Getting on the property ladder

I mentioned in my post here about buying a share of my flat, since then we have had the valuation and I have to say I am not very happy with it. The valuation we have been given is considerably higher than I feel the flat is valued at particularly as it does not come with a parking space which i feel would be an issue when we come to resell. Based on the price they would also put the service charge up to almost £100 a month not a fee I really want to pay.

however I still think at the moment part buy is the best way for us to get on the housing ladder especially living in the area we live in, we have now registered our interest in some other part buy part rent properties which have several advantages. A garden and parking space being the main too, they are also out of the city which has both advantages and disadvantages.

so at the moment we are going to continue to save as much as we can while we wait to find out if we are eligible for the new houses.  I am trying to decide if its worth decreasing my credit card payments while I save for a deposit.

The spending diary is really helping me think about what I am spending. I am also thinking about other ways we can make some extra money, and how much we can reduce our budget by while still having a bit of fun.

how do you stay motivated with your goals?

Toddler Snacks

I am slowly getting back into cooking and meal prep and one of the things I’m working on is making sure T has healthy snacks, both for eating at home and packing for nursery. at the moment we are loving

Banana and courgette loaf – i use this recipe and change it up a bit

  • I use a mixture of carrot and courgette
  • I don’t add any nuts
  • we use chopped dates instead of raisins
  • we don’t usually have natural yoghurt so i don’t use any

Bread sticks – at home i service breadsticks and cream cheese out and about I often use Cheese dipper type snacks

yoghurts – If he could T would live on yoghurts, I also like to freeze the yoghurts in tubes as an alternative to giving him ice-cream.

Fruit – is something that I like T to eat but its something he used to delight in throwing at me – now he’s actually started to eat it more so i have also been making up little fruit salads to share, he’s liking blueberries grapes and peaches at the moment.

I am really enjoying being able to share a snack with T or him eating something and letting me drink a cup of tea.

working as a team

I feel in the last few weeks me and Sam are working far more as a team, I am slowly accepting that he is the sort of person that needs to be asked to do something rather that knowing automatically than it needs to be done.

we had a chat about finances and he understands more how the spending diary works and that as a weekly average our food spend is fairly low. We both have similar goals of buying a house and then over paying the mortgage where possible, its just the pesky deposit issue to sort out. although I do most of the budgeting and food planning its nice to have a second opinion rather that him just telling me he trusts me.

We are also making more of an effort to ensure the washing up is done before going to bed, getting up to a clean kitchen does wonders for my mood and makes me far more inclined to cook. I just wish I had the motivation to make sure the whole place was tidy before bed, If i can’t keep a flat tidy I have no idea how I will cope with a house if we ever get one

 

Friday finances – the spending diary

We have started tracking our spending more seriously – I had been tracking our household expenses we now track.
Food
Alcohol
Cleaning products – also includes things like tin foil
Other – includes presents and clothes and baby stuff
Going out.
we use a excel spread sheet and calculate a weekly average as some weeks we spend more than others

its made me realise several things:

I don’t spend as much on Alcohol for drinking at home as I used but I do spend more than I thought on going out – but its less than we budget for and it also includes days out as a family so I am happy with that.

Knowing that I am keeping a written record seems to make me think about my spending more as I feel like I’m making myself more accountable, the fact theres more money in my account than there normally is at this time of the month supports that view.

If I keep an eye on my spending there will be money left over at the end of the month – which means we can save towards a house deposit.

 

Do you keep a spending diary?

Family days out

Spending more time with Sam’s family is something I have said about wanting to do before. Today we heading off to the Royal Victoria Country Park. Its somewhere I used to go too a lot with Brownies and Guides while I was younger. we took a picnic, so I was up early cooking chicken legs. It was lovely to sit on the grass and watch T practise his running around and playing with his family. We then went up to the park, which is adapted  for wheelchairs – this meant we could push T’s Bike almost right up the slide, and the slide was wide enough for us to slide down together, not like the park near me where my bum got stuck.   We Then went on the little minute railway, which i’m sure went a lot closer the the waterside when I was little. T sat really nicely and watched the scenery go by.

T and Daddy on the train

watching the world go by

we finished up with ice creams and sitting in the sun. it was nice to spend the day together and even nicer that we did it without spending lots of money. hope everyone is enjoying the summer and checking out their local country parks.

Financial Goals – A change in direction

I have spoken before, about paying off my credit card being one of my main financial goals and while I would love to be debt free that goal is going to be put on hold for a little while. I am still over paying on my card but we have decided to look at buying a share of our flat. its something that I have thought about before and its not a straightforward decision there are several cons :

  • Our service charge is likely to go up
  • its not where I want to live for ever
  • I am not sure how easy it will be too sell.

but there are also pros

  • based on the figures buying a 25% share will cost between 60 – 100 less a month than we currently pay
  • we will actually be on the property ladder – living in the south of England means house prices are a lot higher than other parts of the country.
  • we can then over pay the small shared ownership mortgage and use it like a deposit in a few years.

At the moment the plan is to save as much as we can towards a deposit, while we get our flat valued and check out any other part buys that are available locally.

Do you rent? or have you managed to get on the property ladder?

 

Menu monday – having extra room in the freezer.

linking up with http://orgjunkie.com/menu-plan-monday-guidelines

I have always like the idea of prepping several days or weeks of meals like this http://www.pinterest.com/pin/88664686386431317/ but we only had a fridge- freezer with 2 drawers and a small top compartment. This week after talking it over for a while we brought another freezer. Its a small 100litre chest freezer, we had some Argos vouchers to use so it only cost £50 which I’m sure we will be able to save in our food shop and start properly meal planning.

We plugged in the new freezer over the weekend, and moved the meat into it as we did so we wrote on the top of the freezer with whats inside so I know what we have without rooting around.

Sunday Summary

We have had a really nice week, Sam took the week off so we have spent lots of time as a family, I had really wanted to go away but we couldn’t justify the extra costs of going away during school holidays even a holiday in the UK was extremly costly compared to regular prices. So instead we enjoyed time at home.

We sorted out some bits in the flat, including getting another freezer so I can do more bulk cooking, and putting up the shelf i’ve had sat in the corner for nearly 2 years.

We went out for a day at a local country park, with animals it was lovely watching T do different animal signs and saying the animal names

 

t meeting the sheep

 

We also had a meeting with a mortgage advisor which went really well – more to come on that later.

Today were relaxing after a nice home cooked roast dinner with Sam’s dad.

 

self sabotage

This is one of those posts that I really wasn’t sure about writing, as it feels very self indulgent but its something that i feel is affecting my life and hopefully by sharing i can process it a bit better.

I seem to be finding it really difficult to just be happy or to deal with the things I feel are getting in the way of my happiness. Rather than being happy with what I have.

  • A job with hours that suit me with enough money to have some spare at the end of the month
  • A loving and supportive Family
  • Some close Friends
  • A partner that loves and supports me

instead I seem to focus on the negatives.

  • The place doesn’t look or “feel” how I want it too
  • we don’t have more money
  • I don’t use my time productively.
  • certain people not liking me.

which are all issues that i can fix myself I just get a bit self defeating and would rather mope about it.

I am going to go get dressed and go for a walk with my little family and hope I come back with a clearer head.

Frugal Thursday – Apps to save money

Today I want to share some of my favourite money saving / making apps with you. Im not very good with printable coupons as they involve going to the library and paying to use a printer but I always have my phone on me.

i-poll

I found out about i-poll from a post A thrifty Mrs did about which you can read here , it pays you money for completing surveys these some involve completing tasks at certain stores – one a while ago involved taking pictures of the coke display at ASDA.  You don’t get surveys and tasks all the time and i think it varies from place to place but they are fairly well paid. you can also use the app about the website but thats something I often forget about.

 

Checkout smart

gives you cash back on certain purchases from certain stores from what I have seen so far its only supermarkets- you use the camera to upload a picture of the receipt with the item on, and they your cash back is uploaded.  I like the fact that it sometimes gives 100% cash back so you are effectively getting a free item.  You do need a balance of over £20 to check out without incurring a fee of 5% but you can have the money paid via paypal or directly into your account.

 

Quidco* ( referral link )

Lots of people know about quidco as an online cash back site but the mobile app also allows you to check which stores will give you inshore cash back when you use your registered card, its not as good now they have got rid of the check in feature but its worth having your card registered for purchases your going to make anyway cash back is like free money.

 

VoucherCloud

this in another app with a website, it uses your phones gps to pinpoint deals local to you. you can then bring up the voucher on your phone. I tend to use this for restaurant discounts, you don’t save as much as you might with a 2 for 1 voucher but a saving is still a saving and I don’t always know I’m going out with enough notice to start printing vouchers.

 

theres loads more but those are the ones I use on a regular basis.