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  • FIRST POST
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 9th Jul 18, 3:35 PM
    • 91Posts
    • 275Thanks
    katsoocam
    Long Term Mortgage Free Wannabe
    • #1
    • 9th Jul 18, 3:35 PM
    Long Term Mortgage Free Wannabe 9th Jul 18 at 3:35 PM
    Hello
    I am a long time reader and finally have some time on my hands to write this so here goes!
    I am 34 and just started maternity leave (baby due today in fact!). First baby.
    My husband and I bought our first home last year and have 24 years to go on our mortgage, which is s 2.18% five year fix - we knew we wanted kids in the next couple of years and didn't want to be looking for a new deal while I was on maternity pay. The balance is 310,402.72. We bought a decent sized family home and plan to be here at least 5-6 years, after which we may need to move for hub's work. We scraped together a 20% deposit with significant frugality and overtime, but haven't made any overpayments. We have been restoring our emergency fund and saving up a maternity leave fund over the last year, plus we have a retirement ISA. We both have work pensions too and it is a good scheme.

    Debts other than mortgage....we have a car and some furniture both on 0% finance. We actually have the money to pay for these stashed in the highest interest easy access account we could get, and take the money from the account each month to pay the DD. We have no CC, though we have toyed with getting a cashback one, but have never done it.

    We earn a good salary each and our monthly expenses inc mortgage etc are covered by one of our wages. We planned this for maternity leave purposes. We could have three children in nursery full time and it would still be worth my while to work, just focusing on this one at the moment though!

    However, I would love to retire at 55 which means we need to pare down our debt and increase our savings substantially. Hence my post.

    Would be really grateful for areas to focus on to reduce our expenditure. Thinking about this a tiny chunk at a time, not even even 1% but 0.1 of a % at a time!

    Things we do already: shop at Aldi (and Asda for a couple of bits). Our monthly budget is probably about 150-180 for two adults, this includes all cleaning products and toiletries. Pre move we were spending about 100 so I know we could cut this back a bit, but we have been stocking up the freezer with batch cooks etc for when the baby arrives, so our spend should reduce a bit when we start using that (and we have about four months worth stashed away in the freezer!), shop around for our insurances and for our utilities. We do have the basic sky package but I hustle every time they try and put the bill up, and we do utilise it.

    Suggestions, tools, areas to focus on...all gratefully received!
Page 3
    • Miss Money Magnet
    • By Miss Money Magnet 8th Aug 18, 6:53 AM
    • 126 Posts
    • 421 Thanks
    Miss Money Magnet
    Hi, Ive enjoyed reading your diary. How do you get your food shopping so low? Id love it if you shared an example of a weeks meal plan!
    "Never underestimate the power of small amounts"
    New Mortgage started March 17 236,000 (28 years) NOW 231,500 March 3 18. 68% LTV.
    Nov 18 226000 63% ltv
    Regular overpayment of 150 Nov 18
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 8th Aug 18, 1:48 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Hi, Ive enjoyed reading your diary. How do you get your food shopping so low? Id love it if you shared an example of a weeks meal plan!
    Originally posted by Miss Money Magnet
    Well I am just getting back into being good, we were great for a couple of years while saving for our wedding and house, then got a bit naughty and relaxed after moving.
    Essentially it's a combination of batch cooking, shopping opportunistically and being quite strict about what we eat.
    We always have three veggie meals, one fish and three meat. We get meat in a massive bundle from the butcher, when it is on offer and when it is yellow stickered. We have a big freezer and if I have room in the grocery/toiletries budget (currently 150 to allow for nappies etc!) and I see it yellow stickered or on a good offer - Lidl is great for these - I will buy a load and chuck them in the freezer.
    Every couple of months I will then batch cook and we eat 3-4 batch cooks a week. Typical things are sausage casserole, campfire stew, Thai curry, bolognese, chilli, shepherd's pie, sausage pasta, cottage pie, veggie versions of most of these, assorted curries etc.
    Then the weekly menu will be say, bolognese, veggie shepherd's pie, fish (we buy frozen) potatoes and veg, jacket potato cheese and beans, sausage pasta, veggie curry, sausages and jacket potatoes. We take sandwiches or leftovers for lunch. I don't drink and my husband isn't a big drinker, he will have a couple of beers at the weekend. We try and eat mostly fruit for pudding and we shop mostly at Aldi or Lidl. Cereal for lunch!

    Ooh and a slow cooker is really helpful!
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 9th Aug 18, 5:21 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Productive night feeds: racked up nearly 100 Swagbucks (soon I can cash out 5) and a YouGov survey! Here's hoping I get to 50 on YoGov by December, as it would be 20% of my tiny overpayment target for this year.
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 10th Aug 18, 11:48 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Last chunk of inheritance through. Put the money aside for the party. That leaves my major funds as:
    1) Future Mat Leave Fund 20000/28000 71.4%
    2) Current Mat Leave Fund 8065.24/12000 67.21%
    3) Emergency Fund 15000/15000 100%
    Adding on....
    4) Maternity Childcare Fund Need 8000ish a year per child for them to do 3 days a week. So it will be 24000 roughly (not allowing for tax free childcare or thirty free hours etc, which I don't want to count on, because who knows what will be in place by then). So this is quite a chunk...best get saving !!!128584;.
    Also we would need to go up to two cars before I go back to work and we want to get the garden done - hoping to add to the house value with a well planned low maintenance garden. Best sell a kidney I think....
    Last edited by katsoocam; 10-08-2018 at 2:37 PM. Reason: Wrong number
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 12th Aug 18, 10:21 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Just about survived a weekend more or less alone with the baby (hub was at work, 2.5hour round trip, 12.5 hour shifts!).
    Need to open a high interest account to put the emergency fund and the first bit of mat leave money in (going for the Cov 1.4% one I think). Might as well make it work!
    Have a really short grocery list for tomorrow... We are on 78.74/150 for this month which I am confident we will fall well within, we are really economising. I did a freezer audit and there was alsorts in there! Did the meal plan through to Friday and everything is a freezer meal this week. Fortunately the baby is well supplied as someone bought us 3 big packets of size 2 nappies and we bulk bought cotton wool!
    Last edited by katsoocam; 12-08-2018 at 10:23 PM. Reason: Extra to writex
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 13th Aug 18, 7:10 AM
    • 692 Posts
    • 3,231 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Sounds all good here Katsoocam. It is lovely that you have been given your inheritance at a time in your life when you actually need it - most people inherit when they are much older and financially secure. It is so lovely to see you being sensible and putting it to good use too.
    • BachSoon
    • By BachSoon 13th Aug 18, 7:23 AM
    • 58 Posts
    • 114 Thanks
    BachSoon
    Hi Katsoocam!

    I have found your diary recently and read it all in one go, it's so interesting! (Read during last night's night feeds incidentally )
    My LO is 5.5 months old. Enjoy every second of the newborn stage because it goes so quickly!!!
    I second what others have said about cloth nappies. I've put my son in cloth since he was about a week old and have never looked back. If you want any more info, just say! I won't give loads right now as I can get a bit evangelical about them
    You're so on the ball with being MSE so soon after the birth! After my LO arrived, all I really achieved during night time cluster feeds was watching judge tinder with headphones and eating belvita breakfast biscuits
    Good luck with your plans and your admirable goals. I shall read with interest!
    • BachSoon
    • By BachSoon 13th Aug 18, 7:36 AM
    • 58 Posts
    • 114 Thanks
    BachSoon
    :P.s. in relation to putting your LO down to get stuff done, have you thought about putting her in a sling or carrier? I use one loads and it keeps them snuggled to you where they like it and feel more comfortable, but gives you your hands back! Some people can even feed in them (the stretchy fabric ones). Mine is one of the more structured ones as DH didn't think the fabric ones were as safe but I still love it.
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 14th Aug 18, 5:20 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    :P.s. in relation to putting your LO down to get stuff done, have you thought about putting her in a sling or carrier? I use one loads and it keeps them snuggled to you where they like it and feel more comfortable, but gives you your hands back! Some people can even feed in them (the stretchy fabric ones). Mine is one of the more structured ones as DH didn't think the fabric ones were as safe but I still love it.
    Originally posted by BachSoon
    Hi Katsoocam!

    I have found your diary recently and read it all in one go, it's so interesting! (Read during last night's night feeds incidentally )
    My LO is 5.5 months old. Enjoy every second of the newborn stage because it goes so quickly!!!
    I second what others have said about cloth nappies. I've put my son in cloth since he was about a week old and have never looked back. If you want any more info, just say! I won't give loads right now as I can get a bit evangelical about them
    You're so on the ball with being MSE so soon after the birth! After my LO arrived, all I really achieved during night time cluster feeds was watching judge tinder with headphones and eating belvita breakfast biscuits
    Good luck with your plans and your admirable goals. I shall read with interest!
    Originally posted by BachSoon
    Thanks it is nice to hear from another Mum! Sadly zero acceptance factor from hub re reuseable nappies but I am working on it. I'm being as MSE as possible and using Aldi ones though.
    Re sling actually I have been using my caboo close the last few days! Got a bit of a late start because after she arrived my parents were here for two weeks and hub got three weeks off, so there was always someone wanting a cuddle, plus it was so hot! So I've been wearing it for two hours each morning, an hour of chores and an hour of crochet She seems to like it and seems to sleep better at night after being in it, at least with me - I can't account for that!
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 17th Aug 18, 8:05 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Well it's been a busy week and I'm behind with my posting. Grocery budget has done well - we are on 122.07 but I have stocked up on a few things, they had dishwasher and washing machine cleaner as a special buy in Lidl so I got a year's supply for each, plus they had swim nappies on special buy in Aldi, I bought two packets as they were a great price and she is already signed up for swimming lessons in a couple of months (a kind present from Mr Katsoocam's godfather). So there has been a little stocking up here.
    So we are going for the freezer meals for the rest of the month, but still have nearly 30 for groceries and toiletries. Next month I expect there will be party leftovers (I mentioned we are having two parties next weekend I think!!) as well as still plenty of food in the freezer. So I'm going to have a store cupboard/leftovers month, aim for 100, and take 50 from the 150 budget and do our branded toiletries stock up. We do have a few things we use that aren't Aldi/Lidl and I generally get 6 months at a time.
    Today we went out for a scheduled lunch, our once a month meal out, which was nice, and it took us so long to get organised we haven't needed dinner either! It's really nice to get out as a lot of my time is cluster feeding on the sofa st the moment. We only have one car right now and town is a 30-40 minute walk so I am a bit limited when hub is at work.
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 23rd Aug 18, 3:51 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Well it's been a few days!
    We did well with our grocery budget (payday is tomorrow) and though we came in a few pounds over the 150 this is still a massive improvement on the 250 plus, so I will take it. We will do better next month!
    We got our new TV as requested by my Mum so our savings have come down a smidge - I will update the accounts after payday though to avoid doing it twice in a week.
    I have been potting any bits and bobs for Xmas as much as possible. Hoping when we crack the jar at the beginning of November there will be enough for most of the Xmas food. Really excited about an Xmas off work to be honest, I always seem to end up working Christmas.
    Hub is at a new place for work and loving it. It is much less busy than where it is before. Normally this would bore him but with the baby to fuss over he is loving the early finishes. Sadly the commute is 1 hr 15 but it is only for a year.
    I got a mani pedi today with my maternity pocket money which definitely is helping with the sleep deprivation etc��. Though darling daughter has done four hours and is now back to sleep after a big feed! Not quite sure what is happening!! But I've checked and she looks well.
    On that note, baby sleeps, so Mum sleeps, zzzzzzzzzz.
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
    • katsoocam
    • By katsoocam 1st Sep 18, 5:40 AM
    • 91 Posts
    • 275 Thanks
    katsoocam
    Well it's been a week or so but we have been very busy with the MIL's party and our BBQ the next day. We came in below budget for both events (thank god for Lidl) and we had to throw very little away. The freezers are stuffed with leftovers so our food shopping for this month should be even better than last month.
    Updated financial goals:
    1) Future Mat Leave Fund 20000/28000 71.4%
    2) Current Mat Leave Fund 10161.19/12000 92.4%
    3) Emergency Fund 15000/15000 100%
    4) Maternity Childcare Fund 0/24000
    Adding in retirement fund (this is in addition to pension and what we will get from downsizing a little from our eventual family home)
    5) Retirement Fund Account 1) 155884.09 (this is in a stocks and shares ISA so fluctuates) 2) 0 (Lifetime ISA, idea being any little bits of cash get swept into this) Total: 155884.09/1000000 15.6%
    Also adding in car fund for deposit for our next car, I don't drive and I am having lessons. Hub currently driving what will be my car and he will get something new.
    6) Car Fund 9829.71 (note we also use this account for the payments on the current car, this is a high interest account and we got 0% finance). I don't really have a target for this.
    Financial Goals for September:
    1) Finish main goal 2)
    2) Put at least 1000 towards main goal 1)
    3) Open high interest account for emergency fund and first 20000 of future mat leave fund
    4)Open Lifetime Cash ISA
    Food and toiletries budget for this month is 150 again, mostly because we are low on toiletries. I stocked up at Wilko's, waiting for the order to arrive. It was a 6 month stock up so grocery budget is now 78. We can do it! Madam has a fortnight's nappies as she is now in the size 2 section of the pre delivery stash.
    Though the food leftovers weren't that massive, we got brought loads of drink, so we did have a fair bit left. Upshot is we have enough beer for Xmas, easily (also at our house this year), plus enough to keep hub going until then (he is not a big drinker) plus we have 15 assorted bottles of wine and fizz we didn't have before the weekend... We also got lots of baby stuff as gifts - won't need to buy much before she is 9 months.
    Goals for this week:
    1) Audit freezer contents (our audit is very out of date, plus I just flung stuff into the freezer at the end of the party so nothing would go off, so need to figure out what we have.
    2) Finish Xmas present number 2
    3) Unpack 3 of remaining moving boxes
    4) Put stuff waiting to go in loft up there
    Mortgage Balance: 309586.78
    Total Savings: 51221.04
    ISA: 156616.18
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge No. 107 15000/150000 100% Target Achieved
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 11 No. 52
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