A rather large update

We are officially debt free!

After just over 18 months of hard graft (and a little help from a certain budgeting programme*...) our only debt is to our mortgage company. It's not come without it's sacrifices, but I can honestly say it was one of the best things we ever did. When I started on this journey I thought I was financially savvy. But I was plain stupid: over £40k of debt, a fancy car on PCP and nothing to show for our work at the end of each month. After facing up to our dire situation, we formulated a plan which led us to this day.

Here are the core principles to which we credit our success...

1. Track every penny. Knowledge is power, my friend. Our first step towards financial comfort was getting to grips with where all our hard earned money was going. We had previously thought we knew what our spending looked like, but oh how wrong we were! £4 pints of ale lost their appeal, once we realised we were quite literally pissing away our chance at being mortgage free in our early thirties...

I highly recommend YNAB for helping to develop your amazing budgeting superpowers, but I believe there are other free apps and spreadsheets that can do the job too. Once you've got this down, the next tip follows naturally.

2. Stop spending. No, I'm not being facetious. If you're serious about cutting costs, stop planning to waste money on anything that will hinder your progress and doesn't align with your ideals. It's far less psychologically taxing to walk past the coffee shop when there is a hard and fast rule about it, than to have to make the decision each and every time, and it also helps you get creative at solving problems without parting with your cash. We were given some tomato plants yesterday and had no pots in which to replant them. A quick walk around the neighbourhood, a slick dip in a skip and we had them, for free.

A deliciously simple, and cheap, homemade lunch. Sorry Mr. Coffee Shop - you won't be having any of my paycheque!

3. Timing is everything. Highest interest debt first. Or, if motivation is your problem, smallest debt first. It doesn't matter too much which tactic you use, as long as you're using one. If you erratically service your debts without a clear plan, it's very hard to stay focussed and motivated. Seeing the savings mount, or a few small debts fall like dominoes, can be a real kick up the arse.

4. Mo' money. OK, it may seem obvious, but so many budgeting blogs focus on lowering outgoings. That is, of course, probably the most impactful way most of us can increase our bank balances, but it's also worth examining what's coming in, too. Negotiate a raise, clear out your loft, babysit, walk dogs, mow lawns, rewrite your CV. Every little helps. Once your debt snowball gains momentum, it really starts to speed up!

5. Do not underestimate the powder of DIY. And I don't just mean around the house, though I am chuffed with Mr. Miser's efforts at levelling our garden and repairing our fence. I cut my own hair (more to come on that, later), make nearly everything - including bread - from scratch and have tried just about every home repair that has been necessary at Miser HQ...including re-wiring an oven! Remember, Youtube is your friend. But big balls - and a love of learning - help.



Tada! Lumps, bumps and random foot deep holes be gone! Now for the fences, patio, wall, path and plants...

Once you get into the groove, money saving can be fun! We started off solely with the intention of being debt free, but now we've harnessed the power of frugality, there is no way back. Next stop: Total World Domi- early retirement!


What are you doing to achieve your dreams?

LMM

*If you use this link to sign up, we both get a month free!

Comments

  1. Fantastic job getting debt free so quickly LMM!

    Loving the DIY stuff as well. We're moderately frugal in comparison but by keeping car, housing and having a bit of a DIY ethic has saved us a decent amount over the years compared to our peers and so have managed to cut back on the work already.

    Good luck for the next part of the savings plan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think I spotted your post on re-doing your bathroom! I'm in awe, but neither of us are that handy, yet! I'm considering spending £150 on courses at a local college. They do plumbing, carpentry, painting/decorating or plastering. Hopefully it would pay for itself!

      Thank you for coming by - love your blog!

      Delete
    2. Me and my brother in law were talking about doing a plastering course at the local college.
      Sounds like a great investment to me, I reckon you'd make your money back and then some with just one fairly small project.

      Delete
    3. Me and my brother in law were talking about doing a plastering course at the local college.
      Sounds like a great investment to me, I reckon you'd make your money back and then some with just one fairly small project.

      Delete

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