Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Just little me.

Tonight I am feeling chuffed, quite a lot chuffed in fact, I would go as far as saying I am flippin dead chuffed with what I have done today, and what I have achieved in my life. I left school in 1964 with no qualifications, I wasn't particularly brainy so I went into shop work, office work, and factory work. Then I went into manual work, and carried on working for the next 45 years.

My mum taught me how to look after my money, to save up for things and not to spend money I didn't have. She took half my wages for board and lodging from day one, I didn't mind because I knew she was constantly struggling to make ends meet. My first wage was £3.10shillings for five days at a small leather shop. I didn't like the job so I moved on to working at Woolworths.

I come from an ordinary working class family, everyone had jobs and worked for their money. Nobody ever went to university, there were no clever bods in our family. I left home at eighteen to strike out on my own, to get a flat, and work to pay my way. When hit 27 I started earning a bit more money so I bought my first house. It was a small terrace house which needed a lot of work doing to it. It had wet rot, dry rot, needed a complete rewire, the floorboards ripping up and new concrete floors laid, and a new roof. It was several years before it finally got decorated, it had completely skint me, all my money had gone on it.

But I just got on with it, and a few years later I was able to afford to move into a three bedroom semi detached with a garage. This was a big improvement, but I was skint again because I had put down the biggest deposit I could afford. It needed new windows and a new front door which I couldn't afford, but I managed to secure a £3,000 interest free loan from a very kind friend. It took me two years to pay that back. It needed a new kitchen so I bought the units and fitted most of it myself except for the sink which a plumber did.

Then I moved 100 miles away into my third house, and once again put all the money I had from the sale of the previous house, down as a deposit, which was half of the full price. So I was skint again. Not to worry, I managed. I kept on working and was able to pull myself up with my boot straps once more. There was a slight blip when I slipped back down the ladder again. I needed to get a better car as mine was a wreck. I had no spare cash so I remortgaged.  Eventually things picked up and I managed to make some over payments on my mortgage.

Fast forward to 2008 when I had to stop work and have an operation. I wasn't able to claim sick pay from my employer because I was an agency worker on short term contract, even though I was with the same company for seven years. I tried to claim sick pay from the government but they wriggled their way out of paying me anything, so I had twelve weeks with no money and my savings almost gone. After fighting my corner they did agree I was entitled to some pay, which was a pittance. Then my job disappeared, the depot closed, so I limped to towards retirement in May 2009, on job seekers allowance. Again, my bank balance was at rock bottom, I was just scraping by.

By this time I was an expert at living within my means, I had to be it was either sink or swim and I wasn't about to sink. In fact the less money I have the more I enjoy the challenge, weird I know, but if you aint got any you don't have to worry about it, that's the way I look at it.

So why am I chuffed tonight? In September 2010 I was able to make an over payment of £1,000 on my mortgage, in September 2011 I did the same again, and today, yep you got it, I took a cheque into Santander for £1,000. I feel like I am coming towards the end of an incredible journey. I'm not there yet, still got a bit left to pay, but now I am on the last leg sprinting towards the finishing line. Maybe I won't sprint, maybe I'll stroll, after all, things can only get better.

I am so proud that I have done all this by myself. No rich relatives to leave me any money, no big wins, I am not a gambler anyway, and no husband to pool my money with. Just little me.
Toodle pip.     

41 comments:

  1. Congratulations! You have done/are doing what so many are unable to do and it is no small thing.
    To make your own way and owe no one, to be a contributing member of society, to be a rescuer of animals in need AND to share your knowledge with anyone smart enough to look for help on the internet. I could go on and on. Suffice to say you certainly should be well pleased with you! A well lived life, so far. ;-)
    GOOD ON YOU!!!! WELL DONE!!
    Candace in Colorado USA

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  2. Amazing you are amazing. I love your posts x

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  3. Well done, you have every right to be feeling chuffed :) xx

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  4. You are an inspiration Ilona, if only everyone was like you the world would not be in such a debt-ridden mess like it is now! Give yourself a huge pat on the back if you haven't already done so :0)

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  5. I'm dead chuffed for you as well Ilona:) No wonder you feel very proud♥ Linda xx

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  6. I am so happy for you Ilona...well done.
    Feel chuffed all you want.
    I am learning a lot from your blog, and soon I will be like you hopefully in terms of spending and making ends meet.
    I do have a girlfriend that insists that I can "make a dollar from two pennies", so maybe I am already on my way to being like you..thanks for all the inspiration and advice.

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  7. Thats brilliant Ilona. You are a great inspiration.

    Thanks for the Scott McKenzie link, that brought back some great memories for me too. Bare feet, orange kaftan and flowers in my hair. Good times !

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  8. Wow, thats fantastic what you have achieved, well done :)
    You are an inspiration to me and many others out there, thank you !

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  9. Nice one Ilona! :) Your frugal ways are paying off! When you have paid off the mortgage, what will you do with your "spare" money?

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  10. Congratulations! When will your mortgage be paid off?

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  11. Your financial history closely coincides with mine, yet you retired a month before I did (June '09) You win. Still, I get to be --one moment while I consult Norman Moss's "British/American Language Dictionary"-- chuffed (adj,pleased). Yes, chuffed. I am chuffed! Are we related now?

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  12. If you feel chuffed now just wait until that last installment gets paid - you'll be on top of the world!
    Congratulations :o)
    Rose H

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  13. great work. You are an inspiration. I feel your life is mirroring mine somewhat..... starting out small, working very hard and then reaping the benefits.

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  14. Congratulations ... all your hard work has/is paid/ing off!

    Jo

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  15. No wonder you feel quite chuffed! you've done an amazing job and inspire so many of us to follow in your footsteps...thanks for all the time you spend on your blog entertaining and educating us...

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  16. You should be chuffed ,well done on a fantastic achievement .
    x

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  17. And so you should be proud! You have accomplished much, much more than many with their fancy degrees. Well done! And I know you're not finished yet.

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  18. Well done . It is such an accomplishment. I remember our mortgage company telling us we couldn't keep paying at the higher rate when the interest rates dropped. We could only pay off lamp sums of £1000 . We ignored them and just kept paying at that rate we were when it was at its highest rate. It was a struggle but it meant the mortgage was paid off 5 years early. We are so glad now that we did.
    Btw loved your posts on your hols especially getting into the stately home bit. Such fun.

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  19. Congrats on the extra payment, you deserve to be so chuffed!!

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  20. You have every right to be proud Ilona, well done.

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  21. Absolutely- all on your own and brilliant. Well done!

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  22. You have done so well. You are an inspiration. Congratulations.

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  23. Congratulations on doing it your way, which is the right way! You should write a book. Very well done.

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  24. Well done Ilona, that is a fabulous amount of money to pay off your mortgage. You are a true inspiration.
    One of the comments above was about everyone being like you so the world would not be in a debt ridden mess it is. I agree totally with the sentiment, but also I like to take the positive point of view-if it weren't for the debt ridden mess, then we wouldn't be pointed to wonderful blogs like this and learn something. I think a generation of make do and mend has just skipped us all by. So hopefully folk will be getting out of debt and learning to pass on new skills to the next generation-looking to the future and going at it with the enthusiasm that things are going to get better and we will not lose valuable info.

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  25. congrats ilona, you inspire me!

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  26. You have done so well babe. I wish my mom and dad had taught me how to be a bit more savvy with money they were terrible. Their attitude was spend , spend spend and have the best of everything ,hence why they were in a load of debt. But at 36 Im getting there and Im getting more savvy by the say. Ive got a purpose now this little bump inside of me.

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  27. You are right to be chuffed ! I read and look forward to your blog every day. I am about 6 years from retirement using your wisdom hope I can enjoy it as much as you are.

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  28. Reason enough to be chuffed I think. You have done well and done it alone, I have nothing but admiration for you. But you knew that.

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  29. Good egg! Seems like when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything

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  30. Congrats - good on you.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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  31. Well done Ilona you have every reason to be chuffed.

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  32. Well, little old you did just right!! Well done, and you have every right to be chuffed.
    You have done amazingly for yourself, and now you do amazingly for alot of us bloggers that follow your examples of living within their means and being frugal minded. Long may you continue to amaze us all, and I hope you can enjoy the rest of your retirement with a smile!

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  33. Well done you.

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  34. We could do with YOU teaching that lot in London a thing or two.Then we would not be in this MESS.
    Love your blogs. Ivy

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  35. Congratulations Ilona, it is a wonderful feeling isn't it. You have also saved so much interest too. Less money for the greedy banks.

    Eve

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  36. Wonderful. You have achieved so much on your own, what a great feeling of independence! I sometimes think that we need to go through some tough times in life in order for us to discover how resourceful we can be. And your mum taught you well. I hope she knew what a good job she did. I look forward to you posting about your last ever mortgage payment...keep up the good work!

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  37. Congratulations! Isn't it wonderful when you're able to take care of yourself, hard as it can be, and walk tall. So many, today, feel entitled to everything that's out there and more than willing to let someone else pay. That means, someone else is working their butt off. You have every right in the world to be proud. Come visit when you can.

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