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  • FIRST POST
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 29th Apr 18, 9:24 AM
    • 285Posts
    • 1,160Thanks
    julicorn
    julicorn's journey
    • #1
    • 29th Apr 18, 9:24 AM
    julicorn's journey 29th Apr 18 at 9:24 AM
    Hi everyone! Thank you all for sharing your journey to being mortgage free, it's really inspiring.

    My husband and I bought a 1 bed flat in December, for the bargain amount of 270k (gotta love living in the South East!). Luckily we had been able to save for a decent deposit, so our mortgage was 202,500 plus fees (closer to (203,500), out of which we still had just over 201k left as of yesterday.

    Our mortgage is 2 year fixed at 1.41%, but that appears to be based on the mortgage offer date, so running out in July 2019. I would love to reduce our mortgage as much as possible by then, and just in general.

    The things that have given me a bit of a kick in the butt to start overpaying now, in no particular order:
    1. Logging into my online account and seeing "24 years 7 months remaining" is daunting. That's a crazy long time. If we got to that, I would have spent half of my life paying off a 1 bed flat.
    2. The fact that we have already paid almost 1k in interst in just a few months isn't great either. The more we can shave off total interest, the better.
    3. When saving for the flat, we managed to put away over 1k every month, and that was while paying rent that was slightly higher than our mortgage. If we managed to do that now, we'd have the flat paid off 15 years early.
    4. While over the last few months, we spent money on lots of the stuff we missed out on while saving for the flat (booked a holiday, got tattoos, all that super grown up jazz) and also put quite a bit of money into furniture and redecorating, I've also noticed that a lot of the extra money just sort of slipped away. For example, our diet has gotten a lot worse because we seem to be getting take out a lot atm.
    5. In some weird way, I really miss saving. There was something really satisfying about seeing our savings account growing so quickly, and I think seeing our remaining mortgage amount reduce will have a simar effect (psychologically speaking).

    So, is the aim really being mortgage free in 10 years? Realistically - no. I know we won't prioritise overpaying I over certain life experieces (currently holidays mainly), but also, the aim is to stay in our flat here for around 5 years or so, and then see whether we want / need something bigger. But even if we do buy somewhere more expensive then, it can only help to have reduced that outstanding debt more quickly. And that's how I see it - I think for a lot of people a mortgage is just something everyone has, but for me it feels like "being in debt", which is something I have mostly avoided so far.

    So based on all of this, we made our first overpayment of 900 yesterday. For the first few months, I want to build up our ISA savings a little more again (to 10k or so) in parallel for "just in case", and then concentrate mainly on paying off our mortgage. (side goal: no more take outs! Need to learn to cook a decent curry ).

    Thanks for having me
Page 4
    • IAAM
    • By IAAM 3rd Jul 18, 8:31 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    IAAM
    Whoop! Well done Julicorn. You must feel thrilled about the OP.

    I really like the idea of your cross stitch! I think a visual reminder of what you're achieving is a fab idea and will make those slightly harder days of saving easier to do.

    Onwards and upwards.... :-)
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 3rd Jul 18, 11:51 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Thanks IAAM! I might see if I can try and post a picture of the cross stitch in here at some point.

    (It's weirdly satisfying that the original mortgage among without fees can be laid out in a perfect 45x45 square, with each cross showing a reduction in mortgage balance of 100.)
    • Runders
    • By Runders 4th Jul 18, 8:13 PM
    • 215 Posts
    • 564 Thanks
    Runders
    Hey Julicorn,

    Congrats on such a huge OP! I bet it felt amazing to pay that much off

    So I checked out YNAB and got the free trial, but I just don't think it's for me. I couldn't move things around and display them how I wanted. However, I really liked the premise of it and have now come up with something similar in Excel which I am calling my spreadsheet of doom

    When I went to Japan I was just in Tokyo. There is so much to see and do there. I can't remember all the places we went to, but when I am back home I'll dig out my travel diary and look up their names. The Ghibli Museum was one of my fave places, and yoyogi park. I'd love to go back
    MFW Start: September 2014 - 110844
    Current: 87,999.08 Offset: 17101.13
    70,987.95 until mortgage neutral
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 6th Jul 18, 8:54 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Hi Runders,

    Thank you very much! Yes, it was really great being able to pay off so much in one go, and also seeing how far ahead we are compared to if we were just paying the mortgage off regularly.

    With YNAB, I really struggled to get me head around it for an hour or so, but then it really clicked. They've got good tutorials and workshop videos as well- if you haven't given up completely, check out 'budgeting when you're broke' (even if you're clearly not broke ). I think it's the whole budgeting only what you have, rather than projecting, which is so unusual but seems to make a big difference for people.

    The Ghibli museum is number 1 on our list! It looks incredible. We're hoping to go to Tokyo, but maybe also visit Kyoto for a few days. I'd also love to stay in a traditional Ryokan in the mountains somewhere for a night, that would be a dream (just need to find one that caters for vegans and also lets us in their onsen with our tattoos. We're clearly a bit too hipster for Japan ).
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 6th Jul 18, 9:02 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Oh, and I just got some money a few weeks early, and managed to squirrel another 300 into the mortgage! our balance is now officially under 195k, I can honestly barely believe it. Without overpayments, we'd still owe more than 200k right now.

    Another thing I'm trying to do now is replace some of my monthly outgoings with cheaper yearly ones instead. I need another bus ticket next month, normally I'd get a 90 day one for just under 200, but this time I'm getting a yearly one for 600 instead. I'm switching my headspace subscription to yearly as well. It's not huge changes, but will add up I'm sure (even though it means we have to spend a bit more this and next month).
    • Runders
    • By Runders 7th Jul 18, 5:53 PM
    • 215 Posts
    • 564 Thanks
    Runders
    Hey Julicorn,

    Big 'whoop whoop' for being under 195K, that is amazing news. I love that feeling of going into the next thousand band.

    The Ghibli Museum is so worth it, my friend and I spent pretty much a whole day there just geeking out. Also it's worth going to Harajuku and seeing all the Harajuku girls and cosplayers, I totally got a free hug when I was there - people stand around with signs offering free hugs. Near to Harajuku is the Meiji shrine and that is absolutely stunning, they often have weddings taking place as well. I'm really tall, and when I was at the shrine this older Japanese Chap just pointed his umbrella at me and started shouting "Amazon Woman", I've never forgotten it.

    I'm not sure if it's easy to find vegan places over there? I know my friend has been to the hot springs and he has a tattoo, I'll try to get hold of him to see where he went.
    MFW Start: September 2014 - 110844
    Current: 87,999.08 Offset: 17101.13
    70,987.95 until mortgage neutral
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 8th Jul 18, 7:42 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Thanks Runders! Our next milestone is 190k, which we should hopefully reach by my birthday in October

    That sounds absolutely awesome! Mr Julicorn is super tall as well, and I'm fairly tall and also ginger, so we were saying that at least we should be able to find each other in the crowds

    I think food wise it's going to be trickier than most places, but it seems like it can be done for sure. Most 'normal' restaurants struggle to provide veggie food from what I've heard (even rice seems to be cooked in fish stock and things like that), but then there seem to be quite a few specifically vegan restaurants around in the bigger cities. There are also specifically Buddhist restaurants which are vegan (with a few additional restrictions), so those are apparently a pretty good option as well.
    Would be lovely to hear from your friend as well, thanks so much!

    This week has been a lot busier than usual! I ended up showing around 2 sets of 'friends of friends' from Germany, who just happened to come to Brighton in the same week (well, they were pretty lucky with the weather tbf!). I had been carrying around a bit of a cold, which turned into a mild ear infection, for a few weeks, but then Tuesday/Wednesday it developed into an absolutely agonising tooth ache So I had to go to the dentist, but they gave me some antibiotics and it's much much better now. On Thursday, I went for a murder mystery dinner/lunch with work which was awesome (my team won the trophy as well! ), and then had a fair few drinks and spontaneously played lazer tag with my colleagues. It was such a fun day, but I admit I felt a little rough on Friday . And then yesterday, I ended up spending some more 'fun money' at the Hobbycraft opening here in Brighton. That shop has the potential to become my downfall. Spontaneously decided that I need to add pyrography/wood burning to my set of skills, because why not! Spoilers: It's trickier than it looks.

    Either way, hope you're all having a lovely Sunday!
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 14th Jul 18, 8:48 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    I'm coming to the realisation that we probably have to cut back on our overpayments for a bit. We've got quite a few different savings goals right now (some quite short-term though, like 1,200 for bus tickets between now and October, but those mean that both of us will have annual tickets, so less outgoings for the rest of the year). Between building up our emergency funds, home improvement funds, and saving up for a holiday, I'm not sure how feasible it is for us to keep up with that level of overpayments. Makes me a bit sad though, because I got carried away and did some projections on how much we would save by keeping on paying off an extra 1,200 a month...

    What's also not helping (although I think ultimately it's the right thing to do) is that I've just upped by pension contributions to 8%. My employer pays 5%, and my aim is to get my contributions up to 10%. My parents both started suffering from quite severe heart problems at 56, and I really don't want to have to work until 68 (or even longer).

    It's weird, I know these are all good things to do, and it's not like we're throwing money away, but rather prepare for the future. I still can't help but feel a bit deflated this morning.

    Ah well, we're off to a Greek wedding this afternoon! I'm sure that will be good fun.

    Hope you all have a nice weekend x
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 16th Jul 18, 12:05 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    The wedding was really, really great. Ended up seeing lots of my old uni housemates who I had lost touch with - and even better, some of them are back in Brighton now! We've already made a few plans over the next few weeks, there will be so much to catch up on.
    Aside from that, we danced like maniacs to Greek music and ate lots of food. It was a very lovely day indeed, even though the journey home seemed to take forever.

    We met up with Mr Julicorn's family for brunch yesterday, and ended up going to the pub with his brother. Slightly blew the 'pub/bar' budget! But I reckon that's ok. I mean, it's only half way through the month, but I don't really feel like we need to keep going out for drinks this month, we've got enough other fun plans.

    Based on all these 'reunions' this weekend, we've also decided to host a little garden party next month. We've not had a garden since 2012, so should really make the most of the fact we have one now (even though it's tiny).

    So yeah, lots of money spending and fun times ahead, but I'm feeling much better about it now than I did on Saturday.
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 21st Jul 18, 9:24 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Happy weekend everyone!

    I started today with opening another new savings account to put our ISA balances in, because they're currently earning virtually nothing. The new account is going to pay 1.34%, which is not loads, but I didn't want to set up another complicated system of regular savers and feeder accounts, but rather just have a side account I can just throw the emergency fund into and let it earn a bit of interest. 100-odd pounds a year is better than nothing.

    Mr Julicorn and I are about to go out for brunch. Just after we got married, we used to go on a nice date (usually a dinner out) every month on our 'month-a-versary'. We haven't done that for a few years, but decided to start again (and go eat out less in between). I'm super excited!

    Aside from that, we're getting paid on Wednesday, and should be able to make another OP of 300 then, to get it up to 1,200 for the month. We most likely will struggle with that goal next month, as we're prioritising a couple of other sinking funds at the moment, but that's OK. I'm hoping to pretty much 'snowball' our savings, so fund a few smaller savings goals, and then apply those monthly payments to larger ones in the following months. Sounds a bit silly, because of course with savings you can shuffle around as much as you like, but I feel like it's psychologically helping me to be able to tick off some goals

    Hope you all have a lovely weekend!
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • NorthernPeach
    • By NorthernPeach 21st Jul 18, 12:02 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    NorthernPeach
    Ooh I like the idea of snowballing the savings, it's never something I have considered I just tend to chuck stuff in to their respective pots and not make much more progress on any of them....definitely something to think about!

    Hope you have a good weekend julicorn!
    OP's 2018 = 487.84 / 1000 Emergency fund = 468.92 / 1000
    Target 1: 1037.00 / 2471.97 Pay off first 10k of mortgage!
    1% challenge No 65
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 22nd Jul 18, 10:07 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Thanks NorthernPeach, hope you're having a great weekend too! Ours has been really fun so far, we went for brunch yesterday and then we spontaneously went to see Incredibles 2 at the cinema. We found out we still had some free tickets left because we signed up for a Picturehouse membership last year, and I also got a free G&T as part of some promo! Don't mind if I do
    Today has started well as well, made some peanut butter waffles for breakfast. I'm going to try and do a fair bit of cooking today to prepare some food for next week, so we don't end up making 'oven food' every evening. Trying to be healthy is hard! Aw well, baby steps.
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 22nd Jul 18, 2:50 PM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    I thought I might as well share my current savings goals with you guys, makes me a little more accountable than just shuffling stuff back in forth in a spreadsheet!

    By the end of December, I want to:
    1. Save up 1,200 for a holiday in Europe in the spring, probably Budapest
    2. Rebuild our home maintenance fee fund to 500
    3. Build up a home improvements fund of 1,000
    4. Try to keep up the 1,200 mortgage overpayments per month, but only if we manage to put 500 a month to fund the above.

    Currently, this is what that looks like:
    Budapest: 200/1,200
    Maintenance fees: 0/500
    Home improvements: 100/1,000
    OP July: 900/1,200

    Will see how that goes!
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 26th Jul 18, 9:40 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    We got paid yesterday, so I was finally able to budget for August! YNAB is so addictive, I was honestly counting down the days. Somewhat hilariously, we had a cheese and wine evening at work yesterday, which turned into a 'way to much wine for julicorn' evening in reality, so I did all my budgeting very drunkenly. Somewhat surprisingly, it all looks relatively sensible, and I have not allocated 500 to take-away pizza. (I am however feeling absolutely awful today, and will have to find a way to recover quickly because I have a meeting up in London at 4pm. Currently sitting at work, eating all the fruit).

    There was also some money 'left over' after budgeting for August, so I have paid that towards the mortgage. This is our final overpayment for this month, bringing the total for July up to a nice and round 1,331.26, and our remaining balance below 194k

    I've done a bit of projecting as well, and it looks like we're not going to be too far off our 1,200 OP target next month. I'll try and sell some stuff to get there, still got a few clothes flying about that I've been meaning to put on eBay for a while.

    And just to update the rest:

    Budapest: 400/1,200
    Maintenance fees: 300/500
    Home improvements: 100/1,000
    OP July: 1,331.26/1,200
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 29th Jul 18, 10:50 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    It's Sunday, it's raining (hallelujah!), it's the end of the month and we're well and truly YNAB poor, i.e. there's lots of money in the bank, but none left in any categories for this month. We went over a little bit on groceries this month, especially because we had some friends over last night as well, but it's not that dramatic. I've also agreed with Mr Julicorn that I'll be doing the food shopping in August, because at the moment I'm basically complaining that he's spending more money than necessary without me actually doing any of the shopping. Seeing as that isn't exactly fair, I'll take over next month and see how I get on. Either we'll save lots of money, or I'll realise that we NEED to spend that much money, which at least will stop me from nagging in the future. Win win!

    From a bigger picture perspective, I'm getting more and more into the idea of wanting to retire early. My parents both had to have heart surgery in their mid 50s, and I really just don't want to still have to work at that age (I mean, I might still, but I'd like to be in a position where I can make that choice rather than having to rely on it). It would be really good to get some perspective on our current plan, because I know really that investing would probably be the more sensible way, especially in order to benefit from all the compound interest, but that's not we're doing right now.

    Basically, we're wanting to move into a bigger (ideally 'forever') home in about 5-8 years time, when we are early/mid 30s. For this, we're overpaying the mortgage as much as possible in order to build equity in our home. Cost wise, we're looking at the type of property that's worth about twice as much as our current flat. I know we could make more in interest from investing, but at the same time I feel like overpaying is the safer strategy with market fluctuations and all that jazz, seeing as we're talking relatively short term in the grand scheme of things. (We are also contributing a fair bit more than the minimum into our work pension schemes).

    Once we're in the bigger home, my current plan is to start investing into stocks & shares. We're currently paying just over half of our take home income into the mortgage (including regular payments + overpayments), so should be able to save up/invest quite a bit in the future.

    Every now and then I'm not sure if I'm attacking this whole thing from the wrong end. But then, really, most people I know my age aren't doing anything at all in terms of aiming for early retirement/financial independence, or in fact even for saving up for property. So maybe we're doing ok simply by doing SOMETHING.
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • pinkypig
    • By pinkypig 29th Jul 18, 1:31 PM
    • 1,387 Posts
    • 10,878 Thanks
    pinkypig
    Well done on the big overpayment!!!

    I am rather jealous that you can see your account online. My mortgages don't have that facility.



    If you discover how to make Chinese curry sauce, please post! I can't have msg so all the ready made mixes like Mayflower are out for me.
    Originally posted by JennyP
    Thank you Jenny! I'm glad our mortgage has an online account, I'm a bit of a control freak in fact, I transferred 2,500 into that new Nationwide account, but apparently my online account will only be available from Friday, and I'm half freaking out on the off chance something went wrong with the transaction

    Will keep an eye out for curry sauce for sure!
    Originally posted by julicorn
    A bit late to the curry sauce party but Kenny McGovern's Takeaway Secret recipe book has it and loads more - it's brilliant. Got mine used on Amazon for a couple of quid.

    Pinch of garlic powder
    1/4 two sugar
    Lunch of turmeric
    2 tbl sp of plain flour
    2 tsp of Madras curry powder
    1 tsp of sweet paprika
    1/4 tsp of chilli powder
    1/2 tsp of salt
    2 tblsp of oil
    2-3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
    1 inch piece of finely chopped ginger


    Fry garlic and ginger
    Mix all other ingredients and add to the pan to make a dry mixture
    And stir try for 30 seconds
    Add water slowly until you get a thin sauce then gently heat and stir until it thickens.
    Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes until it reaches the right consistency

    Enjoy
    MFW 2018 #157 Target 15,000

    14,689.68/15,000
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 3rd Aug 18, 9:49 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Cheers Pinky!

    August has started off really well. Between savings interest, bank rewards and a refund, I've already got enough money to make a 100 overpayment (which I sent just now )

    That savings account I opened needed me to write a cheque for the starting balance. The freeholder of our flat also wanted the maintenance fees as a cheque. I mean, seriously, this is the 21st century and suddenly people want me to start using cheques - what on earth? I swear they were phased out ages ago (I'd only ever written 2 in my entire life before last month).

    Anyway, I've taken today off because I had quite a bit of overtime built up, and am just doing a bit of life admin stuff while watching property programs and the news. Living the dream, basically.
    It's the pride weekend here as well. We usually go to the festival and then the village party. This year, we left it too late to get tickets, so will probably have a much more quiet pride weekend than usual. I can't wait to watch the parade though.

    Hope you've all had a good start into August as well.
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • JennyP
    • By JennyP 3rd Aug 18, 10:03 AM
    • 951 Posts
    • 730 Thanks
    JennyP
    Pinky, thank you for the recipe and Julicorn well done on yet more overpaying!



    Early retirement is wonderful! Can't tell you enough how much I am enjoying my freedom - this is my first year. Not averse to doing bits of work but not having the nine to five is fabulous!
    • julicorn
    • By julicorn 3rd Aug 18, 10:15 AM
    • 285 Posts
    • 1,160 Thanks
    julicorn
    Early retirement is wonderful! Can't tell you enough how much I am enjoying my freedom - this is my first year. Not averse to doing bits of work but not having the nine to five is fabulous!
    Originally posted by JennyP
    That's awesome, glad to hear you're enjoying your freedom! I sometimes mention my plan to friends of mine, and the responses usually range from "are you that unhappy with your job?" [no, I love it!] to "I wouldn't really know what to do with all that free time". But really, for me it's not so much about doing less, but rather about having that freedom and being more intentional with my time.
    Original mortgage: December 2017, 203,495
    MFW start: April 2018, 201,800
    Current: 191,400
    • JennyP
    • By JennyP 3rd Aug 18, 10:25 AM
    • 951 Posts
    • 730 Thanks
    JennyP
    I have had times of "What do I do now?"



    I wonder about what I might do when we finally finish our house. There's no doubt that empty time is scary. But for me that's not a reason to stay on the treadmill. I quite liked my jobs - well, had two very different careers and both were great in their way.



    But now I think of all the things I could choose to do and it's very exciting. Meeting a friend on Wednesday and we might start running dating workshops for singles. We are both qualified therapists in different ways and I got so ripped off by crappy workshops and events when I was single that I love the thought of offering something of value.



    Sorry, bit of a wild tangent.... Have you got stuff you'd like to do if you gave up work?
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