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  • FIRST POST
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 2nd Apr 18, 12:22 PM
    • 691Posts
    • 3,200Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Busy Mee's Last Leg
    • #1
    • 2nd Apr 18, 12:22 PM
    Busy Mee's Last Leg 2nd Apr 18 at 12:22 PM
    Our Story
    We are me, Mr Mee and two grown up children ( one daughter living at home and one son who moved out last year). Mr Mee and I have been married for around a hundred years

    On the whole we have been quite good with money, having periods of our marriage when we have been very poor. We started with nothing and a mortgage interest rate of 13%, we then had little Mee's and had expensive child care costs ( no family nearby) and then supported them both through 7 years of university.

    We have also had very good years financially, Mr Mee and I both work in the public sector and over the years have both worked our way up to senior positions. We have always stretched ourselves to buy the most expensive house we could afford and added value where we could.

    However aound 9 years ago we decided to build our own house...cue the most stressful and scary financial period of our lives You have all watched the programmes on the TV and know how this goes, the plans get bigger, the bills get bigger, we mortgaged up to the hilt and borrowed as much money as we could on 0% credit cards and a bank loan. We even borrowed the kids savings.

    Thankfully we managed to get all the debt paid off and we now just have our mortgage which currently stands at a still eye watering 238,491.35.

    We are lucky in that we have a great mortgage product and pay just 1.19% (0.69% lifetime tracker). We have been therefore saving hard in higher interest savings accounts to offset the mortgage. We currently have 65k saved ( I love round numbers

    We feel very fortunate in that we have a house we love, built to our specification and our children are both doing well and financially independent.

    Mr Mee will retire in 2 years time ( he will be 60) and I would like the choice to retire too ( I will be 56).

    This diary will hopefully help me to focus over the next 2 years, and save as much as we can to offset the mortgage, along with some of our pension lump sums. We would like to keep the house, although downsizing is an option.

    We also love to travel ( we couldn't afford to when we were young) and don't want to wait until we retire. We therefore live very frugally on a day to day basis to be able to afford trips away, in addition to saving

    So......24 months until retirement.......that is a scary, yet exciting prospect so better better get started
Page 6
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 6th Aug 18, 11:09 AM
    • 57,393 Posts
    • 234,922 Thanks
    beanielou
    Love the Lidl weekend savers! Especially the non perishables. It's possible I once combined a weekend saver deal and s random ten pound note I found while tidying to buy 18 months of dishwasher tablets...but if anyone tells my hub this I will deny it strongly. The spare boxes are very well hidden !!!128514;.
    Originally posted by katsoocam
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. MFW 2018. No 144
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 6th Aug 18, 12:22 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 257 Thanks
    katsoocam
    I love the Lidl weekend savers too katsoocam and stock up with anything we use. It really helps with the budget. I could do with washing tablets and teabags being on offer again soon.
    Is muesli for us next weekend.
    Originally posted by Busy Mee1
    Quite like that bacon, we have run out of cereal though so may get muesli too.
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 13th Aug 18, 3:35 PM
    • 691 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Monday
    A quick check in following a lovely weekend away.

    We finished work slightly early on Friday afternoon so that we could drive to some friends and arrive Friday night and then have the whole day Saturday and most of Sunday away. We had an Indian on Friday night and then a glorious day on the beach and a BBQ on Saturday. The weather was perfect despite rain being forecast.

    It felt like we were away ages and it was a really good break. Consequently I feel like I have bags of energy today and have got loads done.

    We are into the second week of a two week shop and so I need to be creative this week. I have hard boiled eggs for sandwich fillings this week and also been blackberry picking to make compote for my overnight oats as we have run out of soft fruit.....it doesn't get more MSE than that .

    Unfortunately I have three loads of washing on the line and the heavens have just opened and it is bucketing down. I will not been using the tumble drier through, the last time I used it was April and I am determined not to put it on again until at least October

    I am starting to clear out DS's old bedroom to turn it into a guest bedroom, but I need him to come and sort out all the flotsam that he didn't take when he left home. I think there will be lots of stuff off to the charity shop.
    • themadvix
    • By themadvix 13th Aug 18, 5:05 PM
    • 1,943 Posts
    • 11,219 Thanks
    themadvix
    Sounds like a lovely break and just what you needed!

    Loving the blackberry compote - I must get out and get picking!
    OPs 2018 = 2090
    Moving savings = 3085
    OPs 2017 = 3103
    Starting balance 2012: 132000; balance Jul 2018: 91,552
    MFW2018 no. 38
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 13th Aug 18, 6:18 PM
    • 57,393 Posts
    • 234,922 Thanks
    beanielou
    Glad that you had a lovely break
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. MFW 2018. No 144
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 18th Aug 18, 7:18 AM
    • 1,420 Posts
    • 11,038 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Glad you had a good break Busy, you'll have been ready for it!

    Good luck with your creative cooking week - it's very satisfying to make something out of nothing, not to mention clearing out the cupboards and the freezer! Saves a fortune as well
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    17,770.92/15,000
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 20th Aug 18, 8:20 AM
    • 691 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Monday again
    Gosh these weekends go quickly !

    I have had a very productive few days, in fact I have barely stopped but feel like I have made progress in a few areas.

    We have had some rather alarming cracks appear in the wall of our house, that have caused me to worry a lot ( I have gold medals in worrying and this was keeping me awake at night).I had rather hoped Mr Mee would sort this out but unfortunately he is not one of life's problem solvers and I decided on Friday that I needed to get a grip and sort it out. I rang our builder, who happened to be between jobs.....he came within an hour, looked at it and said there was nothing to worry about. Just caused by the extremely dry weather and he got his "lad" to repoint it..........just like that . I was expecting him to charge me a couple of hundred quid but he wouldn't take any money and just said to get him a crate of beer Hopefully that will sort it out and I am feeling very relieved.

    I was up and out early on Saturday morning with DD, and called to Lidl to pick up their weekend deals (washing tablets, grated cheese and kitchen roll ) It was perfect timing as we were on our last box of washing tablets. We then called to @sda to buy wine (6 bottles 25% off). We have been running down our stock of wine for ages now ( Mr Mee used to be in a wine club and bought more than we could drink) and we finally got to the end of it ( it has been tough people ) Anyway I opened our last bottle of red on Friday so time to stock up again. I will charge this to our entertainment budget I think, rather than to groceries.

    I then went shopping with DD and ended up being 25.00 better off ( a dress she returned that I had paid for on my card).

    We were back home for 10.45 and I cleaned all the bathrooms before visiting the outlaws.

    We did end up ordering a Chinese takeaway on Saturday night (13.00) but we find the portions too large and I froze the leftovers for another night.

    It was grocery shopping yesterday and I was really pleased that our spend was well within budget despite not shopping for two weeks. Once again I found that the second week of a two week shop was quite illuminating. I realised that vegetarian sandwich filling (eggs and salad) are cheaper than cooked meat.

    The blackberry compote was luvvery on the overnight oats, so need to get picking some more...free fruit what is not to like.

    I also used up some half price meat balls, made a tomato sauce and used 20p value spaghetti. This was delicious and reminded me that spaghetti is a much cheaper than shaped pasta.

    Yesterday afternoon I started to tackle DS's room and now have 5 bin bags of stuff to take to the charity shop and one bag full of rubbish. I now need to get him to come and pick up what is left.

    I discovered the base of his bed is broken (I am not going to ask ), so after a bit of research I have ordered another from JL. A bargain 70 for a white metal bedframe which has great reviews, so hopefully it will be good for the money. I also bought two birthday gifts from JL and used my free 10 ICE voucher

    I think that is all...I am working from home today so better go and get myself logged on
    Last edited by Busy Mee1; 21-08-2018 at 6:20 AM.
    • Christina F
    • By Christina F 20th Aug 18, 9:49 PM
    • 398 Posts
    • 627 Thanks
    Christina F
    Please can I ask for the recipe for the blackberry compote ?

    Thanks
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 21st Aug 18, 6:17 AM
    • 691 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Hi Christina
    I just made it up.....basically I just warmed/simmered the blackberries with some sugar and lemon juice. I think I had just under 1 kg of blackberries and 100g of sugar and then poured into into a empty jam jar. I left the blackberries more or less whole but there are different recipes on the internet that involve blending the blackberries and sieving to get rid of the pips.....I don't mind the pips so didn't bother. I think you could just make it by trial and error according to taste - more or less sugar, pips or no pips. Hope that helps.
    • MatyMoo
    • By MatyMoo 21st Aug 18, 12:31 PM
    • 2,849 Posts
    • 13,217 Thanks
    MatyMoo
    Just read your whole thread, you are doing great!

    Just a suggestion for sandwich fillings - if you have a slow cooker you can do your own gammon or cold meats (beef brisket is amazing in the SC). If you have a meat slicer to get it really thin it will go even further!
    Proud Member of Mike's Mob
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 26th Aug 18, 9:06 AM
    • 691 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Bank Holiday
    Hi Matymoo thanks for dropping in and also reading my ramblings. I have never cooked joints of meat in my slow cooker, but regularly cook a gammon. I will give it a try.

    I seem to have had a bit a spendy week this week. In addition to a glut of parental birthdays coming up, we have a family wedding next week. I have however been trying to keep costs down wherever I can.

    I managed to buy a nice H@bbs dress for the wedding on Eba@y and am making a really nice photo frame for the happy couple with photos of their grandchildren ( this is second time around for them and they have asked for no presents) It feels a bit mean to give no gift, so I thought I would do something a bit more personal.

    It was a bit dangerous shopping on Eb@y again and I ended up disappearing down a black hole and emerging with a BNWT M&S work dress for 9, a BNWT pair of white skinny jeans for 8.99 and top shop velvet mini skirt for DD for 12. Must.....stop....looking... now

    The big clear out of DS' room continues and Mr Mee did two runs to the tip yesterday and has the car loaded for another run today. His room is almost clear now, I just need him to come and collect the stuff he actually wants.

    The new bed frame has arrived and I need to wash all the paintwork down now. I have bought new bedding (bargain Sanderson Dandelion quilt cover reduced from 90 to 15 in the Bedeck outlet shop) and I now just need to psyche myself up for a trip to the Swedish shop for some other bits and pieces. I might have also bought a new quilt set from Bedeck for us too (Joules) to brighten up our room I have a couple of hundred quid pay arrears to come next month which should easily cover the bedroom refurbishment.

    In other more MSE news we received some interest in the Virgin ISA of 126.05 which will help the savings totals this month.

    I have picked more blackberries and also helped myself to apples that were being offered free in the kitchen at work. I stewed blackberries and apples together and have frozen into portions for my overnight oats. I am also hoping to have a cookathon tomorrow to batch cook some meals for the freezer.

    We are on pensioner patrol again this weekend. We did the long journey yesterday afternoon to see the elderly Step Parent and top up his freezer with meals and we will be visiting the MIL today for her Birthday. We do however have a meal out planned with friends tonight so we will get some time for us.

    I hope everyone enjoys the extra long weekend x
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 26th Aug 18, 10:27 AM
    • 57,393 Posts
    • 234,922 Thanks
    beanielou
    Enjoy the meal.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. MFW 2018. No 144
    • michelle09
    • By michelle09 26th Aug 18, 5:57 PM
    • 821 Posts
    • 4,946 Thanks
    michelle09
    At least you were doing well with your ebay purchases!



    Slow cookers are brilliant for meat joints, I love them.
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 28th Aug 18, 7:21 AM
    • 2,119 Posts
    • 22,122 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Oh yes, chicken and pork I especially do in my slow cooker (or in a dutch oven, in the range, when that is on, in the warming oven) - I use a jelly stock thing and level water to that level then just bung in the chicken and put it on for the working day (or 24 hours in the oven) - it goes so much further and the flavour is locked in. There used to be a rubber chicken thread on here and that was the basis. Roast, curry, pie and soup over here...
    MFiT T4 #2 update 94.29% after Q10 ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after August 78.83% 7,883.47/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 1,530.09/3,000 including stores 51% of my annual budget at the end of August.
    My DFD is here
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 30th Aug 18, 10:13 AM
    • 691 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Sunny Friday
    Well the weather has brightened up again and it is a beautiful sunny day here. I was beginning to think I was going to have to get my boots out again

    Thanks for popping in Beanie and Suffolk Lass. Lovely to see you "back" Michelle and AndersonDavis I think you wandered into the wrong thread. But you are very welcome

    So I have spent the morning updating our spending diary (gulp !) Removing the bedroom refurbishment costs we have spent a whopping 1250.46 and no excuses this month...no parental emergencies or five week month. We just spent it

    Our groceries came in at 285 this month - 71.00 per week for three adults, but does include some bulk buys. I am reasonably happy with my grocery spending, it feels that we are achieving a reasonable level of frugalism ( is that even a word ?) that is acceptable to us ( and more importantly Mr Mee) I think I could get it lower but that is likely to take more time (trailing around looking for YS items) and would probably upset Mr Mee I think I am going to set our budget to 70 a week for groceries.

    Our petrol costs came in at 265, and this included some work trips for which we can claim expenses back. We try and cut costs by using the smaller car at weekends and I have been trying to encourage Mr Mee, who has the longer commute, to work from home at least one day a week. I think I do however need to increase the petrol budget to 250 per month.

    Household costs were better this month (if I take out the bedroom costs) and we spent just over 100.

    Personal spending was (ahem) high and so was gift buying.....I seem to have broken the seal on internet shopping and I need to close it again firmly....very firmly. In my defence it has been DS and 3 Parents' Birthdays and a wedding this weekend. We will gloss over the clothes I bought for myself

    Medical expenses were fine

    Our entertainment costs were 222 for the month and this included a bulk buy of 12 bottles of wine bought in the Asda 25% off offer. Looking through the spends there was nothing regrettable, a bottle of wine (22) shared with a colleague whilst in London, 2 reasonably priced Indian meals out with friends, a couple of lunches and our regular weekly breakfast out. Our budget of 200 a month seems reasonable and is affordable both now and in retirement.

    The positives from this are that I am feeling a lot more confident about understanding our spending patterns. The good news is that quite a bit of this spend is discretionary and we could grind it down if we want/need to but it is affordable. When we retire I am hoping that some of these costs will reduce, hopefully we won't spend as much on petrol or paying people to do jobs we don't have time to do

    I have just had a little wobble about sharing all of this. I hope no one finds it insensitive, I know we are incredibly fortunate to be in this position to afford our lifestyle and there are lots of people who aren't as fortunate as us. I am sharing though, because it is really helping me on our road to retirement and it might help others by giving a benchmark that you can compare to.
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 30th Aug 18, 3:35 PM
    • 57,393 Posts
    • 234,922 Thanks
    beanielou
    It is your diary & you can share as you you wish
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. MFW 2018. No 144
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 31st Aug 18, 7:30 AM
    • 2,119 Posts
    • 22,122 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Your last paragraph could be me. I look at the circumstances of some others and I am sure they scoff at me having a diary. I do share your reticence but Beanie is right, it is your diary and I always think that I and others can grow our own approach and understanding with the input of these little insights from you and others.

    By sharing approaches and little hacks we all benefit.
    MFiT T4 #2 update 94.29% after Q10 ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after August 78.83% 7,883.47/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 1,530.09/3,000 including stores 51% of my annual budget at the end of August.
    My DFD is here
    • themadvix
    • By themadvix 31st Aug 18, 11:31 AM
    • 1,943 Posts
    • 11,219 Thanks
    themadvix
    I think your food costs sound good for three adults - we spend about 200/month (she's says, knowing from her newly minted spending diary ) for two of us, largely veggie.

    I'd echo what the other said - it's your diary, spend and report as you will - we all approach this from different angles/backgrounds/incomes, and if people don't like what they're reading, no one is forcing them to read it.
    OPs 2018 = 2090
    Moving savings = 3085
    OPs 2017 = 3103
    Starting balance 2012: 132000; balance Jul 2018: 91,552
    MFW2018 no. 38
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 31st Aug 18, 5:11 PM
    • 691 Posts
    • 3,200 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Beanie, Suffolk Lass and MadVix thank you for the reassurance. The last thing I would want to do is be insensitive and I am acutely aware that there are lots of people living in proper poverty and it really saddens me.

    Beanie actually gave me a well timed nudge a few weeks ago when she mentioned on someone else's thread how sad she was that the food bank where she helps out had run out of treats for kids and it was school holidays. It made me get off my backside and take a couple of carrier bags of stuff ( sensible and treats) down to our local food bank. They are advertising that they need tinned meat and toiletries now so I will drop off another donation this week.

    This is what I love about this forum, in addition to the focus on saving money, it is the generosity and gratitude of the people on here. Everyone gladly gives of their advice and shares their journey and there are lots of people like Beanie who give up their time to help others.

    There is also just generally a sense of gratitude that pervades this forum. Maybe it is because a MFW lifestyle gives you choices or maybe the fact that the people on here have such a well considered life, whether it be choosing how they spend their money, the impact on their environment, whether they eat meat or whatever. Although people have different backgrounds,, incomes and everyone has different priorities people are living a life where they have consciously considered their choices. Anyway I am not sure what it is but I like it
    • michelle09
    • By michelle09 1st Sep 18, 10:52 AM
    • 821 Posts
    • 4,946 Thanks
    michelle09
    Thanks BM, good to be back and back on track!


    I think people tend to get their backs up when people have a fortunate lifestyle and are completely insensitive about those that have less. Not as if you're Duncan Hunter claiming that $174k a year is not enough to live on but voted against raising the US minimum wage to $7.25/hour.



    It's a lovely thing your doing for the food banks, it's just disgusting that they are needed by so many right now.
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