19 September 2017

Pensions and other stories

I finally got round to printing and filling in the SIPP forms this week. This task had been sitting on my to-do list for a while and as usual I had applied my own particular brand of procrastination to it.

With the new auto enrolment pension rules, I had been opted in to a works pension in my previous job, where I stayed only a short period of time and have been left with a pension of about £23. I also have a Virgin Stakeholder Pension which I started a few years ago and have been regularly adding to. What I wanted to do was consolidate these two into a new pension, one that I would have better control over. I will also be continuing to add to this every month to the tune of £100.

I also have a third pension, newly opened for my current employment and as I intend on staying in this job long-term, I shall consider this to be my main pension and continue to enjoy the free money added to it by my employer and the government. The auto enrolment rules change from April 2018, when my contribution and also what my employer contributes will increase again.

After looking around, I decided to stick with Halifax and open a SIPP with them, this means I can see my SIPP and S&S ISA all in one place. They tell me the transfer will be fairly quick and should go through with no problems. I can then choose what to purchase with the funds in the account. The plan is to buy more VWRL which is what I currently hold within my ISA. Hopefully this exchange will be completed by the end of the month.

In other news, Bella Bird was back in the garage again this month, for some more upgrades. This time she had three new skylights fitted, although there was a bit of a problem with the third one, so she is going back in again next month so they can fabricate an extension to the locking mechanism. I also had some brake work completed, which wasn't urgent, but was on my very long list of things to get done and if they are going to have her in the garage for a few days, I like to have more than one job completed.

We are now almost 2/3 of the way through the month and I have done all my savings transfers for the month. I am pretty pleased with the total figure saved, and with how my expenses are looking so far for September. I have always found that paying myself first works far better than just saving what is leftover at the end of the month.

I have booked ten days off work in October, the first half I am away on a road trip with G. We haven't decided where we are going yet, but it will be on a campsite somewhere in England. The second half, which is half-term week, I shall spend having a lazy time with the kids while Bella Bird is booked in to go back to the garage for another three days.

I am off work today as we are having smart meters installed. I have wanted these for such a long time! We have no electric or gas for two hours which the change over is completed, but I am excited to see if having the new meters will make a change to my utility bills going forward.

05 September 2017

August update and September goals

Well, all the best laid plans etc...

Back in early July, I decided to part exchange my campervan and buy something bigger. The main reason for this was because I could no longer fit my youngest two constantly growing teens into the roof of the van anymore, plus as they are different sexes, they obviously no longer wanted to share such an enclosed space. After some hunting, I found the perfect 'home' for us. A 1990 Autohomes Travelhome. A four berth motorhome which saw me go back ten years in registration from my Bongo. I ended up paying £1000 on top of the value of the Bongo.

Throughout July and August I have been haemorrhaging money fixing her up and getting her to a good standard. I had a habitation check done, fixed various items within the 'house' part, repainted, laid new kitchen surface, had a complete service done, bought new accessories, including an awning, she now has a new (reconditioned) cooker installed, a full gas bottle and a new cam-belt and water pump. There is still a long list of things I want to do to her, but for now she is camp-ready. I have since taken her on three trips away and have loved every minute in Bella Bird.

Bella Bird


The downside to all this splurging is that my cash savings took a big hit, plus I didn't save anything new in July or August. However, my savings rate will be back to normal for September and I have already paid my monthly amount to both Funding Circle and Property Moose for this month.

I also started match betting at the end of June and my profit so far is a touch under £800. Result.

Other big news is that after a small break between jobs while I was waiting for my DBS to arrive, I am now back working full-time as a carer and it is so nice to have that fortnightly wage back again (and a new works pension).

Goals for September:

Save my full planned amount this month. £1080 spread between P2P, S&S ISA, regular saver and my personal pension. Any leftovers will be swept into my ISA at the end of the month.

Hoping to reach the £1000 mark by the end of September in matched betting profits, which is my targeted 'bankroll'. Anything I earn over and above this will be withdrawn as a wage and directed into my motorhome fund to pay for all remaining work to be done on Bella. This way, my motorhome expenses will be funded purely by matched betting profits and not come from my wages.




19 June 2017

An introduction

I'm not sure what I am going to write on here, not yet anyway. I guess I just wanted somewhere to post my ramblings.

This is me: 44, Jamie, mother of four, dreamer, writer, campervan owner, with an insatiable need to travel full-time. Only I can't, not just yet. My oldest is now 21. My other children are growing up fast and I love them with all my heart, but I have had an urge to travel since before I found out I was pregnant with my oldest, and with four children, one with 24 hour a day care needs, I have had to put my dreams on hold for a while. I don't live with my other half G, but we plan to do that at some point in the near future.

Now I am getting to the point where the future is on the horizon, I can almost taste it. This year saw me return to work full-time after 21 years at home. My eldest now manages my house and takes care of his brother full-time, which has allowed me to go back to work.

Over the next few years there are big changes coming in our house. If all goes according to plan, my number two will be leaving to go off to university next September, and my number three will be taking up a place at a residential special needs school the same month, and then on to a specialist college two years later for three more years. For those five years, number three will return home on half-terms and school holidays, then when he leaves college, I will find him a placement locally, but he won't be returning to live with me again. At that point my youngest will be 19, and this mummy will be seeking adventure.

So, my dreams are this; I would love to live in a motorhome and travel around Europe. I am aiming for Financial Independence sometime around 55, earlier if I can manage it. I am currently saving over 35% of my income and am increasing this month after month. The target is to retire at 55 (11 years time) and live full-time in a motorhome, which would reduce the amount needed in my retirement pot.

This blog will document my journey. A little bit on financial independence, minimalism, travel, dreams, writing, money and other musings.