Thursday 18 January 2024

Plotting and planning...

River Stort - 14th January 2024

I was doing some reading back over the blog (on the basis that at least someone is still reading it, then!) and it's got me all inspired to maybe make some fun plans for the new year to share with you all - what do you think? First up - and as always really the cornerstone of everything, will be the financial stuff...

With the new house, our financial situation has changed fairly dramatically - although the new mortgage isn't particularly huge by many people's standards, we are working on precisely the same approach as when we had the mortgage on the flat (which was in fact slightly smaller than this one!) - that being, that we want to see it gone! As a result, and learning from our experience first time round, we made our first overpayment this time immediately - in fact, technically, before the first contractual payment was made - which was a pretty good feeling! We've overpaid each month since then, and will be continuing to do this going forwards. As before, the "saved" money from the two "free" Council Tax months will also go across to the mortgage as this has always been a good easy win. One thing that is an absolute joy this time is the ease of making overpayments - a complete contrast the faff last time round with having to phone up each time we wanted to make one, now I can simply pay money across whenever I feel like it from our banking app! It feels like a great novelty, even if I am perhaps driving MrEH (who keeps a proper tally of our overpayments, interest saved etc) just a little crazy by occasionally paying off odd amounts to bring us up to a nice round number outstanding! 

We're now working to a completely new budget as you might expect - and that is under fairly constant review at the moment. We are also still aiming to stash a decent chunk into savings each month - currently we can save at a higher interest rate than the mortgage is costing us, so while it makes sense to pay some money off against the mortgage, it also makes sense to ensure that the majority of our monthly surplus is still allocated to savings.  We have new savings pots - for things for the garden among other things - and are also having to adjust to having to carefully pick and choose what we say yes to doing, as the balance of what we want to do financially doesn't allow for the fairly regular weekends away we were able to agree to previously. We're also actively working to make savings where we can - and as always, as those savings are made, that money will be squirreled away into our Mortgage Overpayments Pot - from there, each time the balance reaches £100 a little chunk is paid to the mortgage. 

One substantial change we have to our plans for 2024 is that there will be no Great British Beer Festival - the decision had to be announced that we were unable to hold the festival this year due to issues with the venue. It's disappointing - as these days it forms a massive part of our year - but we will still be working hard in the background to ensure that when the festival makes its return in 2025 it's the best it has ever been. From my perspective this will mean some changes to the airshows I can attend as well - plus enabling me to do the whole of the Royal International Air Tattoo for the first time ever - although it doesn't actively clash with GBBF, it is at the time of year when MrEH and I are both frantically busy with stuff relating to it, so I shall be making the most of that one this year. As always, I am saving monthly towards airshow fun and games to come - this means that I always know that the money is there for the tickets and accommodation for the places I want to go - a real win! 

On the house front, there really isn't a huge amount of work we need to do - but there are a few things we would like to get done in due course. Of these the most pressing is to remodel the garden which currently has rather more patio and less growing space than needed - to a man with an angle grinder will be required to change this, and we want to get it done early in the spring as that will then make a big impact on what we can grow to help with feeding ourselves in 2024.  Beyond that, there are a few internal cosmetic bits and pieces - which we mostly have the paint for already, and then we are into potentially slightly further off jobs which we may start pricing up but are unlikely to do anything about actually getting done in the near future.

Personally, I'd really like to get back to more regular running again. A back injury last year lead me to stop running AND cycling - as the type of injury it was can be made worse by both those things. There's been no improvement for not doing them though, so I am now beginning to add a little bit of running back into  my life again - and I'm loving it! So nice to be back out there again - and all the more so because I am being kind to  myself, if it's wet, I'm not going. If it's so cold I know I will be uncomfortable - not going! So mostly when I'm getting out there at the moment it's lovely bright crisp sunny weather and that is by far the nicest weather to run in so far as I am concerned, so that's brilliant! The gym has been completely abandoned at the moment as that definitely was making my back worse, but I do want to get back to adding in some proper strength work again - that will be home-based, for now at least. Oh - and yoga! I KNOW that's good for me - helping with suppleness and strength - so that is something else I want to add back in - but let's take this one thing at a time, eh?! 

How about you then? Is there plotting and planning afoot? Have you changed things in your life dramatically and are now having to readjust to the differences those changes mean? Do stop by and tell me! 


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