Yes, I take a lack of brain material to a whole new level sometimes. In this instant ‘Duh!’ is the only response to have. I often act without thinking and very nearly always speak what is on my mind without considering the effect of my words. Fortunately, I am a fairly nice person, so being naturally thoughtless doesn’t, on the whole, get me into too much trouble. In fact, it is what made Gary fall in love with me in the first place. I am simple to understand, with absolutely no sides to me but the one that is there for all to see. I am, however, a little airheaded. My mother says my head is in the clouds. My children think I’m a bit dippy. I call it scatty. It amounts to the same thing. No foresight. At all.
As you all know, last January I started off the year with a determination that in five years time we would be debt free, if not before. And up until September we were doing really well. We had paid off 21 % of our mortgage and were well on our way to realising our dream. We did this in a typically Claire way. Enthusiastically, all or nothing, throw everything we’ve got into it way. My husband, who is a little bit more pragmatic about the comfort (or lack thereof) that we could realistically endure long-term, put the brakes on me over the summer. He was fed up with having absolutely no ‘fun’ money at all. So I relented and we modified our goal. We still ferreted away every penny we could, (making sure we had some for fun) and were very gratified each month to see the mortgage reduce so quickly.
Problem was, we had no savings (all in the mortgage account), no emergency money, y’know, for emergencies (all in the mortgage account). In fact, we had no spare pennies lying about at all because it was all in the mortgage account (apart from the previously elusive fun money). Of course, anyone with a brain could foresee what would happen. It seems I lack in that area, so when the electric window of our car failed to work and we were quoted over £1000 to fix it, with the MOT looming at the same time, I was a little shocked, not to mention puzzled as to where we would get the money from. We have a car account for MOT, insurance and Tax, but it could not cover a bill that high (And our fun money? Well, we weren’t having that much fun that we had a spare thousand pounds lying about!). This month the boiler packed in. It cost almost £500 to fix and service. These are things that usually we would have been prepared for. We have always had savings of 2-3 months of Gary’s salary – something we learnt to do in Ireland, when a low wage meant we literally didn’t have any money should an emergency happen. I’m not sure why I failed to ensure our savings account looked healthy, except to say I was swept away with the excitement of paying off our mortgage early.
Consequently, we are not doing very well this month, and possibly won’t recover from this until early in the New Year. Lesson learnt. We are now putting some money into savings each month, so next time we won’t be so badly prepared. One day I will learn that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Gary and Claire’s mortgage won’t get paid off unless I show some sense. And this is my aim for the foreseeable future – find sense.
So how have we actually done since September?
At the end of September we had paid off 21% of our mortgage. As things stand, at the end of November, We have paid off 23% of our mortgage. Not brilliant, but nothing to be sneered at either. Down is always good. And finally, I can now say that we are currently pretty much cash only. I go to the bank on a Saturday morning, withdraw all I need for the week and when it’s gone, it’s gone. We’ve had a few peculiar ‘larder meals’ and I’m collecting eggs each day (and letting Gary cook the most phenomenal omelettes with them), rolling raw oats for breakfast, grinding grain for flour, and wondering how I could possibly think that the simple life was simple. It’s anything but. That said, there is a sort of earthiness to starting everything from raw basic ingredients. It just takes so much longer. No matter, I shall continue doggedly onwards towards our goal. I’ll probably be milking a cow next month.