Friday, 9 January 2009

2009 - Getting our finances in order

After achieving the goal in 2008 (two months early!) to pay back my sister the £5k we owed her from a previous property, I feel it is time to set another goal or two to keep our eyes on the (financial) prize.

Goal one - £5k emergency fund
With the current economic climate I think it would be most prudent for us to have an emergency fund. This could only be touched if one of us lost our jobs or we had a major disaster e.g. needing a new roof . Although Mr M and I both have pretty stable public sector jobs I don't think we can be too careful and it would make me much more confident about the second financial goal.

Steps to achieving goal one:
  • Set up automatic monthly DD for £200 to ISA
  • Any underspend for the month e.g. mobile phone bill, council tax etc, send straight to ISA
  • Research new ISA for April for new allowance and move account over
  • If the £5k is achieved before December 2009 then begin saving to pay off car loan.
Goal two - reduce mortgage term to 15 years or shorter
We need to remortgage in February and it is an ideal time for us to assess how much we can actually afford to pay on our mortgage each month. Our circumstances have changed quite a lot since the original mortgage so we should be able to comfortably afford to pay more than we currently do. Reducing our current mortgage to 15 years should see an increased monthly payment which we can afford but taking 8 years off our term. My long term aim is to pay the mortgage off before I am 40. 11 Years to go!

Steps to achieving goal two:
  • Look in depth at current monthly outgoings and work out the maximum we can afford each month. (This amount should stretch us a little but still allow for a few luxuries/emergencies)
  • Book appointment with financial advisor to look at remortgage options.
  • Look at mortgage calculators online to get an idea of monthly payments and terms.
Both goals take us closer to financial freedom and seem quite achievable. I'll be reassessing every couple of months to make sure we are on track.

Mrs M

So many books, so little time

Reading is one of my big passions and I have amassed a large number over the years. I am a member of a book group which meets once a month. While I really enjoy reading new authors and things I would have never picked for myself, I do feel it hinders me ploughing through my own stash. This is especially true since I have been studying for my CIM exams.

As a lover of lists I thought I would record all my unread books on here - perhaps it will motivate me to read them all!

Adrian Mole - Weapons of Mass Destruction - Sue Townsend
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
Talk to the Hand - Lynne Truss
Eats shoots and leaves - Lynn Truss
The Man in the Iron mask - Dumas
Animal Instincts - Alan Titchmarsh
A Briefer History of Time - Stephen Hawking
Bigger then Hitler, Better then Christ - Rik Mayall
Facing the Music - Mary Sheepshanks
Perfume from Provence - Lady Fortescue
Shuttlecock - Graham Swift

The Debt to Pleasure - John Lanchester

The Dead School - Patrick McCabe

Unreliable Memoirs - Clive James

Enigma - Robert Harris

A Perfect Arrangement - Suzanne Bene

Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams

Life, The Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams

The Restaurant at the end of the Universe - Douglas Adams

Company of Liars - Karen Maitland

Fatherland - Robert Harris

Treasure Island - R L Stevenson

Children of Chance - Elisabeth Revsey

Coming through Slaughter - Michael Ondatje

Elegance - Kathleen Tessaro

The Scapegoat - Daphne Du Maurier

How to be good - Nick Hornby

Pompeii - Robert Harris

Blackeyes - Dennis Potter

Finelines - Simon Beckett

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - RL Stevenson

Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

The Time Machine - HG Wells

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

Cat among the pigeons - Agatha Christie

The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie

Around the World in 80 days - Jules Verne

Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie

5 Children and it - E NEsbitt

Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

The Bird Artist - Howard Norman

The Stars' Tennis Balls - Stephen Fry

C'est la foile - Michael Wright

French Revolution - Tim Moore

Made in America - Bill Bryson

Tales of Narnia - CS Lewis

Alice's adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carol

Through the looking glass - Lewis Carol

Neither here nor there - Bill Bryson

The Lost Continent - Bill Bryson

Consequences of marriage - Isla Dewar

Tears of the Giraffe - Alexander McCall Smith

The Shape of Water - Andrea Camillen

Dracula - Bram Stoker

To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolfe

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin

A Thousand Splendid suns - Khaled Hosseini

Saturday night, Sunday Morning - Alan Sillitoe

Narrow Marsh - AR Dance

The Truth about Lorrin Jones - Alison Lorie

Finbar's Hotel - Dermot Bolger

Blackberry Wine - Joanne Harris

Are you Dave Gorman? - Dave Gorman

Emma - Jane Austin

The Last Empress - Anchee Min

Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

Divas don't knit - Gill McNeil

Ghost - Robert Harris

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink

Imperium - Robert Harris

The Complete Father Brown stories - GK Chesterton

A Place in my Country - Ian Walthew

Tales of the Beadle the Bard - JK Rowling

The house on the strand - Daphne Du Maurier

Don't look now - Daphne du Maurier

The Frenchman's Creek - Daphne Du Maurier

The Interpretation of Murder - Jed Rubenfeld

Marley and Me - John Grogan

Down under - Bill Bryson

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt kid - Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

Remember me? - Sophie Kinsella

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes


Red = in progress

Blue = read!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Brighton - London by the sea?

As a little New Year treat we have just come back from a couple of days in Brighton. On paper Brighton had everything I love - a beach, arcades, quirky, independent shops and most importantly, a Cath Kidston. In reality, it was a bit tatty and full of high street shops.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the mini break. We had lots of delicious food and went to see the Wizard of Oz at the theatre but it somehow lack the sparkle I thought Brighton would have. I am glad to be back home in the peace and quiet but glad I have my purchases from the Cath Kidson shop (and another item ticked off my 101 list!).

Mrs M