Friday, 3 August 2012

Frugal Friday...

Looking towards Lochmaddy from Blaisheval, North Uist
We made another "extra" overpayment to the mortgage this week. This isn't that unusual in itself - we do so when we can, when we have some "money we didn't know we had"  - a refund from something, or the two months when we don't have to pay the council tax...and of course this is on top of the "regular" overpayment - we overpay by 55% on the basic amount each month anyway, an amount we have worked up to over the years, adding a little extra here and a little extra there. When our income fell, rather than taking the "easy" approach and knocking the overpayments on the head, or reducing them for a while, instead we worked our backsides of shaving pennies off everywhere else we could think of in order to continue throwing that extra amount at it each month.

From Burrival, North Uist.
We've marked our progress out as we have gone along with "milestones" - the first of these was the "tipping point" where suddenly we were paying more in capital off it each month that we were in interest. In terms of hammering down a mortgage, that is the point at which you can really start to see the amount owing dropping. Then there was the split in Northern Rock (who we have our mortgage with) when we found ourselves in the "good bank" - I was told in a NR branch that 98% of mortgage customers got left with NRAM, meaning that when their fixed rate deals ended they got stuck on the (quite high) standard variable rate, so for us that was a real result.  Another biggie was getting our new mortgage deal last year when we were able to knock a whole 5 years off the remaining term thanks to the work we had already done overpaying! Each time we go into a new "ten thousand" bracket is cause for celebrations too - we're hammering the amount outstanding down by about 10k a year at the moment too so there will be another one of those along early next year! The latest MASSIVE milestone came when we made that extra payment this week - if all goes to plan, and we are able to keep overpaying as we are, then in six years from now we will have made our final mortgage payment!

Looking over Lochmaddy from North Lee, North Uist.
We've done all this by cutting back, and by making savings where we can, utilising any "extra" money that happens along, and treating pay increases as things to be ignored for the most part. What we haven't done though is cut our lives back to nothing. We still go out, see friends, go to sporting events, and treat ourselves to the occasional takeaway. We go away for weekends - taking the tent to keep the costs down - and enjoy trips to beer festivals, food festivals and other events. When birthdays and Christmas come along we celebrate, and if we're invited out for a meal we usually try to make it. Back in the spring we had a fabulous weekend in Barcelona with the rugby team, and later in the year we will be travelling to Cardiff for the British speedway Grand Prix. The motto is "Frugal, yes, Tight, no!" We're keen to get rid of the mortgage so that we can move our lives on in the direction we wish, but not at the expense of living life now too. Anything could happen to either one of us in the next six years, although touch wood nothing will, but you never know - life is short and we have only limited control over the path we tread. Sure we have an eventual goal in mind, but equally life now is for living, for grabbing with both hands and relishing every second of. All being well we will reach and enjoy our goal within the timescale we have set ourselves, but if the worst comes to the worst, we will also have a lot of great memories of things we "went and did" rather than "things we could have done, but we decided to save the money for the mortgage". Remember to look at the view, not just focus on the climb.



cheri said...

I love that you are also living your life now as well as shaving off the pennies. I think I have a lot to learn from you.

Hope that the beer festival is fun and I am hoping to see a blog post for that

Robyn said...

Aww thanks Cheri - I rather feel we ALL have a lot to learn from each other!
Beer festival post...hmmmm..that's a thought!