted on this thread, but I've been lurking. My posts have dwindles recently, but it's because my efforts have gone into forming our budget and projected budget for end of year this year and 2017-2020. That, plus lots of family holidays and special events for family and friends during August and the school holiday.

    We're also preparing for the cooler months and the final stretch of what is currently 'normal' work for hubby and me until December.

    So, my/our updates link to preparing for my end of work and starting my journey as a stay at home mummy, and also to our usual annual cycle around the home.

    We're preparing to store our warmer month essentials until next March/April as well as picking, packing, storing and cooking fruit from the garden, filling in dates in the diary for pruning, storing wood and burning excesses as well as getting ready for all the spiced fruit loaf that will ensue as soon as seasonally acceptable...September the 1st!!!!

    We have SO much fruit coming from the garden this year! Last year we had a particularly poor harvest of cooking apples, but we're making up for it this year and ds and dd are loving them in every form!

    In readiness for the C word, we have our family/friend meals booked in with everyone so that planning is easy for December, and Hubby and I sat and finalised our Christmas shopping list on Saturday to let me finishing buying and hiding the goodies for the little folk over the next month or two.

    Alongside our budget, I've also started a much more detailed inventory of our food stores and freezers to help with shopping and bulk buying/batch cooking...and we've made a list of meals we've made each day along with costs to help us keep on track without too much work.

    Anyway, I'm still loving staying up to date with everything OS on the board and will be back along soon. I have a day of freezer meal prepping planned for Saturday, and it'll really get me in the 'back to school' autumnal mood as I'll be prepping cottage pies, lasagnes and curries...and lots of goodies that we don't eat in the warmer months as they're too heavy.

    Ok. Best head off now as dd and ds are asking for another play in the garden...

    I'll be sneaking a cuppa out with me to perk me from my cosy evening slump. Hubby's at work, and amazingly we've been very productive at home and have sorted through all of dd and ds's clothes ready for a charity shop run tomorrow.

    I hope you're all enjoying the long weekend,

    DingDong x
    • try harder
    • By try harder 18th Oct 16, 2:41 PM
    • 754 Posts
    • 2,853 Thanks
    try harder
    Loved reading your diary ,hope you will be back soon .
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 18th Oct 16, 4:07 PM
    • 15,747 Posts
    • 133,762 Thanks
    JackieO is a good site to go on for reasonable recipes for ways to streetch the pennies.
    Last edited by JackieO; 18-10-2016 at 4:09 PM.
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    2018 Food spend so far this year Three months totals 96.53 April 8.98 . this morning short shop was 5.62 only bought essentials
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 23rd Dec 16, 7:49 PM
    • 352 Posts
    • 4,360 Thanks
    WOWZERS again! Months have flown by and it's the magical hour already! ...tomorrow night there will be mince pies to make and leave out for the big man himself!

    I honestly think our 2 year old may pop when she realises it's actually happening after asking is it 'morrow' since the start of advent!

    In terms of a thread update, I've actually not handed in my notice as work and family 'juggling' has been pretty manageable of late, possibly (probably) because we've realised I can stop work at any point and the invisible pressure is off. However, we have carried on prepping for life without my job, including the highly documented spend breakdown to let us do a quick analysis of our trends and spends.

    I've recently started to run cash budgets, which has helped us really 'see' the leftover money in each budget area. We already have set money going to savings and do planned overpayments to our mortgage, so this really is our frugal jackpot which is growing into our August and October holiday fund.

    I've also created little "dream" weekly lists for around the home, budgeting, meal planning etc. since last April when this all came to fruition. They were intended to help keep us on track, but in the meantime has resulted in our house and financial life being the most organised it's ever been and our monthly meal plans have got tastier and even more frugal!

    I've been reading lots of lovely cold weather inspired books from the library over the last month too...and have realised I am Danish in spirit and have been pursuing optimum Hygge with family and friends for at least a couple of decades.

    I hope you all have a cosy glow around you. Take care and embrace who and what you love.

    Ok, best sign off before I have an overspill of emotion!

    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 12th Mar 17, 9:55 AM
    • 352 Posts
    • 4,360 Thanks
    March already!

    We're still managing our way, and enjoying prepping for the garden to get into full swing. We have pink primroses and daffs EVERYWERE thanks to some tlc of the primroses in February! The pink is much to the delight of our 2 yo daughter who comments on them every day when we go outside. Some seeds have also been prepped and are being kept warm until the weather is more certain...

    No major updates expect to our meal planning folder and saving diary really. Now the 'deadline' of saving is towards the sidelines we have been enjoying ourselves 'at cost' slightly more frequently and without regret. This weekend is a case in point of that. Yesterday was the first time in a month that my hubby and I were both off work on the same day so we went out and treated ourselves to a lovely lunch after lots of running around and playing for free. When we got home we were still so full that tea was just fruit and toast and all snuggled and enjoyed watching our dd's favourite film - Tangled while hubby and I took turns playing Connect4 with ds.

    I'm digressing now, but the connect4 is from when I was a little one, so there are literally hundreds of hours of family memories around it from the last 40 years. We make a point of sharing little tit-bits like this with our little ones, in the hope that they can get a sense of history and how new isn't necessarily better...and last night when he won a game against my hubby ds triumphantly exclaimed: 'I could feel that was grandad's old lucky coin when I dropped it!'

    Hubby is back at work today, but he's finishing around lunch time and I think we are going to pop into the city to get a couple of things off the list. It's 40-45 mins away when all is said and done/we've parked, but it will make a lovely change and ds is very excited to look for Pokemon as we wander. We rarely go shopping as it can be such a hassle with only one of us and the two children, but I keep a running list of bits we need to do ready for days like this. Plus, we're lucky that today we'll both be there, we're in no rush at all and we have two vouchers for free hot drinks and cakes from John Lewis with our JL cards. So the promise of foamy cappuccinos for us and cakes for the little folk will make a delicious addition to the afternoon!

    Ok, that's it for my news. Well, no new news since my last update really...

    Take care all!

    Ding Dong
    • rosie383
    • By rosie383 13th Mar 17, 7:36 AM
    • 4,642 Posts
    • 10,329 Thanks
    What a lovely thread!
    I hadn't seen it before and should be up getting organised but couldn't stop til I had got to the latest update.
    Some great posts from my favourite posters too, Suki, monnagran and JackieO. No GQ sadly.
    Better get up and get going. Looking forward to the next update.
    Father Ted: Now concentrate this time, Dougal. These
    (he points to some plastic cows on the table) are very small; those (pointing at some cows out of the window) are far away...
    • dingdongsaving
    • By dingdongsaving 13th Mar 17, 8:10 PM
    • 352 Posts
    • 4,360 Thanks
    Aw, thank you Rosie!

    They are my favourite posters skilled and knowledgeable in the art of balancing life and frugality.
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