12. 09. 2014

apartment living

When we first set out to look for an apartment we put together a couple of the usual home buying lists, essentials, would like, etc, that people make. The lists were so helpful in helping us to narrow down our search.

Some of the things were more important than others. For example, being able to walk to the train station was a must, so was being within walking distance of grocery stores. I didn’t put it on the list, but we were also trying to move closer to my Dad + reduce M’s commute to work.

We had two places in mind for our search. One, our preferred town, seemed out of our price range (to achieve mortgage freedom) and we sort of gave up looking there. The other, although in our price range, didn’t seem to have anywhere for sale that would work for us, but we kept trying anyway.

A brief history of our initial search in the non preferred town:

At the end of April we went off to Portugal and continued our search from afar. For some reason I started looking at town number one again, but everything was pointing towards us needing to take on a small mortgage – which we were hoping to avoid. However one morning a new listing appeared, and it seemed to meet a lot of our needs. We emailed the agents to arrange a viewing, keeping our fingers crossed that it wasn’t like all of the apartments listed above……thankfully it wasn’t.

We got home from Portugal on the Sunday, went to look at the area on the Monday (a Bank Holiday so no viewing opportunities), and then viewed on the Tuesday. We thought the apartment was a bargain, despite it showing signs of wear, and we put an offer in straight away as it seemed to fit a lot of our criteria.

Apartment Essentials:
– 2 Bedrooms – Yes
– In a town/city – Yes
– Long Lease – 85+ years – Yes, over double that.
– Parking Space – Yes
– Modern – Yes
– Close/Walkable to a station – Yes (one mile)
– Close to grocery stores – Yes
– Less than £125k – Yes

Apartment Would Likes:
– Walkable to grocery stores – Yes ( <one mile)
– En Suite – Yes
– Open plan – Yes (ish)
– Private/Gated – No
– Balcony – Juliette
– Dishwasher – There’s a space for one
– Built in storage – No

Not bad at all :)

And as for small apartment living? So far I LOVE it!

I can’t begin to even tell you how it feels to be mortgage free – it’s like a dream, but we’re very mindful that there’s still a.lot. of work to be done to achieve Financial Freedom*….especially as we have a goal of achieving it before the end of  2023.

* I plan to do quarterly (perhaps monthly) updates on our progress towards this goal. Right now we’re 8.62% of the way towards achieving it!




photo credit: Khánh Hmoong via photopin cc

06. 08. 2014

It felt like ages, and yet it really wasn’t. Twelve weeks is normal I suppose for these things. The (nearly) two weeks without the Internet did feel like an eternity though. Which says more about my privilege then anything else!!

Anyway we’re in, and slowly but surely getting a little more organised. It’s taken a while to adjust to the smaller space, especially as it had little, to no storage, but we’re getting there. The wardrobes were installed on Monday and already things are starting to take shape.

Moving Day:

We hired two men and a van to do the move. Happily they were very efficient and got the job done in 4 hours, but what I hadn’t bargained on was how the apartment would look after they left: Full to the brim with stuff!


I have so much to catch up on, especially with our finances. The level of spending over the last few weeks has seemed out of control and I’m not even sure that I dare expose July’s budget numbers. We spent a small fortune on grocery and eating out, but we did break even on the move, and our mortgage (the main reason for doing all of this), is gone. Woo!!

Ok. I’m off to catch up on my blog reading – I feel so out of the loop on all your happenings – and plan out a few posts for the next few days. Thank you so much for sticking with me these last few weeks when posting has been so intermittent. Hopefully things will be back to normal from here on in :)


01. 07. 2014

Mortgage Freedom


Original Mortgage: £138,485 (April 2006)
Original term: 300 months (March 2031)
Balance last month: £68,915.24
New Balance: £68,421.32
Paid off to date: £70,063.68
Actual payments left: 192
(Original) Months until goal date: 41 (31st Dec 2017)

50.59% of mortgage debt repaid! 

This should be our final (regular) mortgage payment as we’re due to complete on our house sale in July. It feels very strange to be so close to total debt freedom as I feel like I’ve been paying off some sort of debt for years (and in a way I have!)

August 2014 will be my first full month of debt freedom since about 1985! Pretty much my whole adult life so far! 2005 was the turning point – thank you Money Saving Expert – and then discovering personal finance blogs in 2007 (and starting my own) was the further motivational push I needed.

Yay for pf blogging and the wonderful people who support you as you try to do the (at the time) seemingly impossible. ♥