Financial Freedom

Random Thought Alert: Is being a houseperson ‘cheating’ at FIRE?

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I have had a few trying weeks at work (who doesn’t?) where I’ve gritted my teeth, put my head down and typed like my life depends on it whilst muttering under my breath about ineffective work ethics. On particularly stressful days I imagine just quitting and going home to my comfy bed.

I very much doubt it is a particularly unique dream.

But it is a dream that I could do tomorrow. I could hand in my notice and tell hubby that I’m going to become a housewife.

And it got me wondering….if FIRE (Financial inductance/Retire Early) is all about the freedom to choose whether you need to work or not, of having enough to live on then technically are not housewives/husbands/partners living the dream already?

You are effectively generating a passive income by supporting your partner.

But is it ‘cheating’ at FIRE?*

I feel like the answer is probably a personal one due to how you view money as mine and yours. You may think that I’m just splitting hairs – I am aware that I’m being pedantic – but is it not interesting to view this big scary idea of saving enough to stop working as something hundreds of thousands of people are already doing?

Do you have thoughts on my random thought of today?

 

 

 

 

*P.S. I don’t think being if I became a housewife I would consider myself as FIRE as I would want hubby to have the same options as me – we are a unit/financially tied together being married – but I figured my weird way of looking at the world might be interesting to you 🙂

Financial Freedom · Food

Blimey, Now That’s What I Call a Bargain!

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A bargain from the local.

Hello, hello, it’s me again. I just had to pop on and share my joy.

Now you may not find discounted food items particularly exciting but I was over the moon with the above haul. It’s not unusual for me to be able to find discounted bread if I pop to the shop in the evening but tonight I hit just the right time and – voila – I picked up tomorrows lunch, enough for four main meals and the obligatory bread for £8.00.

Eight Whole English Pounds.

Hell, I could spend that at lunchtime easily… just point me towards some sushi.*

Hubby finds it somewhat amusing that picking up food bargains excites me and I am equally confused by the fact that it doesn’t excite him.

I’ve saved money! Fed my family! Stopped food being thrown away! Stuck my tongue out at the corporate giant!

I can just about squeeze the pies, pizza and bread into the freezer to use at a later date. The freezer is so packed full that I’ll be playing freezer jenga for a few days till we can make some space.

I hope you all find some bargains this week.

 

 

*I drool just thinking about sushi. Yum. But good sushi is reserved for a special treat so when I have some I enjoy every mouthful.

Financial Freedom · Organising

Financial Friday – Why I’m signing up with Money Dashboard

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This time of year most blogs are reviewing how they did the previous year and where they want to steer this year’s progress. I however, am not…

…cause my spreadsheet is incomplete for pretty much half of last year! I hang my head in shame!

See, my spreadsheets go back to 2010. I can tell you how much we spent on food, utilities, presents, holidays, you name it, in pretty much any month going back ten years. I’ve always been proud of that fact and normally I’d sit down with all the account records and update my finances for last year.

This year I find that I simply don’t have the inclination to be arsed, I’m shattered and part of me wonders – why should I?

  • In general our money habits are better than the majority.
  • We have a three month emergency fund set up.
  • Standing orders drip feed different accounts.
  • We have no debt apart from the mortgage.

Yet I can’t sleep. How can I possibly budget for the year ahead without knowing the averages for last year?!? How can we increase our savings/investments? How can I figure out where we are overspending on pointless, unworthy things? How much can we afford to redecorate the stairway? How, HOW, How?

Simply put – it would be bloody difficult.

So this weekend I’m going to put aside half an hour and get an account set up with Money Dashboard. The reviews looks decent and it’s time to jump in.

Financial Freedom · Organising

Here comes the New Year….

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….hopefully just as good, if not better than the last year!

2018 has been a comfortable year looking back. We have built back up our emergency savings (which apparently puts us ahead of a quarter of the British public*) it certainly gives me peace of mind, and I am drip feeding several accounts to fund future holidays, house improvements, children and an F.U. fund.

I’d like a fair bit of 2018 to carry over to 2019, thank you, as we recovered from the Christmas craziness fairly quickly back to our routine of – urgh – keeping the household clean, fed and active. Hubby has mentioned that he may lift a few weights in 2019 which I would be happy about and the kids are getting more confident on their (secondhand) bikes.

Life is never all roses; I need to practise saying no to convenience, no to overtime and actually committing to getting stuff done/shifted/organised.

I may need a swift kick along the way….

Before I start rambling….cider has been partaken of…..I hope that you have had a good year and that the next will be just as good, if not better!

 

 

*although the survey the article mentions seems ridiculously small to make such statements.

Financial Freedom · Food · Organising

The insidious nature of convenience

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Buying lunch from the local shop doesn’t seem like much does it? A few pound here and a few pound there adds up but it’s worth it as it reduces my morning stress and fills my stomach, isn’t it?

It’s been busy – when isn’t it, I hear you cry – and apart from the cookies for Halloween I’ve been choosing convenience. Buying lunch instead bringing in my own – yes. Eating out/getting a takeaway even though there’s food in the house– yep. Ordering a meal box for the week – done that.

Thing is, that even when I have the time I find I just don’t have the headspace to want to deal with the everyday hassle of checking we have the ingredients, meal planning, batch cooking etc.  So the meal deals, the easy dinners…the convenience creeps in and our costs mount up along with that niggle in the back of mind that we should do better.

That £3 meal deal may not seem like a big deal, after all we are not living hand to mouth, but it does add up and I find that by buying lunch I relax on the other ‘easy’ options. And going out for pizza when there’s actually pizza in the freezer is madness, utter wasteful madness.

So in an effort to combat the busyness that comes from being a mum, a worker, a homeowner, a friend I’ve started saying no. No, I can’t work overtime. No, homework is not high on my list of priorities (sorry school). No, you can make/do/get it yourself. No, I can’t make it.

So I hope to be a more active blogger where I can share my cooking, cleaning and I really need to get round to gardening sometime too.

P.S. You know I was going to title this post as The Price of Convenience but when writing I realised that it’s not so much the money that bothers me. Yes it all adds up and we are poorer for it but when I consider that I’m paying for time, for actual time, then when considered and manged I figure it’s a fair trade. Its the gentle creep of going from buying convenience at busy times/once in a while to then continuing to buy convenience regularly because it’s become your new normal.

Financial Freedom · Organising

Be a Tart “oe er” a Bank Account Tart

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If I were to be a tart I think I’d like to be a custard tart all full of flavour with a bit of crunch, not a patisserie tart which is beautiful to behold but generally lacks depth of flavour. Oh now I’ve made myself hungry……

Anyway….. apparently often switching a current account makes you a bank account tart and as I change my bank account at least every 18 months I am now, officially, a tart!

Why do I switch my accounts? Because I make money for a few minutes work (£100 this year and my friend made it too) and ensure that I get the best interest rates available. For the next 12 months I’m guaranteed 3% up to £2500 with a regular saver at 5%. In the now those are pretty good rates as the base rate is at 0.5% for a little while longer at least. Can’t quite believe I’m saying this but..gone are the days when 5% interest was a standard…god I feel old all of a sudden!

Switching accounts  is so easy online that  I’m always taken back when people don’t want to take advantage of introductory offers. Hubby is a prime example; he’s been with the same bank since a teen and has no interest at all in changing. For him the convenience of knowing the system and having the app on his phone trumps any cashback or interest earnt, after all he has yours truly to scramble around for decent interest rates.

Money Saving Expert recently did a poll to find out how often their readers switch accounts and – seeing as it’s a site where you’d think money savvy people go – the results show that the majority of people just don’t switch!

Now loyalty is a wonderful thing but not to companies ok? Companies exist to make money. Banks wants your money, hell they’ll even pay you to switch accounts! The trick appears to be able to take advantage of introductory offers is to read those pesky T&C’s, to have a good credit rating and not to get suckered into the wonderful products golden handcuffs.

What’s your reason for not switching current accounts?

 

P.S. Because I’m a tart, naturally, I have experienced the current accounts of eight different banks thus far. You know what? There’s only one that I wouldn’t go back to so that’s a pretty good record for the switching service and the banks themselves imo.

Financial Freedom · Food · Organising

Make Do March and A Quick Catch Up

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The philosophy Mend and Make Do may bring to mind wartime rationing but looking through my house there’s an awful lot of stuff that just isn’t getting used. Who needs 5 deodorants? Lasagna sheets dating back to 2011? Scales with no batteries? 7 jars of jam?*

We’ve started from ground zero in regards to savings this month which gives me the chills but one consistence throughout financial freedom/independence blogs is the need to live below your means. Hell, it’s just good sense but over the past few years I’ve taken my eye off the ball. Cooking good food from scratch, using things that you already have rather than buying more and fixing what you can is good for everyone and something I feel we’ve lost.

I’ve decided that the simplest way to start is to simply use up the easy stuff first, the low-hanging fruit I heard it referred to the other day. So far Hubby has been asked to drink the random herbal teas I found and to use up the bubble bath that we have which happens to be a pink sparkly wand! I’m working my way through the deodorants that Santa always pops in my stocking despite them not being the brand I actually use and researching what you can use cornmeal for apart from cornbread since there’s a large bag in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

Can we make do in March with what we have or will that must have item lead us astray?**

A Quick Catch Up

Yes I know we’re in the second week of March already and I’m just coming up for air. Seven birthdays in one week together with the unexpected amount of snow we had is sure to scramble anyone’s brain but add an energy sucking virus into the mix and I’ve been concentrating on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Feel free to sing ‘Just keep swimming’ with me if you like, or shout ‘I’ve lost my Mojo’ Austin Powers style if that’s more up your street.

I do feel like I achieved Domestic Goddess status in February though as I made my first successful lasagna, baked bread and even made my own butter! I have lots of half written food articles/posts/whatever-you-want-to-call-them to finish and publish when the old grey matter gets up to speed again.

*It’s bloody good jam though. Blackberry Jam made by Mum and Apple Jam made by my fair-self.

**I’m joking, promise. Although I did see……