Sunday, 26 August 2012

Grown Up Gap Year


I'm in a quandary!
I have a milestone birthday coming up! I know age is just number but sometimes you just feel old!

Although I'm desperate to pay off our  mortgage and look to my new career I can't help feeling there are lots of other things I want to do as well ...... I'm not the sort of person to just go off travelling, and Mr M isn't particularly keen on overseas travel so what to do?!

One of the things I've always wanted to do is to volunteer  in an overseas orphanage. There are lots of companies offering these sort of volunteering  experiences and there are a lot of orphanages crying out for volunteers. One of the  projects I'm particularly drawn to  is in Ecuador and involves basic childcare of children up to the age of 7 whose parents work on the rubbish dump, sorting the rubbish ( they don't sort it like we do) It's basic childcare and then playing with the children.

From the website:

  • To love, educate, and give the children hope. We want to see the generational cycle of growing up and working in the rubbish broken.

What do you think?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A want not a need!!


We do need a new dinner service and us ours is bitty  and made up of odds now. I've been looking around the internet ( of course!) and this is the one I love

Denby Praline 16-Piece Dinner Set

But it's soo expensive! £160 for 16 pieces! But it' soo pretty and well made and British.
AND it would last a lifetime! Once upon a time I wouldn't have hesitated to buy it but now I'm thinking what the cost will be in terms of clearing our debt as well as the purchase price.

Oh well, maybe I'll just keep looking at the picture and start saving!!

What do you think?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Premier Inn Sale- Be Quick!!


This is not a sponsored post ( although I'm open to it Premier Inn!)
However I thought I'd let you know about a sale they're having on London rooms!


Rooms have to be booked before the 22nd August for stays between Friday 24th August and Sunday 4th November.
I'm thrilled as we were planning to stay in London overnight when we go to Buckingham Palace on my birthday  however the rooms were sooo expensive so we thought we may have to shelve the idea. But yesterday I booked a room at the County Hall Premier Inn for £49 instead of the £182 it was at the weekend. Yay!!!!

So if you are planning a little trip to London it may be worth looking on their website. You have to pay in advance and there are no refunds but if you're definitely going it's worth it.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Pension Dilemma Update


Just a quick update re the pension....

I'm almost certainly going to come out of the scheme April 2013, so that I will have added a full year at full time hours. 
I know that I'm very lucky as I have a husband who will leave with a full  pension. However we just don't see how the point of paying nearly £1k into pensions a month that we potentially won't be able to claim for many years all the while owing hundreds of thousands of pounds to our mortgage company     : - ( 
We've crunched the numbers and the £ 40 k I would have paid to the pension over the next 10 years will be paid off our £180 k mortgage.

Overpaying would save you
£46,994 in interest alone,
and mean you pay it off in full
8 years and 7 months earlier.

That's potentially £87 k off our mortgage from the pension alone however I won't be stopping there! I'm snowballing like a crazy woman and if I pay an extra £1k off our mortgage then should be clear in 10 years, perfect timing for my career in fostering. Yay!
I'll soon be getting  a "Mortgage Free" progress bar on my blog and joining the other mortgage free wannabees : - )

Thanks for your comments : - )

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Pension Dilemma!


 Mrs M was having a job dilemma yesterday, today I'm having a pension one!

My pension costs me a small fortune each month, it was 11% of my income, has increased by 1% and will go up by another 2 % within 2 years.

We are undergoing huge pension reforms as are many State sector workers, all the while employer contributions are decreasing and retirement age is getting further and further away.

My dilemma is this: Do I stay in the pension scheme I signed up for, knowing I don't want to do my full term in the job ( I'm hoping to  foster) and knowing that I won't be able to claim it until I'm 67 anyway.

 Or do I come out of it  and over pay my mortgage?

Overpaying would save you
£46,994 in interest alone,
and mean you pay it off in full
8 years and 7 months earlier.

My pension is vastly reduced due to paying lower payments whilst I was part-time working and is never going to be  a "full" pension like my husbands. I do worry it will leave me pensionless should anything happen between us, it isn't likely to but it  doesn't pay to be complacent.

Over-paying my pension payments and debt free amounts would lead to Mortgage freedom quicker and we could then plough cash into high interest savings which I know aren't as good as a pension but would be in our  control as opposed to our employers?

Does anyone have any suggestions/advice?

I've been waiting to use  this for ages!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Guilt about Spending!


I hope you're all loving the Olympics as much as I am? I know they're not everyone's cup of tea and I've read a few blogs where people appear perplexed about the money spent on them. I appreciate a different point of view however my view is that it has been about something positive, yes a lot of money has been spent but they have been a real shot in the  arm for us a nation, replacing apathy with pride and enthusiasm. Let's not forget the terrible scenes of  last August when there was rioting on the streets of London.

Well, I've spent a bit of money this week and unusually I feel guilty about it! I'm loving my money snowball and  have been avidly adding my spends : -( and payments : -) however  needed to buy a new iron ( mine began spurting like an old geyser!)  I shopped around and managed to find an interest free deal and with some saved points took £21 off the price. ( It was fairly expensive but it's a horrid job so anything to make it easier!)

So far so good! But then I started planning for my milestone birthday in a few weeks....  I'll have to change my "about me" put it that way! Mr M and I have a few days planned away and we are going to Somerset, we really want to go here

It's called Stourhead and is a  National Trust Property. The house is amazing and the grounds to die for!
As you walk around the grounds  there are  temples and follies to look at as well as amazing landscaping and views!
I was looking at paces to stay, as you can imagine Somerset/Dorset isn't the cheapest area to holiday in. 
I found some gorgeous B&B's, with lovely rooms and  delicious looking breakfasts but with not so delicious prices. It was averaging £230 for 3 nights B&B which seemed a lot to me! I spoke to Mr M and we both decided that it was too much and that we'd rather stay somewhere cheaper and have more cash to spend
 ( on new notebooks!!) Cue an email received from these people:

A bit of research later and we have 3 nights at a nearby Premier Inn for £127! We've stayed in Premier Inns many times before and have always found them perfectly acceptable and if you can get them at a bargain price even better!  ( I'm not sponsored  by them!) Money saved that can go towards the petrol for the journey.

But that's not all! A friend mentioned they were going to Buckingham Palace whilst it's open for the summer. It's something I've always wanted to do and it turns out so has Mr M and our son! I went on to the website and fortuitously it will still be open on my birthday in early October so £57 later the 3 of us will be off to the Palace to see the State Rooms and the Jubilee Exhibition, yay!!  

Part of me feels bad for spending this money but then I think becoming debt free is a journey and a bit like a diet. You can go cold turkey and stop spending completely but just like cutting out certain foods pretty soon you start craving them! I've reasoned with myself that my big birthday is a once in a decade occurrence and it would be nice to look back and think I had a great week with my family. And by working hard at paying off what we owe so far, has freed up some "fun money" so why the  guilty feeling?!!