Over the last couple of years, our spending has got a little, out of hand. Now, I don’t mean we’ve been spending what we can’t afford, the opposite, we’ve been spending because we can and for 2018 we want to switch from frivolous to frugal to reach a few goals.
Care Free Spending
Being able to spend what we want, how we want is a pretty new thing for us. Until recently we’ve been very tight in what we have and haven’t spent money on because we just didn’t have it to spend.
At the start of 2016 we were in rented accommodation with around £12,000 in debts slowly being chipped away at. No real savings other than what was put into Aaron’s Share Save scheme at work and barely enough cash to even think about saving for a house deposit.
That all changed when we set ourselves the goal to be debt-free by the end of 2016 and have a house deposit saved by the end of 2017. In fact, we were that determined we smashed both goals and have been homeowners for just over a year – achieving both goals by the end of 2016.
A New Set Of Goals For 2018 & Beyond
A new year often brings new goals, new wants in life and a desire for change. Heading into 2018 is no different and this year we have our sights set on another set of financial goals.
Our plan is to HEAVILY reduce what we’re spending in order to pay off the maximum payment on to our mortgage each month – yes, we want to double up our mortgage payments.
At the end of 2018 our fixed term on the current mortgage ends so we’re in the market to remortgage. We’ve been doing the maths and we could potentially reduce our mortgage payment by up to £200 a month – our current mortgage was with a broker as we were first-time buyers with a not so perfect credit history.
Early checks with our bank have confirmed that they’ll be happy to offer us a remortgage and depending on the rates at the time, drastically reduce how much we pay each month.
Also, the more we pay off before the remortgage, the better the rates will be for us so we’re hoping to overpay this year by around £4,000.
We’ll be getting the ball rolling for that after the summer holidays and expect to be saving around the £150 a month mark. This saving, along with what we were overpaying will then go into overpaying the new mortgage.
We have a five-year plan which involves having no mortgage…AT ALL! It’s a huge goal but one we think we can achieve if we knuckle down and restrict ourselves.
Any additional money we can’t put directly into the mortgage will be thrown into a savings account and used near the end of the mortgage to help pay the last bit off.
The “Five-Year Plan” & How We’re Achieving It
Well, the main part of it is to be earning enough from home that Aaron can work full-time on his webcomic. So rather than trying to match his income we’re reducing our outgoings. That way there is less for us to pay out each month so we don’t need as much coming in.
Cut Down On Unnecessary Spends
This is the most obvious one. We’ve got to a point where we just spend it because we can and for the next few years we’re going to be stopping that and only buying if we need it.
Rather than eating out every weekend we’re going to set aside some “family day out” money which could be a trip to the cinema, a visit to the seaside, a meal out or similar. Once a month and make it special.
Keep An Eye On Outgoings
I’m already on the ball when it comes to switching things like gas and electric, as soon as our supplier starts looking more expensive then I’ll make the switch – and do it via TopCashback.
Our current supplier has just increased our monthly payment to £117 a month but hasn’t been recording our meter readings, and by the looks of it owes US a heck of a lot of money.
While this investigation goes on (mistakes started with the old supplier) they’ve reduced out payments back down to the £80 we had them at originally but even then, based on our usage, it’s more than we should be paying.
House and car insurances have been paid for a year in advance and we only pay line rental for broadband. We have a couple of phone contracts due to end this year so that’ll drop our outgoings even more.
Budget & Meal Plan
Something I’ve always been pretty bad at is meal planning. I tend to just wing it which results in a couple of extra trips to Asda for things that are quick like burgers or pizza…even ordering in Chinese.
Again I’m looking to lose weight (hopefully all of it) in 2018 so cutting down on the junk food will also save on the pennies. Meals based around foods like lentils and beans are so cheap, also some great soups come in at pennies to make.
We’ll be looking at a maximum weekly spend of £50 which is probably going to be a challenge for us.
Increase My Earnings
It’s not really possible for Aaron to work any more hours because he works set night shifts, so until his webcomic is making an income it’s up to me to bring in the additional cash.
Now, my blogs already bring in what we’ve referred to as “spending money” for the family but that is now being funnelled into achieving this goal. At least for the next year, I’ll be looking at ways to earn a bit more, whether they’re tried and tested methods that I’ve just stopped doing or some new ways.
Documenting Our Progress
I’m not really someone who can be bothered to produce monthly income reports like a few other bloggers do, but I will be producing a monthly progress report.
Letting you guys know how much we’ve been able to save, where we’ve made the savings and anything we’ve learnt along the way. This way I’m held accountable for keeping up on track.
Also, things like the meal plans will be a great thing to share with you or over on my Vegan Bloggers site.
So, here is my big financial goals for 2018. Nothing specific besides paying an additional £4,000 into the mortgage, give or take a few £100. I’m looking forward to reporting how our first month has gone.
If you have any tips, feel free to pop them in the comments for me to take a look at.
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