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  • FIRST POST
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 28th Jun 18, 6:28 AM
    • 329Posts
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    glass_half_full
    The Piano Diary
    • #1
    • 28th Jun 18, 6:28 AM
    The Piano Diary 28th Jun 18 at 6:28 AM
    Good morning diary and all,

    I recently became debt free after 31 months of debtbusting over on Debt Free Wannabe, following the advice and diaries on this site. Here is my previous diary

    My debt free diary

    I have found keeping a diary really helpful in staying focused and also therapeutic being able to think things through and clarify my thoughts. I want to start a new diary here to signify the start of the next phase of the journey and a change in purpose and goals.
    My household consists of me, my OH, we have been married for 22 years and DS who is 20 and has just finished his first year at University and last but not least the cat who 8 years old, spoilt and pampered! I work at a University in a teaching role and for hobbies do mountain biking, reading and I am learning the piano. The title of the diary is about my goal to ultimately spend less time working and more time on hobbies and interests, including the piano!

    My overall goal is to reach financial freedom and be able to semi- retire/retire and pursue my own interests. I may continue to work, but it will be because I want to not because I have to. To achieve this I need to pay off the mortgage and save enough into pension and savings to allow this to happen.

    Financial Goals
    The mortgage currently stands at £80,000 and is up for renewal in October. My aim is to take out a mortgage with a term of 8 years (by which time I will be 60) but aim to repay it in 5 years with overpayments.
    In terms of the pension, I currently make contributions of 12% but I am increasing this to 18% in a month or so when a pay rise comes through. I have a small number of DB pensions from previous employers and £140,000 in two DC pensions. In terms of savings, we have nothing other than a small emergency fund but the aim is to build these up now we are debt free. I would like to have savings of £5,000 to £10,000 as a rainy day fund. I need to save up for a replacement car over the next 12 months as the current car is 14 years old and is getting to the end of its life.

    Personal Goals
    I have found during the last several months that the money goals are really just a means to an end. For me I want to reach the point in the next 5-8 years where I can step back from the day to day and spend more time on projects I want to pursue just because I want to do them. I would love to have the time for example to write a book, to travel, to do various sports and activities. I also want my OH to have the same options and be able to step back from the work side of things.

    SOA
    I have done an SOA below to help me take stock of where we are. The three adults are myself, OH and DS who is at Uni but lives with us when not there. There should be around £1500 per month available to achieve the financial goals listed above.
    Look forward to sharing the journey with you.

    Statement of Affairs and Personal Balance Sheet

    Household Information

    Number of adults in household........... 3
    Number of children in household.........
    Number of cars owned.................... 1

    Monthly Income Details

    Monthly income after tax................ 2585
    Partners monthly income after tax....... 1989
    Benefits................................ 0
    Other income............................ 0
    Total monthly income.................... 4574


    Monthly Expense Details

    Mortgage................................ 642
    Secured/HP loan repayments.............. 0
    Rent.................................... 0
    Management charge (leasehold property).. 0
    Council tax............................. 247
    Electricity............................. 112
    Gas..................................... 0
    Oil..................................... 0
    Water rates............................. 33
    Telephone (land line)................... 0
    Mobile phone............................ 27
    TV Licence.............................. 12
    Satellite/Cable TV...................... 0
    Internet Services....................... 112
    Groceries etc. ......................... 500
    Clothing................................ 100
    Petrol/diesel........................... 235
    Road tax................................ 27
    Car Insurance........................... 65
    Car maintenance (including MOT)......... 50
    Car parking............................. 0
    Other travel............................ 65
    Childcare/nursery....................... 0
    Other child related expenses............ 0
    Medical (prescriptions, dentist etc).... 38.15
    Pet insurance/vet bills................. 0
    Buildings insurance..................... 0
    Contents insurance...................... 0
    Life assurance ......................... 16
    Other insurance......................... 0
    Presents (birthday, christmas etc)...... 20
    Haircuts................................ 50
    Entertainment........................... 50
    Holiday................................. 100
    Emergency fund.......................... 0
    Newspaper............................... 9
    Hobbies................................. 82
    Spotify................................. 10
    Dry cleaning............................ 13
    Societies............................... 15
    Union................................... 42
    Allowance DS............................ 100
    Cash.................................... 200
    Cleaner................................. 100
    Total monthly expenses.................. 3072.15



    Assets

    Cash.................................... 500
    House value (Gross)..................... 350000
    Shares and bonds........................ 0
    Car(s).................................. 1500
    Other assets............................ 0
    Total Assets............................ 352000



    Secured & HP Debts

    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Mortgage...................... 80000....(642)......3
    Total secured & HP debts...... 80000.....-.........-


    Unsecured Debts
    Description....................Debt......Monthly.. .APR
    Total unsecured debts..........0.........0.........-



    Monthly Budget Summary

    Total monthly income.................... 4,574
    Expenses (including HP & secured debts). 3,072.15
    Available for debt repayments........... 1,501.85
    Monthly UNsecured debt repayments....... 0
    Amount left after debt repayments....... 1,501.85


    Personal Balance Sheet Summary
    Total assets (things you own)........... 352,000
    Total HP & Secured debt................. -80,000
    Total Unsecured debt.................... -0
    Net Assets.............................. 272,000


    Created using the SOA calculator at www.stoozing.com.
    Reproduced on Moneysavingexpert with permission, using other browser.
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
Page 3
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 6th Sep 18, 6:58 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Good morning diary and all,
    Had a wonderful time in the Lakes for OHs birthday. Really was special and relaxing. Also nice to see our friends there. We did spend quite a lot but it was all budgeted. We both were back to work on Monday, so that was back to reality for us. DS goes back to University in a couple of weeks. He is off visiting his GF today. We took the cat to the Vet yesterday and we were pleased to find that he has lost a bit of weight. He is on a diet following advice from the vet and itís the first time we have managed to get him to lose a bit.
    The budget is keeping on track. Planning to spend a bit of money over the weekend on some work clothes. Ive decided to refresh my work wardrobe which is very tired. Otherwise things are fairly steady on the financial front.
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 14th Sep 18, 7:10 AM
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    • 809 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    We’ve been quite busy since getting back from our mini break in the Lakes. I have spent some money on a new suit, two shirts and a pair of shoes, as my work wardrobe was starting to look a bit threadbare. I managed to get 20% off. OH was given some money by her parents for her 50th which was really nice and has meant that she has been able to buy herself a couple of items which she had needed for a while.
    In money related news, I am a member of the Universities pension scheme called the USS. There was a strike earlier this year over proposed changes to the scheme which were being imposed without consultation. We have received a proposal from the scheme which says that the contributions need to increase for both individuals (from 8% to 11.7%) and for employers also. The scheme is in good health, but since changes in legislation, some of the assumptions have changed and so it has been deemed as underfunded. Lets see how this plays out. For me it would mean my current AVCs would be absorbed as ordinary contributions.
    This weekend DS goes back to University for his second year. I have to teach tomorrow afternoon. Next week I am off to Germany for a few days. I will get paid which is good. Will see how much it is and decide what to do with it, maybe an OP on the mortgage!
    Have a great day all!
    Last edited by glass_half_full; 14-09-2018 at 7:11 AM. Reason: typo
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 15th Sep 18, 9:44 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Good morning diary and all,
    A random musing on the not very exciting subject of mobile phones!
    In October 2015 I took out a 2 year deal on a mid-range new mobile phone from one of the main mobile suppliers. I notice that my first post and LBM in my original debt free diary was at the beginning of November 2015. I donít think this is a coincidence as I think that this was typical of my mindset back then. At the worst point I think we were paying around £105 per month for the three mobile phones in the family. I still have this phone now and I switched to a £9 per month SIM only contract in November 2017 when the contract came to an end. I had paid a lot of money over that 2 years because I kept going over my data allowance and being charged for it. Recently, the phone has been running out of storage and that has caused a few issues. So one evening this week I went on line to find out how to free up storage. I did a few things like transfer photos and videos, delete unused apps, delete e-mails with huge attachments and uninstall and re-install e-mail, and now I am back to the phone being only 2/3 full. The battery life is not fantastic and I might get the battery replaced at some point. I have been reading on line that the manufacturer of this phone says that the design life is about 3 years and this is how old the phone is now. I am going to see if I can squeeze another year out of it!
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 23rd Sep 18, 8:41 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    The trip to Germany went well although the return was a bit disrupted by a flight cancellation due to the storm. Had a really nice day yesterday with OH. She went clothes shopping and I was bag carrier for the day. We had a really nice lunch and a chat. Good to have a day not thinking about work or doing chores.
    Mortgage payment has gone out. It actually makes a difference to the balance now and when I look at the account and it says Ď6 years and 10 monthsí to go it actually feels like the end is now in sight rather than some ridiculously long time in the future. Yesterday I went into the phone shop and had it tested, it seems I donít need a new battery after all so that has saved some money. The biggest money concern right now is vet fees we are having to pay out for tests for our cat. He is insured and it should all be paid, but so far we have paid out £250, £620 and now a third bill is going to be £950 which is making me nervous. Iím going to speak to them tomorrow to make sure that it is covered before going ahead.
    Today I am taking part in a cross country run I entered some time ago in the local area. Hoping to finish it in a reasonable time, lets see!
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 28th Sep 18, 7:18 AM
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    • 809 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    Well we have made it to the end of the month and the end of the week! We have both been paid and the budget is just about balancing with a bit of juggling amounts here and there.
    Today we are having the stairs and landing carpet fitted. This is the second of the two big redecoration projects we decided to get done after the debt had been paid off. We had the stairs and landing decorated back in the spring and we have waited until now that we actually have the money saved to get this job done. The will cost about £950 in total. We are using a local firm who we know do a really good job which will last. The other main financial concern right now are the Vet bills for our aging cat. So far we have paid £250 for and x-ray (this has been paid by the insurer), £600 for a heart and lung investigation. They have found a mass next to his heart/lungs which is giving him a bit of trouble and he is coughing. The next stage is a CT scan which will cost £984. I spoke to the insurance company yesterday and it seems that there is a cap on the total we can claim for this condition which is £1700 so this will cover the last two amounts. If the vet recommends an operation or medication after the CT scan then I think we will have to pay that ourselves. Lets see how this develops from here.
    One other saving we are going to make is on an outdoor activity which OH and I have been doing which costs us £25 per month. We have not been going recently (actually for several months) and we have decided to cancel that.
    Got my piano lesson later on today so looking forward to that!
    Have a great weekend all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 30th Sep 18, 8:50 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    The carpet that was fitted yesterday looks great. The hallway, stairs and landing have now been decorated and new carpet as well. Its interesting how other rooms are now looking a bit tired! But we are not doing anything else for a while.
    Yesterday I cancelled the direct debits for the activity that OH and I are no longer doing regularly. We can still pay as you go so it just means we are not paying for something we are not doing. This saves us £50 per month. This week I received my pension statement and so I have reviewed that position as well. The pension is made up of two parts, the DB part where I contribute 8% and my employer contributes 18%. Then there is a DC part which is voluntary, I currently contribute 4% to that and my employer contributes 1%. I have increased my voluntary contribution to 6% so this means that my total contribution is now 15%. I always planned to use some of my pay rise to increase pension contributions. I decided to do this sooner rather than later so I dont get too used to the additional money.
    Were going to see some friends today for a late summer outdoor party.
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 6th Oct 18, 10:14 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    I have a day at home on my own. OH has an all day course for a qualification she is studying. DS is not coming home after all, one of his flatmates has a birthday. It gives me the chance to catch up on some chores and maybe relax a bit later. And also to gather my thoughts on here. On the money front, we are taking our cat for his scan next week which will cost nearly £1,000! This is covered by the insurance, but that is it so then after we would need to pay for further treatment. The previous treatment of £600 should be paid by the insurers in the next few days, so that will cover part of the cost of the scan. We will pay for treatment, but we are not going to borrow to pay for it. When I was repaying the debt, there was always something happening to knock us off course. Over the 2 Ĺ years we had appliances breaking, roof leaking and damaging the ceilings, many car problems, and that doesnít include all the self-sabotaging overspending from time to time! You have to keep focused on the long view.
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • Hazelnutty
    • By Hazelnutty 6th Oct 18, 4:55 PM
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    Hazelnutty
    Hi GHF I work at a university too and on USS. It's quite a worry as the figures for more junior staff are pretty scary. I have a small TPS and LGPS from previous institutions and my pre-academic career, but I doubt any of them will look that great by the time I retire!
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 7th Oct 18, 9:46 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Hi GHF I work at a university too and on USS. It's quite a worry as the figures for more junior staff are pretty scary. I have a small TPS and LGPS from previous institutions and my pre-academic career, but I doubt any of them will look that great by the time I retire!
    Originally posted by Hazelnutty
    Hi Hazelnutty,
    Thanks for your comment! I must admit, I didn't really think hard about the pension until I reached 50. At that point I thought, ok retirement actually is going to happen rather than being something in the far distant future! This has made me prioritise it and take some action now. Do you make any additional contributions?
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 11th Oct 18, 6:58 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    Our cat went for his scan on Tuesday and it seems that he has a quite large fluid filled cyst in his chest, poor thing! This is displacing his lungs and heart and causing the cough that he has. The vet doesnít know how long he has had this, could be a long time or more recent. He is at the moment consulting with some colleagues to decide the best next steps. It may be that he will be able to drain it and this might provide an interim solution. This scan cost £900, we are about to receive the payment for the previous £600 treatment from the insurer so that will help. Iím looking forward to pay day in 2 weeks time because then I will have a better idea of where we are financially. By then hopefully we will have received the £900 insurance money and I hope to be paid for the work I did recently in Germany.
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • Hazelnutty
    • By Hazelnutty 11th Oct 18, 9:51 AM
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    Hazelnutty
    Sorry to hear about your cat GHF - hope the vets manage to come up with a solution
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 13th Oct 18, 10:21 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Sorry to hear about your cat GHF - hope the vets manage to come up with a solution
    Originally posted by Hazelnutty
    Thanks Hazelnutty, he is definitely one of the family! We should hear something on Monday about what the vet recommends.
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 13th Oct 18, 10:23 AM
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    glass_half_full
    Dear diary and all,
    OH has gone for a coffee with a friend so I am spending a bit of time doing a deep dive in the finances. DS is coming home later for the weekend, it will be great to see him later on today.
    I have been looking a bit more closely at my pension contributions. I had always planned to use some of my payrise to increase these, and recently I had decided to increase my AVCs to 7% above the basic 8% to make it 15%. I have been doing a bit of modelling this morning and I found that if I increase AVCs to 9% (total 17%) this would mean I would be putting half my pay rise (net) into the pension. I worked this through the budget and it is very affordable, so I have decided to do that. I need to do what I can afford now so I have more options for retirement in due course. I have always done AVCs since my twenties when I had a conversation with someone older at work who explained the benefits of doing so to me. I have moved employers several times so I now have three defined benefit schemes which will pay small pensions when I am 65. I have one AVC fund from earlier in my career with £20,000 in it. Then I have another defined contribution pension with £110,000 in it. My goal is not necessarily retirement but to be able to spend more time on what I want to do once mortgage free.
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • Hazelnutty
    • By Hazelnutty 13th Oct 18, 5:54 PM
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    Hazelnutty
    Interesting that you've been doing AVCs since your 20s. Am now wondering if I should start, even if it's small fry. Are there any calculators out there you can use to work out the benefits?
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 14th Oct 18, 3:21 PM
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    glass_half_full
    Interesting that you've been doing AVCs since your 20s. Am now wondering if I should start, even if it's small fry. Are there any calculators out there you can use to work out the benefits?
    Originally posted by Hazelnutty
    Hi Hazelnutty,
    If you are in the USS then you can go to www.uss.co.uk and log in to MyUss. Under My contributions there is an additional contributions modeller that shows the potential effect of additional contributions. The first 1% is matched by the employers.
    Hope this helps.
    • Hazelnutty
    • By Hazelnutty 14th Oct 18, 3:41 PM
    • 143 Posts
    • 757 Thanks
    Hazelnutty
    Thanks. I do need to get on with that at some point!
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 18th Oct 18, 6:58 AM
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    • 809 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Good morning diary and all,
    The vet has been in touch about the cat and said he proposes to do a procedure to drain the cyst. This would require an overnight stay so they can observe him afterwards. This is a lower risk than surgery but should give him a lot of relief. He has said that it will cost no more that £700. OH and I have discussed and decided to go ahead. It is clearly needed and there is the concern that the poor thingís life may well be shortened if we donít do it. The procedure is scheduled for the week after next. We will both have been paid by then and I am going to use the extra money from the work in Germany to pay for it. Iím hoping that we will also have received back the money from the insurance for the last procedure. This means that at least the emergency fund will be back up to £1000.
    Work has been really busy, but we are both planning to take some time off during the week after next. I need to get away from work for a few days!
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • Hazelnutty
    • By Hazelnutty 18th Oct 18, 10:02 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 757 Thanks
    Hazelnutty
    Fingers crossed for the operation GHF. I hope he has a speedy recovery.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 20th Oct 18, 9:24 AM
    • 329 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Fingers crossed for the operation GHF. I hope he has a speedy recovery.
    Originally posted by Hazelnutty
    Thanks Hazelnutty
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
    • glass_half_full
    • By glass_half_full 20th Oct 18, 9:25 AM
    • 329 Posts
    • 809 Thanks
    glass_half_full
    Good morning diary and all,
    Made it to the weekend! We have a quiet weekend ahead which is nice. One week away from pay day and just about keeping inside the budget which is good.
    Had a great piano lesson yesterday. I had a chat with my teacher and we are going to start working towards grade 3, quite exciting to choose the pieces etc. I need to get back into the good discipline of daily practice.
    Have a great day all!
    Mortgage June 2018 £79,600 I Mortgage now - £77,278 I MFW Target July 2023 I Emergency fund target £4,000 by Feb 2019 I now £700 I Car loan £17,600 I Target pay off December 2019.
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