My Savings Journey: 2007 – 2017

In  my previous post I explained why saving money is important to me so the next step is to explain how I reached where I am today. This is from when I left school to the present day.  

I didn’t spend a lot of my EMA whilst I was in sixth form and by the time I finished school I had nearly £2000 in savings. Looking at it now this doesn’t seem like a lot but as an 18 year old it felt like a fortune. I was always planning on going to University but I was only going to take a gap year if I found a job which, fortunately, I did. I was initially working evenings in a hardware store but I made it very clear that I was available to work extra hours. I was still living at home so I didn’t have many outgoings an d my dad (bless him) drove me to and from work because I hadn’t even started driving lessons. Every time work called and asked if I was available to go in I said yes. I wasn’t being paid huge amounts but some weeks I would be working 60 hours.   

I also started delivering catalogues to my village. I think I got paid something like 10p per catalogue I delivered and I covered the whole village which was 820 houses.  I did this for 6 months and whilst it wasn’t a huge amount of money it was definitely worth it.  

I started University in September 2008. I took out the full tuition and maintenance loans available. Again I was very fortunate that I received the maintenance grant for students from low income families (this was scrapped in 2016). I think this was something like £3000 and it did not have to be repaid. I did feel for students who were not eligible for this as even though their parents earned more money it certainly didn’t mean they were able or willing to support them through Uni. In trying to be fair the system can be very unjust at times.  

I transferred to a different store and continued working throughout my time at University. I had my wages and student loans paid into different bank accounts and I decided that I was only going to use my loans and grants to live on. By the time I graduated I had over £10,000 in savings.  

The reason I was able to save so much at University? I went there to get a degree not to socialise. Sounds really arrogant doesn’t it? But that’s the only reason. I rarely went out drinking and preferred to stay in with my flatmates who fortunately felt the same so I didn’t spend a lot of money. Yes this was ‘boring’ at times but even at 19 I considered 10pm to be bedtime not going-out time! This paid off come results time.  

After graduating I moved back home with my parents and stayed there for three years. I paid them rent (not market rent) and took over running the house when my mum was seriously ill (she’s much better now <3). I got a full time job in November 2011 and stayed with the same company until January 2017. The pay wasn’t great but there were other benefits and I loved it. I managed to continue saving money and pay off my student loan at the same time. I think overall I had to repay around £22,000. Then I needed to ramp up the savings to get a mortgage.  

I scrimped and saved for another couple of years before I found my house and fell in love with it. I was able to put down a 15% deposit which I am so proud of. I was determined to be financially independent and make my parents proud and at the age of 27 I became a homeowner with no other debt. I have a hefty mortgage on the house but it’s mine and mine alone.   

My mortgage term is only 21 years so if I stay here I will be mortgage free by the age of 48. That would be a huge achievement in itself but I am determined to pay it off early so I am making overpayments. If I pay an extra £100 each month I would repay my mortgage four years early and save over £8,000 in interest (calculated on moneysavingexpert.com).  

I have been making regular overpayments since August 2016 and will continue this going forward. I have set a benchmark of £100 per month but if I can pay more I will. I haven’t set a time limit for paying off the mortgage because there are so many variables. Instead I’m happy to say that I will pay it off as quickly as possible.  

At the same time as making overpayments I want to build my savings. Some might look at that sentence and think “why not just pay even more off the mortgage?” but I want to prepare for the unexpected. I have the equivalent of 6 months mortgage payments in a separate savings account which will remain untouched. That way if I lose my job or have a huge expense come in I know I can at least pay the mortgage. I’m trying to build a buffer alongside that though and ideally I’d like to have £10,000 saved. It’ll take me a while to get there because I’m renovating but it’ll happen.  

So that’s my story so far and my future plans. I’ll post separately about the schedule of works for the house and funding for this. I’m also going to share all my money saving tips and I hope you will find them useful! 

I should add I’m not a financial advisor or qualified to provide any advice. I simply love saving money and if I can help just one person by sharing my story then it’s worth it.  

Thanks for reading! 

Lots of Love 

x Beth x

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