No place like home!

 I am really, really lucky. I can afford to dig myself out of the mess I have made. I can go without here and there, live in a cooler (but not cold) house and I have plenty to eat. We both have jobs and we never miss a bill. We have free health care, subsidised dental and prescriptions and reasonably affordable commuting costs. I have managed to buy some new clothes this year to keep my going until the weather warms up. I also live in a beautiful part of the country.

I renewed my dream today. I want to move to a smaller, cheaper, cosier, easier to manage house where I can afford to pay off the mortgage in six/seven years. After I have paid off the mortgage then I want to work part time. I will then spend more time on craft, socialising, cooking, gardening, volunteering and walking on Bodmin Moor. By 2012, with a hard slog, we will have paid off everything we owe except our mortgage. We are snow balling and every time we pay off a debt, we just keep paying the same amount each month by over paying another debt.

My future is not a dream but something we can consciously make happen and only if we keep an eye on the finances. Diesel and train fares have increased, which means we have to make fewer journeys by car.Food prices have increased so we have to buy less or cheaper food. VAT has increased so any purchases will have to be emergencies only (if the fridge is unrepairable). Energy costs have increased so we will have to use less of it. We will also have to maximise every opportunity to make more money. I will have to clear out my other spare bedroom and fit it out and then rent it out. I will have to grow more food and start looking for ways of making more money. We need to make another £100 a month to break even to cover the costs of all the increases we have to cope with. I will find a way of doing this. Taking all of this into consideration; I am less than two years away from the dream of a simpler life. I will get there.

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28 thoughts on “No place like home!

  1. Like this layout – was finding the last one a bit tricky to read with pictures behind the text.

    You are doing so well that I know you will find that £100 a month you need one way or the other – keep up the excellent work – it is so inspirational.

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  2. You and me both FQ hence the title of my blog. My income went down by almost £400 pm in November but someone has been looking after me because I have a new starter next week (I childmind) which will cover 80% of that loss. As said before you are an inspiration and I shall be following closely in 2011.

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  3. I love your blog and I also love the part of the country you live in. We aspire to live a more simpler and rural way of life your side of the sticks some day. Our long term plan is to make that happen. I love your frugalness and will follow your blog with joy. Have a great and prosperous 2011. Trace x

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  4. Only found your blog about 6 weeks ago but have really enjoyed reading through it. I am in rather a financial mess and am determined to sort it out. I find your words inspirational and they help me stay positive when i feel like hiding my head in the sand and giving up. Thank you (am not usually a gushy person either;)
    Lou xx

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  5. VAT = value added tax is the same as American sales tax, it's on everything we buy, except food, and it's gone up from 17.5% to 20% on all purchases = 2.5% price increase on everything we buy

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  6. I'm sure you'll find a way to make up the increases. I find your blog a great inspiration because you always seem to stay positive !!
    It is about remembering all the things we have to be grateful for instead of worrying about the things we can't change !
    Keep up the great work frugal queen, you truly inspire those of us that are just starting out on the same road . Happy new year

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  7. Thanks for the explanation. Each US state has different sales taxes: some have none, such as New Hampshire, while others have up to 10.75% on purchases. We pay 6 % here, on non food groceries (exclusions are over the counter/non RX meds), sodas, there is a restaurant tax including take out as well as sit down (rates differ) and we hold the prize here in CT as having the highest taxes on our gasoline/gallon. : (
    Any increases, as your blog notes, will hit your budget. Every Jan 1 and June 1,I review the budget and adjust as needed. Many of your tips are things I incorporate as well into our lifestyle.I continuously try new things in an effort to improve our bottom line, and remain with as little debt as possible.
    So glad to have found your site. : )

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  8. Yes, a very interesting and inspirational blog. I too am sure that things will get worse before they get better, but I, like you, have seen it all before and because of my similar personal circumstances have always had to be very careful with money. It does make you realise what is important in life, and we look back with fondest memories of some of the things we did when we had least money. My perception has also changed – I cannot understand why so many people were rushing to the sales – most of what they bought was not needed and we are supposed to be in a 'credit crunch?' Good luck to you in 2011, don't be too hard on yourself though – even if you cannot pay off everything as soon as you would like, the end result will just be delayed slightly not cancelled. Keep positive x

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  9. Your health care is not free – it is paid for through taxation from your income – it is just that you dont pay at the time of service.
    Check your national insurance contributions.
    Your plans are going great – I am embarking on a no spend year and never buy those things again not just wait until the end and then start spending again.
    I paid my 15 year mortage off in 12 years and refinanced it twice saving myself $36,000. Can you do that were you are ?

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  10. Lizzie must be an American. They love to point out that our healthcare is not really “free”. I am thankful to live in a country (Canada)where regardless if I work a day in my life or not, I can get sick without worrying about going bankrupt.

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  11. I am just stating a fact Theresa – I am not saying its good or bad – we all pay for health care one way or the other. i lived in the U.k. for 40 years and I paid quite a lot in taxation for my “free” healthcare. You have to pay national insurance there even if you opt to go private. I do agree though that it is something you dont have to budget for in the u.k.

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  12. Good luck on reaching all of your goals! I'm new to your site as well, but I know you will accomplish everything from what I have read so far.

    Just wanted to add my “two cents” to the health care debate here. I'm one of the uninsured Americans and I would gladly pay 20% sales tax if I could receive health care.

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  13. Hi Lizzie – if I didn't have personal debt then I could have afforded to pay a 200K mortgage in ten years, my personal debt is my own fault and I will have a three bed house with a garden, which I will then pay off in 5 years as some one with an expensive illness, my parents have both had cancer and my brother, like me has bowel disease, our tax never goes up because we've used the service.Also it means, that my share pays for everyone to have an endless supply of health care. I don't mind doing my 'bit' for others.Also no one losed their healthcare if they lose their job, so for the unemployed or retired,who pay no tax – it's still free for them.

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  14. The retired are taxed along with everyone else. My mother paid tax on her small income and her pension in the u.k. and I will pay on my pension here in the us and on my investments. The question I had was can you pay your mortgage off early without a pre-payment penalty – if not is there an advantage in paying it off early.
    Folk here were using their houses like holes in the wall which has driven them further into debt.
    (atms) until this ungodly crisis hit the western world.
    I am ultra disciplined with money so put everything I pay for on a credit card. I have a card which gives me cash back and I pay off the card every month. (The credit card companies dont like people like me – they call us dead-beats !)
    If things got worse I could ditch my car and t.v. (we dont pay a license fee here though and the tv is paid for although a car cost you money even if it sits in the garage) The key to all this is being debt free -once that happens you can really sock it away.
    I recently reviewed all my insurances; house, car etc. and re-negotiated and got almost $1,000 off it all,
    I dont have a cell phone – my parents never had one and they survived.

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  15. FQ, I know the feeling about wanting to be mortgage free, which is why my saving is so important. We want to emigrate to Norway and there is VAT on EVERYTHING (at nearly 25%) and they are taxed to the hilt there (people should look there before complaining about tax here).
    BUT the life in general is simpler there, we saw a 3 bed house with 25 acres of woodland, a bleeding FOREST for approx £60k. Less than a mile from a train station and 2 hrs from Oslo. Have you got my lotter ticket?

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  16. I'm sure with your will, determination and inspiration you will achieve your dream. Thank you so much for the kind comment on my last post, it means so much when lovely bloggers like yourself are so supportive. Keep up the good work – I find your blog so inspirational. xxx

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