Wednesday 29 December 2021

2022 Goals: Survive and Thrive


When I first started this blog back in 2012, it was to document my efforts to save enough money to stay in the marital home once my youngest son turned 18.  The plan was to convert the house into 2 apartments, live in one of them and sell the other. There was also an annexe that could have been rented out.  I had 4 years to save/earn £40k to make that happen.  Unfortunately my ex husband changed his mind and that plan fell through.

Fast forward to the present and I find myself endlessly thinking about and working out how much money I need to be able to afford to retire.  And I think I've finally come up with a solid plan!

I've poured over this year's income and out goings.  I've identified the areas of over spending 😳, areas I can cut back on and things that simply won't apply if I'm not working.  I know exactly how much money I have/need to live on now and if I'm retired.  If I can save enough money over the next 4 years I should have enough to retire at 60.  I can live on those savings plus my teaching pension (available to me from age 55) until I collect my state pension at 67.  If I work and save for the next 4 years I'm also adding to my pension pots at the same time.

I'm setting myself a target of saving £10k a year for the next 4 years (see what I did there? 😉 )  It means being really frugal and going back to basics.  I'm planning a no spend year, only buying the barest of essentials.  I still have a little inheritance money left which will be my Emergency Fund (as you never know what might happen) but I won't use any of that.  I currently have just over £1500 in my savings account so that gives me a start.

2020 and 2021 were years we all survived and I suspect 2022 will be the same.  But I want to also thrive.  So I've decided my goals for next year will be Survive and Thrive!  I've added them to the side bar and changed the blurb in the 'Why 40kin4years?' at the top.

It'll be a huge challenge (I'm under no illusions!) but I'm feeling inspired already.  It feels good to have a solid plan in place and goals to work towards again 😊

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Cold potatoes and plans

I quite like this in between period although I certainly have no desire to start drinking at 10am! 🍸  I am however on my 3rd coffee!! ☕☕☕ It is a time when I have no idea what day it is and I eat cold roast potatoes for breakfast (doesn't everyone?)

I rather like this time to think and reflect uninterrupted on my life.  What do I want to do now and in the future?   What plans shall I make?  And every single time I think about it I always come back to the question "When can I afford to retire?"

A few years ago I had a solid plan.  I would retire at 55 in 2021, sell my house and travel with my long term partner who was going to do the same.  We would spend 6 months of the year in Australia and the other 6 months travelling/exploring Europe and the UK in our campervan.  Then when we were done we would buy a smallholding and become eccentric grandparents to our blended family.  Obviously that plan died a death when the relationship unexpectedly ended.

Then the global pandemic hit and the plan for the last 2 years for the whole world has been survival.  And it looks like next year is going to be more of the same.  So I've spent the last few days thinking and planning and working stuff out and researching.  I want to survive AND thrive!

I did my annual binge watch of The Good Life. I've spoken before about the influence this series had on me in my childhood!  Info HERE for non Brits!  It is of it's time (1975) and being more knowledgeable now about growing vegetables etc I can see the flaws in it.  But it's themes of self sufficiency, frugality and make do and mend still resonate strongly with me.  And it has inspired me.

So, doing what I do best, I got a pen and paper and went through my 2021 bank statements, credit card statements and salary slips.  I made (many!) lists of expenses, necessities and luxuries.  I investigated pension ages and pension amounts.  And after a few days of much adding up, I think I've got a solid retirement plan again.

A plan that doesn't rely on anyone else.  Just me!  I'm quite proud of that 😊

Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas


May your day be peaceful and spent with loved ones in person or virtually.  Merry Christmas 😊

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Christmas loading...

Woohoo!! I'm on holiday for 2 whole weeks.  Yesterday morning when I got up I switched my alarm off for the next 2 weeks.  This morning I got up at 8.45am, that's a big lie in for me!  Of course I was awake several times through the night but 8.45am - WOOHOO!

So far this morning I've enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, de pooped the back garden and put the bins out as it's bin day here (oh the glamour!!)  The only plan I have for the rest of today is to start making plans for Christmas and beyond.

I'm starting to feel a wee bit Christmassy! 🎄🎅🎇🎉

Friday 17 December 2021

Secret Santa


We do Secret Santa at school (the grown ups I mean).  Teachers, support staff and cleaners all take part and the idea was that it meant you bought one really good present and didn't need to buy loads of small gifts to thank all the support staff.  We exchanged presents this week (at a socially distanced meeting 🙄 and everyone loved it.  My gift was Prosecco, a personalised mug for my allotment and some GF chocolate shortbread.  All very thoughtful!

But then my Gin Queen friends (who are colleagues) each gave me a gift.  My Support for Learning Assistant gave me a gift.  And our Depute Head always bakes us wee individual Christmas cakes all beautifully decorated.  She makes a special GF one for me and another colleague.  She's bringing them in on Monday.

Last month I bought a case of Prosecco to give as gifts.  I'm planning on making bottle bags for them this weekend so I can reciprocate.  Saves me drinking it!! 🍸

Sunday 12 December 2021

Too many tatties!


For some reason this morning I found myself with almost 10lbs of unused Maris Piper tatties.  Some of them were starting to sprout!  So it was a use it up kind of morning.  I baked some for the week ahead.  Always useful to have some to either reheat or chop up and sauté with with some veggies for a quick meal.

I parboiled a huge pan for making roast potatoes but then had the brilliant(!) idea of freezing some of them for Christmas Day.  I've never frozen them before so checked out the BBC Good Food website and followed their instructions.  You can rely on Good Food to have a tried and tested method so fingers crossed it works.  Freeze-ahead roasties recipe HERE.  I used GF flour and sprinkled it over them on the tray as my tatties were breaking up a wee bit too much.

I also did trial run of of veggie stuffing by defrosting some Linda McCartney sausages (these ones are GF but not all of them are) and adding them to some GF stuffing mix I bought online.

It tastes rather nice!  Today's Sunday lunch is sorted.  I'll make some gravy and do some veggies to go with the rest of the roast tatties (currently in the oven) and stuffing.  Might even do some Yorkshire puddings too! 😋

Sunday 5 December 2021

Just 1 chicken


Sadly when I opened up the coop this morning I found my wee Penny Black had died overnight.  She was active and feisty until the last few days, where she allowed me to lift her back into the coop at night and even pet her.  I really wasn't surprised at all.  Her time had come.  She was the last of my original chickens.  She was over 6 years old which is old for a chicken and had out lived her 2 original pals and a rescued replacement!  In the above photo (from left to right) Merrida, Ginger Snap and Penny Black are enjoying their early free ranging days.

So I have just 1 chicken at the moment.  I was already registered with my local BHWT to rehome 3 chickens at their next rescue which should be in the New Year.  I can finally get rid of the old dog kennel coop.  Penny couldn't get up the ladder to the new Eglu so she still slept in the old coop and Tuppence used the Eglu.

Somehow I need to dismantle the old coop and remove it from the enclosure.  It's going to be tricky as the enclosure was built round the coop and has a sloping roof so you can't stand up fully unless you're at the edge.  I think some major power tools will be required!! 👷